Scottish Gin

The beautiful Bunessan Bay on the Isle of Mull, just one of the islands on our Love Island Route.

Love Island Love Island is the perfect Scottish Gin Holiday for lovers of Scottish Gin. Featuring some of Scotland’s less visited coastal locations, these islands have a powerful charm to instantly possess their visitors.  Like a fickle reality-show contestant, some give you their stormy side for days at a time, but when their sun comes out, their beauty is dazzling. You fall deeply in love, and you know it’s gonna last a lifetime!

There are 700 or so Scottish islands to love, but just 89 with people thrown in.  The remainder have other attractive residents though.  Some permanent, some just passing through.  These islands were formed from ancient rocks, in places over a billion years old, others from volcanoes. Explore high mountain contours and low-lying sandy grasslands, there really is somewhere for everyone.  Through history they’ve been woo’ed by Celts and Vikings, echoed in the place names and the surviving castles. Much evidence of some turbulent past relationships.

These days a more sociable culture has arrived on these gorgeous shores: The Gin Makers.  And so, while you don’t need any better reasons to introduce yourself than the islands themselves, you now have the spirit to turn your day dreams into reality, and start seriously loving these islands! Plan your Love Island Scottish Gin Holiday with Ginspired Scotland.

Oban to Colonsay – Wednesday

This tour starts and ends in Oban, on a Wednesday! That might sound very precise, but to make the most of the ferry timetables, keep costs down, and spend less time travelling and more time enjoying yourself, that’s the best day to start. You may opt to drive there, and engage a driver for the remainder, or to self drive throughout. Many islands have car hire available if you’re prepared to travel as foot passengers on the ferries. The lovely folk at Colonsay Gin will even give you a lift to explore other parts of the island, if they’re available!

There’s an afternoon Caledonian McBrayne ferry from Oban out to the unspoilt island of Colonsay. Just over 2 hours cruising some of Scotland’s most beautiful seaways. Past lovely Kerrera, then following the south side of Mull out into open water and then Colonsay itself. What a way to begin your holiday, on an island with more sunshine hours than anywhere else in Scotland!

Accommodation here ranges from self catering cottages, a hostel, or the elegant Colonsay hotel perched just above the harbour at Scalasaig. Be sure to order one of the island gins at the bar.

Colonsay – Thursday & Friday

Kiloran Beach

Colonsay has delights aplenty, from the debate over whether Balnahard or Kiloran beach is more beautiful, to knowing which of the two island gins you should try first! Choices, choices to make. Colonsay Gin offers Gin Lovers Retreats on Friday and Saturdays, with accommodation and meals included. At other times they offer afternoon tours of their craft distillery, or more formal tasting sessions, perhaps featuring gins from their global collection, or a hand crafted selection of Scottish lovelies, according to your wishes. So book in for a Thursday tour unless you’re able to stay around.

Wild Island Gin ‘Distiller’s Cut’ is made right next to the ferry terminal and shop, and runs tours on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays, with tastings too. Don’t miss it!

Colonsay is home to seabird colonies, exotic plants which enjoy the mild climate, wild goats, a brewery and even an 18 hole golf course. So there’s something for everyone. Truly an island not to be missed!

Colonsay to Islay – Saturday

Leaving Colonsay on the Saturday evening ferry to Islay’s Port Askaig, you arrive nicely in time for a late dinner, or perhaps just a local gin nightcap. (Don’t miss this ferry, and book well in advance – the next one’s not until Wednesday!)

Accommodation? There’s such a wide range from the elegant Islay House, to self catering and camping.

One of our favourites is Glenegedale House with Fiona’s incredible home baking, but the island information website also has a great selection:

Islay – Sunday

Islay is often called the Queen of the Hebrides. You can easily fill a week or more here, but for this trip we just have 2 days. You can squeeze visits to the island’s two gin producers in one day though!

The Botanist tour at Bruichladdich begins at 1pm, and Nerabus Gin’s visitor Centre in the Square at Islay House is open between 12 noon and 4pm. For details and to book click on the pictures above.

Jura – Monday

Jura is a very visible presence from many parts of Islay, with it’s distinctive Paps or hills looking across the fast flowing sound to Port Askaig, Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain. It’s Islay’s little sister, but as little sisters often do, she has her own distinct personality.

On Jura, people number around 200, but there are well over 5000 red deer, so you are bound to come across them during your visit. The ferry from Port Askaig on Islay to Feolin on Jura runs daily every hour during the daytime, weather permitting.

From Feolin, there’s just one road, to Craighouse, the main village with the whisky distillery and the hotel, and onwards to Ardlussa and our destination – Lussa Gin. Lussa Gin was founded by three ladies, Claire, Alicia and Georgina who grow or forage all of the botanicals they use in Lussa gin right here on Jura. Their enterprise began in 2015, but recognition and awards soon followed and exports are now well established. Book your visit here

Not far beyond Ardlussa is Barnhill House, where George Orwell wrote 1984 in his later years. It’s ironic to think he wrote about Big Brother, when in such a remote spot the only beings watching him would have been the deer and eagles of Jura!

You’ll probably return to Islay to sleep as it’s an early ferry tomorrow, but enjoy lunch or a drink or two at The Jura Hotel while you’re there. 


Islay to Seil and Oban – Tuesday

The CalMac sailing from Port Ellen leaves at 945am, arriving 1205. Taking the ferries in this combination means you won’t cover the same route twice, giving you new sights around every headland. Landing at Kennacraig you head north to Oban. Rather than try to keep up with the whisky lorries or the speedy fish vans though, take some detours to the Crinan Canal, or up historic Kilmartin Glen, and make the most of your afternoon.

The Slate Isles – Tuesday

Before you return to Oban, take a small diversion across the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, that’s right, here you can cross the Atlantic by bridge! This bridge carries you across to Seil, the northernmost of the Slate Islands, or ‘The Islands that Roofed the World’. Slate was mined here for many years, possibly even in Viking times although the earliest recording is from the early 1500s. These slates were used in the construction of Castle Stalker in 1631, Cawdor Castle and Glasgow Cathedral too. Fascinatingly, the slate dimensions were referred to as Ladies, Countess, Duchess and Princess, in ascending order of size. I wonder why? There’s a Heritage Centre here and it’s well worth a visit. If you find the answer, perhaps you could let me know?

Our recommended accommodation tonight and tomorrow is the lovely Aspen Lodge, just outside Oban.

Oban – Wednesday

After enjoying a wonderful breakfast at Aspen Lodge explore the delights of this area for the day. Choose from cycling, boat trips, gardens, castles, a whisky distillery, shopping, a chocolatier, great seafood restaurants, horse riding, diving, walking or just wandering and people watching! There’s plenty to occupy you and it makes for a great excuse to relax and chill.

Don’t miss Oban Whisky and Fine Wine on Stafford Street, to see their selection of Scottish Gins while you’re in town.

Overnight again at Aspen Lodge.

Oban to Mull – Thursday

Mull – Another Love Island

Today’s destination is the beautiful island of Mull. From Oban, the short 40 minute sail to Craignure passes the strategic stronghold of Duart Castle, home to the Clan McLean for over 700 years. At Craignure, head north along the coast road to the island’s picturesque capital, Tobermory.


Tobermory Distillery is found at the southern end of town, and is open daily from 10am to 4pm, This distinctive gin is really worth getting to know, and their whisky’s pretty good too!

With a selection of pubs and restaurants, including the famous fish and chip van on the harbour, there are plenty of places to eat in colourful Tobermory. There’s a jeweller who still crafts intricate chains on the premises, craft shops, galleries and coffee houses, leave plenty of time to explore this charming Hebridean harbour town. You may choose to spend the night here in one of the variety of hotels or B&Bs, or to continue around the coastal roads to explore more of the island. Calgary Bay is a treat, but the narrow roads require patient drivers.

Next stop is at Tiroran, home to White Tail Gin. The direct route from Tobermory takes around one hour and it’s a gorgeous journey. Tiroran House, hotel, restaurant and self catering is beautifully situated, and even casual visitors can enjoy their coffee shop where the local gin can be sampled and purchased too.

Staffa – Friday

Whether you spent the night at Tiroran or Tobermory, we recommend you head to the south of the island today. At the very foot of Mull is Fionnphort and the ferry across to ‘The Cradle of Christianity’, Iona. But before you follow the crowds (and it does get very busy), consider taking the early boat out to visit Staffa?

Staffa’s caves (Fingal’s included) face east, so are best viewed in the morning light. You might even get there while the resident puffins are having their breakfast (April to late June), or spot a huge snoozing basking shark or minke whale along the way.

Time to pick up a lobster roll or crab sandwich from the kiosk on the quay – I hope it’s open during your visit, but it all depends on the catch!

Iona – Friday

Iona is a small island and you can’t take your car there, which makes it a very calm experience, even on busy days. The Abbey is beautiful and the sense of peace is pervasive, even if this type of spirit is not your preferred tipple.

Relatively new, and not yet produced on the island, Isle of Iona Gin contains some of Iona’s unique plants in it’s botanical range. Hopefully it won’t be long before you can include both types of spiritual experience in your visit. Yet another Island to Love!

A short walk takes you to Iona’s main sites before your ferry returns you to Mull.

You’ve the chance to set foot on 3 islands today. Why not top it off with a Castle on your way back to Oban on the late ferry? You have time to include Duart Castle or the lovely Castle at Torosay, built around 500 years later. Both are on your route back to the ferry at Craignure.

We have to finish somewhere, or just go around again!

It’s your final night! So spend it on Mull or in Oban. Your choice depending on your onward travel plans.

We hope you’ve loved our island itinerary, but do come back again, this has only been a journey of seven isles and seven (or eight) gins, and there are plenty more to savour!

Wherever your island exploring take you, be sure to check out our free Gincyclopedia Gin map to help plan your true love island adventure!

Click on the Bridge image to view the full 3 night itinerary with 7 local gins to explore in beautiful Moray Speyside.

Short version 3 night itinerary Moray Speyside

This is a ‘Gift Promise’ to plan a Ginspired Getaway adventure in Scotland.

Whether we plan an afternoon out, a cheeky getaway or let our inner distiller run free with a Gin School Experience, the best gift will be the memories made.

Use the Ginspired Blog, ‘Christmas All Wrapped Up’ for Ginspiration and use the links to book directly.

🍸 If we need more Ginspired Ideas for our Gift Promise we can check out the helpful hints and tips below. 👇

How To Be Ginspired

Check out Ginspired Scotland Region by Region and see which each has to offer.

Book accommodation direct. Use links for the latest updates and information about your stay.

Book activities direct such as Gin School Experiences, Gin Distillery Tours, Castle Visits, even Bungee Jumping if it takes your fancy

Make your own itinerary or choose from some of Ginspired Scotland’s ready made ones, ranging from day trips to longer getaways.

Remember, you can create your own Itinerary for FREE using the Gincyclopedia and plot all your stops; accommodation, distilleries visits, restaurants, places of interest even where your going to shop!

Once you have selected all your stops, you can view your completed (and perfect) itinerary on the map. You can also view the directions, email to one another and print out the road directions to take with you.

Gindulge in Advent this year and treat yourself to one of the many Scottish advent calendars that are available to drink buy!

Ginspired have chosen a small selection from around Scotland that would make the most fabulous addition to your December! So Gindulge in Advent this year, support local and best of all you might just find your new favourite.

Chocolates of Glenshiel – £28 plus Free Delivery

Behind each door is one of our deliciously unique chocolates, handcrafted here in Glenshiel using the very finest Scottish ingredients. Treat yourself or someone special to an indulgent taste of Scotland this festive period.

Images ©Chocolates of Glenshiel

The 12 LoneWolf Gins of Christmas – £39.95 plus Free Delivery

The 12 LoneWolf Gins of Christmas is back. Every year our distillers get to experiment and create new flavours and twists on our flagship LoneWolf gin..

Images ©Brewdog

Pickering’s Gin

Pickering’s Gin brand new flavoured gins for you to get acquainted with over the festive period. Don’t forget about the ever popular Pickering’s Gin baubles!

Images © Pickering’s Gin

Eden Mill 12 Gins of Christmas – £75

Eden Mill’s luxury 12 Gins Of Christmas gift set comes beautifully presented in a brand new-black and copper presentation box with illustration details. The set contains a band of twelve full strength gin miniatures in their bespoke sustainable glass bottles as well as two bespoke Eden Mill gin glasses!!

Images © Eden Mill

City of Aberdeen Distillery, Personalised tasting Box – £29.99

A tasting box containing 5 miniatures (each wrapped in tissue), two distillery drink mats and a distillery leaflet. 

This tasting box is personalised with your special own message!

Images © City of Aberdeen Distillery

Solway Spirits Monthly Subscription Box – From £7 a Month

Solway Spirits offer a monthly subscription box so you could treat yourself or someone special to a monthly delivery. Each delivery consists of 1 x 5cl Solway Spirits GIN, 1 Mixer plus tasting notes & serving suggestions. Each year there will be 12 different Solway Spirits Gin to sample, nothing will be repeated unless requested.

Images © Solway Spirits

GinPin – Series 1 – Ultimate Collection (5 boxes per month) £62.50 Per Month

Subscription GINPIN

Secure the complete Series 1 with a 4 month subscription from as low as £6.99 per box. A set of 5 BOXES per month for 4 months, spreading the cost along the way. Cancel any time. Each month you will recieve 5x GINPIN’s, 5x Coasters/Map Pieces and 5x 5cl Gin’s which are optional.

Images © GinPin

Ginspired Scotland – Taste The Adventure Tasting Pack

This makes for a great way to spend a cosy winter evening with your favourite Adventurer. Plan your next trip to Scotland sip by sip!. Each pack contains 5 x 50ml samples of the gins featured (enough for two good measures) plus Scottish Tonic and the Travel Guide full of hints and suggestions for Route.

Images © Ginspired Scotland

GIY ‘Gin It Yourself’!

With so many Scottish Gins to choose from, it may prove tricky to select the perfect Advent Calendar to gindulge in. So why not make your own. Below is a selection of Gin brands now producing miniature bottles. So pick and mix until your heart is content and experience Scotland sip by sip.

Image ©Gorgeous Scottish Gin
Gorgeous Scottish Gin 10cl.
Image ©Persie Gin
Persie Gins are available in 3 sizes. 5cl miniature, 20cl snack size & 50cl standard size.

Image ©Linlithgow Distillery  
LinGin Colours gift set contains a 50ml miniature of each of the four LinGin Colours flavours – Lime, Coconut, Yuzu and Raspberry.
Image ©Pilgrim’s Gin
Pilgrim’s Gin range available in 5cl miniatures with swing tops.
Image ©Darnley’s Gin
Darnley’s Original gin and Spiced gin are available in sizes. 5cl &, 20cl sizes. Navy Strength Spiced gin available in 20cl.

Image ©McLean’s Gin
McLean’s Gin available to buy in trio 20cl gift packs. Choose from Classic Trio or Colour Trio.
Image ©Isle of Bute Gin
Miniatures gift pack which include four 5cl miniatures of Isle of Bute Gin, the Isle of Bute Gin pin and two Isle of Bute Gin coasters.
Image ©Tobermory Distillery
A beautiful handcrafted glass bauble from Scottish company; Angel’s Share Glass filled with our delicious award winning Tobermory Hebridean gin. 

Image ©Glaswegin
Glaswegin Original or Raspberry & Rhubarb 5cl Christmas Crackers.

As COP26 descends on Glasgow, what can Scottish Gin do to help our planet?

Are you ready for COP26?

Unless you’ve chosen to self-isolate from all recent news, you can’t have missed that COP26 is about to land on Glasgow. Appropriately, Glasgow’s name translates to ‘dear green place’. However, these days ‘green’ has a whole new meaning. Can Scottish Gin play it’s part?

