Hello! Many thanks for reading what must surely be some of the least professional-looking pages on the World Wide Web. I’m working on it, though: “WordPress for Dummies” should be thrust through my letterbox very soon and I’m expecting a hefty dosage of the fortitude I require to grapple with all things technical.
My main concern, however, is providing engaging and unique content and this should come quite naturally. One would expect nothing less from a seven-week cycle tour of Scotland and her malt whisky distilleries, surely? I certainly have high hopes (see ‘The Mission’ page in the right side bar) for my journey in malt whisky. Some of the roads and washbacks will be familiar, for example those concerned with The Glenlivet, Auchentoshan, Glenkinchie, Edradour and Aberfeldy distilleries, but when I visited this quintet I had the use of a car and a nice holiday cottage, or my own home, to return to afterwards. This is different. My mode of transport is a touring bicycle, my accommodation is whatever I managed to find within a hopelessly tight budget and I’m prohibited from coming back until I have taken every distillery tour in Scotland.
I embark on my whisky odyssey in April and so that is when this blog shall assume its true character and function, but as the date of departure approaches I hope to tell you about my training, both physical and mental, in readiness for forty-one days alone in one of the planet’s most beautiful countries and stages that feature a glut of either drams, miles, or a combination of the two. I’d also like to relate some of the challenges organising such a feat has presented and provide advice for anyone obsessed enough with Scotch to contemplate undertaking something similar, for there are many to keep in mind!
The premise first occurred to me early last year and initially considerations, chiefly of time and cost, almost consigned it to the “Don’t be so stupid” box. However, I committed myself to a gap year (between high school and university) anyway and the fallow months between A levels and A level results seemed to suggest, as I somewhat idly began researching the components of a tour like I had envisaged (at that stage I had made enquiries for a different use of the time: seasonal work as a guide in one of Islay’s distilleries), that amassing all the required arrangements and information wasn’t that Herculean a task. In fact, what began as a directionless consumption of spare time in retaliation against exams-related anxiety convinced me that I could actually do this. Three months on MultiMap.com and the VisitScotland website later I had accommodation circled virtually in red and thirty-nine journeys plotted out between my distilleries. I was doing this.
As I write, I have the bike, the accommodation is booked and partially paid-for, my public transport links to get me over sea and between towns have been thoroughly investigated and I have this blog. In three months I set off. I hope you will choose to join me in my final preparations and follow my back wheel on this blog which will describe my experiences on all forty-nine of Scotland’s malt distillery tours (and a lot about the 1330 miles of cycling in between them) squeezed into forty-one days.