Whisky galore in Scotland :)

01 Apr 2018

scotland1The Tayside Branch annual visit to the Duke of Gordon Hotel, Kingussie, commenced on Friday, 16 February, 2018. Our numbers were down on last year for a variety of reasons out of our control,including 3 who succumbed to the dreaded flu.However it is the quality not the quantity that matters and it certainly did not stop us having a ball.

Friday afternoon, the rendezvous point, as always, was the bar, where we met our ‘regulars’ and welcomed new guests which included friends from IPA Nürnberg and Schweinfurt, Germany, Chairperson of the IPA Professional Commission May-Britt Rinaldo from Sweden and Brendan from IPA Ireland.

As it was so close to Valentine’s Day, my husband David presented the ladies with a chocolate red rose, while I presented one to the ‘single’ males as we sat down to dinner :). After dinner, entertainment was provided and friends were re-acquainted and new ones made.

Saturday morning saw the start of the shuttle runs to the Speyside Distillery. It is a small, unique distillery in a stunning location on the River Spey. This year they have also started producing Gin, and a tour and tasting was offered for Gin lovers, of which there were a few.

2 tours were arranged and expertly given. The number of tastings went down very well and those on the gin were very impressed with the flavour of frozen berries in their drinks. Those who hadn’t attended the tours ventured near and far from the hotel, some went to Aviemore for walks around the area, while others remained at the hotel relaxing.

In the afternoon, a hosted whisky and wine tasting was held in the hotel. 6 whiskies and 6 wines were on offer, on a ‘help yourself’ basis. Many learned a lot about the whisky and wine from the host. It was a very relaxing time when you could discuss your favourite bottle. When it came to ‘closing time’ I was told that the organiser didn’t want to take any of the wine back with him. He then kindly donated a bottle to our raffle.

Our Gala dinner on the Saturday evening saw the guests, many of whom were wearing tartan, including kilts, trews, ties, sashes and brooches, piped into the dining room. This was very much appreciated, particularly by our international guests.

Following a superb dinner, we all adjourned to the ballroom for the Ceilidh, which was its usual vibrant self, and saw the majority participating in the Scottish dancing, many for the first time.

Our guests donated numerous prizes for our raffle and their generosity was immense. Many went home with some unique prizes.

Unfortunately a few of our guests had to leave us the following morning and we wished them safe travels.

Sunday morning dawned with beautiful clear blue skies, even if it was a bit chilly. A large group set off in convoy to the Highland Wildlife Park. We drove round admiring all the animals, stopping for photographs as we went, followed by a walk to see some of the more exotic animals. We were certainlyscotland2 not disappointed.

Lunchtime saw us arrive at the Heather Centre where their speciality is Clootie Dumpling, served 21 ways. Our German guests had no hesitation in trying it, whereas our Irish friend took a lot of persuading, but did eventually agree it was rather tasty :).

Part of the convoy then headed to the Cairngorm Mountains before boarding the funicular railway which took us up nearly to the summit. Great fun was had in the snow, including a simulated snowball fight, as we enjoyed spectacular views across the valley below.

The weekend was rounded off with another evening of excellent food and entertainment in the hotel, not to mention a good few more drams. The weekend was deemed to be the best we have held so far and David and I have been persuaded to organise a similar one from 8-11 February 2019. Further details
will be announced. We extend our thanks to everyone who attended the weekend and who gave so generously in both kind and cash, which will allow the Branch to donate £635.50 to the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance. A very worthy cause that has saved many lives in Scotland since its conception.

Haste Ye Back.

Yvonne and David McGregor, Tayside Branch, IPA UK