COP stands for Conference Of Parties, and what a party it will be. Not in the jelly and ice cream shindigs of Glasgow’s childhood memories. Nor in the Billy Connolly-ised ‘tuck a carry oot under your oxter and listen for the music from the tenement windaes’ kinda way. No, COP26 Glasgow will be a whole series of gatherings of the great, the good, the loud and the opinionated. Hopefully with a smattering of common sense and rock solid commitment thrown in.

So what is COP26 Glasgow likely to achieve?

Is our ‘dear green place’ going to deliver us a dear green world? One thing is guaranteed, it will bring the huge scale of the climate crisis right to the forefront.

I hear you sigh, and well you might. It will be hard to avoid the realities. Sea temperatures rising, ice packs melting, polar bears perishing, and coastal flooding, without feeling entirely helpless and powerless.

We’ll despair of our politicians and business leaders as they flannel away with their assurances and grand promises at Cop26 Glasgow. From experience they’ll wither to nothing once the votes are cast. Yet there IS hope. There IS power for us ordinary folk, (no pun intended). And of course there is Scottish Gin!

Now you might think I’m making light of it all, and I shudder that I might, but not at all. Not for a minute. We can all do our bit and we can all make a difference. As a matter of fact our Scottish producers are already being kind to our planet! Some are using green energy, others recyclable packaging, some use biomass boilers, or have changed to more efficient lighting. Others are caring for the world in different ways. Perhaps making their premises more accessible, supporting endangered animals or planting trees to off-set carbon emissions. Every bit of this is great, and we can all support them by recognising their efforts and buying their products.

Icon for Ginspired Travel Kindly

We’re so inspired, we’ve built a new campaign!

‘Travel Kindly’, using #TravelKindlyScotland, to encourage visitors to consider their impact on the planet when they make their holiday plans. Allowing them to choose Travel Kindly accredited businesses as part of their trip.

We’ll soon be launching an annual Travel Kindly award, but more to come about that soon…..

Below are some of our favourites. We’ve given each of these businesses a ‘Ginspired Travel Kindly’ accreditation. But please share with us any more examples you might have come across.

So, in order to save a polar bear or two, we can switch off lights & eat less meat. We can walk and cycle more. Let’s use electric cars and public transport while wearing an extra cardi. We can make that switch to renewable energy. Turn down the heating, and all of those things we’ll be hearing and reading about during Glasgow’s COP26. BUT, and best of all, we can drink Scottish Gin while we’re doing it. Now that’s my kind of party, and one we can all show up for!


Highland Region

Our site uses only low carbon mains electricity, most of which comes from the wind farm at Forss, so our distillery is fully powered by green energy. We’re pretty proud of that.​

North Point waste will soon be sent to the biomass plant right next to us, and our waste will be converted into energy for on-site car charging points and low carbon energy for the local community. It’s always nice to give back.​

Our bottles are made from recycled glass. Our corks and labels come from sustainably conscious partners and have carbon-free certifications. Being plastic-free was a deliberate choice and no single-use plastic components will be found anywhere in our spirit production. 

Image ©North Point Distillery

Our independent family-owned business provides much needed employment in a fragile rural economy. The distillery currently employs fourteen staff members to create and market its multi award-winning spirits and promote tourism in Caithness.

We generate our own electricity using solar panels on the distillery roof and Rock Rose Gin, is the first gin available in fully recyclable pouches that can be returned to Dunnet Bay Distillery, freepost via standard Royal Mail. Once at the distillery, the pouches will be passed on to be upcycled into new items.

Image ©Dunnet Bay Distillers

At Kinrara, we are very aware of our surroundings. We are fortunate to be based within the heart of the fantastic Cairngorm mountain range and national park.

The Cairngorms Mountain Rescue Team provides assistance to injured or lost persons in the mountains. The area that they cover includes the Northern Cairngorms, Ben Alder and areas of Monadhliath Mountains to the East Side of Loch Ness.

The team is made up entirely of volunteers who give their time freely to help those in need of aid in the mountains. 

Kinrara Distillery has chosen to support the CMRT as our nominated charity this year. This will see us donating  and supporting the team throughout the coming year.

Image ©Kinrara Distillery

Orkney & Shetland Region

Our products are truly handcrafted. Our entire production process is by hand, from the creation and distilling to bottling and labelling. We are proud of our values in our small, family-run business, ensuring we can operate in harmony with our surroundings in Deerness.

Our deer logo is also handcrafted; created and lino-cut by our designer, Caroline. This attention to detail has been carried through to the bottle labelling, with the designs being originally drawn and hand-cut.

We also stock our own range of Deerness Distillery merchandise, which has been sourced and produced by local businesses. Its packaging uses luxury recycled gift bags and ethical tissue paper. This is a testament to our commitment to the environment, and to supporting small local businesses similar to ourselves.

Logo ©Deerness Distillery

Argyll Region

The Islay Hotel is heated with ground source energy, with individual thermostats in every room as well as low energy light bulbs and dimmer switches. As a hotel we aim to reduce the consumption of fuel, energy and water by offering renewal of towels on demand as opposed to daily.

In our bar and restaurant we support local produce from Islay such as chocolates, marmalades and preserves, meat, dairy and fish from the Island as well as great produce from the rest of Scotland. Our kitchen is solely electrical with induction hobs which limit waste of fuels and excess heating.

We aim to recycle as much of our glass (brown, green and clear), paper, cardboard, organic and non-organic waste as possible. As a team our staff are aware of environmental efforts and receive regular instruction, information and training on relevant environmental issues.

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Image ©The Argyll Hotel

The Jura Community Shop is owned and managed by its community.  It is the only shop and post office on the island and is located in the main village of Craighouse. It is also the perfect spot for a blether and to catch up on island news.  

We were supported by the Big Lottery Fund and, with the support of our customers, became fully independent and sustainable by 2017.  As a community shop, all our profits will go back into supporting and developing the shop and other community projects.

We use Aquapak at The Botanist – a revolutionary product which has been made into a see-through “leave no trace” plastic bag, which literally disappears before your eyes. It is 100% water soluble, recyclable, compostable and biodegradable; causing none of the issues regular plastic does when we dispose of it. 

Our distillery’s commitment to the environment and wider community was one of the things which earned us B Corp status – a short hand for using our business as a force for good. It was our fellow B Corp company Finisterre, who helped develop the technology for these magic bags – which basically break down into water, carbon dioxide and ‘mineralised biomass’; a natural biological breakdown step of the carbon in the material into carbon dioxide and water. 

Image ©The Botanist

We replaced our two older boilers with a 150kW wood pellet boiler, which saves over 76 tonnes per year, the equivalent to boiling over 3 million kettles!  We’ve also  added a huge pellet store, helping to reduce the number of deliveries needed to our remote location.  We buy from farmers where the animals are born and bred on the property, never leaving until ready for the abattoir. All our seafood is as local as can be, with langoustines, lobsters, and crab landed in Argyll.

We use refillable pump dispensers in our main house lavatories, reducing plastic bottles to landfill by 97%. We have 90% low energy light bulbs and radiators with thermostatic valves, as well as light sensors in many areas. Toilet cisterns are replaced with smaller dual flush cisterns. Old linen is recycled or goes  into a charity textile bin at Kilninver School. Towels are used in the kitchen or for cleaning. Kitchen vegetable waste is recycled to our own compost pens.

Look out for our bat box in the woods. We had to re-house a colony of bats there after a storm blew their previous home away! They are happily settled now. We engage local tradesmen for our building work and restoration projects and we recently installed our first E-car charge point.

Images ©Loch Melfort Hotel

Central Region

We now have a fully recyclable glass bottle, and isn’t it beautiful!

At the start of the COVID­­-19 outbreak, there was a national shortage of hand sanitiser, we wanted to do our part to help the community. We started to produce sanitiser and took the conscious decision not to sell it to anyone, this was a donation, we felt that in times like these no one should be profiteering.

Image ©McQueen Gin

Pitlochry Festival Theatre is a not-for-profit theatre. We are committed to helping to reduce the impact of our activities on the environment by using recycled products wherever possible, minimising litter onsite and reusing as much of our waste as possible. We also recycle the materials used to create our stage sets.

Image ©Visit Scotland

We are fully committed to selling produce from local and Scottish suppliers. Our location, to the south of the Sidlaw Hills, serves up a plentiful bounty of nature’s larder.  From our famous Rooster potatoes to the juiciest berries from the Carse of Gowrie , we pick and choose only the finest in season fruit and vegetables and offer them directly to you.

Every product is tried and tested to make sure it meets our high standards – after all we want you to love our products as much as we do.

So if you’re looking for a farm shop that really shouts about great local produce, and great personal service with a smile – then you’ve come to the right place.

Photo of Pitlochry hydro dam

As part of the SSE group we are committed to being a sustainable, responsible and environmentally friendly organisation. We are proud to have been awarded a Green Tourism gold award! Come and see us soon.

Image ©Visit Scotland

Edinburgh & The Lothians Region

Old traditions die hard. Here at Bloodline Spirits we are following in the footsteps of our forebear Andrew Usher and his descendants. He was a lover of the arts and gifted Edinburgh the sum of £100,000 to erect a great hall for music, theatre and performances to be held. Although Andrew sadly died before its completion in 1914, the impressive Usher Hall remains one of Edinburgh’s main venues for the arts today. His brother John meanwhile helped establish and fund the John Usher Institute of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh. For this generosity, he was made a baronet in 1899.

The family continued to make vast donations to local hospitals and charities. Sir John’s son, Robert, the second baronet, purchased Hallrule House near Jedburgh, so named from the River Rule that runs through the estate. The name lives on in our Rule Gin

Image ©Rule Gin

OUR NEW ‘BRIDGE TO HOME’ SERVICE IS BACK

We are using suppliers, such as Shaws Fine Meats, I. J Mellis cheese,  bread from Breadwinner Bakery,  fish from Welch’s Fishmonger.

Our  ‘B to Home’ service is a way for us to work with our suppliers and the community to provide a ‘shop’ and to reduce the amount of trips made by you to the supermarket.

Image ©The Bridge Inn at Ratho

Secret Garden Gin image for COP26 Glasgow

Our labels are 30% grass and 70% FSC-certified virgin pulp. Manufactured without chemicals, they require 97% less energy and 99% less water. This results in 75% CO2 savings. Our glass bottles are widely recycled. We use biodegradable viscose shrink bands to seal our bottles. Our shipping materials are paper which is FSCS approved and recyclable.

In our garden we use no chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides. It is completely sustainable as well as self-sufficient. This is also known as permaculture.  

All the botanicals in our gardens are hand-harvested, this helps reduce our carbon footprint. When soil is ploughed, it releases trapped carbon, therefore we limit digging in our gardens, so not only are we keeping the trapped carbon in the soil, but we are also actually capturing more. We use completely organic compost, so no chemicals touch our soil.

In the garden, we limit our plastic consumption to only using recyclable plastic pots and offering discounts when these are returned. We have planted over 8,500 trees and juniper which encourages wildlife, carbon capture and soil health.

Since the start of our journey in 2012, we have always had bees at the centre of everything we do from bee keeping courses, educating school children, and harvesting our honey from our hives. Liberty, our co-founder, is also a trained beekeeper and looks after our 30+ on-site hives.

Images ©Secret Garden Distillery

COP26 Glasgow Red Admiral Gin image

The Red Admiral Gin is made from start to finish by hand, bottled and labelled in East Lothian by Bob, our Head Distiller, and the rest of the team. 

We also work with a network of Social Enterprises around the country to help put together the final part of the packaging process and to send to our customers.

Butterflies are a symbol of conservation and our hand drawn images on the labels are as a tribute to the Naturalist John Muir who was from East Lothian. He was the father of National Parks in America and an early founder of the conservation movement.

Soon, we will be adding a little sachet of Wildflower Seeds onto our bottles so we can plant these at home to encourage the activity of Butterflies, Bees and other pollinators.

Image ©Edinburgh Preserves

Glasgow & The Clyde Region

Cumbrae Distillers image for COP26 Glasgow

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As Isle of Cumbrae Distillers prospers, an indicator of our success will be our ability to create employment and training opportunities for our young people in Millport;  employment is one of the biggest challenges that hinders Scottish island development and sustainability. In the buildout of the company, we also plan to engage with business and tourism schools at Scottish colleges and universities,  to provide internships for students interested in future opportunities in the distilling business.

We are proudly committed to sustainability and to ensuring our products and packaging are chosen deliberately and responsibly. As members of the island’s beach clean team, we know first-hand the impact that plastic has on our beaches and wildlife and are committed to conducting our business in a socially responsible and ethical manner, protecting the environment and benefiting the community.

Image ©Isle of Cumbrae Distillers

COP26 Glasgow image for Glasgow Gin

At Glasgow Gin, we regularly receive requests for sponsorship and products to be raffled off for charity.  While we know every cause is worthy, it’s simply not possible to help everyone. So instead, we’ve chosen to support a single charity that’s close to our hearts – Guide Dogs Scotland.

We know you’ll understand that by focusing our efforts on just one cause, our donations will have a more significant impact. That’s why we’re supporting the charity’s puppy scheme, helping them to train a dog and transform the life of someone living with sight loss.

Our puppy, named Duke (what else!), was born on 1st December 2020 along with his siblings Gorby, Jamie, Ludo, Theo, Bill, Sylvia, Lucy, Hazel and Marnie.

Image ©Glasgow Gin

Pentland Hills Gin image for COP26 Glasgow

It’s all about a bit of give and take…

Where we can we will grow our own botanicals, we will use water that rises on our land and power the systems that we use through our solar and other renewable power supplies.

The amount of juniper trees to be found in Scotland has been reducing over time and since 2015 has been struck by a pathogen which often causes the death of the tree. We have begun to replant our land with juniper trees with the aim to provide a sustainable supply of juniper berries to go into our gin.

Our aim is to use, or reuse much of the gin making material as possible, for example the tails of the distillation process is used to make soap. We also intend to offer a service where you can return your empty etched bottle to us (along with the packaging) and we will return it to you refilled with our gin!

Image ©Pentland Hills Gin

COP26 Glasgow image of Shoogle Gin

The community we work and live in motivates and inspires us, reinforcing our sense of family and prompting us to consider the impact we have on the people and places around us.

Starting our life in a rural area gave us an appreciation for the environment around us and how it is affected by everything we do.

We’ve built Shoogle Spirits from the ground up to be as environmentally conscious as possible. Our glass bottles are sourced within the UK to limit transportation, our closures are natural wood and cork, and our packaging is all fully biodegradable. Used botanicals are composted for use in growing herbs in our home garden and we recycle water used in production as much as we reasonably can. We’ve even switched to an electric vehicle to help us in our mission to be carbon neutral.

We recognise though that there are some things we have little control over or cannot reduce our impact any further. This is why we’ve worked with a third-party organisation to help us gain our carbon neutral credentials, sponsoring projects and initiatives that look at reforestation and environmental restoration the world over.  We are proud that Shoogle Gin is carbon neutral, and think it tastes even better as a result.

Image ©Shoogle Gin

North East Region

Balmoral Castle image for COP26 Glasgow

Balmoral Estate is committed to ensuring that it operates in a sustainable manner and has environmental policies in place, reducing its impact on the environment wherever possible and ensuring that the estate is maintained for all generations to enjoy.

Image ©Visit Scotland

COP26 Glasgow Walter Gregors image

We take our responsibility to the environment seriously. The prospect of adding more bubble wrap to landfill discouranged us from venturing into online deliveries. So we have thought out of the box, about the box.  Working in conjunction with our cardboard packaging supplier, we have developed our innovative delivery solution which holds our small glass bottles securely in place during transit.  This packaging is made from 100% cardboard and fully recyclable through kerbside collections. At the very least, it performs just as well as bubble wrap and for us, it is a game changer.

This philosophy stems from our approach that as farmers, we are custodians of the countryside. It is our responsibility to leave the countryside we farm in a condition fit for future generations.

