Another distillery tour...
I have done 6 in as many years, and each time I’ve been the driver. Poor planning/negotiation skills, I reckon.
My cousin Linda recommended the Glenfiddich one as being the best she’s done. Definitely good. I’m comparing with Glen Moray, Glenfarclas and Blair Athol in Scotland.
It was free, as well. Of course they have a gift shop where they hope to recoup their costs.
I’ve always see Glenfiddich as the first to really brand malt whisky into a recognised international name, to rival those of the blended whisky world. In that context, and given the slickness of the distillery visit operation, I was surprised & impressed to learn it’s still a family business.
The tour we took was being given by German and French speaking guides at the same time - also impressive.
We didn’t have time to try the cafe/restaurant.
At times you can go to a fishery, and feel nothing goes right for you. Wardend bucks this trend, not only is this fishery well stocked and managed, but you do get the feeling that the love of fishing is still at the heart of the venture. I went and caught three Rainbow trout (loads more rising) and it was 3 for 8lb, typical stockies. More importantly though was the fishery owner/manager came along and gave us advice and free instruction on what to fish. It isn't a busy fishery (and all bank fishing), but it deserves an evening in anyones holiday fishing calendar. Tight lines.
Elgin cathedral is a haven of calm just off the busy ring road - not well signposted, but worth looking for. Its in ruins, but you can imagine what it was like - a masterpiece of gothic masons' work in light brown/gold stone. Some delicate window tracery is left, and you can see what craftsmanship went into the building. Just wander around, relax and imagine...
Moray the region where Elgin is located has lots of distilleries each worth a visit. Signs of little pagodas dot the roads of this area. Nearly all distilleries have a pagoda head I'm not sure why but I do think they are cute ventilation shafts to perfume the air! Linkwood Distillery is a solid brick built building which saw its beginnings in 1821 established by Peter Brown who was a factor in the Linkwood Estate. Today it is owned and managed by the giant Diageo Company who still produce the original oaksmoked, lightly sweet and gently smoky Linkwood Whisky. I loved the little dam and canal which are both ornamental and functional, the functional side carries the waste water from the distillery making the waters warm, but no quick dip for me - it was cold outside but I did appreciate this little waterways beauty especially when it made its way to the natural burn. Visiting is by appointment only - telephone in advance.
We discovered this old dairy while taking a walk with my Grandson Finn on a brisk but bright October day. The road which passes here has no pavement but little traffic travels here just remember to walk in the same direction as oncoming cars and it is fine. The dairy was built in the Victorian Era and shows of its style very well. In its heydays it was a big producer of milk and other dairy products, sadly today with modern technology and health and safety production would not be allowed in such buildings. The people of our past knew how to construct beautiful buildings, I particularly liked the bell tower and clock. I'm sure the bell tower wasn't constructed to bring the cows home for milking but maybe due to the eccentricity of the Victorians maybe it was! On our return we passed Linkwood and were greeted by the wonderful Autumn colours of the woods - worth a look on there own.
The city of Elgin hosts a fun run organised by the local Rotary Club bi annually in June. The race involves a circuit of a real marathon of 26 miles through the closed city centre streets. Relay teams of up to eight members can sign up for this race, or if you want to run alone this is also popular. Most of the runners were in fancy dress and it was a lot of fun to watch. While the runners were sweating their stuff, we all had a great time, especially the kids who were well entertained with the many amusement stalls. Here you will find lots of food and drink stalls, Finn certainly enjoyed his first taste of fresh strawberries and found a love for hot dogs.
Several examples of the work of the well known engineer and architect Thomas Telford can be found near Elgin.
They include Craigellachie Bridge on Speyside (1814) - perhaps the best known - Cullen Harbour (1817-19), Tomintoul Church (1827) and Old Bridge of Avon.
Telford was born in the Scottish Borders, and much of his career's work is in England & Wales.
You can take a guided tour of the Glen Moray distillery. It's located on the western edge of town, as you come in from the Inverness direction.
