2012 has been full of surprises. I have had the opportunity to travel to many F1 races, meet many people and at the same time explore many places.
However this was totally unexpected, totally unreal but Totally Worth it!!
So how did I end up in Scotland ??
Pernod Ricard India were hosting a contest in Duty - Free stores at Mumbai and New Delhi International Airports. I became an entrant while picking some liqour for my friend while returning form Singapore in April.
I receive a call days before leaving for the Singapore Grand Prix saying that I am a Winner and receive an " All Expenses Paid " trip with a companion to Scotland. I would be taken on a whirlwind tour of Scotland, Visit the Strathisla and Glenburgie Distilleries and be hosted by the Chivas Brothers !!!!
What a Pleasant Surprise !!
My Childhood Friend accompanied me ( after a lot of waiting for his visa ). We packed our bags and the journey began on 9th October 2012!!
We Flew British Airways ( not a pleasant experience ) into Heathrow and then onwards to Aberdeen. We were joined by Winners from New Delhi as well.
10th October 2012 :
We were received warmly and our chariot was an Audi Q7, Sweet !!
Our Drive to Meldrum House Hotel, a Hotel in Old-Meldrum ( 30 minute drive from Aberdeen ) :
The Driveway and the Hotel itself :
After a Filling Brunch, we were checked into our rooms.
Our Room, Spacious and Comfy :
A couple of hours later, we were driven down to the town itself to try on some Traditional Scottish Kilts!!
Wearing a Kilt is more than just a challenge but its astonishing to see how well it keeps a person warm. Some shots of the boys in the Traditional attire.
We spent our Evening exploring the property and savouring the beauty the countryside had to offer.
The Hotel has a Fantastic Golf Course :
You mess with the Bull and you get the Horns :
After a Sumptuous Dinner it was time to head to bed and buckle up for the Sojourn the next day, The Day we visit the Distilleries...
11th October 2012
We checked out of our Hotel post breakfast. The Weather was beautiful as we drove towards our first Stop of the Day : The Strathisla Distillery.
The Oldest Distillery for Pernod Ricard, Strathisla is the home for the Chivas Regal brand. Whisky making is a fine art. It needs to have the right proportions to maintain the quality. Master Blenders ensure that each and every sample is perfectly blended to make the Whisky the way it should be.
The Distillery :
The Warehouse for the Casks :
Special Casks for the Royal Family for their Special Occasions :
The Warehouse needs to be Locked !
Some more Shots of the Distillery :
We were now driven down to an Old Cafe called Kimberley's Inn. The Inn was built decades ago but continues to serve fantastic food and is frequented by both locals and travellers.
Enroute to Kimberley's Inn :
We left the Inn for the Glenburgie Distillery. The Distillery is home to Ballantine's.
The Distillery was rebuilt in 2003 after the earlier one had gone through numerous repairs and wasn't feasible anymore for operation.
The Accolades :
The Range and the Coat of Arms :
Some more stills :
The Casks are ready :
The art of making Casks :
The Evolution of Whisky over the years :
A Replica of George Ballantine's Home :
Its always blended and the Blend is shared between companies :
We now drove down to the little town of Inverness. It was Cold and Raining. Inverness is a quaint little town on the banks of the River Ness.
We checked into Glenmoriston Town House Hotel and its a nice hotel to be in. Seems to be a favourite for the locals.
My Room, a little cramped but nevertheless comfortable :
Post Dinner, my friend and I decided to take a walk around the river. It was fabulous.
12th October 2012 :
We checked out of the Hotel post breakfast and had 2 Mercedes S-Class Sedans lined up to drive us down to Loch-Ness, the lake.
Legend has it that a Monster lurks in the deep waters of the lake. Many sightings of a mysterious animal have been reported, some vague photographs also suggest something. Sailors too have seen mysterious readings on the sonar. The Depth of the Lake makes it difficult to search extensively ( even for the Navy ), so the Legend lives on....
Our Ride into the Unknown :
The Wind Blew Strong and it was Icy Cold!!!
We disembarked at Urquhart Castle, famous during the Jacobites War.
After taking in the sights and sounds of Loch - Ness, we now left for the Golf Town of St. Andrews. It was a long and tiring 6 hour drive but the comfort of the S-Class made us feel otherwise!
Enroute to St. Andrews :
We checked into St. Andrews Golf Hotel and decided to explore the town after a quick refreshment.
The Streets of St. Andrews :
13th October 2012 :
It was now time to head back to Aberdeen to take our flight back home to India via London Heathrow.
Some of the picturesque scenes :
My Friend chose to stay for a few days in London while I returned home.
Everyone loves travelling and our travels take us to places we love to cherish. However there are a few that leave more than just a lasting memory on one's mind.
SCOTLAND is one such place for me. The Natural Beauty leaves you in awe. The country is definitely one of God's Finest Creations!!
The Way of Life, the people are very endearing. Life is Simple for the Scottish and that is how it should always be!
I want to sincerely Thank Pernod Ricard India for giving me the opportunity to enjoy the best of Scotland in such a short time. It was truly a whirlwind tour of the Land of Beauty and also the Land of Whisky. It is definitely a fine art, an art that the Chivas Brothers have mastered and perfected!!
Scotland is one place I shall definitely return to and have a long holiday. Scotland makes it to the top 3 for me.
VISIT SCOTLAND PEOPLE!! YOU WILL TREASURE IT!!