Here on the farm where we are based, we work closely with the RSPB to maintain and improve the habitat for our large population of Corn Buntings. This is a small, native bird which nests on the ground whose numbers across the UK have been under pressure for a number of years. Through maintaining traditional farming practices, we host one of the largest populations of Corn Buntings in the UK.

Image ©Walter Gregor’s Tonic Water

Skye & The Western Isles Region

Barra Gin for COP26 Glasgow

SMALLEST CARBON FOOTPRINT

Our shipments leave only a small carbon footprint throughout its extensive journey from us to you. We utilise existing methods of public transport links to send our gin to the mainland and beyond.

Image ©Isle of Barra Distillers Ltd

COP26 Glasgow image of Misty Isle Gin

All Misty Isle bottles are made from glass and are recyclable. We check every bottle of Misty Isle before it leaves our distillery to ensure the highest quality.  Our shipping cases are fully recyclable. We utilise existing methods of mail delivery to reduce our carbon impact when dispatching orders. 

 Solar panels help power our distillery and we planted 50 juniper trees in our distillery grounds to help with our carbon reduction. 

We strive to use as many local and small businesses.  From printers to packaging suppliers. We stock various local and Scottish goods in our Island Shop as well as a varied collection of other Scottish spirits. 

Tommy’s Gin was created in memory of our late father Tommy Wilson.  Tommy served in the British Army during the Suez Crisis.  We take great pride in distilling Tommy’s Gin and with every bottle of Tommy’s Gin sold, we donate to local Military Charities.

Image ©Isle of Sky Distillers

Southern Scotland Region

COP26 Glasgow image of Selkirk Gin

Jane, in our team, has actively supported a variety of charities in the past, including taking part in the Moonwalk, volunteering to help the homeless, and helping with AIDS awareness projects.  The support she herself has received from the MS Society since her diagnosis made her determined to fundraise for them too.  This is how the 1953 MS Gin was born.  The 1953 is not only a truly unique and aromatic gin, the sale of each bottle contributes £10 to the MS society. 

Image ©Selkirk Distillers

COP26 Glasgow image of Kerr's Gin

We’re proud to be a zero waste distillery with all the organic by-product from distillation going to two local farms where it is used to grow plants (including some delicious tomatoes!). The organic by-product from those two farms goes back in turn to the barley fields – making for a circular economy within Borders farming with the distillery at its centre.

For the water which goes into the spirit, we draw from an underground lake deep beneath the site. The lake’s water takes between 50 and 70 years to filter down from the hills through the rock. Even if it never rained again (unlikely in the Borders!) the lake contains enough pure water to last the distillery for thousands of years.

Right outside our front door, the River Teviot offers a sustainable source of fast-flowing water – perfect for cooling the spirit as it comes from the stills, an important stage of the production process.

Traditionally celebrated with stacked high bonfires burning long into the night and skies full of colourful fireworks. The bangs, popping and whizzing echoed with the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ from the crowd watching on.  However, things are changing and as we are in the middle of COP26 this got Ginspired thinking about the environmental effects of the traditional celebrations, and what we could suggest as Bonfire Night Alternatives.

We are not saying don’t celebrate at an organised fireworks display, but maybe think about the effects on the environment.   Read on for some hints and tips that you could do instead. Maybe start new traditions within your own family, as well as looking after the planet.  Win, Win.

Make a Guy with the Family

Make your own mini Guy Fawkes scarecrow by stuffing old tights with newspaper and dressing it in shabby clothes and straw. Keeping the tradition of Bonfire Night alive…without the noise!

Biodegradable Confetti Canons

Why not try ‘petal canons’ or even ‘wild flower seed cannons’, to create a bang. Not only are you helping look after the environment, but you are creating wildlife habitats for years to come. These are widely available online.

Eco friendly Sparklers

I think everyone has memories of swirling sparklers and watching them shine in the cold dark night.  Keep that tradition alive with Eco wooden Sparklers.  Made of wood, the stick just burns away as it is being used and all the ash drops to the floor, all you are left with is a wooden handle, which can be recycled.

Bake Bonfire Cupcakes

Bad Girl Bakery
Loch Ness Gin and Tonic Cupcakes 

Treat your family and friends with some Bonfire Cupcakes.  Get all the family involved. 

Or for an adults only party why not make Gin & Tonic cupcakes to start the party off with a bang. Enrol the help of the Bad Girl Bakery who make these amazing Loch Ness Gin and Tonic Cupcakes.

Gin Infused Hot Chocolate

Image ©Pentland Hills Gin

Pair your bonfire bakes with a Pentland Hills Gin infused Hot Chocolate. Check out ‘Panzas winter warmer’ a rich, dark chocolate overload. You’re welcome!

The gorgoeus Panza is also proud to introduce their brand new FIREWORK GIN! It is is offered in a 50cl bottle at 45% abv. AND it’s available to be refilled once the last drop is done. CLICK HERE TO BUY

Image ©Pentland Hills Gin

Fireworks Cocktail

A fiery cocktail and a must for bonfire night is McQueen’s Chilli Negroni. Made with McQueen 5 Chilli Gin. A harmonious blend of five of the hottest chillies on the planet; Ghost, Carolina Reaper, Guajillo, Scorpion and Orange Habanero, creating a heat like no other gin.  Are you brave enough to taste the burn and do it anyway?

Click here to see the recipe.

Image ©McQueen Gin

Lots of Ginspired ideas and bonfire night alternatives of how to keep the celebrations alive without hurting the environment.  After all it is about the little steps. For more information on our Travel Kindly COP26 Campaign Click here.

#TravelKindlyScotland #TogetherForOurPlanet

With an Autumnal feel to the weather, the landscapes are gradually changing colour. The trees are turning beautifully orange, and red and plump Halloween pumpkins are arriving in the shops ready to be transformed into leering lantern faces.

2022 is Visit Scotland’s Year of Stories, which we are soon going to have plenty to say about! With that in mind the team at Ginspired have selected a few ‘Fables for the Fearless’ & ‘Calming Cocktails’ to get you right in the mood for Halloween, and to give you a sneaky peak at our Spirited Stories Collection!

Ghostly Glamis

Glamis Castle, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, claims to be one of the most haunted historic houses in Scotland. So when visiting, make sure to keep an eye out for Lady Glamis, who is often reported to be drifting in mist around the clock tower. An unknown ghost in the ‘Haunted Room’, and a white lady who drifts along the corridors may also join you on your visit.

If that’s not enough to get you in the ‘spirit’ of things keep a look out for a long legged ghoul, known as Jack the Runner. Be careful in the courtyard, as sources have recorded a pale girl being dragged away by an invisible force. We will leave the giant in armour who looms over people in bed, and the re-enacted murder in the parlour, for another day!

If you are brave enough to visit Glamis Castle be sure to pop in and see the team at the Gin Bothy. They are a friendly bunch and not the least bit scary.

The Bothy Experience, home of the award winning Gin Bothy is nestled in the historic village of Glamis in Angus, just minutes from the gates of Glamis Castle. The Experience, like a bothy, is free to explore. The Bothy Beginnings room takes you through the Gin Bothy journey while the Bothy Tales room tells the story of Bothies across Scotland.

The Bothy Larder shop has locally sourced food, drinks, and carefully selected gifts, as well as takeaway hot and cold drinks, and treats from Bothy Bakery.

Click here for the Bothy Toffee Apple Cocktail Recipe. Featuring seasonal apples with a Halloween inspired twist.
Chilli Devil served with tonic water.
Image courtesy of The Gin Bothy.

Calming Cocktail No.1 – Black Thistle, Heather Empress

Over to the east of Glamis Castle you have Black Thistle Distillery. Their Heather Mist is perfect for cocktails. This shimmer gin will leave you spellbound.

You will need:

2 oz Heather Mist Gin

1 oz lemon juice

½ oz peach syrup

¼ oz violet liqueur

¼ oz simple syrup

3 lemon Twist


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it 3/4 with ice.

Shake until chilled, then fine strain the cocktail into a coupe glass.

Garnish with an edible flower, if desired. (make sure it’s not Deadly Nightshade!)

Cocktail recipe and image courtesy of Black Thistle Distillery, Brechin.

The Big Grey Man

Scotland’s spookiest mountain has got to be Ben Macdui in the Cairngorms. Not only is it the UK’s second highest peak but it also has a reputation for ghostly apparitions, particularly in winter.

Climbers high up on the mountain have often reported an eerie atmosphere, the sound of footsteps following them and even sightings of what has become known as The Big Grey Man.

One explanation offered for this is a phenomenon of reflected light which only occurs in very high places. This is known as The Brocken Spectre. In effect, it is the climber’s own shadow reflected back at them. This is why The Big Grey Man is often reported as disconcertingly copying everything the climber does. Sounds like a great excuse to try out your best Strictly moves and see what happens!

Cairngorn Gin range with miniatures, glasses and barware

In the shadows of Ben Macdui is the Cairngorm Gin Company. Nestled beneath the breath-taking Cairngorms in the Highlands of Scotland, it is one of Scotland’s newest micro-distilleries. Distilling and bottling the small batch premium spirit, they use only the finest botanicals and crystal clear water from the River Spey. Currently there are no tours available, but click here to buy it online.

Calming Cocktail No.2 – Bees Knees

With the addition of honey, this cocktail may help calm the nerves. We suggest using Caorunn Gin, Daffy’s Gin or how about Inshriach Gin all nestled within the Cairngorms National Park.

You will need:

50 ml Scottish Gin

20 ml lemon juice

1 tbsp. runny honey

Lemon twist, to serve


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.

Add gin, lemon juice and honey and shake until chilled. 

Serve in a martini, or coupette glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

The Gorbals Vampire

In 1954, gangs of children, some as young as 4, armed themselves with sharpened sticks, stones and penknives. They began patrolling the Southern Necropolis graveyard at night. The children believed that two schoolmates had been eaten by a 2 metre tall vampire which was said to have metal teeth and stalked the area. The fearless youngsters had come to destroy it.

Officials tried to keep the graveyard gates locked and guarded. Despite this, the children swarmed over the walls in search of the monster for several nights. The incident was blamed on mass hysteria caused by children reading too many scary comic book stories. And we thought computer games were always to blame…

Photo © Bradley Michael (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Crossbill Gin bottle with a Gin & Tonic ready to drink beside bottle

Just across the river Clyde is Crossbill Distillery. A great place to hide from any vampires that might be about. Crossbill Distillery, Gin School and Shop is a stop not to be missed. The hugely popular Gin School is where guests can distil their own unique creation to take away with them. The lovely gin is also available online. Click here to buy yours.

Calming Cocktail No.3 – Ellis Bewitching Butterfly Cocktail

The Ellis Bewitching Butterfly uses one of Ellis’s colour changing gins – the Ellis Butterfly Pea gin.

For this magical mystical cocktail you will need:


25ml of Butterfly Pea Gin

Top with 25ml Blue Curaçao 

Garnish with Lemon 


Grab a tall glass and fill with ice.  Add the gin.

Slowly layer your lemonade over the top and watch the Butterfly Pea gin change from Blue to Lilac!

Garnish with Lemon. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Cocktail recipe and image courtesy of Ellis Gin, Glasgow.

North Berwick Witch Trials

One of many persecutions of women during the late 16th Century, was the North Berwick witch trials. Over 200 women were accused of casting a curse on the ship carrying James the VI and his son home from Denmark. The accused were said to have gathered in a church in the town and summoned up a huge storm which almost sunk the ship off North Berwick. The trial took two years, and all those found guilty were burnt at the stake at Edinburgh Castle. The victims of the witch-hunting craze, are remembered with this memorial. (Spooky isles)

Photo © kim traynor (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Having your own slippers provided on arrival, a visit to NB Distillery encourages you to relax and enjoy your time there. No worrying about witches or other spookiness! You will get the chance to sample all of their world class spirits and a final drink of choice. A selection of canapés made by local chefs are served, and even include some NB infused foods.

Click to buy online

Calming Cocktail No.4 – Selkie Gin, Jack o’ lantern Negroni

You will need:

 Selkie gin

Edinburgh vermouth rosso

Edinburgh bitter


Pour the Gin, Vermouth and Campari into a mixing glass or jug with ice. Stir well

Strain into a tumbler

Fill the glass with ice, and garnish with an orange slice, using a blood orange when in season.

Cocktail recipe and image courtesy of Old Poison Distillery, Edinburgh.

Haunted road

Haunted castles and graveyards in Scotland yes, but had you heard about the haunted roads? Two brothers who were travelling along the A75 road from Annan to Dumfries, reported seeing some terrifyingly strange entities which appeared in front of their car. Phantom animals, an old man, and a woman who resembled a traditional witch were among the sightings. Their ordeal ended when they thought they were about to hit a white van speeding at them head on. However, just at the moment of impact, the vehicle vanished into thin air.

Another couple whose vehicle broke down on the A75 near Annan got more than a little shock too! They watched a pair of legs taller than their car run past them, disappearing into nearby woods with no body attached…

Solway Spirits Image

Solway Spirits is an award winning, micro craft distillery, located on the beautiful coastline of the Solway Firth in south west Scotland, with not a giant white snake in sight

All products are distilled, hand bottled and labelled here at the distillery, using the finest ingredients sourced from British suppliers. Call in at their shop where you can meet the team and sample before you buy. Or buy online here.

Calming Cocktail No.5 – Oro Gin, Honey Pot

A lovely honey and lemon cocktail. It is delicate and light, and perfect in front of a cosy fire. (black cat optional)

You will need:

50ml Oro V

25ml Lemon juice

25ml Honey Syrup

30ml Egg White (optional for the head)

Serve over ice, and enjoy.

Cocktail recipe & image courtesy of the Dalton Distillery.
Honey Pot Cocktail, with guest appearance from Coco, the Oro Distillery cat. To buy Oro Gin Click here.

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In parts of Scotland, October half term has always been known as the ‘tattie holidays’. Traditionally, kids and adults alike used to spend the time picking potatoes from the fields.  Earning extra money for the winter, the back breaking work done by hand was the way the holidays were spent.  No staycations, flying to exotic locations, or lying beside a pool. It was into the tattie fields, and into battle with whatever the autumnal weather threw at you.

The Finest from our Farms

With the introduction of modern machinery, whole fields of tatties can now be picked in half the time. We are very lucky throughout Scotland to be able to get the freshest of produce from the many Farm Shops spread around the country. 

Tattie picking is maybe a thing of the past, however you can certainly still enjoy some farm experiences. Maybe try your hand at fruit and berry picking. Definitely sample the many Scottish Gins where the botanicals are gathered on the doorstep of the distillery.

We have compiled a starter list for you to check out when you’re on your ‘Tattie Holidays’

Farm Experiences

Aberdeenshire Highland Beef

Take an exclusive tour around our working farm, meet our native breed, have the chance to photograph them, learn about their history and receive a delicious Highland Beef Tasting.

Spaces are limited so please book well in advance to guarantee your spot!

Tour duration: 1 Hour + Beef tasting and coffee/tea.

Bellevue Farm

Farm Tours take place around our farmyard as part of a group and last approx. 1.5hrs. Visitors have the unique opportunity to help feed the animals, collect the eggs and hear from the farmer about farming life. You can see what happens on a real working farm and hear how the routine changes throughout the seasons. Tours can be tailored to your individual interests, so let us know what you would like to learn more about or see!

The Wee Farm at Spring Croft

A small family hobby farm initially set up to become more self sufficient. There are goats, hens, bees, pet ponies, pigs, sheep, ducks and rabbits. Seasonal farm experiences are held throughout the year.

Scottish Gins

Arbikie Gin

Arbikie is one of the rare, sustainable ‘Field-to-Bottle’ distilleries in the world and the first single-estate distillery in Scotland to distill both white & brown spirits..

The Wee Farm Disitllery

The Wee Farm Distillery and Steak & Still Farm Shop are boutique, specialist food and drink outlets for homegrown and local produce based at Forth Mains Farm, South Lanarkshire.

