Glengoyne wetlands project have invested more than £245,000 to date working with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), which conserves, restores and creates wetlands. Why are they so important? It’s because, as well as providing a home for plants, invertebrates, birds and other wildlife, wetlands are extremely energy efficient. They cover less than five percent of the world’s surface but lock away around a third of its’ terrestrial carbon. Glengoyne were the first distillery in Scotland to trial using wetlands to treat spent lees – the liquid not needed after distillation. Instead of sending the lees to an industrial treatment plant, they treat it on site by having it make its’ way through a series of twelve pools – each thick with reed beds. This slows the flow and removes anything that would harm local burns before it makes its’ way into Loch Lomond.
Because gravity is used, a 1.5KW pump is all it takes to send the spent lees on their way. The process has cut waste by around 25%, meaning around 21 transports a week from the distillery are no longer required. Superb! Results from a recent site survey recorded a dozen species of birds on the site, including House Martins, Grey Herons, Moorhens, Sedge Warblers, Reed Bunting and Pied and Grey Wagtails! I’m going to have to take my pal Ingvar Ronde there to be sure. Not only that but from an initial planting of 22 different species, a further 65 species of plant have now colonised the area, including marginal ones such as Skullcap and Water Figwort. Now here’s a wee snippet that my interest you … Glen is a Scottish word meaning valley and Goyne means goose – so Glengoyne means valley of the goose or geese, who would no doubt be happy in wetlands!
The distillery began distilling in 1833 and was known as the Burnfoot Distillery. It was originally owned by George Connell who built the distillery and took out a lease on the surrounding land, on which was built a warehouse which is still in use today. In 1876 the distillery was sold, by Archiball G. MacLellen to the Lang Brothers from Glasgow. It is stated that the Langs intended to name the distillery Glengoyne, but due to a mistake by a clerk it was recorded as Glen Guin. In 1894 or 1905 it was changed to Glengoyne which comes from ‘Glenguin’. The distillery remained with the Lang Brothers until taken over by the Robertson & Baxter Group in 1965, who later became the Edrington Group. In 1967 the number of stills was increased from two to three as the distillery underwent a rebuilding project. Glengoyne Distillery is at Dumgoyne, north of Glasgow. Glengoyne is unique in producing Highland single malt whisky, but matured in the Lowlands. It sits on the Highland Line, the division between the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland, Glengoyne’s stills are in the highlands, whilst maturing casks of whisky rest across the road in the lowlands. In 1984 the Lang Brothers became suppliers of whiskies to the then Queen Mother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s household. The royal warrant has since been delegated to Ian Macleod and is featured on all Glengoyne products. Am thinking of taking over from Charlie and Ingvar – ok, no I won’t. To end; my favourite Glengoyne dram to date; Teapot. When William McGeachie became distillery manager in 1899, he had a difficult problem to solve. He noticed that it wasn’t just the angels taking their share from the maturing casks – the workmen were at it too. So McGeachie gave them exactly what they wanted: a daily dram. He thought that giving them three very large drams of full strength single malt would stop them having the inclination, or indeed the wherewithal to steal quite so much. A full tumbler of whisky a day was wonderful for seasoned workers – but a bit much for the younger ones. To save face, they’d discretely pour their untouched drams into a copper teapot which sat on the canteen windowsill, ready for their older colleagues. Only available at Glengoyne, the Teapot Dram – because the daily dram would never be taken from an old cask, this is a deliberately young, bold whisky. PAUL MCLEAN