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The Speyside Way, Day 2: Craigellachie to Ballindalloch

I May Never Walk Again

View Joe and Susan's 25th on ORWAT's travel map.

Hello friends,
Today started with a lovely breakfast at the b&b. Joseph went all out for the full Scottish breakfast. Lots of meat. He was happy.

Before leaving adorable little Craigellachie, we visited the Telford Bridge. According to TripAdvisor, it's the #1 and #2 thing to do in Craigellachie:

Then, we headed for Aberlour, about a two mile walk. At Aberlour, we talked with the very nice people at the Visitor Center and then we wandered around town a bit, visiting the gift shop at the Aberlour Distillery (10:00 am seemed a little early for a tour) and then grabbed some lunch items at the Spey Larder for later.


Then, the long march to Ballindalloch began. It should have been about 10 miles from Aberlour, but somehow managed to be about 13 or 14. I won't go into the details, but there was a wrong turn or two (that I did not make). The Speyside Way is not known as a particularly scenic, but we found a few mysterious distilleries (no visitors), some lovely flowers, a few bridges, some sheep, and some old railroad stations (the trail follows an old, disused railway line):

We are now at the hotel in Ballindallloch. We had dinner and a whisky. Now it's time to fall asleep and hope that we can move in the morning!


Posted by ORWAT 13:08 Archived in Scotland Tagged way speyside aberlour Comments (1)

The Speyside Trail, Day 1: Cooperage and Dufftown Spur

We Had a Barrel of Fun

View Joe and Susan's 25th on ORWAT's travel map.

Hello friends,
Today began with a lovely breakfast at our b&b and then Joseph and I headed for the 9:30 am tour of the Speyside Cooperage-- where they make many of the barrels in which the "water of life" rests and matures for lots of distilleries. Joseph and I enjoyed the tour a great deal-- very informative. We had, as Joseph insists on reporting, a "barrel of fun."


Then, we went in search of The Speyside Trail. We didn't intend on walking much of the trail today. Instead, we walked the "Dufftown Spur," off of the Speyside Trail, in order to take a tour at the Glenfiddich distillery.

As promised, the Trail was not especially scenic, although it was pleasant:

Our walk took us about five miles. As we entered Dufftown, we had a nice lunch at an adorable cafe in an old railway car. Then, before going to the Glenfiddich Visitor Center, we walked to the Balvenie Castle, although we didn't have time to go through it.

Our Glenfiddich tour was the "Deconstructed Tour." This included many of the pieces of the regular tour, but added on a warehouse visit and then a visit to a special room where we could taste four different Glenfiddich whiskies and THEN, blend our own. We were able to take home a small bottle of our own making. Very fun and exciting (although figuring out the alcohol content of each personal bottle took a great deal of math, or "maths" as the Scottish would say)!

Finally, it was time to start winding down for the day. We went in search of our taxi (we book this whole adventure through a company that would take care of all of these little pieces for us). But, the taxi was nowhere to be seen. After a long wait, Joseph tried to use his phone to call. Still, no luck. Joseph went to the gift shop to ask for help, and one of the young women there was able to help us out. Thank goodness.

Our tour at Glenfiddich was a very good one. It was not nearly as corporate and full of in your face branding clues as Macallan. Before the tours, I probably would have reached for a Macallan before a Glenfiddich. That has now changed. Both of us also liked the fact that Glenfiddich is still owned and operated by the family that started the whole enterprise.

This evening, we had a lovely dinner at the Copper Dog, the pub attached to the Craigellachie Hotel. Then, we went upstairs to their whisky bar. I had a Glenfarclas and Joe, a Caol Ila. I liked the Glenfarclas better.

Now it's time for sleep. We have a long walk tomorrow (12 miles) to Ballindalloch, and we are hoping to stop along the way, at least to the Aberlour Distillery and the Walker Shortbread Factory Store.


Posted by ORWAT 14:40 Archived in Scotland Tagged way trail speyside cooperage glenfiddich Comments (0)

The Speyside Trail Awaits

We are now in Craigellachie

View Joe and Susan's 25th on ORWAT's travel map.