Roehill Springs

Bottle of Roehill Springs Gin with a backgound of orange slices and a glass with a G&T

Roehill Springs Distillery is a small premium, artisan gin distillery based on the family-run farm at Newtack, Grange, Keith, Moray.

Cairngorm Gin

Cairngorn Gin range with miniatures, glasses and barware

Experience the spirit of the Scottish Highlands in a bottle; small batch, hand-crafted premium distilled Cairngorm Gin.

Farm Shops and Deli’s

Allarburn Farm Shop

Farm Shop where we sell our Allarburn Free Range & Barn Eggs, our Allarburn Vegetables and our Award Winning Wagyu Steak Pies & stock lots of other Fresh Local Produce & Gifts.

Netherton Farm

Prime scotch beef available from our family run farm situated close to Aberlour, Moray. All beef is from our own cows, born and bred on the farm. Grass fed and matured for a minimum of 21 days to maximise taste and tenderness.

Balliefurth Farm Shop

Selling high quality grass fed beef and lamb from Balliefurth farm. Also selling a wide range of other meat products and an extensive range of deli items, including oils and dressings, conserves and hampers.

Rothiemurchus Farm Shop & Deli

Superb quality, natural, and absolutely scrumptious, Rothiemurchus offers some delicious ingredients for your culinary creations and hearty home cooked meals. Whether you are looking for mouth-watering goodies for a dinner party or a personalised gift hamper, the farm shop and deli offers you a delicious array of produce.

Wark Farm
Soil Association Certified organic farm butchering and retailing meat from it’s own traditional breeds of British livestock.
Selling direct to people and homes in central Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen.
Monthly farm shop and monthly delivery direct to the door.

Louise’s Farm Kitchen
Where we specialise in bringing naturally good food from our farm gate to your dinner plate.

Finzean Farm Shop
Our shop stocks a wide range of local food suppliers. Home-reared beef, seasonal wild venison and game, locally supplied meat, vegetables and fruit, artisan cheeses, eggs, freshly baked bread, Finzean honey, preserves and ready-made meals are on sale with a wide selection of delicatessen and other food sundries.

Forest Farm – The Organic Dairy
Forest Farm is an award winning organic dairy, home to our small herd of happy organic cows who have the freedom to roam and graze on lush green pastures, just as nature intended!
Our certified organic farm is also home to Scotland’s first milk vending machine, established to provide our local community with the opportunity to buy milk from the cows they see grazing on their doorstep, as fresh as it can be!

Hattoncrook Farm Deli
The farm Deli opened in 2004. The main objective was to provide the best quality beef – our own pure Aberdeen Angus – and to compliment it with other quality products specifically sourced for a complete food experience.
There are other meats and game, cheeses and biscuits, wines and coffees plus a selection of preserves and chutneys.

Castleton Farm
The shop was open seasonally from June until October selling our own fruit and local meats, cheeses, vegetables and much more. The shop grew in popularity and in 2008 we opened our custom built Farm Shop and Café at the end of the farm road.

Peel Farm
There is now a coffee shop, Courtyard gift barn and farm shop, and luxury holiday accommodation. The aim is to offer fresh, local, food and to use as few food miles as possible. The Coffee Shop is quaint and cosy and offers indoor or outdoor seating.

Grewars Farm Shop
We are fully committed to sourcing as much of our products as possible from local businesses.
Every product is tried and tested to make sure it meets our high standards – after all we want you to love our products as much as we do.
So if your looking for a farm shop that really shouts about great local produce, and great personal service with a smile – then you’ve come to the right place.

Blairmains Farm Shop and Coffee Bothy
At Blairmains Farm Shop you will find a large selection of fresh fruit and Veg. Our aim is to source as much local and Scottish produce as the seasons allow. During the summer months all our soft berries are locally grown and you can really taste the difference.

Speyside Food Market
We now have a 24/7 food hub based at Elchies farm where our produce can be found in vending machines. Fantastic drinks machine & seating where you can watch the animals

Check out the Gincyclopedia for accommodation options to extend your day trips into a getaway.

Ginspired Scotland's interactive map showing destination points.

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This day trip starts and ends in Banchory (ish). Easily accessible from Aberdeen, Stonehaven, Braemar, or Alford. In fact, it’s just very accessible! As well as mixing up landscapes with a bit of history and art, it focuses on great food and drink. All with a real local emphasis.  Passionate producers, creative artisans, and beautiful scenery. So whether you enjoy it all on the day, buy something delicious to take home, or order some delectable comestibles online. Whatever your preference, discover the whole range of Deeside’s Delights, with Ginspired Scotland!

A short trip out of Banchory and crossing the Potarch Bridge over the River Dee will bring you to the Ballogie Estate and The Potarch Cafe.  A perfect place to begin your day, with some coffee and a homemade piece. You’ll be needing the refreshments if you try your hand at carrying the Dinnie Stanes across the bridge!  This feat was achieved by the redoubtable Donald Dinnie in 1860, when he carried both stones (together weighing 330 kg) across the 5m long bridge.  He was a serious strongman and athlete, winning many prizes and becoming a celebrity before we knew the word existed. Others have managed it since, but you’ll need to have had a mighty bowl of porridge to start your day this way!

Click to Download and Print this Ginspired Guide for FREE!

We recommend your chosen day for this trip is a Friday or a Sunday. The reason for this is that there are some pretty wonderful Scottish Gins made in Deeside. On these days you can get up close and personal with one of our favourites.  Eenoo Gin is made at Lost Loch Distillery, near Aboyne. On Fridays and Sundays at 12 noon, it’s usually possible to pre-book a tour, complete with lots of information, and some samples too.  Perhaps this will be your first visit to a gin producer, but you can come back for the full Gin School Experience once you get a flavour of this tasty topic. 

Standing Stones & Country Kirks

Stone Circle at Tomnaverie for Ginspired Scotland Royal Deeside day trip series.

Dragging yourselves away from Aboyne, head for some fresh air, and the remarkable stone circle at nearby Tomnaverie. No one can truthfully explain the reason for the shape and aspect of these stones, but note the ‘altar stone’ as it faces Lochnagar.  Perhaps the mountains were regarded as gods, perhaps it had to do with tracking the moon and the sun and the seasons, perhaps it was none of the above.  Perhaps we’ll never know, but it’s great fun to explore and hypothesise. You’re unlikely to be proved wrong after all!

Migvie Kirk cemetry as part of Ginspired Scotland Royal Deeside day trip series.

Coming back to the present day, yet remaining with one foot in the past, do drop into the gorgeous and very atmospheric Migvie Kirk.  It’s completely off the tourist path, but definitely worth a look.  Created as a tribute to his mother by the estate owner, what was once a small and simple country kirk is now a jewel of art and reflected light.  From the outside it offers little to give away it’s charms, but once through those carved oak doors, there’s a real sense of peace and refuge here.  Give yourselves a little time to settle and enjoy it.  This type of space is rare enough these days.

Click to Print this Guide, Complete with Road Directions

Another great reason for a weekend visit to this part of the world is The Steading Bar in Forbestown, Strathdon.  Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays just now, it’s a wee gem. Surrounded by splendid mountain scenery, yet cosy and welcoming for guests.  A great selection of local beers, whiskies and gins of course, plus handmade pies and sharing plates of regional cheeses to enjoy. Just to keep you going!

If you’ve not had your fill at The Steading, Crathie’s Highlander Bakehouse will be sure to tempt your tastebuds. Great coffee, home bakes, breads and pastries abound.  Take some home with you if you can’t find room in your tum.  You’ll join a royal army of fans who are so delighted to find this bounteous bakery beside Balmoral.

By now you’re heading back east towards Banchory, but don’t miss a stop at the Cambus O’May Cheesery.  It’s open from 10 – 4.30, Thursday to Sunday, and as well as supplying you with their own cheeses to take away, they also have an onsite cafe, so you can sample the goods on home turf. If time is against you, why not buy on-line through the link instead. We can’t have you missing out after all.

Beautiful Banchory

To bring this delightful day to a close, we could ask you to choose one of two options:-  Either pop into the Strong Water Co. shop on Banchory’s High Street and pick up something tasty for tea (don’t forget the liquid to go with it – all the local gins are here!) OR book into The Cowshed, on the Raemoir Road (just past the garden centre), for one of their amazing dinners.  They are members of the Scotch Beef Society, so you can be sure they know their sirloins from their ribeyes.  If you’re anything like the Ginspired team though, choosing between two delicious offerings, just isn’t possible.  So why not have both?  Book dinner at The Cowshed and pick up one of The Strong Water Co’s Dine @ Home packs for tomorrow!

We hope you’ve had a delightful time in Deeside. 

If you prefer to spread it out over two days, that’s a great idea.  We would recommend accommodation at Tor Na Coille Hotel in Banchory, The Boat at Aboyne, and The Deeside Inn in Ballater. 

For a complete list of options check out the Gincyclopedia.

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Aberlour is one of Speyside’s loveliest small towns, and shelters in the lee of Ben Rinnes, Moray’s highest mountain.  It’s whisky ‘The Aberlour’ also benefits from Ben Rinnes as its water source, and its hard to travel far around here without the distinctive profile of ‘The Ben’ looking over you.

Trig Point at Ben Rinnes
Glenrinnes Distillery. Home to Eight Lands Organic Gin.

The south side of the mountain oversees Glen Rinnes, and the distillery it’s named for.  Here Eight Lands Organic Gin is created, yet another quality spirit this region can be proud of.  Productive arable farmland, fine beef and lamb, grouse moors and game shoots, plus the River Spey itself all contribute to a peerless area of food production and, as you might expect, an abundance of creative chefs all making the most of this bountiful larder.

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It’s a great excuse for a weekend away, or just a day trip if time is short.  Within an easy hour and a bit from both Aberdeen and Inverness, this peachy part of Moray is worth getting to know a little better.  We would suggest basing yourself at The Dowans Hotel in Aberlour, or one of the delightful self catering cottages nearby.  Daleigh Cottage at nearby Advie is gorgeous for up to 4 guests, and Woodburn Cottage within walking distance of The Ben has three double bedrooms. Both happily allow dogs too.  There are a collection of B&B’s, and some camp sites too.  Check out the Gincyclopedia for the full selection.

If you do choose to self-cater, Aberlour is perfectly packed with provisions!  Why not start at Walkers Shortbread shop on the High Street. This global brand began life here in Aberlour, and the main production plant is at the end of the town.  The shop offers a comprehensive range of their finest products.  After all, everything tastes better where it’s made.  Opposite the Walkers Shop is The Speyside Whisky Shop We say whisky, but it has a great selection of Scottish Gin too, as well as glassware and accessories.  Expert advice is on hand, and mail order is also available, so don’t be shy! 

Purchases, Pairings & Pure Deliciousness!

Just along, on the far side of the square is The Spey Larder, a lovely traditional delicatessen, with a completely awesome selection of cheese from all over Scotland and elsewhere.  Grab a selection to pair with your whisky and gin – both work really well (see our blog on food pairing here).  Coming out of the deli cross the road to S.A. Mackie Butchers shop to pick up something for breakfast or supper.   A few paces further down brings you to an irresistible art and gift emporium The Gallery in Aberlour & Spey Sport. I challenge you to reappear without a purchase.  I never have. Think ahead to the next birthday gift you’ll need to buy, and look for it here – you’ll find it!

Tight Lines

Aberlour also benefits from it’s proximity to the River Spey which borders the town to the north west.  Fishing beats break up the river banks. Fishers can be seen wading deep into the Spey from early February until mid September. 

These days any salmon that are caught are released. This is so that they can continue to reach the spawning grounds further upriver. Not before a selfie in most cases! The Spey is one of Scotland’s longest rivers, and the fastest flowing.  None of the water from the river actually goes into the local whiskies. The water from the nearby springs does, and many tributary rivers are used for cooling purposes and for the power that they generate. 

In the 18th & 19th centuries timber from the forests of Rothiemurchus and Glenmore was floated down the Spey to the shipyards of Garmouth and Kingston.  Thomas Telford’s beautiful bridge at Craigellachie was completed in 1814.

So, you have your accommodation, supplies, and some background knowledge.  But, what to actually do?  Well it won’t have escaped your notice that this is a spirited place!  Take your pick from Gin, Whisky, or even Vodka, and you will find plenty to be discovered. 

Travel In Style

At this point I should also mention some great local transport companies who will happily ferry you to and from your chosen victualler, in case you find the product as irresistible as the landscape.  Speyside Executive Hire, More in Moray, DM Executive, and Moray Firth Tours all offer a range of vehicle sizes, some with a guide, others without.  Click the links highlighted to learn more.

Whisky Galore

Aberlour Distillery is an obvious first port of call.  Some of the newest whisky experiences near Aberlour are to be recommended.  Open Wednesday to Sunday, by appointment, the hosts are passionate whisky people and the drams are pretty good too!

Image ©Aberlour Distillery Facebook Page

Several of the existing whisky distilleries have recently had makeovers, so even if you’ve been before, the tours are new and you’re sure to learn something fresh.  Cardhu Distillery is now welcoming guests into a previously private part of the site, as it connects more closely with  its giant Johnnie Walker brand, and The Macallan has a completely new distillery and visitor centre in a splendid architectural marvel on the hillside, overlooking Craigellachie.  One of our favourites is The Glenallachie Distillery, just a mile or so outside Aberlour.  It changed ownership recently and has just opened it’s doors to the public for the first time.  It’s independent, picturesque, and produces some award winning whiskies which are finding new friends all around the world.  We recommend a visit here.

Glenrinnes Distillery is also a newcomer. Producing fully organic vodka and gin in it’s modern distillery on the flanks of Ben Rinnes itself.  The water comes from a mountain spring and the spirit is produced from a mixture of wheat and barley.  Eight Lands is a London Dry Gin, and is making itself known in stylish cocktail bars.  Tours are available, so discover your stylish side here in Speyside!

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Of course many people come to the region to conquer ‘The Ben’.  There are two main options here: either you follow the main track from a small parking area off the ‘Beatshach, a small road linking the Spey Valley and Glenrinnes, or you go the other way!  Find the tall red chimney of Ben Rinnes Distillery (not open for tours unfortunately), and park at the ‘Ben end’ in a row of kindly laid out parking bays.

‘The Ben’

Follow a narrow path up between fields and through some old birch woods until the vista opens out to heather moors and the sandy track ahead to take you up the Ben.  You may choose to climb to the top, via the second summit at the northern end of the plateau, or take the base route. This follows the contours of the front of the mountain, crossing burns as it goes. 

This ‘low road’ is actually longer than the ‘high road’ above, but not as strenuous. The ups are matched equally by the downs, and none are overly long.  However, after a lot of rain the burns become a raging torrent, so it might be best avoided then unless you like to paddle? I prefer the low road.  You’re likely to see no one else and to see far more non-human life. Look out for grouse, partridge, red deer, buzzards, long tailed tits, and lizards on warm days, plus the occasional sighting of a golden eagle every now and again if you’re lucky. 

Of course there are also low level walks following the River Spey and the Speyside Way.  Take a tiny taste of it by walking from Aberlour to Craigellachie and visiting Thomas Telfords beautiful arched iron bridge as it crosses the gorge under the tree smothered cliffs above.  With it’s own sandy beach, you can get right to the waters edge for a paddle.  It’s roughly a 2.5 mile round trip back to Aberlour, or stop off in Craigellachie for a dram at The Copper Dog or the Highlander Inn next door.

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Once you’re done, you will have all those lovely whisky, gin, cheese, meat, and shortbread goodies to look forward to. Or enjoy a gorgeous meal of locally produced ingredients at your hotel.  What could be better?

We hope you enjoy your time around The Ben.  Why not link it to another nearby day trip?  Perhaps Elgin or Lossie or Forres to Findhorn?  There’s so much to see and do.

