Walking and whisky in Scotland

Did you know that most distilleries in Scotland have a claim to fame? The most this or the highest that. Well, Talisker’s claim to fame is that it’s the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye.

More on that later, though. It’s time for a walk.

So in my last post, I introduced you, dear reader, to our accommodation for our three night Skye adventure, the delightful Ullinish Country Lodge on the western coast of the Isle of Skye. We’d just spent the good part of a day driving up through the Highlands, had a wicked five course dinner worthy of a Michelin Star (imho) and a restless night’s sleep. That’s right, what a shocker, I had a crap night’s sleep. I’m pretty sure it had everything to do with the fact that, at mid summer, the sun really never set before it was time for it to rise.

Never mind that, we had an island to explore!

Breakfast consisted of Benedict for me (of course) and a coffee. We were planning to tackle the delightful walk to the tidal island of Oronsay, the trail head just a short stroll from the Lodge.

Oronsay is a small hilly island inhabited by grazing sheep. And, my crafty research has turned up that Oronsay is a Norse word for tidal island. There are two around Skye alone, and one further south that comes up when you google maps it.

Go on, check it out, I’ll wait for you.

We double and triple checked when high tide was to make sure we didn’t get accidentally trapped on the island with the sheep. Just in case we brought snacks.

The 3.2mi (5k) walk started, for us, at the car park of the lodge.

A delightful morning greeted us as we hit the Oronsay Path.

There she is, our destination: that little cliff just above that cottage.

A sign at the kissing gate directed us off this patch of road.

We read that the walk could get muddy depending on the whether, but since it hadn’t rained in days, our boots remained unsullied. In case you were wondering, lack of rain is a strange occurrence for Scotland.

We came upon a really beautiful, picturesque gate which lead to the main event of the walk. But my lovely other half is in the pic, and he would absolutely hate me for posting it.

You’re welcome, babe.

And past the gate it just gets better and better:

We crested the hill topped with sheep to find Oronsay just hanging out, waiting to be climbed.

But first! The tidal causeway and Oronsay Beach.

It looks much smaller from far away. This causeway was not in any danger of flooding during our hike. (Phew!)

Can’t stop now, the peak beckons!

A brief look back to Ullinish shows why the Isle of Skye is known for being rugged and wild. Note the little trail created by the sheep. Yeah, we totally followed that.

The views up top are pretty great. You get clear vistas of the other small islands in the lochs as well as to the hilly northwestern Duirinish peninsula with villages on it with such names as Roag and Skinidin.

Wicked.

I didn’t realize when taking the photos of the little pink flowers that sheep poo was everywhere. My face was inches away.

Inches…

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I wish you could see this panorama full size, cause it’s awesome. I just don’t know how to make that happen on this blog thing. Do you??

A few more pics before heading back of the Minginish peninsula.

And with a sigh we head back. We still had a couple hours before the tide thought about coming in, but didn’t want to chance it. Who knows how friendly the sheep actually are???

Remember I mentioned the pretty little gate? Here she is.

It’s much prettier looking the other way.

Ullinish may not be much, but she is beautiful. I don’t know if I could live here year round, especially with all the rain but what a lovely place to visit.

Oh yeah, and there’s the whiskey!

Talisker is the first Scotch I’ve ever had that I actually liked. In fact, I recommend to anyone who does not like whiskey: get thee to a distillery and do a proper tour! Get someone to teach you how to drink it, what the nuances are, the differences before and after you add water or ice or when to swirl or savor. You’ll be glad you did.

Talisker is the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye. It’s on Loch Harport in Carbost, a short drive away from our Lodge. Yes, I planned it that way. Never too far from the whiskey.

We took the fancy tour, a two hour walk through and tutored whiskey tasting that cost us £25pp. It now costs £35 and imho it’s worth the extra £££ – go on, splash out! It’s really fun.

They ask you not to take photos on the tour, if only to protect everyone from blowing up. Camera shutters and the Angels Share do not mix!

The water they use in the distilling process comes straight from the moors above. Our tour guide opined that if it didn’t rain soon they would have to stop production.

Noooo!

We were given 6 of their malts taste. If I recall correctly, they had a new make (the clear, moonshine looking drop upper left), then the 10 year, 18, 25, Distillers Edition and the non-chill filtered 57 North.

My fave? The 18, for sure. Highly recommended.

After that wonderful morning walk and an afternoon of whiskey tasting, it was time to relax. On the menu tomorrow? Castles, beaches and sea lions.

Oh my!

2 thoughts on “Walking and whisky in Scotland

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