After a long day and a half of travel we arrived in Scotland with a homemade meal, wine, and lots of laughter. After a late dinner we stopped at a local pub called the Speedwell Bar and had a wee dram of the local whiskey. The selections here easily put any whiskey specific bar in the States to shame.
Today was our first full day in Scotland. After a good night’s rest our gracious host and hostess took us to the central part of the Highlands to explore. We began our adventure in Pitlochry, where we tried our first experiences with haggis at the Moulin Inn and Brewery which was built in 1695. Haggis is one of the local flavors of Scotland and a must try (at least once) when you come to visit.
According to my travel books, Pitlochry became a famous town after Queen Victoria described it as one of the finest resorts in Europe. Like the Seattle area, Pitlochry has its salmon runs in the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, we were a bit too early to see this experience. However, we did experience an ample amount of sheep wandering along the sides of the roads. Each one marked with a number.
After our traditional Scottish meal we visited Edradour Distillery, the smallest distillery in Scotland. We decided to take a tour of the grounds and learned a bit of the process. We learned that they make the same amount of whisky in one year that Glenfiddich makes in 3 days. They also told us that the smaller the copper stills the finer the whiskey and they consider themselves the last handmade malt in Scotland.
For the people in Highlands, whisky is a part of life, just like the country side. They began making whiskey in 1825 and continue to do everything in house except the malting of the barley, which was moved to a different location, because when malting the barley it used to be done by hand, which meant having 2 people shoveling the barley for 7 days. Now the malting process has been more streamlined thanks to newer malting machinery. In fact, all but one of their machines on the grounds are over 100 years old!
Post our first Scottish distillery experience we made a stop in the town of Dunkeld to appease the needs of one of our hosts (an adorable one and a half year old) where dropped by the Beatrix Potter Exhibition. Potter was a popular children’s author who wrote the famous Peter the Rabbit books. It was in Dunkeld where she found inspiration for her stories.
We also stopped at the partly ruined Dunkeld Cathedral that dates back to the 14th century. Taking a line from my travel book, it describes the cathedral as an “idyllic setting on shady lawns beside the Tay, against a backdrop of the steep and wooded hills.” It was the perfect end to a first day in Scotland!