A few months ago whilst travelling to collect my new family car I thought of an idea that could merge my passion for whisky and my ambition to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. What if a small group of whisky enthusiasts came together and travelled 3000 miles of the Scottish country on two 50cc mopeds with a support van? But not only that lets invite all the distilleries to sponsor us with a bottle of their single malt. And after more than 6 months planning and preparation we set off for Orkney as our starting line.
Our charity tour of Scotland took us from Orkney where we visited both Highland Park and Scapa Distilleries then down to Wick where Old Pulteney Distillery is based. We had the pleasure of visiting the newly commissioned distillery Wolfburn in Thurso. There was no whisky to be had but they very kindly donated 3 samples of their spirit in which we felt expressed fabulous maturation when we tasted the infant dram. Our journey then took us over to the western isles where we visited the Isle Of Lewis, Isle Of Mull, Jura and of course the Isle Of Islay. A visit to Islay is always a magical time for any whisky fan and even though this was predominantly a charity event we had the pleasure of tasting some incredibel single malts. Our visit to the Bruichladdich Distillery was no exception to this, In fact it was one of our highlighted visits. Why not take a look at our video log below!
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We spent 3 nights on Islay but then we hopped onto the ferry back to the mainland for our visit to Campbeltown where we stopped off at both Springbank and Glengyle where we were very impressed at their set up being a major employer in the town. A company who look after and invest in their workforce isn’t something we see too often now so I commend Springbank Distillers for doing so and long may it continue!
At this point the two mopeds had travelled over 1000 miles in which our journey back to the north was delayed slightly by my bike requiring some adventurous repairs from a great bunch of mechanics up in Miur Of Ord. We understood that our journey would take it’s toll on the bikes as they were only built for town use. But it wouldn’t be a struggle on two luxury motorbikes!
Now we were back up in the north of the country and our visits to Balblair and Glenmorangie appeared to be over all too quickly! One distillery that has stood out for us at this halfway point has to be the Knockdhu Distillery. Gordon Bruce the manager is a superb guy and welcomes anyone to the distillery event though they have no official visitor centre. It is an excellent tour also in which I encourage anyone to give them a call and have a look round. The AnCnoc single malts they produce are also of excellent quality and very well priced for any budget.
We genuinely thought our journey couldn’t get any better than this however we feared not as the journey through the Speyside region was to begin after our overnight stay in Elgin. Elgin is a lovely town if you ever have the chance to visit, Plus there is a very well stocked whisky shop there owned by Gordon & Macphail that is a worthy visit for any whisky nerds like us! So here we were at the top of Speyside and ready to visit some very special distilleries indeed!
We spent 3 nights right in the heart of Speyside which allowed us to visit each of our sponsoring distilleries in the area with ease. We were particularly impressed with Glenfarclas. A distillery which is still family owned and operated and still has the traditional caring feel of a family run business. Plus their whisky is second to none which boast amazing full bodied sherry characters which any whisky fan shouldn’t shy away from trying.
After our stint in Speyside we carried on through the country visiting very well known distilleries such as Tullibardine and Deanston but tucked away up in Brechin you have the Glencadam Distillery, And Glencadam is another very traditionally operated distillery that have simply superb quality craft whiskies and all at sensible affordable prices. We met the distillery manager there Douglas Fitchet who is a delightful man and he took us through each step of the Glencadam process of making their amazing single malt. If you ever visit Brechin then Glencadam is a very worthy visit not to be missed.
And after long last I’m sat here in Glasgow typing up this article for my great whisky friend Greg at GreatDrams who has sponsored this charity tour. We are about to head off to the charity tasting event with the Isle Of Arran Distillers and the superb whisky author Charles MacLean. It is all set to be a superb event which shall raise the profile of this tour greatly indeed. It will no doubt be some weeks before this article goes live but from my own part may I thank a few companies and individuals.
- All our sponsors for their kind donations.
- The campsites & accomodations for their hospitality along our route.
- Caledonian Macbrayne Ferries.
- And of course to my fellow fundraisers, Daniel Christensen (The Whisky Viking) and my great friend who we call simply ‘The Mechanic’
After Glasgow our final port of call is the Arran Distillery who have been superstars with us. We look forward to visiting them but also going home and seeing our families again. Four full weeks on the road is a long time to be without loved ones but for once in a lifetime and for a very worthy cause I believe it’s been worth it. Sláinte