SPECIAL DOUBLE EDITION!
After a minor technical hitch. Well, it was actually a big problem. Believe it or not, after catching the train back to London, Tom “Tommed” his laptop. Fingers crossed, it appears again.
The day began with Eloise making some grumbling noises early on, but this time some babysitters were there to comfort her.
We enjoyed a lovely sleep in on an inflatable mattress in the lounge room and had a nice sleep until 07.30. For today we had booked a Private whisky tour. Unfortunately, as Lachlan’s palette had not yet matured and there were space restrictions in the car we decided that it was easier than trying to combine driving and public transport. We had chosen a company called Dram Fine tours, mainly for their pun name. Our softly spoken Scottish tour guide Colin picked us up at 10am, and told us some important health and safety information, most importantly that all good Whisky tours start off with a Whisky. We shall call this Whisky 1, which I can’t quite remember the name of for some reason.
From there we drove about 30 minutes north to Glengoyne Distillery, a lovely spot which had been making Whisky for almost 200 years. We went through a great tour there and learnt about the process of turning barley into whisky, and the distilling process to make the spirit which eventually becomes Whisky. They talked about the difference between using Bourbon and Sherry barrels and the various flavours. From there we went up to the tasting room and tried Whisky 2 and 3.
We hopped back on the bus, enjoyed another Van Whisky (Whisky 4) and went down to a town called Bridge of Allan. It was a quaint town just past Stirling castle, and we went to a local boutique wine and whisky merchant who talked us through a tasting, and gave us a few notes on what to taste and a basic understanding of what makes a good whisky! He talked through the 5 different regions, and the importance and tastes typical to that region. We tried 4 more whiskies (5, 6, 7 and 8) and the final one tasted like a smoker had vomited in my mouth. Lovely.
We then had lunch at a local brunch spot, and obviously had some black pudding (there was no haggis on the menu) and pushed on to the next distillery, called Tullabadine. Their tour also showed the process but had some more focus on the barreling and we tried two more Whiskies (9 and 10).
Our final stop on the trip was a brewery (no better chaser to Whisky than beer) and we met the local gentlemen who had started up the microbrewery. Best way to describe him was like Russell Millard + 80kg (Google Russell if you need a good mental picture/photographer for your next event). He had some very interesting homebrew cask beer which Hazel found challenged her senses, and we had a half-pint of that with a half shot of Whisky (Whisky 11), called a ‘half and half’ which is a Scottish tradition. The whisky was lovely however.
We came back home and had one more Whisky (12) for the road and saw the babysitters again. They had prepared a lovely home-cooked Casserole for dinner after Liam tried to chop his finger off with a knife.
As our guests ventured out for the day we packed the car and headed out to see some historic sites. Today we took Becca, Grandma and Grandpa on virtual tours.
The first stop was a medieval castle, Crookston Castle. It was one of the smaller castles we have visited and sadly it was closed but we were still able to wander around and marvel in the glory it once was. It was perched on top of a small hill that gave a lovely view of the surrounding suburbs. We still find it strange to be wandering around castle ruins in the middle of suburbia.
Crookston Castle is a ruined medieval castle in the Pollok area of Glasgow, Scotland. It is located some 5 miles (8 km) south-west of the city centre, on a hill overlooking the Levern Water, just before its confluence with the White Cart Water. Crookston Castle was built by the Stewarts of Darnley around 1400, and is set within earthworks constructed in the 12th century. Once the property of the Earls and Dukes of Lennox, the castle was extensively repaired following a siege in 1544, and it is the only surviving medieval castle in Glasgow.
We then hopped back into the car and drove a little further southwest to Kilwinning Abbey. It was a marvellous place to visit. As there was no one else around Liam took the opportunity to deploy Darrel for some low sweeping shots.
Eloise was in her element exploring. She was running around, directing Super Mum and Lachlan where to stand so she could pretend to snap pictures on her 1st generation iPod mini.
The Kilwinning Abbey, located far away in the west at a distance from the core of Lowland Scotland, is not very well recorded, and few of its records have come down to posterity as the chartulary has been destroyed or lost. In 1571 the records are said to have been carried away by “a furious horseman”, following an attack upon the abbey. In 1591 William Melville took legal action against Jean Blair or Cunninghame, widow of Alexander Cunninghame to force the return of the records, but they were not forthcoming
After big days we all arrived home to put our feet up. Eloise was particularly tired so got an early bedtime book from “Haz”.