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Highland Hideout 4 – Balmoral and Glenlivet

Wednesday 26th October

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Note to self: one day before The Young Pope airs in the U.K. Jude Law stars as the Pope, so should be good fun.

Anyways, today set out a bit later than usual, although the day was rather dreary. It was foggy, not misty like it was so beautifully on the last couple of days when it was still dawn, and there were constant scattered showers. Nevertheless, we set out for Balmoral, the Queen’s Scottish residence in the Cairngorms. We travelled on some lovely roads-even the unnamed routes were all newly paved, much better than the dodgy, potholed roads of England. Some great views too, along with quite a large number of sheep who dotted the highland landscape and roamed free on the mountaintops. Unfortunately we had to hurry along however, as entry is timed and there were plenty of people there today.

 

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What a wonderful day?

After passing through some lovely woodland and two very grand castles, we reached Balmoral, perhaps not as noticeable but just as wonderful. The ballroom has lovely open windows and the grounds are quite idyllic. The house itself is quite Germanic in structure, with defining towers and parapets, since Prince Albert himself designed the place whilst it was being built in the mid-1800’s during Queen Victoria’s reign. No time for the grounds however, although I suggest you take a look round, since we had to rush off to The Glenlivet Distillery.

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Bit over-exposed but the river was much prettier on this side of the bridge, so deal with it.

It’s a little inaccessible, but after some blind summits and sharp bends (and near collisions with massive lorries and coaches) we reached the distillery. It’s newest extension at least is fairly modern, having been built in 2009 and opened in 2010, and the free tours are rather interesting. Besides, you get a free taster at the end-mind you only a little!

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Glenlivet distilleries.

It was quite fascinating to watch how they processed the spring water and barley into drinkable whiskey, but for me it was lunch that I got excited about. Having eaten not much at all apart from plenty of oxygen since around 8:30, (it was now nearing 3) I was feeling peckish to say the least. Luckily, the Glenlivet’s little coffee shop is both reasonably priced and quite delicious. I love these little homemade cafes and restaurants, with their soups of the day and fancy pots of tea.

As quickly as possible on the A9 (which is not very most of the time, since only some parts are a dual carriageway and many lorries, such as the whiskey companies themselves, transport goods down this road and they’re restricted to 50mph) we rushed home to pick up Catherine and Gerald, who had stayed behind to do their homework (NB: they did not finish their homework.) We went out to the local Co-Op in Pitlochry, this shining hubbub of a village which came alive at night, perhaps due to the Enchanted Forest event going on. We went to the Mountain Warehouse, being the only other place open, and I managed to grab myself some new walking shoes for Duke of Edinburgh, since the ones I had before gave me pretty sore blisters. Then, dinner at the Fern Green Restaurant.

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Chicken at the Fern Green Restaurant

~MW

NB: Lovely photos from the next day coming up. Also GCSEs though so unless this counts towards my English GCSE which unfortunately it doesn’t because coursework is dead I’m going to be very inactive…sorry. Wish me luck!

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