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Your experience with the Talisker Distillery

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Your experience with the Talisker Distillery

Postby Oliver » Sun Jul 01, 2007 3:16 am

I was wondering if any forum members had been to the Talisker distillery fairly recently?

I was wondering what your experience was like...
Also, how hard/easy cheap/expensive is it to get to the Isle of Skye from London?

If I do go to England it will be in August, and would love to meet with some Forum members for a few drams ( or a duel, whatever the case may be ;-)

Cheers!

Looking forward to your "reviews"
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:05 am

It's definitely a trip and a quarter to get there, but Skye has some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland. It's been a few years since I took the tour, but my recollection was that it was run-of-the-mill Diageo. There are some interesting Diageo bottles available, but not anything you can't find elsewhere, aside from the 20 and 25yo--the prize would be the 10yo cask-strength, which I haven't seen in a while (I travel in October, and it's possible they only stock it in the tourist season). Maybe some others here have seen some other good bottles there.

Whether it's worth it to make the trip will depend on how much time you have, what else you may see on the way, and whether perhaps Talisker is the Holy Grail to you. How you travel will make a difference, too--it's possible to take the train all the way to Mallaig or Kyle of Lochalsh, but I don't think public transport will serve you well after that. May be most efficient to train or fly to Inverness and pick up a hire car there. Check ScotRail and British Airways for schedules and fares. Portree is the biggest town on Skye, but I've never really liked it too much. Plockton, back on the mainland, makes a nice base for exploring the area, with a couple of good pubs and some nice B&Bs.

How's your dog doing, Oliver?
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Postby Mr Ellen » Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:06 pm

I must say it's definitely worth getting there. As Mr. T mentions it's hard to find a more untamed nature in Scotland and most of the scenery is stunning. I did Skye on my second bicycle trip around Scotland and on Skye it's sometimes really hard to stay ON the roads as you tend to look more at all the beauty surrounding you.
We came from the Isle Of Harris via boat to Uig. From there we bicycled to Dunvegan for lunch and then up to Dunvegan Castle which dates back to the 13 century. I found this very worthwhile.

In Carbost we stayed at a place called the Old Inn, which is a favourite amongst climbers and hillwalkers. They have an excellent bar/restaurant serving all kinds of bar meals and decent food at very low prices. From here it's a 100 meter walk to the Distillery itself.

We had a splendid time at the Distillery. We took the tour (can't remember the name of the woman who did it though). She had huge knowledge about whisky and made the tour an unforgettable one with jokes and tales from recent as well as old times.
We sampled new make and the standard offerings and in the shop you could buy the some odd gems including a few bottlings only available at the distillery. Amongst these a Cask Strength bottling made for the Millennium at 60%. I am quite sure you can find other rare expressions from the Diageo range as well.
If you're interested in climbing or hillwalking then Skye is definitely a place you should visit. The Cuillin Range is a well known area for almost every climber in the world and you have some real treats and challenges if you feel like doing something besides visiting distilleries.

Regarding transportation I would reccomend you to hire a car. There's no problem getting around at midweek, with postbuses as a compliment but if you're there on a weekend public transportation is limited to zero or nothing.
If you come from the mainland to Skye and you're there in the summer I must recommend you take the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale (A830 from Fort William to Mallaig). An unforgettable journey through beautiful landscape. The alternative is the Skye bridge for which they will also charge you a amall fee to cross (maybe this have changed?)
I agree with Mr. T that Portree is a place that can be left without further notice as well as Broadford which is just a small run-through city while crossing the Island.
I think the cheapest way to get there from London is by train to Glasgow. There you rent a car and take one of the many routes up to Fort William where you can visit Ben Nevis Distillery and maybe hike up to the top of Ben Nevis (Fort William is another must when in Scotland). Fort William to Portree on Skye will take approx. 2 hours by car and Glasgow-Fort William around 3 depending on how much whisky you want to buy on the way... :lol:

Hope you find this information useful.

Cheers
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Postby Oliver » Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:50 pm

Thanks a lot to the both of you for the detailled responses.
I am just recovering from back surgery and on painkillers at the moment -- once their effect fades I am sure I will have a follow up Q or two ;-)

And, Mr.T, it wasn't my dog I was concerned about, t'was my mum....
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Jul 01, 2007 11:42 pm

The toll has been removed from the Skye Bridge. However, the approach to Mallaig is via the wonderful Road to the Isles.
It's cheaper to buy petrol in Broadford than in Kyle of Lochalsh or elsewhere nearby on the mainland.

Hope your mum is well, also, Oliver, and I'm sure Jim Murray does, too.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:37 am

Also best to be aware that much of the Highlands shuts down for business at weekends outside the holiday season - and petrol can be difficult to find on a Sunday.

The Talisker visitor centre has just appointed Georgie Campbell as the high heidyin - some people may remember her from the Whisky Shop in Dufftown. I keep meaning to pop over, but the ferry to Uig is not cheap! I wish they'd made the ferry free and left the tolls on the bridge!

If you need to get to Scotland cheaply, then train fares are very much cheaper if booked on line well in advance. Your difficulty will then be in locating the car hire company, as these are seldon coterminus with city centre stations. Flying to Inverness and hiring a car would be a better bet. Again, book well in advance to get the best fares. Inverness would also position you well for Speyside which is full of distilleries.

