THE ROYAL SCOTSMAN AND THE SPIRIT OF SCOTLAND / WHISKY

One of the world’s leading whisky writers, Charles Maclean, who has an enviable job and something of an authority on uisge beatha, Scotland’s water of life leads a four night journey on the Royal Scotsman. The tour will be taking in famous distilleries across the different whisky-producing regions – among them Glenmorangie, Talisker, Glenlivet and Edradour. There will be private tastings of old and rare whiskies accompanied by much lively discussion of the spirit’s special place in the life of Scotland.

The tour takes place on September 06, 2004 – starting from Edinburgh you will journey to Keith and enjoy traditional Scottish ceilidh at Strathisla Distillery, “the Home and Heart of Chivas Regal”. There will be a whisky tasting led by Alan Greig, the distillery manager.

The following morning depart Keith for Elgin and the Macallan Distillery, where you will enjoy a tour, followed by a vertical tasting of ‘Fine and Rare’ Macallan’s led by Bob Delgano, distillery manager – an extraordinary range of vintage whiskies from the last 60 years! For non-whisky aficionados, our luxury coach will take you to the world-famous Johnsons Woollen Mill.

Later that day you will visit Glenmorangie Distillery where you are shown round by Graham Eunson, Distillery Manager. There will also be a tasting of unusual Glenmorangie malts led by Dr. Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilleries and Maturation.

The train then continues westwards towards Kyle of Lochalsh, on what is arguably the most scenic route in Britain. The line passes Loch Luichart and the Torridon mountains, which are so old they contain no fossils; geologists believe that they were formed before any life began. You pass through Achnasheen, and climb to Luib summit and Achnashellach forest before descending to Strathcarron. The train then follows the edge of Loch Carron through Attadale, Stromeferry and Duncraig.

Later in the journey have your camera ready for the views of Plockton across the bay, where you can see whitewashed cottages with fishing boats and yachts riding at anchor. You will travel around the edge of the Beauly Firth and cross the northern end of the Caledonian Canal shortly before reaching Inverness. En route, enjoy an historical talk and a question and answer session with Dr Nicholas Morgan and Charles MacLean. Other distillery visits will include Cragganmore Distillery and The Glenlivit.

For those that are not whisky aficionados there will be plenty of planned activities that will range from visiting Dunrobin Castle, exploring the beautiful highland village of Plockton and enjoying tea with the Macpherson-Grants, owners, of Ballindalloch. Set in the magnificent surroundings of the Spey valley, Ballindalloch has been the home of the Macpherson-Grant family since 1546, and exemplifies the elegant and comfortable country house so beloved of Victorians in the Highlands.
For a full itinerary, to make a booking or for further details on this once in a lifetime opportunity, please contact Royal Scotsman, telephone 011 44 131 555 1021, fax: 011 44+44 131 555 1345, e-mail bookings@royalscotsman.co.uk Web: www.RoyalScotsman.com

MORE TRADITIONAL MUSIC IN SCOTTISH PUBS

Scotland’s pubs are expected to be even livelier than usual this year, thanks to a project to introduce more music. More than 100 pubs and clubs throughout the country will feature live traditional music from now until the end of 2004. The free sessions are the result of a combined effort between McEwans ales and the tourist board VisitScotland.

A number of the country’s top music festivals will also feature additional pub music sessions as part of the programme.

Traditional music is the “heart and soul” of Scotland, built on the tradition of local musicians getting together to perform on an informal basis. Visitors will discover there is nothing better than to walk into a bar where a jamming session of musicians is underway. Details of the McEwan’s Sessions are given on the website: www.visitscotland.com/mcewanssessions

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