Here is the seventh – and the very last part – of Hanna Tunberg’s whisky diary from Scotland! Hope you’ve all enjoyed it!
We’ve got an extra day to spend in Sterling. A little shopping for gifts after an inspiring visit to Stirling Castle. An unexpected highlight is todays lunch. We are, I have to admit, a bit tired of bar food and finds an organic/fair trade/locally produced coffee shop in a courtyard at the Upper Craig. A narrow port opens onto a coffee shop and delicatessen. Local cheeses and hams rubbing shoulders with luxury variants from the rest of Europe. We point and thick slices of ham and cheese are mixed with locally grown fresh vegetables on our sandwiches. So simple and so good. After stacking up on provisions we get in the car and drive the short half-hour to Edinburgh.
The whisky trip is largely complete, and after a late and happy evening at Dirty Dick’s pub on Rose Street, Edinburgh airport looks pale and a bit tired in the morning mist – or is it just me?
The last day of distillery-visits starts in Oban. In a persistent heavy rain, we stand at the closed gates 20 minutes before opening. What to do? Across the street we are served the best coffee of the week.
Here is part five of Hanna Tunberg’s whisky diary from Scotland!
From Inverness we took a detour to Glenmorangie Distillery outside Tain. Since we missed the motorway slip road (how on earth anyone can miss a highway) the trip there took two hours, but returning not more than 45 minutes. Amazingly charming Glenmorangie is worth the trip if not for the sake of good whisky so for their fantastic pot stills. Going into “the still room” at Glenmorangie can only be likened to walking into a cathedral. Several meters high stands the gleaming copper boiler necks in parallel rows like columns from days of the past.
The trip to the Southwest and Oban runs along Loch Ness. No monsters in the water this dull and cloudy day but the lake is still beautiful, despite the heavy rain clouds over it.
Here is part four of Hanna Tunberg’s whisky diary from Scotland!
From Ballater small roads meanders up the mountains towards Speyside. One thing we’ve learned after only a few days in Scotland is that if someone tells you it takes one hour to drive, it actually takes two. Partly because the Scots drive like maniacs (nice maniacs but still…) and partly because you’ll want to stop to look at things on the way.
Today we wanted to stop and look at Kildrummy Castle. I am childishly fascinated by ruins. And this is a ruin of rank! One that brings my imagination to life and surrounds me with kitchen maids and beer-makers, errand boys and blacksmiths. Major battles and daily life. After this short break from reality we set of to close-by Dufftown and family owned Glenfiddish, the only visit booked for today. It is just as expected. Big.
We are very hungry after our visit and look forward to a late lunch in one of the world’s most famous whisky cities. To our great disappointment Dufftown is closed for the season, there is actually not one single pub or restaurant that serves lunch. Half starved to death, we arrive several hours later in Inverness. Food-wise perfect “The Room” at the intersection of Queensgate/Frasierstreet saved the day by serving the best ‘bangers & mash” I’ve ever eaten. The homemade sausages sent pleasant shivers down my spine and the mash landed like a fluffy, soft pillow in the stomach.
- Hanna Tunberg -
There are lots of things to do in Britain for free so even if you don’t have a wallet filled to the rim with cash, you can still enjoy a great vacation with your family in Britain. Here are our five favourite things to do in Britain for free:
Sherwood Forest, Nottingham
Sherwood Forest in Nottingham is not only a beautiful forest and park, it’s also the home of one of Britain’s most famous characters – Robin Hood. And there are lots to do here. Say hello to the animals, play golf, go cycling or horse riding, listen to the guides telling stories about Robin Hood, have a picnic or take a walk in the beautiful surroundings.
The Bristol & Bath Railway Path
The Bristol & Bath Railway Path is a 21 km long traffic-free route along a disused railway path between Bristol and Bath, perfect for a family day out. Take a walk or bike ride along parts of the path, visit one of the playgrounds or beautiful parks, see historic sights, have a break at one of the cafes or take a steam train ride on Avon Valley Steam Railway and much more.
Hadrian’s Wall, border between England and Scotland
Hadrian’s Wall is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most well-known part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire in Britain. Built under the order of the Emperor Hadrian in AD122, it’s 117 km long and took 6 years to build. Walking the wall is a great free day out and you’ll find lots of Roman antiquities along the way such as strongholds and forts, Roman baths and even a Roman toilet!
Museum of Childhood, London
The Museum of Childhood has the UK’s biggest collection of toys and childhood paraphernalia and is a great place to spend the day with your family. Exploring this history of childhood from the 16th century to today, the museum houses a world famous collection of dolls and dolls’ houses, games, puppets, toys as well as exciting new interactive areas.
Big Pit National Mining Museum, Wales
Big Pit is a real coal mine that you can visit for free in Wales. Take the world-famous underground tour, where you’ll get kitted out with helmets and cap lamps and taken into the pit cage to descend 90 meters underground with a real miner, who will show you what life was like working in a coal mine.
To find more free or cheap things to do in Britain click here
Enjoy your stay in Britain!
Our Swedish guest blogger Hanna Tunberg continues her exciting whisky tour in Scotland!