Hello Friends,
We arrived in Aberdeen sometime overnight. Joe and I disembarked from the Ocean Endeavor around 8:00 this morning, after saying farewell to some special new friends during breakfast (where there was a rousing chorus of "O Canada," for Canada Day, since most of the people on board were Canadians). Here's a photo of a couple of our new friends, Jonathan and his mom, Sandra:

Jonathan came in 2nd place last night in the "Create Your Own Whisky Label" contest. Congratulations, Jonathan!

Joe and I were delivered to the train station before 9:00 am. Since our ride wasn't due to arrive until 1:00, we took the opportunity to wander around the city:

We connected with our driver around 1:00, after a tasty lunch at Wagamama, and we made our way to Craigellachie, about 2 hours away. When we arrived, we learned that we were completely mispronouncing the name of this little town. In case you are wondering, it's Cray-GEL(hard "g")-lah-key.

Once we arrived at the small B&B where we are staying for two nights, the Craigellachie Lodge, we essentially just dropped our bags in our room and took off for our scheduled tour at the Macallan distillery, located just a few minutes away. The tour was good, with an excellent tour guide, Graham. But, we found Macallan to be a bit DisneyWorld-ish. It's a very modern, slick distillery, with a very branded vibe all over the place. The tasting included what seemed like the smallest possible amount of whisky. And, the products in the very large gift area were incredibly expensive-- like 8 pounds for a funnel for a flask.

Then, it was back to the lodge. We got ourselves cleaned up and then wandered down the lane a bit for dinner at the Highlander Inn, a small inn with a remarkably large array of whisky options, along with a dinner menu. After a dinner of haggis, for Joe, and steak pie, for me, Joseph and I enjoyed one of the many tasting flights they offered. We tried a flight that featured the lesser known Speyside whiskies. Excellent.

Now it's bed time. Tomorrow, we are off to the Speyside Cooperage and then we will walk to the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown.

We'll update when we can.


Posted by ORWAT 14:11 Comments (1)

Greetings from the Somewhere on the Way to Aberdeen!

Scotland Slowly Is Just About Done

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We’ve had a lovely day around the area of Peterhead. We explored the ruins of Slain’s Castle this morning and then walked along the coastal/cliff path to a nature preserve, along the way encountering the very large rock with a millions birds, followed by the not quite so large rock with only about a half million birds.

We also saw lots of rocks. But, no sheep poop!

We are now packing up and getting ready for the farewell dinner, then more packing. In the morning, we will be transported to Aberdeen Train Station, where Joseph and I will get our ride to where we are staying for the first two nights of our walk along the Spey River.

As soon as we are able to establish a connection to the outside world, we’ll update. For now . . .



Posted by ORWAT 08:38 Comments (1)

Scotland Slowly 2019, Day 9: Fair Isle

It's the Last Full Day. Alas

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The Ocean Endeavor is in the process of docking at a place called Peterhead, and we are awaiting instructions for the day and for the disembarkation process for tomorrow. It’s the last full day of our Scotland Slowly trip. I can hardly believe it.

We spent yesterday morning in Mousa, exploring the Mousa Broch, in rather misty conditions. But, still lovely.

Our surprise afternoon destination turned out to be Fair Isle. You know, of sweater and various other woolens fame. Since this was not on the original agenda, the Fair Isle people really pulled off a remarkable feat, in setting up a little fair in their community center (which is also the island school), staffing the small museum, and providing rides around the island for those who have significant mobility issues.

Joe and I rented bikes once again. It was a great way to explore the island. No surprise, but the island was covered in sheep, and in what comes out of sheep. There were also a lot of birds, for the crazed bird people who are part of this adventure.

We enjoyed our visit to the small museum on the island, including a nice chat with the woman who was staffing the museum.

Last evening, we had another delightful dinner with Jonathan and his mother, Sandra. After dinner, we attended the on-ship auction and then we joined Jonathan and his bottle of whisky, to help him empty that bottle and to allow additional time for Joe and Jonathan to reminisce about Harvard Government department faculty.

We stayed up much too late. We are moving a bit slowly this morning.

I’ll post a few photos below.

But, now it’s time to figure out what’s going on today, which will include a visit to Slains Castle, a castle ruin not far from Peterhead, and a couple of other sites. And, then we will prepare to leave the ship tomorrow. We dread the prospect of packing.



Posted by ORWAT 01:50 Comments (0)

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