Wednesday, February 28, 2007


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.


susan said...

Yes make a shirt! Actually make a few so that you can have a clean one for every day!! tee hee

Betty said...

Your mom's a little jealous, too. But, it sounds like a good time for a bunch of scotch drinkers.

jd said...

Have a wonderful trip. The March 2007 issue of Conde Naste Traveler has a nice article on the area of Scotland you're heading if you haven't seen it yet. Looks like a beautful place.

Kell said...

Susan--These are the times I wish I had taken more art classes.

Betty--Yeah, but you've been to Scotland, so I don't feel as bad talking about it with you ;-)

JD--Thanks, I'll check that out.

Jay said...

Yeah, you didn't plan to leave on my birthday .. sure .. yeah, I believe you. Sure. No problem.


Armin said...

If you're thinking about shopping on Islay you just need to make sure they let you stop at the right places:

- Roy's Celtic Shop in Bowmore has a few nice things.
- The Islay Woollen Mill has some nice things if you're into nice and warm woollen blankets
- There are a few arts and crafts shop on Islay House Square (near Bridgend)

Let me know if you need more suggestion ;-)

But above all: Enjoy Islay and Jura!

Kell said...

Jay--I said I was sorry!

Armin--Thanks! I've been reading your blog--you have lots of good info there. I'm always open to suggestions! I really excited about this trip and I know I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.

Ellie said...

Definately make a T-Shirst. That would rock!

Armin said...

Kell, you're welcome.

I've used the opportunity and wrote a bit more about Going Shopping On Islay.

Hope you find it helpful. Quite conveniently a lot of them are just around the corner from a distillery and/or on the way to one of them.

Kell said...

Thanks again, Armin. That's wonderful information. I'm excited to hear about the quilt shop and the food shops. Now if I can just find a yarn shop, I'd be set!

I just can't wait for this trip!

Newt said...

I'm so happy for you Warrior Lass. You are going to have such a great time. I think the excitement will keep you more awake than you realize now. You probably won't even notice - way too much adrenaline.