Saturday, May 5th 2012 – Distilleries

We got up about 7:30 and had breakfast at 8:00. Bacon, eggs, baked beans, blood pudding, tomatoes and toast. It keeps you going for a good chunk of the day. We tried to find out more about a wildlife and whiskey walk, but nobody seemed to know anything. It was supposed to start at the former Abelour railway station hike to the Cardhu Distillery and back.
Since we couldn’t find out about the nature walk we decided to drive up to the Cardhu Distillery. This was the first distillery we visited. All the distilleries have a tower for drying the grain (barley) in the distillation process. It was a pretty nice day, sunny but not warm.
We did the tour which was very interesting to see how the Whiskey is made. They don’t allow photographs inside the distilleries for safety reasons.

After Cardhu we drove some of the back roads in the area between Dufftown, Abelour, Knockando and Tomintoul using the B9102 and B9009. We also stopped to visit the Glenlivet distillery which is quite isolated in the Cairngorms Park. We didn’t have time for the tour so we just checked out the visitor center and gift shop. We also stopped at a beautiful stone church nestled in a valley and took some nice pictures of it.

When we arrived back in Abelour about 5:00 we bought some chicken salads for dinner at the local grocery and ate them in our room at the Torchattan. We had a couple hours siesta before heading out to the Glenfiddich Distillery for the Breabach concert.

Breabach Concert at Glenfiddich Distillery.
We left a little early, parked the car and walked over to the former storage building being used for the concert. We were among some of the first to be let in. We sat at a table right in front of the stage. It wasn’t long before a father and son tandem sat with us, who turned out to be Keith and Ken Savage who were Americans from Wisconsin. The son Keith, turned out to be a travel writer for Scotland and maintains a blog called Travelling Savage. He even turned out to be an Ottawa Senators fan (my favourite hockey team). So that was a big surprise.

The first to perform was a Celtic band composed of a boy and four girls playing accordion, fiddle, guitar, electric harp and keyboard. I never caught the name of the band, even searching for it on the web. They were quite young, perhaps 20 years old and still honing their craft but still very entertaining.

The second band, Breabach was similar to a Canadian band the Barra McNeils, but more up tempo. Breabach has 5 members, 2 pipers, a fiddler who was the lone female, a guitar player and a double bass player. They were very entertaining.

During their introductions, we found out one of the pipers was born in Edmonton, Alberta, so we gave out a cheer and told them we were from Ottawa. The lead singer then went on to talk about how they went to a hockey game where the Habs trounced the visiting Senators in Montreal. I enjoyed them so much I bought 2 CD’s during the intermission. It was a fun concert ending about 11:30. We then made the 5 minute drive from Dufftown back to Abelour and went to sleep. We did a lot in one day.


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