You would probably do well to book accommodation in advance, too.
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Postby Oliver » Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:32 pm

Thanks for the above! I am really going to need to book in advance as my budget (if I go) will be very very tight!!! :-(

Do you have any recommended links (web sites) for reserving for airfare and car rental? Are some companies/outfit cheaper than others?

THanks!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:46 pm

http://ojp2.nationalrail.co.uk/en/pj/jp for rail enquiries

http://www.ba.com for flights

http://www.easyjet.com for flights

http://www.visitscotland.com for accommodation, etc - or google "accommodation skye", etc.

I'd have no idea about car hire - try googling or try asking Visit Scotland or any guesthouses you might be staying in.

You'll also need to be aware, if you're on a tight budget, that food and petrol are much more expensive in the UK than in USA, and especially expensive in remote and rural Scotland.
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Postby Oliver » Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:59 pm

Is hitchiking feasible in Scotland ?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:07 pm

Perfectly feasible. So long as you're not too scruffy and haven't got too much luggage. You get more hitchhiking in the north of Scotland, I think, and it's not just backpackers. I give lifts to hitchhikers and I think it's not too hard to get lifts. I believe it is much harder in England where everyone spends all their time talking about money and worrying about their personal safety.

On edit - I should have added that it is customary to agree with everything your kind chauffeur says, however unreasonable it might sound.
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Postby Wave » Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:27 pm

Oliver wrote:Is hitchiking feasible in Scotland ?


If your going without renting a car it's not really a problem, I do it all the time (4 trips and counting). The public transportation in Scotland is great and it is easy to get around. If your coming up from London I'd take the train to Glasgow (via Houston Station) then take the bus up to Fort William or if I'm not mistaken you can go by train as well as I also believe you can go by train to Mallaig. The ferry there is only expensive if your driving, if your just a passenger it's not expensive at all. Fort William would be a good base as would Portree on the Isle Of Skye (unlike Mr. T, I liked Portree), some of the excellent walking trails around Portree are simply breathtaking! The Isle of Skye has decent bus service but weekends are a bit spotty, check your times.

Plus you don't really have to make reservations far in advance like some have mentioned, if your wanting some high-end hotel in peak season yeah I can see needing to make reservations, but for a normal B&B (which would be my choice anyway) you can go to any Tourist Information center and use what is called "Book-A-Bed", an excellent service I use alot!

Weekend travel isn't impossible but it is limited, plan ahead. The only thing you really need in advance is time schedules for the trains, buses and ferries and maybe a room for your first night, beyond that you can get by on the fly!


Cheers!
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Postby Onefortheditch » Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:51 pm

Hi Oliver,

The cheapest way to get from London to Inverness is by bus, but its a long uncomfortable journey. Best to fly using Easyjet, but book well in advance and the fares can be very cheap. Its about a one hour flight. Skye from Inverness is about 2 hours by car/bus. Driving is easy - there are no motorways!! Some car hire companies are much cheaper than others and a small car can be fairly cheap for a week.

In Skye not a lot happens on a Sunday.....or is open.... so avoid Sundays.

(There are also some very cheap sleeper trains just now as well, but you have to book well in advance and they are hard to get.)

Cheapest accommodation is in B&Bs or back-packers hostels. Or you could camp!! They sell cheap music festival tents now!!

You could use Inverness as a base. Its a real centre. It gives you far more options in all directions in the Highlands and Islands.

If you like whisky Speyside is 1-2 hours away. As are the Highland Distilleries. If you like nightlife and local culture, there are folks bars that have Scottish music every night.

There are also a lot of events on for tourists, Highland Games, etc. You might want to try to fit some of these in.

Hope that helps!!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jul 03, 2007 5:35 am

Oliver, try AutoEurope for car rental--usually you can choose airport, city center, or rail station pick-ups. Prices are are good as any, I think, and there are no charges for cancellations or changes.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jul 03, 2007 9:23 am

If you're staying in a largeish town or city, then no need to book accommodation in advance unless your visit coincides with a festival or something. But if you are staying in a rural area, especially out of season, then booking is sensible - if only to check that your preferred guesthouse is actually open. The north of Scotland is really very sparsely populated and although accommodation is available, there can be large distances between providers.
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Postby Oliver » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:31 pm

Nick Brown wrote:Perfectly feasible. So long as you're not too scruffy and haven't got too much luggage. You get more hitchhiking in the north of Scotland, I think, and it's not just backpackers. I give lifts to hitchhikers and I think it's not too hard to get lifts. I believe it is much harder in England where everyone spends all their time talking about money and worrying about their personal safety.

On edit - I should have added that it is customary to agree with everything your kind chauffeur says, however unreasonable it might sound.


This sounds great. I just hope I won't catch a lift from Murray -- agreeing with everything he says would be beyond my ability ;-)
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Postby Oliver » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:40 pm

Guys,
Thanks for all the advice!

Here's what I am looking to do so far. (unless you all say there is a better plan)

(1) From London either (a) take a bus to Inverness or (b) train to Glasgow --whichever's cheaper.

(2) From there hike to the Isle of Skye.

(3) Once there I plan to have a good time :-)
I am recovering from back surgery and today is the first time I have been able to walk for over 500 yards in two years! So I will go hiking on the island too. I can't wait. Hope I run into some nice folks.
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