It takes about an hour and costs £3 for adults - children free. A free tasting is included at the end, so if you can get there and back without the car, that's ideal! I had the tiniest of tastes, just to satisfy my curiosity. Impressed!
My 14 year old found it very interesting (I hope in the context of his chemistry and biology studies, and not for any other reason).
The visitor centre has a shop and cafe area.
Check in advance about tour times, so you don't have a wasted journey or have to wait around.
This is also across the street from the Cathedral. It dates back to 1557, and is believed to have been the town house of the Bishops of Moray.
It bears the arms of Bishop Patrick Hepburn (1535-73) and Robert Reid (Abbot of Kinloss and Bishop of Orkney).
Across the street from the cathedral is this garden which contains all the 110 plant species which are mentioned in the bible. Also, life size statues. Looks great in early summer.
Unusual - maybe unique?
The cathedral is 13th century, and guide books describe it as one of Scotland's architectural triumphs. It was once know as the lantern of the north.
Badly damaged by fire in 1390, deliberately started by the Wolf of Badenoch as retaliation for him being excommunicated by the Bishop of Moray. Then the lead roof was stripped in 1576.
Take in the visitor centre.
Elgin Cathedral was first build in the early thirteenth century it was as is now a cross shaped building although much smaller. The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw rebuilding and extentions after the burning by the "Wolf of Badenoch" - Alexander Stewart - Earl of Buchan. The Earl was excommunicated by Bishop Bur and took revenge on the 17th. June 1390 when his band of 'Wyld Wykkyd Helendmen' decended on Elgin and burnt the Cathedral along with eighteen residencies of the Cannons and Chaplains. The Cathedral's final demise came with the Reformation of Parliament in 1560 when Catholic Mass was banned and the Pope's authority over the Scottish Church was rejected. Although some Cathedrals survived because they were also used as a Parish Church sadly Elgin was not so today all we see of "The Lantern of the North" is a magnificent ruin. Today the Cathedral is owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland who restore and maintain this elegant ruined Cathedral.Click here to listen to the haunting tune of Highland Cathedral complete with lots of great views
Opening times 1st. April - 30th. September Monday - Sunday 9.30 - 17.30
1st. October - 31st. March Saturday - Wednesday 9.30 - 16.30 closed Thursday and Friday.
Quarry Woods is a perfect place to enjoy fresh air and nature, here there are miles of paths and trails for bikers and dog walkers. Lorna and I took the kids and the dogs through the spectacular Autumn colours, what a fantastic feeling walking on soft fallen leaves. The late, low afternoon sun provided some magic when it shone through the tall pines casting golden colours on the paths. Yes all would agree walking for us adults - cyclling for the kids and two dogs running around trying to see who could sniff the most trees!!
Johnstons of Elgin was established in 1797 by Alexander Johnson who by coincidence was born on a farm near to my house. He pioneered in the manufacture of tweed used for camouflage clothing for deer hunters. The original mill is still used today for manufacturing cashmere. To celebrate the mills 210th. Birthday in Autumn of this year Johnstons opened a Heritage Centre with a home and garden shop included. The centre is very interesting and educational, it tells the story of Johnston's history and its proud tradition on the manufacturing process of cashmere. The company aquire the cashmere from China and Mongolia where it is hand combed from the under belly of the goats by Nomads in spring time with each goat only producing 125g = Now I know why Johnstons woolens are so pricey but still world renowned. The home and garden shop is also worth a look = we just laughed at some of the prices especially the DEER Stag to grace your garden but you need a brace to make them look good!! You can also enjoy a coffee with homebakes too!
Elgin's town centre is a small pedestrian area, the High Street is split and runs along both sides with the middle area taken up by the triplets of the street. Some of the old architecture is interesting if you could view it without the shop signs such as 'The Tower' with its fine frontage. The middle section has a victorian water fountain and a war memorial. The classical building dominating the centre is Saint Giles Church built to replace the Cathedral in 1825 -8 - built on the site of the muckle kirk, it is the town's Parish Church, so different in style to any other churches in Scotland. Here in the High Street, you will find an assortment of shops, bars restaurants and cafes. A pleasant place to sit and watch the world go by.