This week I had the absolute pleasure to travel down the south west coast of Scotland to the Victorian Whisky capital of the World, Campbeltown.
Campbeltown lies by Campbeltown Loch on the Kintyre peninsula and apparently is the westernmost town in Great Britain. It is situated near the end of a long peninsula which makes for a time-consuming road journey as I found out this week, however with the lovely sunny weather on the day, the 3 hour drive down from Loch Lomond passed very quickly. Note that the local area can also be reached by sea and air transport, and I could have taken advantage of a direct flight from Glasgow Airport to Campbeltown Airport which would have taken only 35 mins. However, for those preferring the drive, Campbeltown is linked to the rest of Scotland by the A83 to Tarbet and A82 from Tarbet to Glasgow.
Campbeltown is one of the five recognised Scotch whisky regions of Scotland as per the map on the side (map source: www.forwhiskeylovers.com). It used to be referred as the Whisky Capital of the World in Victorian times, when the town had over 35 distilleries in place. However over time, and impacted by the depression, prohibition in the USA and the post-WWI rationalisation, many distilleries went out of production for ever. These days only three distilleries remain including Springbank and Glen Scotia.
For more information on this topic – check out the Drink Books section of the Inside the Cask website and look out for the book: The Distilleries of Campbeltown by David Stirk.
The fascinating aspect of these changes on the town is that the distilleries may have gone but many buildings can still be found with old pagoda roofs and easily identifiable as former distilleries. Just outside Glen Scotia distillery I was able to view two such buildings, one of which is now a Tesco supermarket…
During my 24 hours in Campbeltown I stayed at the Royal Hotel in Campbeltown. The rooms were modern, the service was good throughout my stay and the staff were extremely friendly and could not have been more welcoming. The Royal Hotel is also home to The Black Sheep Pub and the Harbourview Grille restaurant. I enjoyed a few drinks at the pub before making my way into the restaurant where I just had to have the haggis nachos – delicious!
The real treat however for staying at The Royal Hotel was the wonderful harbour views – below are some of the pictures I took during my stay.
Although you might think Campbeltown is a small remote place, I had the pleasure of bumping into the mixologist extraordinaire Patsy Christie – now co-owner of Alcohol By Volume (A.B.V.) s.a.r.l. in Lebanon. She was there with Makram Salha also pictured below.
Finally, the trip finished with a visit and tour of the Glen Scotia distillery, established in 1832. The distillery produces some wonderful single malts – for the range click here. Below are some of the pictures taken on the day before we departed back to Glasgow, wishing to come back again soon to spend some more time in Campbeltown….