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Scottish Lochs, Castles, and Whiskey

UNITED KINGDOM | Thursday, 9 July 2009 | Views [400] | Comments [2]

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall

Spent night at B&B on scenic Loch Lomond.  Day hike along loch, beautiful.  Visit to “Wool Center” where all things woolen to be had.  Stephen Fail Event:  Tried on a kilt and was very pointedly informed by local mother and daughter when emerging from dressing room that it was on backwards!  Vinnie and Carol conveniently disappeared.  Only Anita stood by me while I was given the proper directions by the kindly mother and the neck-tattooed, strident, half-shaved head, homely daughter.  They made Stephen the modest unwrap and rewrap right there, while he attempted not to bare all.  Did not buy kilt, and probably won’t…ever!

On to upper Loch Lomond and across the Highlands to Loch Ness, passing Ben Nevis, the highest point in Scotland at 3900 feet, windings through the crags, bogs, moors, glens, bens, lochs and stark beauty of northern Scotland.  Spending the night in a B&B just south of Inverness. 

A fascinating “folk museum” which is a real life street/village scape with crofters’ huts, thatched roofs, peat home fires, looms, cattle pens, drying, smoking, and storage sheds, very informed people in period dress.  Included was an early 1900s farm operation with a milking/dairy shed, threshing equipment and old tractor shed.  Carol and Anita went on ahead and had an animated conversation with the cute guy in the cattle pens in the old village.  That evening, a delicious dinner at the Cairngorms Hotel, the piece-de-resistance being the Blood Pudding and Bacon Tower in Bleu Cheese Sauce. 

Off the next morning to the “Scotch Whiskey Trail” country (once again major kudos to Vinnie the motor man) where we wound through the barley-growing hill country between Inverness and Aberdeen, arriving at a B&B manor house circa 1737 in the middle of 300 acres of malt barley.  It’s no wonder that many Scotsmen who come to America were farmers, because Scotland is an intensely agricultural country.  Our first distillery stop was the 1920s preserved distillery at Dallas Dhu, where we were carefully walked through every step of the whiskey making process from barley kernel to fine 20-year-old single malt scotch.  Next, on to the world famous cooperage at Speyside where we watched about 10 very intense men rebuilding scotch casks from used sherry and Madeira (Spain) and bourbon (US) casks:  selecting the staves, top metal ringing, steaming and bending, bottom metal ringing, scorching and charcoaling inside, end caps, bung hole, and pressure checking.  There workers are paid by the cask so they were flying!  Finally, down the road to the Glenfiddich Distillery:  an excellent experience, whistle-clean operation, sweet and professional tour guide, and a dram of whiskey at the end.  Back to the B&B to tackle Edinburgh tomorrow. 

 

Comments

1

Sounds like great lodgings and scenery. Steve should have did the kilt-fitting after the drams.

  Bernie Jul 9, 2009 12:04 PM

2

Blood Pudding and Bacon Tower in Bleu cheese sauce...YES!!! Anita and Carol were all over that, I bet.
Pix are excellent.

  Philip Jul 9, 2009 12:20 PM

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