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The River Spey has been synonymous with two things for many years:  Whisky and Salmon.  This pocket sized day trip allows visitors to sample both, while keeping miles to a minimum, and still tasting the full flavour of this beautiful and unspoilt area. Don’t forget you can print out the ‘Speysider Showcase’ day trip to take with you on your adventure.

Craigellachie Bridge Image ©Visit Scotland

Although this adventure covers just a small area, I would heartily recommend an overnight stay, at least one!  This route starts and ends at the very welcoming Delnashaugh Hotel which would make a perfect base for this mini-Highland holiday.  Don’t be put off by the tricky name.  It apparently means ‘daffodil’, which is a charming reflection of this bright and cheery perennial!

The Delnashaugh is just off the A95, between elegant Grantown on Spey and Aberlour.  It’s in easy reach of Inverness, Elgin, and Aberdeen, and only just north east of the Cairngorm National Park too, so it has mountainous vistas, wooded river valleys, and all of the wildlife you’d associate with upland Scotland.

Image ©Visit Scotland

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From the Delnashaugh head almost due north to the tiny hamlet of Knockando, by crossing the mighty River Spey at Blacksboat, where the road also crosses the Speyside Way.  This long distance footpath celebrates it’s 40th anniversary this year, and plays host to thousands of walkers who enjoy its 65 mile length from the coast near Buckie in the north, right down to Aviemore at it’s south-western extent.

Whisky, Walking & Weaving.

Knockando for many years was the pint-sized base for the top two of Scotland’s best selling whisky brands; J&B Rare came largely from the eponymous Knockando Distillery. Whilst just a little further above the river, Cardhu Distillery produces the spirit base of each of the Johnnie Walker range.  Quite an accolade for a place with fewer than 700 residents!  For us though, our first encounter with Knockando (from the Gaelic Cnoc Cheannach, meaning Hill of Commerce) is at The Knockando Wool Mill

A lovely collection of historic buildings with modern additions, has roots back to 1734, where it was listed as a waulk mill.  Water from the burn behind it powered a wheel, and in turn would have powered the belts which drove the machinery. Still in use today to produce fine estate tweeds, soft cashmeres, and all nature of aspirational goodies. The poor state of the building was brought to public attention in 2004 as Scottish finalist, in the TV programme ‘Restoration’.  It didn’t win, but fundraising allowed the work to start. The Mill eventually opened to the public in 2012. 

So what’s the food and drink connection here?  Well, you’re right of course, but when the cafe’s open they make great scones!  The ghillies on the river wear the tweed made at this mill while they help their clients fish for salmon. And this is Knockando after all – home to two of the world’s great whiskies.  That must be a Speysider Showcase right there?

Drams & Scran

Talking of whisky, Cardhu has recently been re-invented, in terms of their visitor experience. As one of the Four Corners of Scotland Distilleries, all contributing to Johnnie Walker.  Book onto a tour and learn about the first distillery ran by a woman. Learn of all the family exploits as they progressed this global brand from the most humble beginnings?  It’s possible to choose from a selection of tour styles, dependent on your timings, your budget, and your level of interest.  There are also food offers to match the whiskies. So a dram and some scran it is!

Fairytale Castles Too!

Once you’ve followed the iconic striding man around Cardhu, why not take a gentler pace down to Ballindalloch Castle.  It’s a lovely fairytale Castle, built on a more modest scale than most, but beautifully situated close to the River Avon.  Legend has it that the 1540’s plan was to build much higher up, but the emerging structure was repeatedly brought down by mysterious high winds until a ‘demonic’ voice said ‘build it on the coo haugh’.  Clearly a man to listen, John Grant built it beside the river, and his descendants have lived there ever since.   The Castle itself can be toured, or if time is short, the walled garden and rockery are both lovely. Afterwards visit the coffee and gift shop, where the homemade cakes will surely become a highlight of your visit.

I would suggest that this concludes your day. Take the mammoth drive of oh, 5 minutes or less, back to The Delnashaugh Hotel.  A brief snooze, a dram or two to re-visit your daytime adventure, and look forward to the local delights featuring on tonight’s menu.

So for this trip, Speyside in the spotlight, showingoff some of it’s finest attributes.  We hope you enjoy it.

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Lossiemouth is probably best known these days for it’s bustling RAF base. Home to the Typhoon and Poseidon aircraft, and the northern Quick Reaction Alert facility, all protecting the skies of the United Kingdom from enemy threats.  On the ground however, it’s a far more peaceful place, with much to recommend it to visitors, however they arrive. So lets see where ‘Loving the High Life in Lossie’ takes us.

Food and drink lovers are spoiled for choice.  Here, it’s entirely possible to eat produce from the sea while looking out to sea, while paddling in the sea, whilst watching the boats in the marina! All washed down with a local beer or gin.  Oh we do like to be beside the seaside (at Lossiemouth!)

Lossie has two tremendous beaches. East beach however is currently waiting for it’s new access bridge to be constructed, so is pretty much out of bounds for now. Although it looks lovely from the ice cream shops along the Esplanade!  The West Beach is very much open though, and there’s plenty of room for everyone and their dog.  The further you walk westwards, the fewer people you’ll encounter. So be as sociable or shy as you wish, so long as your legs support you.  If you reach Covesea Lighthouse (pronounced ‘Cowsea), you’ll have done well, and will richly deserve to visit some of our recommended establishments to ‘restore’ you.

Relax & Re-Store

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Re-Store – is also the name of a Lossiemouth retailer aiming to reduce the amount of food packaging and waste, which we all are much more conscious of these days.  Describing itself as a ‘zero waste refill shop’, customers can refill their own containers with everyday items, while also picking up seasonal local vegetables and fruit, eggs, milk and bread too.  It’s a 21st century alternative to supermarket shopping.  Give it a go!

Scottish Gin with a View?

If you’d rather someone else cooked for you today, there’s plenty to offer here.  The Golf View Hotel’s restaurant overlooks the golf course and the West Beach.  There can be few finer sea views in Scotland. Added to a very varied menu choice, it’s sure to have something for everyone.  The Golf View’s sister restaurant is The Firth Hotel, down on the Esplanade, overlooking the East beach.  There’s a fabulous array of Scottish Gins at both establishments, so make sure you try something new while you have the chance.

Along beside the marina is The Harbour Lights café.  Here the menu features local ingredients from named suppliers and is a popular spot for coffees and lunches. Don’t miss their wide choice of cocktails, served with style.  Outdoor seating is available for the warmer days or those with furry friends. It’s a lovely location to enjoy your well deserved libation.

One of Lossie’s other innovative businesses is the Windswept Brewery Co, where visitors can pre-book  tours, sample the range of beers alongside wood-fired pizzas, or just pop in to buy some beer and have a coffee perhaps? It was set up by two ex RAF pilots and is conveniently situated just opposite the main gate to RAF Lossiemouth, which brings us right back to where we started!

We hope you enjoyed ‘loving the high life in Lossie’, as much as we’ve loved telling you all about this high-flying coastal highlight!

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Moray’s ‘capital’ city really is a city as it boasts a medieval cathedral all of its own.  Although ruined by the dastardly Wolf of Badenoch in a spree of pyromanial revenge, it still stands tall and proud, keeping a lofty watch over it’s dominion, several hundred years later. So take a look around and Eat, Explore, Elgin.

The cathedral’s elegant windows lent their designs to Avva Gin’s labels and packaging too.  Avva Gin is made nearby, and uses a unique still handcrafted by the local coppersmiths.  The name Avva refers to the still itself as it means ‘respected Grandmother’ in an ancient Indian language,  The still was named JessieJean after the founder’s two grandmothers.  Avva Gin hosts visitors for tours, several times a week, by appointment.  Click here to learn more, or to buy their delicious range on-line.

Elgin has much to explore besides its cathedral and its gin. Gordon and MacPhail is here, one of Scotland’s leading independent whisky distillers and bottlers, and began life in 1895.  As well as a host of whiskies and gins, their shop on South Street is also a fabulous deli. The range of cheese on offer is always a powerful reason to head to their door!

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Johnston’s of Elgin is another global brand with it’s home in the heart of Moray.  The wool and cashmere mill on the banks of the River Lossie, close to the Cathedral, is also long established and dates from1797.  These days its a place of luxury and indulgence, with fine cashmere garments and home accessories, plus a lovely informal restaurant ‘Weavers’, which features local produce in the menu, while the retail area stocks a good range of Scottish gins.

But we’re here to explore the finest food and drink to be enjoyed locally, so don’t forget to visit Allarburn Farm Shop, on the south side of town. Started by a local farming family, the business started as the outlet for its dairy produce, but quickly grew to include home produced eggs, vegetables and potatoes.  It now combines a retail area where all manner of locally grown, reared, laid, brewed, milked and distilled produce can be purchased, and enjoyed in the café too.

For specialist butchery at the highest level, look to John Davidsons on Elgin’s High Street (and mail order). You’ll find everything from local black pudding to Toulouse Sausage, alongside the finest Scottish beef, lamb and pork.  There are even some oven ready meals (including Stovies), if you fancy giving cook the day off.

The centre of Elgin also has a number of fine independent coffee shops. This is always a pleasant change from the big brands we see everywhere around.  Batchen Street has become a tiny stronghold of some of the area’s finest.  Here’s Bijou, a family run gift shop and coffee shop, making it somewhere to browse and graze, all in the same place! Try their pancakes, straight off the griddle and onto your plate.

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Planta, also on Batchen Street, gives local food an Italian twist and presents it in the most colourful and attractive way.  Come here for great coffee, or lunch. Maybe stay for dinner with a cheese platter or charcuturie selection, matched with some fabulous wines, beers and local gins.  Highly recommended.

We can’t leave Batchen Street without mentioning Manna, a juice bar and home of healthy eating options, that still manages to offer deliciousness by the forkful.  You’ll be hard pressed to know which of these Batchen Street businesses to try first!

The east end of the High Street contains some of Elgin’s oldest buildings.  Look upwards to see the pantiled rooflines, crow stepped gables, and irregular angles which give some clues as to the age of them.  Small closes (alleyways) divide the buildings, offering glimpses into the lives these ancient dwellings contained.  One of these closes is home to The Drouthy Cobbler, an informal gastro pub with outside heated seating areas where dogs are also made very welcome.  Everything from Sunday lunch to a coffee and piece, accompanied by the widest selection of local whiskies, beers. And of course, Scottish Gin!

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You don’t have to venture far to have a wonderful day out.  The secret is to spend less time on the road and more time having foodie fun.  This day trip is less than 30 miles long, yet takes you from town to country, hills to harbour.  It’s all within easy reach of home and you get to take something delicious back for tea! Download, print and share the Ginspired Guide to take with you on your adventure.

We suggest starting from Forres.  If you’re lucky enough to live there, that’s a given, if not, we suggest accommodation at Knockomie Inn, a charming arts and crafts country house on the southern outskirts of the town, with lovely food and a great selection of local gins and whiskies too.  Alternatively, Blervie House is a luxurious B&B in a very stately setting, near Rafford, which is a couple of miles out of Forres to the south east.

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Our first stop is Logie Steading, which is just off the Grantown Road (full directions in the download).  It’s only around 10 minutes from Forres and is a great place to start the day.  As the name suggests, it’s a converted farm building on the Logie Estate, and is now home to a variety of distinctive businesses to offer you a morning full of discovery. 

Explore Local Producers

You’ll spot Logie Whisky as you arrive.  You may wish to dive straight in there to explore the wonderful range of local whiskies and gins they have in stock. Duncan’s Gin is based here, so get a taste of that if you can! Local beers and other spirits, accessories and glassware – there is lots to choose from.  Often there are tastings available, so you may want to draw straws in advance to allocate driving duties!  If you have children with you, the adventure play area is great fun.  A look around the Gardens and the garden centre is a must, and of course the shop where the home reared long horn cattle beef is on sale. The Gallery has work from local artists, and there’s a selection of local artisan producers and retailers to explore. 

Refresh yourself at The Olive Tree Cafe, and reward yourselves with their home bakes and fresh soups and lunches, all lovingly made on the premises, using local ingredients.

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If you have time, explore the riverside walks on the estate. This link will tell you more, written by Jo Laing, who lives there. www.logie.co.uk/walk-logie-steading-randolphs-leap/

Once Logie has been thoroughly explored, head back through Forres and out to the coast at Findhorn.  Take a tiny detour to explore the ruins of Kinloss Abbey dating back to the 1100s.  It’s free to get in and information boards will tell you more about its long history.

Beautiful Moray Coast

Findhorn itself is one of those unexpected delights of the Moray Coast.  It actually feels more like Devon than Scotland as the River Findhorn comes down to the coast at a wide sheltered estuary.  It leaves sandy shores, tall trees, wading birds, seals and fishing ospreys in the summer months, as it reaches the sea.  The bay is shallow, although with fast tidal currents.  There are leisure boats at anchor, several pontoons, a Yacht Club complete with seafood restaurant, two pubs, both of which specialise in seafood, and the Captains Table, a small informal café and ice cream shop right beside the shore. 

Don’t Forget your Binoculars!

Walk around the point or across the sand dunes and you’ll find yourself on a long sandy and pebbly beach.  At high tide it’s mainly shingle, but at low tide the sandy expanse can take you around 11 miles right along the coast to Roseisle, and then Burghead. You probably don’t have time for that today, but do explore the bay, and the main beach too.  You’ve a good chance of spotting the resident bottle nose dolphins from the shore, so don’t forget your binoculars. 

Once you’ve walked up an appetite, discover The Bakehouse in the centre of the village.  Home made breads and cakes, fresh local vegetables and produce, all combine for a wonderful culinary experience.  You can also pick up something here to take home for later if you’ve still got room!

It’s just 10 minutes or so back to Forres or your hotel of choice from here.  We hope you enjoyed your day out?  Why not do another one tomorrow or next weekend?  Elgin and Lossiemouth are right next door!

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Food & drink from Scotland is achieving a world-wide reputation for quality, freshness and of course, fabulous taste. Our drinks are legendary too, and none better than the range of Scottish gin being produced all across the country. With flavours influenced by everything from spices to seaweed and lemons to liquorice, let’s discover some food & drink matches made in Heaven (well Scotland actually), for all to enjoy:-

Traditional food pairings have placed red meat with red wine, fish and chicken with white wine, and curries with beer, but no more. These days it’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy a glass of Beaujolais with bass, a Riesling with your Rogan josh, and a rose with risotto. But what if gin’s more your thing?

Food & Drink (well gin to be exact)

Try Scottish lamb, roasted with garlic and rosemary, alongside a gin which will cut through the richness and enhance those robust herby flavours.

Crossbill Gin combines it’s juniper and rosehip influences to create a herbal dry finish which will work wonderfully well with the lamb. A simple tonic, perhaps a sprig of rosemary, and you’ve got an epic food & drink experience your friends and family will love.

Pork needs something with a little more acid, something citrussy perhaps? No bother for Scottish Gin!

Blackthistle Gin has a smooth crispness with caraway, wormwood and thistles in the mix, bringing a perfect food & drink flavour pairing to your table.

Avva Navy Strength Gin would also work brilliantly with pork. The nettles, dandelions and sweet citrus notes are ideal food & drink plate-mates.

Or try Hills and Harbour Gin from Newton Stewart’s Crafty Distillery. It contains needles from the Noble Fir and seaweed, so you can imagine how that smooth vibrant flavour will sit so deliciously with pork.


Beef steaks or roasts require a gin with some spice or pepper elements, and there’s an obvious choice from our gin collection! It’s Kirkjuvagr Aurora Orkney Gin. The mix of cloves and peppercorns, joined by nutmeg and cinnamon echo an aged shiraz. Try serving it with spiced orange ginger ale or a plain tonic for maximum effect.

If you prefer something a little lighter, perhaps Tayport Distillery’s Wild Rose Gin? The images of the wild rose imply delicacy and fragrance, both of which are there, but the pine and juniper also brings earthy pepperiness and spice. Enjoy this exquisite food & drink combination!

