It’s been a busy few days, and a lot of exciting things have happened – adventures have been had, memories have been made! As a result, I’m running a day behind on the blog – this is day 5, the 29th July. The 30th – day 6 – will follow as soon as possible!
Day 5 began with a bright morning and a walk with Joey. We headed across the valley, to the memorial of the Battle of Sherriffmuir (1715) and across the moor to the Gathering Stone.
The path led off the road and away through old deciduous woodland alongside the pine plantations.
We popped our heads into the plantation, where the sharp smell of pine hung heavy in the air, and most of the light is cut out.
We soon emerged into moorland, with stunted trees, heather, and a lot of water. (Biting bugs were thankfully at a minimum!)
We eventually tracked the short distance across the moor to the Gathering Stone, a fallen standing stone that was where the standard of the Jacobites was placed in the battle (and where 600 fallen men were buried). It’s a very small stone, covered in iron hoops – and not terribly photogenic. People had made camp there, though, and left blackened ground and bottles behind.
The landscape was boggy and sparse, but with lovely trees giving shade from the unexpectedly warm sun.
As we headed back across the moor to the road, I took this shot of the moor itself – heather and stunted little trees.
Soon, the path led back along the boundary between the moorland and deciduous woods and the modern tree plantations. The light was lovely by this point.
Further down the path, we came across a fallen log across a small stream. I have no idea how I managed to get the field of view so tiny on this one, but I love the dreamy effect it gives.
We soon emerged back on the road, which afforded a long view across the moor of the former battlefield, towards the new line of pylons that march across the landscape.
We headed for home, but not before briefly stopping at the Wharry Burn, which runs through the Sherriffmuir valley. There’s an awesome old stone bridge that crosses the burn.
I took some video here as well, but that’ll be for a bonus post – watch this space!
Jo and I have a lovely little car – our “lil’ white Saxo” – that’s carried us many miles. Spotting him parked up in this lay-by, with the light on the hills behind, it felt only fair that he should feature in one of these galleries.
After our morning’s walk, the “lads” went for a tour of the Deanston Whisky distillery – it’s the quiet season, as the rivers are too low to make whisky, but we still had a fantastic tour. These valves are in the mash room. Why do distilleries have such outrageously shiny pipes?
The stills were being cleaned rather than distilling, but were nonetheless shiny – and the heady smell of whisky still filled the air.
As with most traditional distilleries, it’s all controlled by a highly skilled man at the spirit safe. Even though I’ve heard this explained a number of times now, I still don’t really understand how they do what they do. I can appreciate all the polished brass and glass, though.
This corridor leads to a tax-exempt warehouse, where they store the whisky…thousands and thousands of barrels of it. If it’s left in the distillery they have to pay tax on it! This distillery is housed in a former cotton mill, so the warehouses are the rooms that formerly housed the vast cotton looms.
The tour rounded off with a whisky tasting, as every good tour should. As an apology for them not currently producing, we had an extra dram. Luckily we weren’t driving home!
Highlights were the 18yo and the 10 year sherry cask aged whiskys. Outrageously expensive, but outrageously delicious. If you’re ever in the area, Deanston Distillery is a fantastic place to visit – a great tour with a friendly and knowledgeable guide, and ever-so generous tasting. Have a look – Deanston Distillery.
That concludes day 5 – apologies for the delay!