Back to (Whisky) School


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Prehistory

You can read the story in the previous post.

Back to (Whisky) school…

As mentioned in the previous post, I received the attendance at Springbank Whisky School as a birthday gift from my family. Mostly my wife Barbara was responsible for it which made me even happier. I think that it is far from a matter of course that your partner supports a passion called Single Malt. YES – I’m a lucky man!

Planning the trip

I’m living in the north of Germany and it’s a long way to Campbeltown so it took some time to plan my route. Some people say that Campbeltown is the most remote of Scotland’s mainland towns. Last time I travelled by car via ferry link Amsterdam (IJmuiden) – Newcastle together with my buddy Olaf. But this time I would travel alone and I really didn’t want to go by car again.
Terms at Whisky School start on Monday morning so I had to arrive in Campbeltown on Sunday.

In the middle of the 19th century Campbeltown was “the whisky capital of the world”. Being home to 34 (licensed) distilleries at its peak it was the centre of Whisky production. One of the reasons why there were so many distilleries in Campbeltown was Campbeltown Loch – the “Highway” of this time. All major markets were accessible quickly and cheaply by ship. So, it made much more sense to travel on a ferry to visit a very traditional distillery built in 1828.
Since the end of May 2013 there is a new ferry link from Ardrossan to Campbeltown. I had a short conversation with Ranald Watson who used this link already and my decision was made. I live on the seaside and really love to travel by sea and so my goal was to arrive at Campbeltown by ferry.

Kintyre peninsula

Kintyre peninsula

In 1886 Alfred Barnard visited Campbeltown for his monumental book “The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom”.
He wanted to travel by sea too, but he did not. But I did 🙂

From “The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom” by Alfred Barnard

We had decided on going to Campbeltown by the steamer “Davaar,” but hearing that it would be crowded with Glasgow Fair holiday people, together with the prospect of a number of women and children tumbling about in all directions in the event of the voyage proving unfavourable, we thought it better to abandon our original intention of entering the land of Whisky by way of the sea, and finally decided to go by the Tarbert Route.

If you don’t know this book, I can highly recommend it! You can find it [thirstylink linkid=”1748″ linktext=”here” class=”thirstylink” title=”Alfred Barnard DE”]

By the way: The steamer Davaar has the same name like the Island which is located at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch.

Steamer Davaar

Steamer Davaar

Copyright by Ian Rich

Davaar Island – wee toon scenery pic

If you’re interested in awesome pictures from Campbeltown please visit Freddy’s album. Freddy was one of my classmates at Springbank Whisky School.

To get the ferry to Campbeltown I had to be in Ardrossan Habour at 13:30. That would mean to be in Campbeltown at 16:30 – right in time. If you’re interested in this connection – here is the timetable.

There was no cheap flight from Hamburg to Glasgow / Edinburgh in time to reach the ferry on Sunday, so I decided to fly earlier. Reduced on cheap flights, there is none on Saturday to get to Glasgow or Edinburgh. So what! I decided to start my journey on Friday and stay one and a half days in Edinburgh before going to Whisky School.

The Final Route

My route

My route to Campbeltown

 

  • by bus to Hamburg airport
  • by plane from Hamburg to Edinburgh
  • staying 1,5 days in the Scottish capitol
  • by train to Adrossan Habour via Glasgow
  • by ferry to Campbeltown

This route seemed to be very pleasant and most importantly, affordable. The whole travel costs where just 200€ (return trip)!

 

Coming to school, pupils traditionally get a school cone with sweeties and other small things inside for the first day at school. So my family prepared one for me when I was leaving for Campbeltown and attend the Springbank Whisky School.

School cone

Prepared for school 🙂

Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh is an amazing city. So many nice places and especially nice pubs and a lot of Whisky. I arrived on Friday evening and on Saturday I rent a bike and started a tour through the Scottish capitol. This is a travelogue about the Springbank Whisky School so I have just some impressions here…

Click to enlarge images and browse the gallery…

Edinburgh – Campbeltown

Traveling in Scotland using public transportation is much more comfortable than in Germany. Free WiFi everywhere – even in the trains and busses. My trip to Campbeltown was continued by train. Starting at Waverley Station near Princess Street the train took me to Glasgow Queen Street Station. A short walk through the beautiful Buchanan Street, while passing a nice Apple Store, to Glasgow Central Station was fun. There I took the train to Adrossan Habour.

From Adrossan to Campbeltown on a ferry called Eilean Arainn (Isle of Arran) 🙂

To enlarge images and browse the gallery just click…

That’s it for now. The next post will be about Feorlin Guest House.

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