How about Italian food, perhaps basil laden pesto, or herbaceous oregano? Why not try something equally at home in the garden, like Kinrara Distillery’s Ginny Gin. It’s floral notes with a citrus tang will bring all those Mediterranean flavours to life.

The City of Aberdeen Distillery’s Fresh Gin is another delight. It’s citrus hit combined with coriander, brings a brightness to pasta and pizza which you’re sure to love. Buon appetito!

Spicy food has traditionally been the preserve of pilsner beer or Riesling wine, but not any more! Instead try pairing your chilli-hot delights with Scottish Gin. A great choice would be Cairngorm Gin, made in the Highlands, it’s man enough to stand up to the most intense flavours, especially when mixed with a fizzy tonic or soda water. The smooth but rich floral and fruity flavours are refreshing to an overheated palate, but they’re not easily overpowered. Try it – you’ll love it!

If you go a little less heavy on the chilli, Roehill Springs Gin with a fizzy tonic or even lemonade works so well with a creamy korma or butter chicken. Try that next time the urge to spice up your life takes over!

Dunnet Bay’s Rock Rose Navy Strength Gin would also work well alongside the most robust spices. There’s a warmth of pine offset by a fizziness from citrus notes, backed up by the earthiness of angelica and orris root. With rich berry flavours on top, this will add a new food & drink dimension to your Friday night curry!

Salty foods like bacon, ham and pancetta, need something relatively dry and ideally with lots of bubbles to cut through. Arbikie’s Nadar gin is made from peas, but conversely tastes of lemongrass, and leafy citrus-ness. Imagine that, lightened by simple tonic or soda water, alongside some aged pecorino cheese, olives and perhaps some smoked almonds? A whole body food & drink experience, in a glass!

Chicken dishes will celebrate with fragrant gins, especially those with stone fruit flavours and a hint of sweetness. Garden Shed’s Bramble Peach Gin is perfect, combining delicate flavours and fruitiness in a bright, fun and refreshing mouthful.

Misty Isle Distillery on the Isle of Skye, make a Pink Old Tom Gin, with hints of pears, meadowsweet, and warm summer fruits. Again, a perfect match for chicken, and try it with oily fish too.


Seafood works so well with creamy vanilla, especially when cooked simply. Arran Gin may well have been created for seafood, and is right at home on the seashore. Why not match it with some fresh Scottish scallops next time around. They also make a delicious Cassis, which we hear is great with (or in?) cheesecakes. Sounds amazing to us.

El:Gin is another one to try. Made from oats, it has a creamy texture, but is also crisp enough to set off the delicate flavours of the finest fruits of Scotland’s sea.

Blue Cheese, in fact cheese in general, can be tricky. Blue Cheese may be the hardest of all to match, and many great wine makers have tried. Perhaps Scottish Gin has the answer, and that’s fruit. Not the summery delicate fruits perhaps but the tough guys. Ice and Fire’s Caithness Highland Gin contains rhubarb, giving it an assertive yet fresh fruity flavour, which works so well with Strathdon Blue or Lanark Blue.

Caorunn Gin, named after the rowan berries it contains, creates sharp yet intensely fruity flavours. A specific coul apple is also in the mix, infused in the unique copper berry chamber, and the result is a sweet, clean and full bodied gin. We think it’s wonderful alongside a hard Scottish cheddar or Dunlop cheese.

Wild Island’s Distiller’s Cut Gin is the first distilled spirit to be produced on the island of Colonsay. It blends fresh redcurrants, lemon balm and the sharpness of sea buckthorn together. The result is a fabulous food & drink match for creamy Scottish cheeses, like Clava Brie or Crowdie.

Another food & drink pairing approach would be to add a sweeter Scottish Gin to a challenging cheese. Kintyre’s Pink Gin is creamy and rich with the sweet fruity sharpness of raspberries alongside. Lost Loch’s Eenoo Gin also combines raspberries and other fruit flavours with honey. A full bodied crumbly, salty or nutty cheese would be an excellent choice with either one.

Smoked foods can offer a challenge to your drinks trolley too, but Scottish Gin has it covered! Look for one with a pepperiness or a savoury citrussy buzz. LinGin brings spicy pepper and citrus notes together in a London dry gin which will bring out those delicious smoky flavours. Downpour Gin from North Uist Distillery would be another great choice. The juniper mixes well with the citrus and heathery sweetness, and would be ideal with some smoked trout or an Arbroath Smokie. The Salar hot smoked salmon from South Uist is also a wonderful table twin.

And so to dessert, pudding or ‘afters’. It doesn’t have to be a super sweet gin here, in fact a warm spicy one might be just the ticket. What about Isle of Cumbrae’s Crocodile Rock Gin with a concentration of cacao, orange and stem ginger? Try that with a vanilla-rich ice cream. Cumbrae’s Nostalgin begins with the promise of lavender, for relaxation and calming, much like the island itself. But once tasted, the lavender is much less subtle, and brings a mouthful of mintiness, spice and bramble notes, before relaxing into orange, heather and sweetness. Gorgeous with Pavlova or shortbread and berries.

Actually, who needs pudding, when there’s Scottish Gin to enjoy!

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The UK apparently spends an average of 10 Billion pounds a year on their dogs; pampered pooches indeed! With owners admitting to splashing out on things like clothes, high-end dog food, treats, seasonal outfits, days out with your dog and even Christmas stockings, our fur babies are certainly one of the family! So the demand to include them on holidays rather than leaving them behind, has also grown. Over the last few years we have also seen many more shops, cafes, and hotels welcoming our paw-some pooches. Read on to find 8 Ulti’mutt Days out, where your dog can take you!

Inveraray Jail

Dogs Go Free

Step back in time with your pooch by your side into a 19th Century Prison. Experience what it was like, and hear the true stories of the men, women and children who were tried and locked up here. Explore the unique collection of historic buildings brought to life by real characters from the Jail’s past.  Experience the courtrooms and listen to actual trials that were held. Walk through the narrow corridors, see the cramped, overcrowded cells, and compare them to the newer prison, with luxuries such as a hammock or wooden bed!  Inveraray Jail is in the village of Inveraray, around 60 miles north of Glasgow.  A beautiful part of Scotland with glorious countryside and lots of open spaces for you and your furry friend to enjoy.

Loch Katrine

Dogs £2

Steeped in history Loch Katrine is a hotspot for discovering historical connections and legends.  An inspiration for Sir Walter Scott’s poems, with links to Queen Victoria and Rob Roy MacGregor too! Dogs are welcome on the cruise for just £2 per pooch.

Book one of the ‘Scenic Cruises’ available and immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings, sailing past the mountains of the Trossachs and spotting wildlife as you go.  On shore, take your four-legged companion on one of the many walking routes with starting points from the Trossachs pier.  Refreshments are available from the Steamship Café which has a pawsome outdoor area for that well deserved rest.

A stones throw away in Callander is McQueen Gin. Although currently no tours available, you can visit the Distillery shop and get a real understanding of what goes into their gin as well as a few tasters, so that you can find the perfect McQueen gin for you, or as a gift. Just having launched the ‘World’s Coolest Labels’ which come to life to create an exciting, immersive gin experience for customers! Very cool!

You can also visit their McQueen Gin Emporium in Stirling. Featuring the brand’s full range you can view the distillery on big screens as well as enjoying some tasters.

Castle Kennedy Gardens

Friendly Dogs on leads welcome

Castle Kennedy Gardens

Castle Kennedy Gardens ‘A Hidden Scottish Treasure’ in the beautiful Dumfries & Galloway. Just 5 miles east of Stranraer, it is host to 75 acres of stunning features, exotic plants, fabulous walks and sculpted landforms.  Friendly dogs on leads are welcome to explore with you. Wednesday afternoon is when you can enjoy the ‘Silent Space Initiative’ a space where you can disconnect from the world and just sit with your companion and take in your surroundings. There is a tearoom, gift shop, also binoculars and bird books for hire or why not have a doggie picnic by the loch. Days out with your dog don’t get much better than this!

Ginspired days out are never far from our minds, so about 30mins inland from Castle Kennedy is The Crafty Distillery, home to Hills & Harbour Gin. Enjoy a tour of the distillery, and learn how they make their very own spirit from scratch. After the tour you can then enjoy a perfect serve of our Hills & Harbour Gin. Why not stay for lunch in their dog friendly dining area, and enjoy the stunning views.

Solway Spirits is a small batch craft distillery located on the majestic Solway Coast in South West Scotland, with stockists in and around the area. With a extensive range of Gins and Gin Liqueurs such as Apple Caramel Gin, Gingerlicious Gin as well as their Classic ranges too, there is something for everyone.

Stirling Gin Distillery

Dogs welcome on the tour – pre-booking essential

Even the dogs can get involved in this day out. The Gin Distillery Touring, it’s a great tour for all the family.  Children are welcome too and get to try a mocktail but its strictly water only for man’s best friend.

Book in advance and take part in some of the daily activities from tasting tours, masterclasses, and The Old Smiddy Gin School. The Stirling Gin Distillery is situated at the base of Stirling Castle in a building nicknamed locally as the ‘Old Smiddy’ Dating back to the 13th Century.  There is also a gift shop.  All in all, a totally pawtastic day!

The Gin Bothy Experience

Dogs Welcome

Based in the Angus Glens of Scotland, The Gin Bothy is around 30mins north of Dundee and is a truly ‘Bothy’ experience.  In days gone by a Bothy was seen as a stone building, a refuge on the hills.  A sanctuary from the weather, a place to share a hipflask and exchange stories.  Keeping the old traditions alive, the Gin Bothy folk are proud of their heritage and use traditional methods of production, source ingredients locally, and bottle by hand.  The Bothy Experience is free to visit, with the Bothy Beginnings room taking you through the journey.  Gin tasting for the 2 legged, a Bothy Larder Shop and a Bothy Bakery are all onsite.  For booking click here, you will be in for an ulti’mutt day out with your dog, Fur-sure!

WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre

Dogs Welcome

Nestled in Northeast Scotland, The Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay, is a gggrrrreat place to bring your fluffy friend.  With Bottlenose Dolphins to be spotted from the shoreline, inland walks along the River Spey, café with outdoor seating and a very doggy friendly environment.

About 20mins drive from Spey Bay is Avva Scottish Gin. Avva Gin tours and tasting are available by pre-booking, where you will learn about the production whilst in the heart of the distillery. Meet Jessie-Jean the beautiful hand-crafted copper still. The distillery shop is also open where you can treat yourself to a G&T Set or a Cocktail Box. Check out their opening times before visiting.

Gordon Castle & Walled Garden

Dogs are welcome as long as they are well-behaved and kept on leads!

Gordon Castle plays host to one of the oldest and largest walled kitchen gardens in Britain. There is also a café, children’s play area and shop.  The garden is almost eight acres in size and is open all year round.  Relax in the peaceful surroundings and see the gardeners hard at work.

Try delicious freshly picked produce in the award-winning café or have a browse in the shop. Gordon Castle Gin, Cider and Ale are all based on the plants grown on or inspired by the Gordon Castle Estate.

Children will enjoy the natural play area and seasonal garden trails, as will your dog.  Make time for refreshments at the café, with outdoor seating your four legged adventurer can get a well-deserved drink and a dog nap.

Rothiemurchus Visitor Centre

Doggy paradise! 

Days out with your dog needn’t be complicated. Rothiemurchus is a haven for outdoor activities.  Walking, cycling, ebikes, canoeing, paddle-boarding there is definitely something for everyone and their dog!  Refreshments available at the Rothiemurchus Farm Shop and Deli with locally sourced fresh produce, Scottish Craft Gins, handmade chocolates, wild venison, and a dog treat or two. 

Scottish Gin Heaven!

The Cairngorm mountains are the back drop to some heavenly Scottish Gins. One of Scotland’s newest micro-distilleries, The Cairngorm Gin, distils and bottles their small batch premium spirit using only the finest botanicals and crystal clear water from the River Spey.

Just a short way down the road you will find Kinrara Distillery which is open for Tasting Tours and has a shop. There is a courtyard area outside with picnic benches, where your pooch is welcome to join you for a bowl of water and some treats.

Inschriach Distillery is another that sits proudly in the Cairngorm National park. Not generally open for visitors but open days are held occasionally so do get in touch as you may be in luck. If you’re visiting the Rothiemurchus Farm shop they stock it in there as well!

One of the best kept secrets in the Cairngorms National Park: Speyside Distillery. This Award Winning Distillery produces a range of traditional hand-crafted Single Malt Whiskies and also Byron’s Gin. Distillery Experiences are available to book.

We hope you got lots of pawsome ideas for a doggy day out as well as being Ginspired along the way.

It’s happening – are you coming?

This years Edinburgh Fringe Festival IS going ahead, but has escaped the world’s attention almost completely! In most years ‘The Fringe’ is the third largest ticketed event in the world, beaten only by The Olympics and the Football World Cup, but of course this is not ‘most years’.

So, what’s different about the Edinburgh Fringe this time?

Comedians and writers are usually cramming the talk shows on TV and radio to plug their latest creations. There are adverts and apps to plan your visit to The Edinburgh Fringe. Hotels have to be reserved many months beforehand, and Edinburgh is rammed with excited international audiences. So what’s different this year?

Social distancing will be observed, but that just means shorter queues for audiences doesn’t it? Some venues are not practical for reduced numbers, so several new venues have made themselves available. The performers themselves have been deprived of their stage time for so long, which means some big names are coming. Many tickets are available and at bargain prices too. Edinburgh needs to welcome its visitors back, so if you’re new to Edinburgh and delights of The Edinburgh Fringe, this could be a great time to experience it!

Get the best Edinburgh Fringe App!

One really great resource is the Plan My Fringe app. Put together by a couple of Edinburgh Fringe enthusiasts, to schedule the must-see performances and make the most of their time in this great city. It allows you to filter and select the events which appeal, making sense of what can be a confusing and crowded list of options.

Great accommodation awaits

Booking accommodation in Edinburgh during August is usually a pricey and difficult challenge, but not this year. Visitors are crowding to the coasts, the hills and the lochs, and have yet to return to the cities, so there are some great rooms available for all budgets.

One of our favourites is the elegant and luxurious Crescent House, in Edinburgh’s gracious New Town. Not only is Crescent House itself an Edinburgh Fringe venue this year for ‘The Art of Hospitality’, but owners Paul and Mike also offer all guests a tutored nosing and tasting of Harris Gin. They also offer Art Tours of some of Edinburgh’s leading galleries. These need a couple of weeks’ notice to set up, but do bear them in mind should you visit Edinburgh later in the year.

Ginspired Choices to the Edinburgh Fringe

Whilst you’re in Edinburgh, you’ll be working up a thirst after all that cheering and laughter, and some of our favourite bars will be very happy to welcome you. Try The Jolly Botanist in the west end at Haymarket, or the vast array of gins at 56 North in West Crosscauseway. Panda & Sons on Queen Street harks back to the American speakeasy style, while The Royal Dick Bar at Summerhall is on the site of the former Edinburgh Vet School. The Indigo Hotel on Princes Street hosts Juniper, and the Sheraton Hotel in Festival Square is home to One Square. Dragonfly at West Port is a little further out, but worth the trip for their fabulous cocktails.


Limited edition Edinburgh Gin bottling. Designed personally by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, writer, comedian and television producer

If you have time you might enjoy a Gin Distillery tour. Edinburgh Gin in the West End’s Rutland Place is an obvious choice. Treat yourself to the limited edition Edinburgh Gin bottling designed personally by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, (writer, comedian and television producer) Now available from their online shop. All profits from sales of this beautiful bottle will go to Edinburgh Festival Fringe acts to help fund the arts recovery in 2022.

Pickering’s Gin is also central and well worth a visit. The Holyrood Distillery offers combined whisky and gin tours – truly something for everyone here.

