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Day 1: Edinburgh – Pitlochry – Grantown-on-Spey

Having picked up our car from the Europcar office at Waverley station, we headed from the lowlands towards the highlands. As we crossed the city limits across the Queensferry, we were greeted by unending green plains of the Scottish lowlands. 

A short detour from the city of Perth, and we made our way through some narrow roads onto our first destination; the Glenturret Distillery and the home of The Famous Grouse.

Glenturret Distillery is Scotland’s oldest recognised distillery, having been formally established in the year 1775. While clicking pictures was not allowed inside the Distillery, we learnt a lot of facts and know-how about the art of distilling and making Scotch whisky. More on this dignified art in this blog about the Great Scotch Whisky Experience.

An interesting story about Glenturret is its world famous Towser. Towser was the Distillery’s own house cat, who worked at Glenturret for 24 years. Legend has it that in these 24 years, she caught 28,899 mice. As an ode to the legend, the Distillery has named its ‘bottle your own cask’ after this famous mouser.

Distillery tours begin at 10GBP in Glenturret and each tour ends with a free tasting of 3 of the Distillery’s famed single malts. For the designated driver, they pack the tasting-dram in a nicely sealed pack to savour it for later.

Tip – For any Distillery tour, please ensure you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time.

After nosing and savouring the dram with a little splash of iced water, we headed into the Highlands through the Sma’ Glen and descended into the scenic valley of Kenmore for lunch. The Kenmore hotel is Scotland’s oldest Inn, dating back to 1572.

Fuelled up, we made our way north towards the Loch Tummel, climbing our way though a series of twist and turns in the narrow roads toward Pitlochry. 

Our next scheduled stop was the Queen’s View in Pitlochry, offering stunning views over Loch Tummel and preparing us for the kind of views that would be followed in the days to come. It is said this spot was made famous when Queen Victoria visited it in 1866, but legend has it that it was named after Isabella, the first wife of Robert the Bruce; who lived in the 15th century.

We could not have enough of the views her over a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate :P) but we had to make our way through towards the Speyside for our overnight sojourn in Grantown-on-Spey.

The Speyside is literally named after the plains that are fed by the rived Spey as it flows down from the Highlands and northward into the North Sea.

Blessed with mountain fresh water with a unique sweetness to its character and feeding fields aplenty, no wonder the Speyside is home to the famous 50 distilleries accounting for up to 50% of Scotland’s whisky production. Famous amongst them are the Glenlivet’s, Macallan’s, Glenfiddich’s to name a few.

Stay - At Grantown-on-Spey, we stayed in the Speyside hotel, which is a family-run hotel with nice rooms and a good breakfast.

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