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Visiting Scotland - where to go?

General chat and talk about whisky.

Visiting Scotland - where to go?

Postby Stein » Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:22 pm

We're an little whisky-club in Norway, that are planning to visit Scotland, flying to Pretswick, in end of october (landing thursday and leaving on sunday).
We need some advise on where to stay, taste a variation of whisky, and if possible visit a distillery.
Our tasterange cover all types of whisky. I prefeer the smokey/peaty ones.
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Postby SpiritofShetland » Sat Sep 17, 2005 9:48 pm

Hi Stein and welcome to the forum.

First a similar thread was discussed recently at the NMWL-forum: go here (in Norwegian)

My advice is to stay in Prestwick/Ayr and rent a car. You can easily go to Bladnoch (south), Auschentoschan and Glengoyne in the time you've got. Ayr has also got a nice little whisky shop that's worth a visit - http://www.robbiesdrams.co.uk/.

As for accomodations you can always go to the Tourist Board site: http://www.ayrshire-arran.com/
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Sep 18, 2005 2:58 am

You wouldn't do bad to take the train to either Glasgow or Edinburgh and spend the whole weekend there. You won't get a distillery, but you won't lack for things to see and do, both whisky-related and otherwise. I don't really know Glasgow (hopefully someone else here can advise you on that if you're interested), but in Edinburgh, you could visit the whisky centre near the castle, and taste a wide range of drams in a good pub like the Bow Bar. There are great shops like Royal Mile Whiskies and Cadenhead's, and so far you haven't gotten far off the Royal Mile itself.

If you're planning to hire a car to get around, you might catch a ferry to Arran and make a loop around Argyll. You'll get a distillery or two, great highland scenery, and interesting cultural and archeological sites. If you get into Prestwick early enough, you could do this:

Thursday: Ferry to Arran; if you are early enough, see the distillery. Otherwise, do it Friday morning. There is also a brewery, and a wealth of archeological sites, if that interests you.

Friday: See what you didn't see Thursday, then ferry to Claonaig and drive to Inveraray. Stay at the George Hotel, and visit the amazing Loch Fyne Whiskies across the street. Inveraray is a small town with a few shops along a main street that will take you five minutes to walk down and back if you stop to pet the dog; but it's pretty and charming, LFW is a must, and the George has good food and a great bar.

Saturday: Your choice of loop drives. Start by driving north to have a look at Kilchurn Castle. Then either: 1) head east and do a loop through Glencoe, for the fantastic scenery, then down to Oban (check to see of the distillery does tours on Saturday; not many do). Then back to Inveraray via Kichurn; or 2) drive west directly to Oban, then south through Kilmartin Glen, which is loaded with archeological sites; then back to Inveraray via the shore of either Loch Fyne or Loch Awe. You can probably combine the two loops if you don't mind spending most of the day in the car.

Sunday: Drive to Glasgow. Auchentoshan is on the way, but I doubt there would be tours on Sunday. (Doesn't hurt to check.) Spend the two nights in town. You could do Edinburgh instead--it's only an hour or so further east--if you don't have to be at Prestwick too early. If you do, be sure to leave plenty of time to get to Prestwick--you'll have to go through or around Glasgow, and traffic can be heavy.

Islay is tempting, of course, but it takes a long time to get there, and a long time to get back, and you won't get any distillery tours on the weekend.

Ferry information: http://www.calmac.co.uk

Great general information for all of Scotland: http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk

Good luck, and have fun!
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Postby Barrie » Sun Sep 18, 2005 12:52 pm

Hi Stein

I was staying in Scotland just two weeks ago and visited Glengoyne and Auchentoshan Distilleries whilst there. Just for interest although they are a bit further afield for you if you are staying in Ayrshire, I also visted Ben Nevis, Tobermory, Oban, Aberfeldy, Glen Turret and Tullibardine. I did manage to photograph Deanston aswell but they don't have visitors at that one.

Anyway I hope this helps

Auchentoshan is open 10.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Saturday
http://www.auchentoshan.com Tel 01389 878561 (plus any international codes)

Glengoyne is open 10.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Saturday
12.00am to 4.00pm Sunday
http://www.glengoyne.com Tel 01360 550254 (plus any international codes)

It would only take half an hour to drive between these two Distilleries so it is possible to do both tours in the one day. Auchentoshan has an excellent tour and a well stocked shop I was able to purchase a 12 Year old that is only available at the Distillery and in the Far East (not opened it yet). At Glengoyne the tour is a bit more commercialised and less informative but the staff are friendly and the shop again is excellent after much tasting I decided on the 12 year old C.S. bottling.

Bladnoch is an excellent Distillery with a good tour and when I visited it, it was still rustic and uncommercialised and so I would recommend it for this reason alone. However It might have changed as I did this one two years ago. I don't have current tour times but they were open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm Easter to the end of October when I visited

http://www.bladnoch.co.uk

I hope this helps as these are the closest three Distilleries with Visitor centres and shops to where you would be arriving at Prestwick. there are many more if you are spending time on the road.

Cheers Barrie.
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