For Full Edinburgh Fringe listings Click Here.

The Cultural Destination

So while your chuckle muscles are enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe shows, and your culture vulture instincts are being fulfilled, why not treat your taste buds too? Savour the flavours of some of Scotland’s fabulous gins in our beautiful, and very welcoming capital city.

Follow us on our Socials👇

Who doesn’t love a cup of tea? First thing in the morning, or that homecoming one, when it just seems to warmly wash away all those little niggles of the day, and welcome you in with a hug. Tea has become our familiar comfort blanket, offered to sufferers of shock, heartbreak and loneliness.  It’s even entered mystical folklore, as the liquid-leaved equivalent of Nostradamus. So this week is National Afternoon Tea Week, and although tea is part of our everyday world, and feels as though it’s always been that way, but it’s not necessarily so!

Expensive Tastes

Tea has a dark secret.  It was first introduced to the UK by Mary Modena, the Duchess of York in the 1600s.  She came from Amsterdam where it was already popular but expensive, so only some could afford it.  Fashionable wealthy households had hand painted China tea sets and lockable silver tea caddies, partly to demonstrate their fabulousness, and partly to ensure their servants couldn’t steal the precious leaves. Afternoon Tea became a symbol of opulence and lavish lifestyles.

Chinese Whispers

Initially, all tea was produced in China.  China wasn’t interested in trading for British goods, but it did have a huge demand for opium, which was smoked by many Chinese. Britain saw an opportunity to supply this demand in return for a supply of tea, and mass-produced opium in colonial India. Opium smoking was outlawed by the Chinese Emperor in 1796, meaning that the supply of tea to Britain was jeopardised, but opium continued to be smuggled into China illegally for many more years to come. In 1839 however, many tons of the drug were seized, and most of the trade was eventually snuffed out. The supply of tea to Britain was in danger of drying up.

Skulduggery Afoot

In 1848, A Scottish Botanist called Robert Fortune was sent to China by the East India Company.  He was able to smuggle out 20,000 tea plants and eight Chinese Tea Masters, and get them to India.  Some went on to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and the tea plantations were established from there.

A Scottish grocer Thomas Lipton, set up his first shop in Glasgow in 1871, and was so successful he grew his business to over 300 shops across Scotland.  He sold tea of course, but its quality was variable and his supply was not consistent.  He became one of the first merchants to buy his tea directly from the plantations in India and Ceylon, ensuring a consistent quality and taste for his customers.  In time he would also buy his own tea estate in Ceylon, which allowed him to reduce the price of tea for his customers. This may have been when Afternoon Tea first became available to ordinary folk.

Blended Blunders

Queen Victoria loved all things Scottish, and was introduced to a new blend for her Afternoon Tea, by a Scottish Tea Master during one of her visits.  She enjoyed it so much she took the same blend back to London, and it became known as English Breakfast Tea, although originally created in Scotland.

Will your morning cuppa ever taste the same again? It was traded for drugs, smuggled and stolen, and then invented in Scotland, but falsely called ‘English’.  What a history.  What a drink!

Enjoy yours at Brewhemia’s Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh, the Red Bus Bistro Tours in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and The Secret Garden G & Tea events on Sundays, also in Edinburgh.  Or sample The Teasmith Gin, or Ginti, for their unique take on Scottish Gin & tea.

Follow us on our Socials

With over 6000 miles of coastline, mainland Scotland has plenty of watery wonders to share with you. Stretching to over 11,000 miles if we include the island shores, there is no excuse not to celebrate every day of National Marine Week this year. Go on, explore the shores of Scotland!

Marine Monday.

For Marine Monday, why not drop in to the Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick? Book onto a boat trip to the amazing Bass Rock. A short boat ride takes you into the world of one of our largest native seabirds, the gannet. These handsome creatures dive dagger-like with half-closed wings to catch their fishy food. Ungainly on land with their oversized paddle feet, they are extraordinary fliers and spend most of their lives on the wing. Bass Rock is the most accessible of their large colonies. Gathered together in huge numbers the ‘fragrance’, like the spectacle, can be quite overpowering. You may wish to take a nose peg as well as a hat to safeguard yourself from those vertical deposits.

NB is North Berwick’s local gin, and their visitor centre nearby is well worth a visit. Book direct here

Eat Local

To complete your day in North Berwick, why not book a table at Herringbone, for some great locally sourced food, and some amazing cocktails (some with NB Gin!)

Tuesday, Cruiseday!

Tuesday is Cruise-day, so how about visiting mystical Loch Ness on the Jacobite Cruise Boats? With more sightings of the elusive monster than ever this year, it could be your opportunity to go down in history by snapping the perfect portrait of the beast. If she doesn’t appear, it’s still a splendid waterway connecting two seaboards of Scotland, from Inverness right down the Great Glen to Fort William. Crowned by one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks, visit Castle Urquhart to wander around the ruins and imagine how life once was, on the shores of Scotland’s largest, deepest, and most celebrated loch.

Loch Ness Gin is distilled on the shores of the Loch. Lorien Cameron Ross who co-founded the brand with her husband Kevin, was born at Aldourie Castle on the shores of Loch Ness.
Her family goes back over 500 years as local landowners, and the juniper used in Loch Ness gin is still foraged from their own land. Buy Loch Ness Gin here

Eat and Stay Local

For a lovely lochside supper, how about The Dores Inn. Complete with it’s own little beach and resident Nessie Spotter, it gets very busy here, so book your table in advance.

If you’re able to stay overnight, treat yourself to the historic and luxurious Culloden House Hotel. Bonnie Prince Charlie himself stayed here the night before the fateful Battle of Culloden. It’s gracious rooms and sweeping lawns are fit for modern day Princes and Princesses too, and what a great opportunity to immerse yourself in some real history!

Waterways Wednesday

Waterways Wednesday might take you to the Marina at Rhu, near Helensburgh. Cruising the pretty inlets and tree lined shores of the Firth of Clyde is one of Scotland’s most serene experiences. With fresh vistas at every tack, yet all within the sheltered waters of the estuary. The Marina itself welcomes land lubbers just as warmly as salty sailors, so drop in for some food, to pick up a collectable at the ‘Boat Jumbles’, or to help out with a beach cleaning campaign, you’ll be warmly received.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House is also close by, so you could be paddling in the mighty Clyde in the morning, and dabbling in mighty architecture in the afternoon!

Glasgow’s Makar Gin is also worth discovering. You can buy it online here.

Thalassophile Thursday!

Apparently ‘Thalassophile’ describes someone who loves the sea, so for Thalassophiles everywhere, check out the gorgeous sandy beaches of the Moray Firth. Not only Scotland’s sunniest region, with a micro climate which often out performs regions much further south, there are beaches here to rival any in the world, and some resident dolphins to look out for too. To plan your day-trip, visit the Gincyclopedia, and plot a route to include stops at some of the gin producers you’ll encounter along the way. After all no
one wants to be a Thirsty Thalassophile!

Eat and Stay Local

There are a range of places to eat and stay along this coast, from The Cullen Bay Hotel, overlooking (you guessed it) Cullen Bay, along to the Golf View Hotel in Lossiemouth, overlooking the beautiful sandy west beach and (you guessed it) the golf course. Continue westward to Nairn and the West End Hotel and Restaurant in the (you guessed it) quiet West End of Nairn. Take your pick, they’re all excellent and all stock a wide range of Scottish Gin!

Feel Good Friday

Friday’s dose of Vitamin Sea heads to the south west coast and the Largs Yacht Haven. Known for some amazing sunsets across the sea, there’s an array of eating places and other reasons to visit, including Geraldo’s of Largs. If you haven’t discovered it yet, Geraldo’s is one of those shops you dream of. Run by a mother and daughter team and a collection of lovely friendly staff, they stock chocolates, cakes, ice creams, (and probably some healthy stuff too if I cared to look) PLUS, an amazing collection of Scottish Gin. Visit their website here for more details.

Stay Local

If you’re able to linger longer in Largs, the peaceful Ferry Row B&B in nearby Fairlie, enjoys full on sea views. It also scores highly in our ‘Travel Kindly’ ratings, as they have been awarded a Green Tourism Gold Award, and you’ll enjoy the homemade jams, and the lifts to help you use public transport if you so desire.

Seaside Saturday

Saturday’s Seaside sojourn takes us right up to the very top of Scotland, to Unst. Two ferries north from Lerwick, this is indeed a pilgrimage, but gosh you won’t be disappointed.

Shetland has a very distinct feel, unlike any other island group, and an enchanting accent too. It really does feel more Scandinavian than Scottish sometimes. The Norse influence is very evident at Haroldswick, where a replica of the Skidbladner Longship sits alongside a reconstructed Viking Longhouse. Discover more about Unst’s Viking Heritage at the Unst Boat Haven. It has a collection of craft from Shetland and Norway, as well as a wonderful array of related artefacts to explore. Nearby is Saxa Vord, where Shetland Reel Gin is made. Britain’s most northerly distillery uses locally growing seaweed in its botanical recipe, and you can taste the ozone in every sip! Book a tour here, or buy this delicious gin online if you can’t get there this Summer (or Simmer, if you are a local).

Stay Local

Accommodation on Unst is understandably limited, but there’s a hostel and campsite at Gardiesfauld, Uyeasound. Each tent pitch has a stone wall sheltering it, as Unst can be a wee bit breezy at times! There is one hotel, a few B&Bs and some gorgeous self catering properties. Check out www.shetlandvisitor.com for details.

If you are heading back to the mainland (Shetland mainland that is), Busta House Hotel is gorgeous! Rich in history, warm and welcoming, and with a menu packed with local ingredients. It’s perfectly situated in the heart of Shetland, so gives easy access to explore so much of these intriguing and intoxicating islands.

Sea-based Scenery Sunday

So, for Sunday’s sea-based scenery overload, there’s nowhere more beautiful than The Road to the Isles. From Fort William out via Glenfinnan and Lochailort, the road reaches the Atlantic at Loch Nan Uamh. Here the King’s Rock marks the first step onto Scottish soil of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender. Learn more about him at Glenfinnan’s Visitor Centre.

As you approach Arisaig take the small road down to the shore line, and stick with it. Whether you follow this road along the coast, past a collection of small sandy bays with azure water and views of the small isles of Eigg, Muck & Rum. Or you stop to explore the peninsula which frames the southern side of Arisaig Bay. Or continue to the tiny golf course at Traigh, the endless sand of Camusdarach (Ewen McGregor’s favourite beach incidentally), or on to the white sands of Morar, I can’t make you choose. But do take time to stop, to walk, to explore.

Boat trips run from the Arisaig Marina to transport you out to the isles, as well as wildlife spotting trips. Take advantage of those gorgeous views and the sunsets at The Arisaig Hotel, from its lovely deck area. You may spot (or more likely hear) the Jacobite Steam Train as it chuffs its way to Mallaig, packed full of Harry Potter fans, thrilled to have crossed the Glenfinnan Viaduct in ‘Hogwarts Express’ mode. There are kayaks to hire, walks to be had, wildlife to be spotted, and fresh seafood to be gobbled, as well as Arisaig Gin! Buy yours here. It seems there are ways to improve perfection – Arisaig and Gin. What a way to end National Marine Week. Land Ahoy!

Eat, Stay and Play Local

The Arisaig Hotel really is the centre of this community, and whether you just have time for a quick Arisaig Gin and Tonic on the deck, some fresh local seafood in the Crofters Rest, or join in with the music sessions on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, there’s always plenty to enjoy. Stay a few nights if you can and soak up the views, the sunsets, the wildlife, oh, and the gin of course!


Explore the Shores of Scotland

Plan your own next coast line adventure with the Gincyclopedia. An interactive map that can help you plan the perfect getaway, daytrip or longer staycation! Create your own itinerary for FREE. Book direct with accommodation providers, transport, activities and lots more.

Don’t forget your Scottish Distillery Gin stops along the way!

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Please read and agree to our terms and conditions ahead of entering this competition.

ENTER HERE or via the form below

Ginspired Scotland have teamed up with our friends at Avva Gin and Caorunn Gin to offer you the chance to WIN a 2 night Ginspired stay in Moray Speyside, Scotland!

Enter our competition to WIN a 2 night self-catering stay at a rural holiday cottage in the heart of Speyside, PLUS, a bespoke 1 day tour incorporating 2 Scottish Gin distilleries and a Scottish Gin themed dinner!

Following a bespoke Ginspired Day Trip itinerary, included in the prize is a chauffeur driven, guided private tour for up to 4 people with our friends at More in Moray.


The Prize – Ginspired Scotland Day Trip Itinerary

Your Ginspired day trip will include:

2 nights self-catering holiday cottage accommodation

Welcome hamper of locally sourced produce

Pick up at your accommodation

Transport to a tour and tasting at Caorunn Gin Distillery

Lunch

Visit to Craigellachie Bridge, Elgin Cathedral and Johnstons of Elgin

Transport to Elgin for a tour and tasting at Avva Gin Distillery

Dinner and Scottish Gin tasting

Transport back to your accommodation

ENTER HERE or via the form below

Closing date for entries: 31st July 2021

More in Moray

Travel in style! More in Moray are based in lovely Lossiemouth and provide a wide range of private tours across the Moray Speyside region and beyond. Whether you are looking for a gin distillery tour, a whisky tour, a castles tour, and bespoke itineraries are catered for. More in Moray are happy to assist you with any specific plans for touring across Morayshire, Aberdeenshire, and The Highlands. It is your personalized itinerary, it is your choice!


Caorunn Gin Distillery Tour and Tasting

If you ever needed another excuse to visit the beautiful Speyside region of the Scottish Highlands, this is it. Balmenach Distillery set in a spectacular backdrop, but the Caorunn Gin guided tour takes you on a journey to learn first-hand how the Copper Berry Chamber distillation process sets us apart from the rest.

The local Gin Geniuses will take you through what goes into making Caorunn, and not only that, but you’ll be able to appreciate the stunning surroundings where our Celtic Botanicals are hand-foraged by the team. 

Caorunn Logo

Avva Gin Distillery Tour and Tasting

Located in the old Cathedral City of Elgin and the famous distilling region of Speyside, Avva Scottish Gin is lovingly handcrafted in Jessie-Jean our bespoke copper still.  The name Avva means a respected grandmother or elder women in the Indian language of Dravidian and therefore fitting that the still is named after our distillers two grandmothers.  

Launched in October 2016, Avva Scottish Gin have gone onto produce an award winning portfolio of spirits.  Product inspiration is drawn from regional influences from label designs to ingredients.  
Authenticity is a key value of the distillery which prides itself in distilling, infusing and bottling on-site.  Artisan small batch craft gin, distilled slowly with a selected mix of Highland and Speyside botanicals.  

Avva made with heart, in the heart of Speyside. 

Avva Gin Logo

The Dowans Hotel, Aberlour

The Dowans
Enjoy a Scottish Gin cocktails and a gin-themed dinner in beautiful surroundings at the Dowans Hotel in Aberlour.

Although known for the range of whiskies in its Still bar, this family-run hotel also has a wide variety of gins available in its MBar and makes a great base for exploring the Speyside distilleries.


Daleigh Cottage, Advie

2 night stay near Grantown-on-Spey

Launching in August 2021 – Daleigh Cottage is a 2 bed cosy highland cottage on the iconic Tulchan Estate near Grantown on Spey. Relax in the peace of the beautiful Scottish countryside with amazing views from every window.


TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Please read and agree to our terms and conditions ahead of entering this competition.


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The Scottish picnic season has arrived, just in time for National Picnic Week! Enjoy a true taste of summer by adding a refreshing twist of locally produced Scottish Gin to your essential summer picnic checklist. 

Here you will find Ginspired ideas of superb places to sip Scottish Gin outdoors in the lovely summer sunshine. Whether you’re looking for a secluded forest glen or a beautiful beach with big open skies and stunning sea views, here’s Ginspired Scotland’s top tips for a memorable Ginspired summer picnic.


