Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pitlochry

Pitlochry is located in the lovely area just west of Tayside (where Dundee is located) called Perthshire.  Less than two hours from us via train, Pitlochry is a hopping town with two distilleries, a brewery, a dam, a theatre, and a whole lot of people on a Saturday night.  We weren't actually planning a day in Pitlochry, just a stopover for the Blair Athol Distillery.  But, then we heard about the Edradour Distillery, Scotland's smallest, and the Moulin brewery, both right outside of town, and decided it deserved a full day's attention.

We started our day leisurely, departing Dundee around 10am.  We had a short layover in Perth, where we've found we enjoy grabbing a sophisticated cuppa at the Station Hotel right outside in the car park, but were in Pitlochry before noon.  We immediately headed in the direction of the Blair Athol distillery but wound up on an unplanned detour to the Pitlochry dam and fish ladder.  Since the salmon weren't running and the visitor centre was closed, we quickly reversed course.

The Blair Athol Distillery is right outside of town (not sure how we got lost) and possesses a nice visitor centre focused on Bell's Whisky, which contains Blair Athol in its blend, a good gift shop, and the best tour ever.  Our tour guide was amazing!  He had both great historical knowledge as well as general knowledge and, best of all, he was able to explain everything to us in a way which we understood.  We never have to go on another tour again, this guy was THAT good.  Our tour did cost £5 each but included a £3 voucher for their whisky and a proper whisky tasting at the end.  It was an excellent experience and one which we highly recommend.

We had hoped to grab some lunch in the distillery's restaurant but, sadly, they don't have one.  Thus, starving, we headed back into town for lunch.  We stopped at the Pitlochry visitor's centre where we bought a £1 map of the area and received a few restaurant recommendations, which we ignored, and headed back out.

Black Spout
After lunch in town we headed off on our ramble of the area, through the Black Spout woods towards Edradour Distillery.  We haven't seen a waterfall in ages, so we were excited to incorporate this ramble into our day.  We love waterfalls.  The Black Spout woods themselves were nice, too, and the trail was empty and well maintained.

Edradour Distillery was a bit of a disappointment.  They have a sign out front, before even entering the gift shop, that there is a £5 admission.  Having just been on the best tour ever, we didn't want to do another tour and were unclear as to whether we would be charged just for entering the premises or if that was a tour charge.  Thus, we stayed off their grounds and just looked from afar.

We quickly headed the long way back to Pitlochry so we could go through the small town of Moulin on our way home.  We had heard good things about their brewery but, sadly, the brewery was closed to tours because their guide was on holiday.  Happily, the adjoining inn was open (and packed) so we were still able to sample the beer before leaving.

We arrived back into Pitlochry around 5:30pm and the town was hopping.  There were tons of people everywhere.  We were not prepared for this at all.  Our previous experience in Crieff had made us believe that towns closed down around 5pm in this area but Pitlochry looked like it was going to be open until the wee hours.  Apparently, if you want to party Pitlochry is your place.

We really had a great day, with some lovely scenery and nice drinks.  Pitlochry is definitely on our list of places to send friends when they visit and we'll keep our eye out for events at the Festival Theatre, another reason to visit the area.

For more pictures, please visit my Facebook page here.

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