The Whisky Chaser - Sat 6th March

(A Nip up the Pentlands)

It had become apparent that we had an event missing. We have the Christmas pub run and the summer pub 'n chips and nothing in between, so a run involving whisky at the beginning of spring was the obvious choice.
Still sober ?

The basic idea was simple, five single malts with differing distinctive qualities would be consumed at the five stops along the run route. At the start point at NineMileBurn where the now sadly extinct Habbies Howe was located we had thirteen happy souls and one happy dog with Phil running from Cramond and a little late due to the heavy going through the snow on the ground.

Starting with the Bladnoch
We headed up the hill and turned north east to run through low ground and snow beside the fantastically named Scroggy Hill to our first stop. We had secreted the first of our malts, the Lowand malt Bladnoch, next to a wall and it was fortunately still there when the runners arrived.
Followed by the Blablair
A short stop while a mixture of glasses and plastic tumblers were emptied of their content and we headed onwards through the snow towards our second stop at the Braid Law plantation where another secreted bottle, this time a Balblair from the Highlands, was recovered. Not only had we got to our second stop but Phil appeared from the other direction after his monster run from home to be presented with both the Balblair and the Bladnoch he’d missed out on at the first stop, just what you need after 16 miles!
Next we looked at a lovely full bottle of Talisker
The next whisky on the list was Talisker from the Islands. We had initially intended to hide this in the woods just down from the Kips and head up from there, however after our stashing run we realised that the going was pretty heavy and if we wanted to finish in time to eat we would have to shorten the route. We chose a point about 30 metres along from the Old Drove Road opposite the kips where Oz had buried the whisky in the snow, after waiting a while for three walkers to move out of sight just in case they were whisky fans. While enjoying our nip the sun was beginning to set and the skies were looking fabulous.Two of our number on the run were not partaking in the whisky but were just enjoying the run and studying the provenance of each of the malts – a fine choice but they were missing out on the internal heating provided by the whisky!
Getting into our stride by now as the sun went down, we tasted the Laphroaig
We headed up to the top of Green Law where we halted for a very peaty Laphroaig from Islay. This was the spot to watch the sunset in its full magnificence. If we had been able to pre-book a dramatic sunset for the run we would have been hard pushed to choose any better. The reflection onto the Kips turned them pink and there was a rainbow-like pink strip curving into the skies as we looked north, something I’ve never come across before. The vibrancy of the colour from the west was intense; can there be any better place and time to enjoy a Laphroig?
finally the Glenfarclas - great on ice (or standing on ice)
We made our final stop for a great malt from Speyside, Glanfarclas, at the col between Spittal Hill and Patie's Hill. The colour of the malts had got steadily darker through the stops with the flavours becoming a little more intense; could this have been planned? We were starting to lose the light and the temperature was dropping but for some unknown reason nobody was really feeling the cold, well maybe apart from our two non-drinking runners. From here it was up Patie's Hill for the final run, entertaining thanks to some deep snow in which I even managed a face plant, on to Carlops where some welcome heat, food and beer were waiting.
A very merry group The beautiful sunset
It should be noted that after superb organisation from Oz one of the few tasks I had was to provide bus details for the journey to-and-fro. This didn't go quite as well as the rest of the plans as the (last) bus going back into town would appear to have vanished in the Biggar Triangle, resulting in a hastily arranged taxi back into Edinburgh for those intending to bus it. On the plus side it did mean another pint became possible. Public transport aside it was a fine, fine day.
The Millard Travel company - 'Bus? What Bus?'

Andy Millard.


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