Another glorious morning to wake up to. The Scottish weather has yet to live up to it’s bad reputation. The Royal Lochnagar distillery lies just a fifteen minutes drive by car from Ballater where we spent the night, and a short stone’s throw away from the Queens hunting residence Balmoral. The castle, it turns out, is closed for members of the public during the autumn and winter but can be visited during the spring and summer. The distillery, on the other hand, is open all year round and offers guided tours for those who wish. The atmosphere here is surprisingly generous and welcoming as are their Destillers Edition – another bottle in the bag. Well worth the visit.
- Hanna Tunberg-
The whisky winter warmer saga continues – here is Hanna Tunberg’s diary from Scotland, part two for all of you to enjoy!
No ghosts at all this night, which is a bit disappointing. Early morning visit to little Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry. Nice, professional reception and a good story. Before lunch we also squeezed in a visit to Edradour, Scotland’s smallest distillery. Again whitewashed charming little buildings, but this time for real. The distillery produces an average of only three casks a day. Had to bring home a bottle of 12-year-old with final maturing on sassicaia cask. A late lunch on the combined hotel/brewery/restaurant in Pitlochry. The rabbit stew was good but the local beer is better left unmentioned. After too many closed roads and diversions we crossed the Grampian Mountains in pitch-darkness, I think we might have missed some magnificent sights here.
Please click on the pictures to see them in full size.
- Hanna Tunberg -
A whisky lover’s guide to Scotland, part 1.
Are you a Swedish golfer and dreaming of taking on a Ryder Cup legend? VisitScotland is now offering golf fans the chance to play a round with Scotland’s Sam Torrance at the new home of the Scottish Open.
The Ryder Cup legend was a member of first European team to achieve success on American soil, in 1987. Perhaps you will be the lucky winner to take on the Scot in his own country?
By entering the competition (running in Sweden 1 February-8 March) you will also have the opportunity to compete in the ProAM at Gleneagles, as well as the chance to win a luxury golfing break at some fantastic courses throughout Scotland.
Drive it Home and best of luck to you all!
P.S For more inspiration on golf in Britain and our top ten golf courses, click here.
Remember the competition we had together with VisitScotland last year for our Norwegian bloggers? The two lucky winners Asbjørn Wille and Liv Brekkenes won a 3 day trip to Aberdeen City and Shire. A couple of weeks ago, we posted Asbjørns trip to Aberdeen and now it’s Livs turn. She brought her friend Mona Myhran along and here’s their story.
“Aberdeen is mainly known for its agriculture and oil industry, and not exactly for being a typical tourist destination. It was therefore quite a surprise to discover that this city has a lot to offer. You just have to give it a chance.
What impressed us most were the friendly and welcoming people we met everywhere, and the beautiful and stunning architecture. The churches and cathedrals were magnificent, and the small brick houses with the pipes on the outside walls and the chimneys on the roofs are really something else from our houses in Norway.
We had a great Indian meal in Cinnamon restaurant on Union Street and some tasty whiskys in the Grill Bar, also on Union Street. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit the city beach nor the Maritime Museum. That’s on the list for our next visit!
Stonehaven – Lush and green
Our first stop driving south of Aberdeen was Stonehaven. Famous for being the birth city of Robert William Thomson who invented the rubber pneumatic tyre, the little fossil Pneumodesmus Newmani and an art deco swimming pool. An outdoor swimming pool in Scotland may seem bizarre, but it is heated to 27 degrees and was great. We visited in rain and beside the impressive design, watching the safety guard under her umbrella made us remember that we actually were in Scotland.
Fortunately the weather changes quickly, and walking at the beach in sunshine is fantastic. Surrounded by green, steep cliffs, blue ocean and gardens filled up with colourful flowers. The lush and green landscape was one of the things that amazed us, but as one of the locals we talked to said, with typical Scottish humour – the only positive outcome of all the rain.
We also recommend a visit to Dunnottar Castle. It’s a really impressive ruined fortress with a great historical story. The history tells that this has been the hiding place for the Scottish crown jewels after they had been smuggled out from Edinburgh when the English invaded. The crown jewels are back in Edinburgh, but the remains of the castle is well worth the visit. The view is spectacular and with a location on a cliff 50m above the sea, it is obvious that the fortress has been difficult to access. The castle has a story going back to 400’s and with more than 1300 years of history it is one of the most fascinating castles in Scotland. Dunnottar Castle was also the setting for the movie Hamlet from the 1990’s, starring Mel Gibson.
For visitors information and opening hours, please visit www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk
Our wonderful days in Scotland were finally set in Edinburgh where we enjoyed the Edinburgh Castle, the Modern Museum and the last day of the annual International Festival. Theatre groups, musicians and artists from all over the world filled the streets with their performances. It was a lovely atmosphere. “
Do you have a strong interest in whisky and like to travel? Are you Swedish and good with words in both Swedish and English? If your answer is ‘yes’, then we have a proposition for you – write our whisky guide and spend a week in Scotland for research and inspiration!
As some of you may have seen in our newsletter a few weeks ago, we are looking for someone to write our guide to the world of whisky. Therefore we are now, together with VisitScotland, hosting a competition to become VisitBritain’s Swedish whisky guide. Together with a friend, the winner gets to go to Scotland for a packed seven day trip with visits to distilleries, museums and private collections on the agenda. The prize also includes flights, accommodation and a rental car.
The competition is open to all Swedes until 31st of May. Click here to enter: