Highland Car Club Tour of the Stills - 15 April 2017
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cars and crews gathered at Fairways Leisure, Inverness on a cold
blustery overcast morning for the start of the Highland Car
Club’s third running of their one day tour, this time entitled
the “Tour of the Stills”, the name giving a clue to some of
the locations we would be visiting along the way.
usual an excellent mix of vehicles had signed up for the event, ranging
from a ’52 Healey 100S to various modern sports cars with a
variety of cars from the ‘50’s onwards in between,
including an interesting single-seater, 3-wheeled kit car based on
Renault mechanicals but for all the world looking like cut down a
pre-war Auto-Union or Mercedes race car (but with 3 wheels!!)
interesting departure this year (an idea used in the CCHMSC Galloway
Gallop last year and unashamedly pinched off Jim Paterson!) was a quiz
that required the crews to name all the distilleries they passed en
route, just to ensure they had kept to the correct route. The standard
of awards at the end of the event would depend on the number of correct
After the usual crew briefing by Mark Forbes, Clerk of
the Course, the crews headed off from 1001 onwards towards Culloden
Moor, Croy and Cawdor, and thereafter the first Distillery of the day,
the Royal Brackla. Passing quickly by (hopefully – a bit early
yet) they turned right down the A939 towards Grantown on Spey crossing
Dava Moor. By this time the sun had shown its face and some of the
hardier soft-top crews decided to get some fresh air. It wouldn’t
stay like that all day though unfortunately.
Grantown crews headed north east on the A95, very quickly turning off
on a small “white” loop to pick up the Balmenach distillery
on the way. Then at Cromdale we crossed the Spey and took the scenic
B9102 route for a short while rejoining the A95 at Advie where we
turned left, just in time to pass the superb Tormore Distillery on the
From there after Bridge of Avon we took another
“white” loop passing Glenfarclas and back to the A95. After
a quick left – right at Marypark, crews came back on to the B9102
via Knockando and Archiestown passing more distilleries along the way.
A left on to the A941 took us to Rothes where we didn’t actually
pass the entrance to any distilleries although there are two in that
After Rothes it was back into the country on the B9105,
B9103 and A95, passing a few more on the way. Just before Keith there
was a sneaky little white road which avoided the town, and which a few
crews missed! This took us on to the B9104 travelling alongside
the privately owned Keith and Dufftown Railway. Just before Dufftown we
turned right on to another white loop via the wonderful sounding
village of Maggieknockater then left on to the A95 and Craigellachie
where we turned left again passing the Speyside Cooperage to end up at
our lunch halt at Glenfiddich Distllery visitor centre. Car parking
facilities were excellent and it was great to see all our cars lined up
in the sunshine.
Lunch facilities were excellent and the staff
were anticipating our arrival. Unfortunately, having just sat down to
lunch, the fire alarm sounded and we did exactly what you are supposed
to do in a crisis – sat there and looked at each other expecting
the alarm to stop…. Which it didn’t. We were herded
outside to a safe area by members of staff. Some of our number,
deciding this might be their last meal ever grabbed their food and took
it with them. The local Fire Brigade were very quickly on the scene and
presumably decided there was nothing wrong and we were eventually
allowed to resume our lunch …. Great excitement!
the lunch halt we headed into Dufftown and a left then right via the
Mortlach Distillery took us on to the B9009 through Glen Rinnes. We
then looped left and right via a couple of tricky whites to pass right
through the middle of the Glenlivet Distillery (couldn’t miss
this one!) then on to the B9136 through scenic Strath Avon to join the
A939 west of Tomintoul.
From there we headed towards Grantown
again but turned off left towards Nethy Bridge, Boat of Garten and
Carrbridge. On the home stretch now but any more distilleries?? Answer
– yes, the final one of the day picked up by turning left at the
top of the Slochd Summit on the A9 and diverting through Tomatin with
its huge distillery.
Up the A9 towards Inverness then going left on the B851 and B861 took us back to the finish at Fairways.
superb carvery meal was served up by Fairways and the presentation of
awards was made by Mark Forbes and Fiona Munro. Gold awards for getting
all 17 distilleries correct were received by a fair number of crews,
but there were a notable number of Silvers. Nobody had gone far enough
off route to get a lowly Bronze though.
The general opinion
seemed to be that the Tour of the Stills was a great success, many
never having been on some of the roads used before despite living in
the area for years.
So what next year? Tour of the …….? HCC are open to suggestions.
Updated 20 April