The summer holiday season is here. Hurray. And many of us are champing at the bit to recharge our overly-worn batteries, crawl on to an aeroplane and emerge in a different place to the one we’ve been in since March last year.
Plenty have steamed ahead and booked flights, rental cars and hotels, throwing hope into the face of travel restrictions, which seem as concrete as the River Spey…
For others, though, the instability of travelling rules is still too much of a gamble to venture far from home. Consequently, there is a large domestic demand for much-anticipated rest and relaxation, and this latter category is the one I fall into.
As well as being lucky enough to have already had a holiday and change of scene, I also managed to combine two things that anyone reading this car column has got to love – a road trip, and a beautiful setting through which to drive.
With more than half of Scotland’s whisky distilleries in the region between Aberdeen and Inverness, it is a must-visit destination for dram drinkers
The fact that my chosen route took my scotch-loving father and I to Moray malt whisky country, was purely a coincidental cherry on the top.
With more than half of Scotland’s whisky distilleries in the region between Aberdeen and Inverness, it is a must-visit destination for dram drinkers. And far from being a busman’s holiday for me, I loved being Dad’s chauffeur, every bit as much as he loved visiting distilleries.
A highlight was the near-200-year-old company with one of the most modern buildings I’ve ever seen – The Macallan. Its state-of-the-art distillery, a stark contrast to the original, is housed beneath an undulating plant-topped roof, with large glass windows, close to the Spey, and nestled in woodland and wildlife.
Tipples that pack a punch
Inside the distillery is a breath-taking see-through wall that houses hundreds of bottles of varying shades and grades of whiskey. There’s also a variety of seating areas and bars where you can try or buy – or both. And if, like me, you’re the designated driver, there’s still plenty to pop in for, from a cup of tea to a full-on tour.
The fact that The Macallan Estate is not too far from the North Coast 500 route is anther coincidental cherry on top…
During our travels, Dad and I scrutinised many whisky-based cocktail menus, some of which were presented in champagne flutes, with twists of peel and packing a punch – a far cry from Dad’s traditional scotch-on-the-rocks.
It got us thinking if we could come up with a cocktail that captured the spirit of a car, and this was our conclusion: no. Our enjoyment of cars comes from driving them, rather than trying to drink them.
Wherever you chose to visit this month – have a very happy summer holiday.