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Issue 21 - A right royal return (Carneronbridge)

Whisky Magazine Issue 21
February 2002

 

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A right royal return (Carneronbridge)

Tom Bruce-Gardyne finds that Carneronbridge Distillery is ready to return to the public eye after years in the background of the Scottish whisky industry- all thanks to a member of the Royal family

Fife, as the world is about to discover, is a small county on Scotland's east coast just north of Edinburgh. News of its existence is being beamed around the planet as I write by the massed ranks of tabloid hacks, TV reporters and paparazzi already in position. The reason of course is William, Britain's student prince who has just arrived to begin his four-year course at the country's oldest university. Soon St Andrews will be swelled by a further influx – of American mammas, here to check up on their daughters' prospects of graduating their way into Prince William's heart. Completing the picture, and competing for scarce hotel beds and restaurant tables, will be the seasonal migration of golfers.

It will all be very different from the last time the county was invaded in the second half of the 19th century at the time of the great Victorian railway boom. The desire to connect up the east coast line and lay a track directly from Edinburgh to Dundee had become irresistible despite the difficulties involved. Up until then all trains were forced to make a wide loop inland because the estuaries, or firths, of Scotland's two largest rivers lay in between. So to help build the great bridges needed, thousands of Irish navvies began assembling in camps throughout Fife. In 1872 they began work on the first attempt to span the firth of Tay.

The navvies brought with them a craving for Irish whiskey that had to be satisfied. Luckily there was a distillery nearby, just east of Glenroth...

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