Whisky & history on the western isles

Day one From Inverness or Aberdeen, to the west coast, with a stop at Glen Ord Distillery,  then Ardvreck CastleIn the fifteenth century the MacLeods of Assynt built a castle on the north end of the loch. About a century later Donald Ban, ninth MacLeod of Assynt added a tower. In 1650 the MacLeods imprisoned the Marquis of Montrose in the castle. Many Scots saw Montrose as a traitor but within twenty years the political situation changed and it was the MacLeods who were being vilified. This played into the hands of the MacKenzies who achieved their long nurtured ambition to acquire Assynt through a siege of the castle in 1672. This castle ruin was also featured in the movie Highlander. We head to Ullapool for the night, maybe some live pub music, certainly food and drink and craic!

Day two We leave on the 10.45 ferry to Stornoway, arriving 13.30. Just over an hour later we are at Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis; the Calanais Standing Stones, a cross-shaped setting of stones erected 5,000 years ago. They predate England’s famous Stonehenge monument. Then at Dun Carloway, 5 miles away, we can get an excellent cross-section of a broch – a type of structure found only in Scotland. At 9m tall it still stands close to its impressive full height. The broch was constructed about 200 BC. It’s also said to have been used as a stronghold by members of the Morrison Clan during the 1500s. Just under an hour away; The first single malt whisky from a distillery in the Outer Hebrides since 1829 Abhainn Dearg Distillery (pronounced Aveen Jarræk), or Red River in English, is a craft distillery.  It was founded by Mark Tayburn (Marko) and was the first legal whisky distillery in the Outer Hebrides in almost two hundred years. Established in 2008 the first spirit to leave the island was in 2010 when two small casks of new spirit were sold.  One went to Germany where it toured the whisky fairs with importers Alba Import. The second stayed a little closer to home, going to McSorleys Bar in Glasgow.  We stay overnight in Tarbert.

Day three After breakfast another ferry, to Uig on Sky and on to Talisker Distillery, we all know and love the drams from here, so let’s take the tour and of course take the drams!  Then we visit another distillery –  Torabhaig, the second ever licenced single malt scotch whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye. It’s then not too far from our next ferry, to Mallaig on the mainland. From here a scenic drive to Adelphi Distillery at Ardnamurchan. Then a wee ferry to the Isle of Mull, Tobermory where we stay overnight.

Day four After a hectic schedule, we now slow down, a day trip around the island including a visit/tour of the Tobermory/Ledaig Distillery. With lochs and glens, beaches and single track roads, this is a step back in time, visit the Maclean Clan castle at Duart. At the close of the day tour we take our final ferry, this time to Oban, where you spend the night.

Day five An easy day, free time this morning, wander around this harbour town before taking a distillery tour at Oban Distillery. Some relaxation, shopping, try the pubs or just chill out. This afternoon we head down to Seil Island for some scenic touring – Seil lies 12 miles south of Oban and separated from the mainland by the thinnest of sea channels which is spanned by the elegant 18th century humpback Clachan Bridge, popularly known as the ‘Bridge over the Atlantic’. We head to a wee pub we know well, built in the village made entirely of slate, sample drams, beers and oysters looking out at the Atlantic, fantastic views and a few shops. Return to Oban for another night.

Day six Your final day (or is it?). From Oban we return to Inverness via the Great Glen (Loch Ness) where the tour ends. OR we can drive south to Edinburgh or Glasgow.  As you can see, this tour can be flexible, we can add days/nights anywhere along this route, we work with you to design this one off bespoke tour. FOR ANY NUMBER OF PEOPLE.  Please contact liz@whiskytours.scot