Blog: Olly WehringPostcard from Orkney, with Highland Park

Olly Wehring | 15 October 2010

I've just got home from a memorable two days on the northern Scottish island of Orkney, as a guest of Edrington Group's Highland Park single malt brand. Not only was it my first trip to the islands – located seven miles north of the Scottish mainland - it was also the furthest north I've been in the British Isles.

The journey up was certainly part of the adventure – I can heartily recommend the Caledonian Sleeper train, which leaves London at 2350 and arrives at Edinburgh Waverley at 0730 the next morning. I slept like a baby in my cabin as the train headed north, and was woken by breakfast and the morning's Scotsman (it's a newspaper, potty-mind).

An hour-long flight from Edinburgh took us to Kirkwall, the main town on the island of Orkney, population: 20,000. From the airport, our local guide, Jim, took us on a tour of the Scapa Flow area of the island – one for the World War I and II buffs. A quick lunch was followed by the obligatory distillery tour, which took in the malting rooms and peat-fired burners for Highland Park. Orkney is home to two distilleries, the other being Pernod Ricard's Scapa, barely a stone's-throw from Highland Park.

In the evening, we boarded a boat and sped across the Bay of Kirkwall to the island of Shapinsay – a white-water trip of 30 minutes in the dark, which raised the proximity of the elements to concern-creating levels. An informal, rustic dinner in a locally-run restaurant included seafood, steak, darts and Highland Park. Time was called at gone midnight, and we headed back to the main island with a bottle of cask strength being passed around on deck.

Not responsible drinking, I concede.

The next day, we continued with the tour of the island – lochs, seals, curlews, neolithic stones, St Magnus' Cathedral and the rocky coast of Yesnaby (next stop, Canada). And, of course, a dram to ward off the wind.

And, of course, a dram to ward off the wind

With thanks to Susie Davidson, Matt Turner, Gerry Tosh, Ken Grier and the Orcadians of Highland Park. I'll be back.

NB: The trip was made all the more evocative by the 71st anniversary of the sinking of the Royal Oak, with the loss of 833 souls, at Scapa Flow by a German U-boat.


BLOG

Bacardi Triangle, try to see it from my angle

This weekend, Bacardi is hosting a three-day music event on the private island of Palomino just off the coast of Puerto Rico....

BLOG

The just-drinks Readers' Survey 2014 - We have a winner

Warmest thanks to all of you who filled in our annual readers' survey this month. The results are very important for us to learn from and look to improve our service to you....

BLOG

Jaegermeister shot culture in Portman Group firing line?

Today's news that German spirits firm Mast-Jägermeister has joined UK responsible drinking organisation The Portman Group may raise eyebrows in some quarters....

BLOG

Flavour stick "ages whisk(e)y three years in 24 hours"

Whisk(e)y companies spend a lot of money and effort ageing their products for that premium taste....

just-drinks homepage



Forgot your password?