Jay's going to hate this post, so I should go ahead and apologize to him. Sorry.
We're leaving for Scotland in one week, on 7 March, which is also Jay's birthday. Not very nice of me, huh? But for what it's worth, I didn't pick the dates. And it's going to rain on us the whole time we're on Islay. And we'll find something cool to bring home to him. And next time, he's going, too.
So, that said, we leave for Scotland in one week! We arrive in Edinburgh on the next day (8 March), meet our guide Willie, and load up onto the bus. Then someone will yell, "And their off!" and we'll head toward Tarbert to stay for one night. Along the way, I think we're going to stop at a distillery or two (and so it begins) and Loch Lomond. The guys who organize this tour every 3 years think that the best way to counter jet lag is to get on the new schedule and be busy. Personally, I'd like a little 30-minute nap. Oh well.
The next day, we'll take a ferry over to the Isle of Islay (pronounced eye-la). This is one of the many Meccas for Al, for this is where the peaty whiskies are--Bowmore, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain.
The next day is scheduled for "distillery tours/shopping/golf." I don't think golf will be happening since showers are predicted for the time we are there, and I'm hoping for a little shopping tucked in between all the tours. But I have a sneaky suspicion that "shopping" means shopping at the distillery gift shop.
We're also heading over to the Isle of Jura for a distillery tour. I guess this whisky has gotten better since the first time Al tried it. I seem to remember him and his friends dubbing it the Isle of Urine. But then again, that was the end of a long night of their own whisky tasting party.
We'll spend one more day in Islay to tour a few for distilleries, then we'll head up to Grantown-on-Spey. One the way up there, we'll make some stops at historic places. I don't know what, but I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and post about them.
Grantown-on-Spey is in the Highlands, south of Inverness and is a good base for touring the distilleries in the Speyside area. Our hotel is off the village square, so I'm hoping that if I have to take a day off from distillery tours, I can just walk around the town.
For the next 3 days (13-15) we'll be touring distilleries and a cooperage. Also, on one of those days we're going to tour the place where they make the copper stills for the distilleries. Apparently this is a huge deal because they have never done a tour. No cameras and no recording devices allowed. Cool!
On the 16th we'll head back to Edinburgh. This means we'll only have an afternoon in Edinburgh, which is not nearly enough time in this amazing city. There is a dinner and tasting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society that night, but our flight leaves at 8:00 the next morning, so I don't think it's going to be a late night. Actually, I'm thinking of ditching them and going to the Oxford Bar to pay homage to Inspector Rebus (Ian Rankin's detective who frequents The Ox).
So, that's the plan. 3 nights in Islay and 4 nights in Grantown-on-Spey means that we can actually unpack and settle in a little. But it will be pretty fast and furious during the day, and luckily, everyone seems pretty laid back so they should be a fun group to hang with. But if any bloggers wanna try to get together, maybe we can work that out, too! I think I'll put my yahoo email address on my profile in case we can set something up.
They're going to have to drag me home kicking and screaming, I'm afraid. I may be leaving as Kell, but I'm returning as Warrior Lass! Hmmm. Maybe I should make a t-shirt.