The Whisky Chaser - May 5th 2012

The concept of this is pretty simple, a six mile run with a whisky stop approximately every mile. We'd missed the usual spring time for the chaser but after some cajoling we managed to persuade Oz to put something together for the beginning of May. Oz and me had a wee run up the hill to stash a couple of the bottles before the event (the other three were carried on the run) and had time for a relaxed, refreshing pint beforehand. Willie, another whisky mule for the day, managed a rather more rushed pre-pint too! So now to the event. route
We all rolled up outside the Steading at 4pm, nineteen runners ready to run. Well, I say all of us but that's not quite true as there should have been twenty but Heather was missing but after a ten minute wait we thought, oh well, she must be MIA and headed off. We headed around the hill towards Castlelaw direction only to find Heather on top of one of the hillocks on the way! She had started from the top car park but figured, quite rightly, if she ran down to a good spotting point then she would see us. I'm guessing that there were not too many other groups of twenty runners about so at least that made her task a little easier!
There's a bit of an art to the ordering of the whisky as we really want to make sure that the flavours are not to overpowering to begin with and will build as the run progresses. As always though Oz had got the order right again and it worked out just perfectly. We got to our first whisky stop, only to discover that is wasn't a whisky - shock and horror! What we had was a Clearic which is the new make fresh spirit from the still; this is not be a whisky until aged for at least three years in a warehouse. It is not often seen available for sale so this was an interesting start and provoked much discussion and split opinions which is great as life would just be so,so dull if we all agreed about everything. So we had our "The Spirit That Dare not Speak Its Name" (no, really) from the Glenglassaugh distillery in Portsoy which was certainly interesting. I'm pretty sure that after a wee dram of that no germs would be present within a two meter radius! 1st whisky
tormore We had another mile or so through fields with cows and then sheep and lambs to the wood where a Speyside (Tormore 12 year old) was waiting for us. This was a very quaffable light coloured whisky with a very long lasting and pleasant finish too it. My biggest issue with this one was to make sure that I didn't drink too much of it as the run was still in its infancy.
We ran up to the top of Castlelaw for stop number three and a Tobermory 10 year old from the Islands. This wasn't very peaty at all, actually hardly noticeable, good flavour again and very smooth. It was here that we first really benefited from the run being a little later in the year than normal as we can't remember the last time we were up Castlelaw with no wind, decent temperature and comfortable just sitting there looking at the incredible views down the Pentlands over the reservoirs. Many of you may well have only been here on the Skyline and probably didn't stop or indeed look south westwards; next time take a few seconds out to do so as it is a very rewarding sight! castlelaw
A wee down and up again to Allermuir for our next stop where Willie could finally lighten his backpack of the litre of Glen Garioch Founders Reserve from the Eastern Highlands. So we are sitting on comfy heather, in the lea of the hill sheltered from what little wind there is drinking a whisky with hints of heather while looking down over great scenery. It was by this point I'd decided that I had made the right choice in not doing the slog up Stuc a' Chroin and joining this "true athletes" event instead!
We then ran over the Allermuir top and Caerketton down to the coll for our final stop of the day for the Islay. Oz had chosen a very peaty 14 year old Bunnahabhain which was only bottled a month ago and it certainly did not disappoint. By now all we had to do was to keep our legs for the short but sharp descent back down to the Steading where it all started. We were a little slower than last year as the weather was better (and the whisky stronger?) and although we were not ever going to see a sunset from the top (unless it gone horribly wrong) the event was great as always.

Throughout the run we had several folk taking photos; as Mike wasn't drinking you'll probably find his photos are the best ones, certainly the most in focus! Personally with the whisky I was pretty taken with the Tormore but was completely blown away by the Bunnahabhain; methinks I'll need to do some further tasting of this one over the next few months :o)

See more photos on Carnethy Facebook page & Picasa Album

We had food afterwards at the Steading where we took over the end bit of the conservatory and all ate well and cleaned out palettes with a couple of light ales. Indeed some of us took the palette cleaning very seriously and headed off towards town to make sure we did it properly...

Many thanks as always to Oz for organising everything and a fantastic whisky choice, a fine day indeed.

Andy Millard

The Whiskies...
whisky 1 2 3 4 5
The Clearic The Tormore The Tobermory The Glen Garioch The Bunnahabhain
The Result...
More pictures...
whisky chaser whisky chaser

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