Famous Grouse Whisky Distillery, Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland
Scotland – Perth and Perthshire
When you're being a tourist, you plan in advance the best you can, but you know, sometimes it's the unexpected that gives you the neatest experiences.
We drove from Oban to Perth, essentially planning to use Perth as a stop to have a look around before our last stop, the city of Edinburgh, and eventually heading to Glasgow and home. Our drive, I knew, would take us past the Famous Grouse distillery near Crieff, and as an homage to Norma's Dad, who loved that drink, we were of course going to go there (by the way, the Famous Grouse tour was by far the best distillery tour that we took!). Along the way, I also knew that the village of Fowlis Wester was on our path - and the Kirk there, which has been used as a place of Christian worship since the 700's AD. These places we planned on.
What we didn't plan on was when we drove during our next full day in the area to the Tummell River Valley- planning to see the River Tummell and maybe the DeWars whisky distillery. We saw the Tummell alright, and witnessed salmon leaping and also fish coming up the fish ladder, and even some sports fly fishing down below the dam. We went to DeWars, and heard about an exhibit for Beatrix Potter in the area - turns out she'd summered up here, and wrote Peter Rabbit while on vacation. We also saw an oak tree that led Shakespeare to pen the lines in MacBeth about the witches and the Birnam Wood - and one massive oak still remains!
But of all things, we heard about a small circle of standing stones - well, with Norma and her affinity for Outlander we knew we'd have to go there. It was an amazing experience. Far off the tourist track, here is a tight bunch of about a dozen 4 to 6 foot high rocks in a circle in a farmer's sheep pasture - but it's been there for over 5000 years! An amazing manmade pre-historic site that is simply awesome in its simplicity, and in its meaning. The smallest stone bears cup marks, and is aligned with the Midsummer sunrise, another a cup-marked stone was set on the axes of these first 2 circles, in a place aligned with the Midsummer full moon. Incredible and simply wonderful.
The next day we headed for Edinburgh, with a stop along the way I'd been very much looking forward to, Stirling Castle, and that's for next week!
Tummel River below the power dam
Fowlis Wester Kirk
Beatrix Potter's Summer Home - where she wrote Peter Rabbit
Towser - world record mouser at Famous Grouse
Croft Moraig standing stones