Speyside, Scotland

The good weather held for our stay in Aberlour in the Speyside region of Scotland. On our way north, we stopped in Pitlochry to visit the picturesque Edradour Distillery. Edradour is the only distillery that still uses the traditional methods to produce single malt scotch whisky. The distillery was on a hillside beside a clear running brook. John, our guide for the tour, entertained us with his knowledge and his dry sense of humour.

We arrived in Aberlour in the afternoon and walked a few doors down to the grocery store to pick up our dinner.

And back to the garden for wine and cheese.

The next morning we drove a short way to Balvenie Castle. It was built in the 13th century

There was an oyster catcher perched on a high wall, the first of many that we saw in the area.

We took a short jaunt up the hill to see the Highland cows, also known as “hairy coos.”

Then on to the next attraction: the Speyside Cooperage.

We joined a very informative tour of the facility where they repair and refurbish oak casks. It was fascinating to watch the coopers work. They would take out the damaged staves and find a replacement stave from the barrels that were too damaged to repair, but still had a some useable staves. The staves that were not good enough to be used for a barrel were repurposed into furniture or candle holders, etc. Nothing was wasted.

After lunch back in Aberlour, we walked from our doorstep to the River Spey and along an old rail bed.

It was two miles to Craigellachie and the Copper Dog Pub.

Our thirst quenched, we continued on the trail for a few more minutes, then turned on to a spur trail that led to the Craigellachie Bridge. This cast iron bridge was built in 1812-1814 by Thomas Telford and was the first bridge across the River Spey. (They used ferries before that.)

It was a pleasant walk back to Aberlour past fields of grazing sheep.

The next day, we drove half an hour north to Elgin and the Elgin Cathedral.

Across the street is the Biblical Garden. The garden apparently has every plant mentioned in the bible. It’s maintained by the Moray College horticulture students who were working in the garden during our visit.

A few minutes away was Spynie Palace where the Bishops from the Cathedral relaxed. We climbed the five story tower (David’s Tower). The second photo is taken from inside the tower, each window indicates another floor. If you look carefully you can see the screen above the highest window, at the level of the final floor, put in place to keep the birds from flying down.

We drove out to Lossiemouth on the North Sea, for lunch and a wander along the shore.

But we hadn’t finished yet! Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery was next. We followed an audio guide through the distillery. Here are Bill, Joanne and Wendy in front of the wash still. The windows allowed the still master to watch that the fermentation “foam” stayed between the two windows.

The next day, we headed to the Isle of Skye, and planned to stop at Culloden and Urquhart Castle. We truly are tourists now.

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