Sunday, July 31, 2011

Highlands: Day 1

We greeted our first morning in Scotland as the Scots do, with a big traditional breakfast. We all even tried the haggis. Although Dale's the only one that liked it. 
Then we were off to drive to Inverness - with a few stops along the way of course. It was a bit strange driving on the 'wrong' side of the rode and having the drivers seat be on the right and the stick shift being on the left. But Dale was a trooper and did good job driving, even if he did make Alan a bit nervous. :) 
As we headed north we had fun stopping all the random castles that all all over the place in this wonderful land.
We drove through Cairngorms National Park and I took the picture below from the top of Druimuachdar pass in the park. Growing up in Colorado it was a bit small by our standards to be called a pass but it was beautiful and mountainous nonetheless.
Soon we found ourselves on the Whisky Trail and for Dale's birthday we made our first Whisky stop at The Glenlivet. For free you can take a tour of the distillery and at the end you get to taste some whisky. The brothers got a special treat because I don't like whisky and I was driving so they got extra tasters.
I was surprised to learn how similar distilling is to brewing beer. The difference only comes when the wort is combined with more water and heated up very hot. The vapors that escape are then caught and reheated, to double distill, so only the finest vapors remain. Once it cools down again the top and bottom portion are removed and the middle is the whisky that remains and is aged. It was actually pretty interesting which is good because this was not my only distillery tour of the trip! Another bonus of The Glenlivet though is that they have Scottish Highland cows living at the distillery! So cute! 
Just a couple miles away is the Cardhu distillery and we stopped and did a tour here too. It was nine pounds for all three of us and we each got a Cardhu glass! Pretty good deal. On this tour we couldn't take pictures, just like at Glenlivet. They say it's because the alcohol could ignite, they even make you turn off all electronics to go on the tour. What I liked about Cardhu is that it's the only distillery started by a woman!
After leaving Cardhu we went to our final destination for the day at Inverness. I was expecting a tiny town but it was actually a decent size and quite charming. Just like all the other towns we drove through that day, Inverness has a castle overlooking the city.

We ended Dale's birthday in a Scottish pub drinking traditionally casked ales and I made friends with an old local who taught me all about the casked ales and the history of Scotland. I think it's safe to say Dale had a good birthday and both the boys were pretty satisfied with their Whisky day.

Happy 29th Birthday Dale!

Love Always,


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