This is not a travel blog by intent but there are a few interesting spots I thought worth sharing on the Scottish whisky trail.
The day after the Aberlour tour, my wife an I left the Speyside region. We had spent two days there, found the town of Aberlour a pretty sleepy place, and even Dufftown, center of the Spey whisky-making region, preternaturally quiet, like an episode of the Twilight Zone. And this was in August–the high season for whiskey tourism, I reckon. Looking for adventure, we headed up towards the more populated areas of Elgin and Inverness — not terribly large towns, mostly two lane roads there.
Just West of Forres, on the A96 is Brodie Castle. There is a shady car park here (pay to park, a few pounds if I remember correctly) and quite decent public toilets. But I mention this more for the quiet diversion the grounds offer. There is about a mile’s worth of trails on flat ground through the old park, making it a great place for a relaxing walk and quiet contemplation. Again, this was high season, and a lovely morning, and there were few others there. We had the park trails to ourselves, and were delighted to get up close and personal with an old Pictish relic, Rodney’s Stone.
Heading West from Brodie we took country lanes past an Army base (with ‘live fire’ flags fluttering at the ranges) and into Fort George. This is an active Army barracks and thus very well-preserved. The ramparts are quite an impressive–complete with huge ditch and drawbridge–and present an intricate example of 18th century fortress science. The public is welcomed (after a cursory safety inspection) to wander all over the grounds, and as you can see from the photo below, it’s picture-perfect for a picnic. We did not have a lunch packed so ate at the cafe, sitting outside on rough tables as various officer’s of the Black Watch sauntered by. The sandwiches were excellent, made with artisan breads and freshly constructed. Much better fare than when I was in the Army!