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Issue 27 - Walk on the wild side

Whisky Magazine Issue 27
November 2002


This article is 15 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Walk on the wild side

Dave Broom and company survived a hike up the Paps of Jra to tell the tale. Just...

Sheltering from the rain and the wind in the doorway at 7am, I was already wondering if this was such a great idea. The storm had been blowing for most of the previous two days, the wind had groaned against the house for most of the night, waves were being blasted across the Port Charlotte pier, yet I and four distillery managers were going to walk the three Paps of Jura. Still, the idea of walking the land near to distilleries to find a new way of talking about whisky is a potent one, and hard to resist. Lagavulin's Donald Renwick picked me up, already shaking his head. “This is madness,” he said, with a slightly nervous laugh. “Still, it might clear.” There speaks a man who knows the hills, knows the fickleness of Islay and Jura's weather and how it can change in a second. It's the blind optimism of the Scot, typified by the Islay catch-phrase “Ach, it'll be fine.”

We picked up Caol Ila's Billy Stitchell from the distillery and met Aberlour's Alan Winchester at the ferry. Across the sound, the tops of the Paps were already wreathed in cloud. Our sherpa Mickey Heads, (Jura's Manager) met us on the other side. The fact he was already entirely clad in waterproofs indicated that he wasn't overly optimistic about the weather conditions. “Looks like it's setting in,” he said cheerily. “Still, let's give it a shot. We can see how it looks after the first one.” A look of mild panic flitted across Billy's face. No one had mentioned to him that we were intending ...

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