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.

The path to the Gathering Stone, Sherriffmuir | Pentax K3ii, Vivitar 35-70mm

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.

Pine forest, Sherriffmuir | Pentax K3ii, Vivitar 35-70mm

We soon emerged into moorland, with stunted trees, heather, and a lot of water. (Biting bugs were thankfully at a minimum!)

Bogs and streams, Sherriffmuir | Pentax K3ii, Vivitar 35-70mm

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 remains of camp | Pentax K3ii, Vivitar 35-70mm

The landscape was boggy and sparse, but with lovely trees giving shade from the unexpectedly warm sun.

The view from the Gathering Stone | Pentax K3ii, Vivitar 35-70mm

As we headed back across the moor to the road, I took this shot of the moor itself – heather and stunted little trees.

Sherriffmuir, Dunblane | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm f2

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.

Walking in the wilds | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm f2

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.

Fallen branch | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm f2

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.

The view across Sherriffmuir Battlefield | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm f2

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.

Wharry Burn | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm f2

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.

Lil’ white Saxo | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm f2

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?

Valves at Deanston Distillery | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm f2.8

The stills were being cleaned rather than distilling, but were nonetheless shiny – and the heady smell of whisky still filled the air.

Copper stills, Deanston Distillery | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm f2

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.

The spirit safe, Deanston Distillery | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm f2

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.

Whisky warehouse, Deanston Distillery | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm f2

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!

Whisky tasting, Deanston Distillrey | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm f2.8

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!