Find your perfect Ginspired picnic place

With unprecedented levels of picnicking this year, finding the perfect picnic site in Scotland couldn’t be easier. Rely on Ginspired Scotland’s interactive map, aka the Gincyclopedia, to provide everything you need to plan the most memorable and delicious summertime picnic. 

Loch Morlich Beach © fb/Loch Morlich Watersports

Escape from it all and head to the hills, the Cairngorms National Park is the UK’s largest natural gem and is home to an abundance of naturally Scottish produce. It is also a wildly beautiful place to picnic. Feast in the forests, luncheon by a glistening loch, relax at a riverside or you can even hit the beach!  Try Abernethy Forest,  Loch Morlich beach, Loch an Uaine or Loch an Eilean where you can admire the breathtaking scenery and enjoy mother nature at her absolute best.

© KJ’s Bothy Bakery/FB

Locally, food on the go is available from local food suppliers such as Rothiemurchus Farm shop where you can order a pre-packed meal kit, a hamper or afternoon tea box and team it up with one (or two) of the local gins, for the ultimate ‘Luxury Lazy day by the Loch’.  Pay nearby Grantown-on-Spey a visit and head to KJ’s Bothy Bakery for awesome picnic food, cakes, scones and world class coffee.


Coastal picnics across Moray Speyside

Embrace the Scottish summertime and head to the one of the many sandy beaches along the Moray Firth and experience the calming influence of water wellness. We all know the health benefits of being outdoors and by the water, so breath deeply and chill with a delicious picnic of local tasty treats. From family-friendly beach days to romantic sunsets views, Moray Speyside is a fantastic place for a seaside escape. 

Findhorn Beach © Shutterstock

Our top tips for a coastal picnic include locations such as Roseisle beach where there is a lovely mix of forestry, a kids playground, BBQ amenities and a stunning beach with shallow waters, perfect for paddling. Visit Lossiemouth west beach with the Instagrammable Covesea lighthouse or the stunning and ever popular Findhorn Bay for its relaxed vibe, optional boat trips and even a spot of SUPping.

Bootleggers Bothy, Cummingston © FB/@BootleggersBothy

Local food lovers are spoilt for choice. Fill your picnic platter with local delights from Brodie Countryfare, Allarburn Farm Shop, Gordon & Macphail or the Bootleggers Bothy which is a brilliant alfresco eating experience on the Moray Firth coast. Strawberry picking is available further up the coast at Wester Hardmuir, their ice cream is definitely worth a try!

Locally produced Scottish Gins include…


Enjoy a family road trip picnic

The ingredients for an epic family road trip always includes a solid soundtrack, your favourite people, great places to visit and a delicious picnic. So grab your besties, your picnic blanket, your cool box and let’s hit the road! 

Bow Fiddle Rock
Bow Fiddle Rock © VisitScotland

The north east corner of Scotland is home to some of our favourite picnicking places. The sheer variety and diversity of outstanding natural landscapes makes it difficult to choose, but some of the best include Crathes Castle, Gardens and Estate at Banchory, WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay and Bow Fiddle Rock at Portknockie are firm favourites.

© Gordon Castle

Self-drive adventure picnic treats are available from Finzean Estate Farm Shop & Tea Room in Banchory, Baxters Highland Village at Fochabers and Gordon Castle Walled Garden and Cafe is great for a stroll around followed by coffee, lunch, or cake.  As a picnic alternative, fish and chips are available at Portknockie and we can’t really imagine a better place by the sea to eat them.

Locally produced Scottish Gins include…


Ginspired island hopping

Summer stay-cations get no better than island hopping off the coast of Scotland. Fill your picnic hamper with locally produced food and drink and you are onto a winner.

The Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye © Shutterstock

The isle of Bute could be one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. Follow the West Island Way on foot and make a picnic pit stop at one of the beautiful beaches. Visit Cycle-Bute and hire a bike and trailer, a great way to keep your picnic safe! On the isle of Skye, the iconic Fairy Pools have been voted the best picnic location in Scotland and we can see why! Or venture north and take a NorthLink ferry hop over to Orkney to experience outdoor attractions such as Skara Brae or the Ring of Brodgar for a real sense of Orcadian heritage.

Port Bannatyne, Isle of Bute © Shutterstock

Bute Kitchen is a collaboration of all Bute’s local producers, enjoy Ritchie’s of Rothesay smoked fish, Bute Gin, or try Sheese! When visiting Orkney, order a hamper of local produce from Jollys of Orkney, they even do a special Gin hamper which includes Gin fudge, Gin cheese, and Gin preserves amongst other delicious smoked fish and of course.. Gin! If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Skye, build your picnic with produce from the Isle of Skye Baking Co. and for seafood and local produce, visit The Oyster Shed.

Jollys of Orkney Gin Hamper © Jollys of Orkney

Locally produced Scottish Gins include…


Picnic in the city

Picnics are not just for the countryside! Find a glorious green space in one of Scotland’s amazing cities and soak up the summer sunshine by taking some moments away from the hustle and bustle. Here are two of our favourites.

Edinburgh © Shutterstock

Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh has a long standing gin-making heritage and is home to renowned gin distilling expertise and award-winning delicious Scottish Gins. There’s no better place to unfurl a picnic blanket and enjoy a true taste of the city than at Calton Hill, The Royal Botanic Garden or right in the buzzing centre at Princes Street Gardens.

The Dundee Law © VisitScotland

Dundee has lots of green spaces to enjoy a picnic , including Camperdown Country Park, Dundee Botanic Garden, and Slessor Park in the heart of the city centre. A walk up The Law rewards you with spectacular views over the city and far away.

Dundee and surrounds is also home to a growing number of independent specialist food and drink retailers.  If you like to shop local, and limit the food miles in your larder, visit The Butcher, The Baker. Here ‘passion’ is key (have your cold shower ready!) Fraser’s Fruit & Veg has a range of local fresh produce plus ready meals, soups and deli foods, all beautifully presented. Just out of town is Grewar’s Farm Shop too, where ‘local’ and ‘quality’ are the watchwords.

Locally produced Scottish Gins include…

Wherever your picnicking adventures take you, be sure to check out our free Gincyclopedia Gin map to add a refreshing summer twist of locally produced Scottish Gin!

If you love touring on two wheels, make cycle-friendly Scotland your place for a Ginspired escape. Whether you are after easy going, family friendly trails, a bike-packing adventure, an adrenaline fuelled off-road mountain bike day in the hills or a tour in our cycle-friendly cities, come rain or shine Scotland has some truly Ginspired day trips for cycling.

FROG

After several hours in the saddle, what better way to chill out after a day of physical challenge than with a refreshing Scottish Gin and Tonic? Whilst cycling and drinking gin at the same time is obviously completely illegal, Ginspired Scotland will show you the best places to sit back, relax and reward the efforts of your day with local food, authentic experiences and artisanal Scottish Gin.


1. GLASGOW

NEXT BIKE LOGO

With segregated cycle lanes and links to wider cycle networks, Glasgow is leading the way in becoming a haven for urban cyclists.  Like most major cities, Glasgow is home to NextBike! where you can rent an e-Bike or standard bike and explore this amazing city on two wheels. Simply download the app, register and you are good to go!

Culture vultures can ride through Glasgow following the sensational Glasgow Mural Trail where you can take in works of art, culture, heritage and humour. The great news is that the Glasgow Mural Trail passes by Glasgow finest restaurants, bars and Scottish Gin distilleries. Refuel and relax at Sauchiehall Street’s Gin 71 for gin tasting or BeGin in the West End. Detour to the Barras Art and Design Centre where you’ll find a warm welcome from Crossbill Gin Distillers.

The Seven Lochs and Clyde Loop combines the new Seven Lochs trail with a lovely cycle along the river Clyde. Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to Scotland’s largest urban nature park at Seven Lochs Wetlands. This largely traffic free route ends at the buzzing West End of Glasgow where you can eat, drink and relax in some of Glasgow’s best restaurants. Our Ginspired post-cycling eating recommendations include Sloans for indoor and outdoor dining and The Spiritualist Bar and Restaurant, the Makar Gin distillery is nearby.

For a real mountain bike experience in the heart of the city, head to Pollok Country Park on the south side of Glasgow. With trails to suit all levels of ability, Pollok Country Park offers a gentle ride in the woods, or steeper terrain with varied surfaces and constructed obstacles. For a post adrenalin-rush Ginspired treat, try The Allison Arms, Curious Liquids, or savour Illicit Gin wherever you can find it.

Tour around Glasgow or bike pack out of Glasgow – whichever you decide be sure to capture the true spirit of the people of Glasgow and end your day in the saddle with a deliciously refreshing local gin.


2. EDINBURGH

Travelling around Edinburgh by bike is a perfect way to immerse yourself in this beautiful and historic city. Bike hire is available at JustEatCycles, Bike Trax, Pedal Forth or be guided around the city with Edinburgh Bike Tours or Baja Bikes.

At the foot of the Royal Mile is Holyrood Park which offers spectacular cityscape views and a well surfaced road for cyclists. Scottish Gin Distillery tours near to Holyrood Park include Holyrood Gin, South Loch Gin, and Pickerings Gin. In addition, there are plenty of stops along the way including five star visitor attraction Dynamic Earth. You can also see The Scottish Parliament building and national monument of Scotland at Calton Hill, or cycle to visit Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland.

A bike ride to South Queensferry from Edinburgh along section 7 of The John Muir Way reveals superb views of all three of Scotland’s Forth bridges.  Or in reverse, from South Queensferry, end up at Arthurs Seat for an end of cycle climb and spectacular views across the city.

You will be spoilt for choice for places to eat and drink but our top tips include refuelling at Heads and Tails, One Square and 56º North.


3. FORT WILLIAM

Experience Scotland’s finest scenery and a backdrop of Ben Nevis, Fort William is the perfect escape for those wanting to adventure on two wheels. Bike hire is available at Off Beat Bikes in Fort William and there are lots of great biking routes in and around the town. The Great Glen Cycle Way is a stunning trail that follows the Caledonian Canal and the shores of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness with the mountains of the Ben Nevis range ever present. Take a bike packing adventure over few days and journey along The West Highland 150. 150 miles of stunning scenery with plenty of accommodation stops along the way. Try the Loch Leven Hotel, The Moorings or Clachaig Inn. Celebrate your challenges with local Scottish Gin such as Pixel Spirits, or Aonach Mor Gin.


4. GLENLIVET

Escape to the Cairngorm National Park where the Glenlivet Estate is a truly beautiful and less discovered area of Scotland.The perfect place to hit the hills and go mountain biking. Bike hire is available on-site at BikeGlenlivet. There are three trails for cross country riding with a route to suit all abilities. The scenery is astounding and the locally produced Scottish Gins are a treat. Try a Caorunn Gin or Eight Lands with premium tonic and enjoy the view. Definitively a Ginspired day trip for the cycling enthusiast.


5. SPEYSIDE

The Moray Monster Trails at Fochabers is a great family friendly mountain biking day out with trails across forestry land and views across the Moray Firth. For non-riders there is plenty to do locally too. Visit Gordon Castle Walled Garden and Cafe and don’t forget to purchase their delicious and award winning Gordon Castle Gin. Avva Gin, El:Gin, Roehill Springs Gin and MacGin are all locally produced and add a hint of local flavour after a long day in the hills. Who said Speyside was all about whisky?


6. AVIEMORE

Mountain biking is very much en vogue in Aviemore.  Not surprising as the trails are endless and every possible level of talent and fitness can be accommodated. Hire a bike locally at Bothy Bikes, In Your Element or Aviemore Bikes.  At the end of your Cairngorm adventure, why not refresh your senses with a Cairngorm Gin?  It’s produced within the National Park and one of it’s key botanicals is pine needles!  It’s delicious and available online as well as from the Rothiemurchus Shop at Inverdruie. Kinrara Gin, Byrons Gin, Daffy’s Gin, Duncan’s Gin and Inshriach Gin are all local and widely available. Eating out is easy in Aviemore, try the Winking Owl, The Old Bridge Inn or The Cairngorm Hotel.


7. DUNDEE

Dundee has lots of green spaces to enjoy, including Camperdown Country Park, Dundee Botanic Garden, and Slessor Park in the heart of the city centre. Mountain bikers can head to the all new Templeton Tangle to learn skills and develop confidence. The Green Circular is a 26-mile leisure cycle and walking route that circumnavigates Dundee. It passes by Dundee’s major visitor attractions, the V&A, Discovery Point and Camperdown Wildlife Centre.

Complete the day by sipping a relaxing local gin. Try award winning Verdant Dry Gin, or The Dundee Gin Co’s Dundee Cake Gin Liqueur, Marmalade Gin Liqueur or their Classic Dry Gin. Crag & Tail small batch Scottish Gin or Tayport Distillery’s Wild Rose Gin are also delicious and refreshing.

Our top tips for eating out in Dundee include Gallery 48, The Bruach Bar in nearby Broughty Ferry or Duke’s Corner is where to head for cocktails, local gins, craft beers and good food.


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New Normal Road sign

As we socially distance ourselves from lockdown, contemplating the return to normality can be quite daunting. Will we remember that we now have to dress our lower halves as well? Will we brush/comb/polish the back of our hair styles, as well as the sections visible on Zoom? Can we still use the slowness of our broadband as an excuse for that ‘missed’ action point? But more fundamentally, will our brains cope with the combination of work, commuting, socialising and home/family life, without exploding? i.e. we might be beating Covid, but will we survive getting back to normal?

If you’re not sure, perhaps a bit of brain training is what’s required. Take your brain back to school. But no, I’m not that cruel, I’m sending you and your brain to GIN SCHOOL!!
Some of your favourite gin producers have been quick off the mark to kindly bring this vital therapeutic
opportunity to you, no matter where in Scotland you find yourself facing being normal:-

Scottish Gin Schools.

Crossbill Gin re-opens their gin school in late May. Their educational experience is a few hours (usually 3)
spent at the distillery in Glasgow learning about how gin is made and the botanicals involved. This
includes some tutored nosing and tasting with an expert. You’ll then go on to select your preferred
botanicals and create your own gin to take away with you. The price is currently £125 per person. Please
always book ahead.
That’s getting back to normal.

Isle of Skye Distillery, home of Misty Isle and Tommy’s Gin, re-opens on Wednesdays and Fridays from 2-
5pm, led by Master Distiller Alistair. The three hour sensory experience includes gin tastings, the history of gin and the story of The Isle of Skye Distillery. Plus the chance to create your own bottle of gin by expertly selecting the botanicals under Alistair’s guidance, running your own pot still, then bottling and labelling too. You can share a still between two of you, or keep it all to yourself (no one’s judging!) The price is £85 per still either way. Please always book in advance. This is going to be very popular. That’s normal too.

The City of Aberdeen Distillery. Dan and Alan plan to re-open in late May. Their Gin School is a great
place to meet gin minded people from across the region. They work with up to 20 aspiring gin makers at a time and offer a comprehensive session covering the history of distilling in Aberdeen, a G&T on arrival, various samples to inform your choices, and your own design of bottle filled with gin. Celebrate becoming a distiller with a cocktail afterwards – what more could you and your normal brain wish for?

Ballachulish’s Pixel Spirits hold their gin school at North Ballachulish, at the foot of Glen Coe. The local
landscape is a treat for the senses in itself, but add in gin to the mix, and your wellbeing rating will soar like a local eagle. The Gin School here is up and running, and a three hour gin making experience, complete with recipe development time, distilling an uber small batch gin, and taking home a full sized bottle of your bespoke creation, comes in at £89 per person. There’s a G&T or two also included in case you’re thirsty.

Loch Leven Hotel

Uniquely, Pixel also offers a rum school. It’s a similar set up, but making rum is a very different process to
gin, so it’s a whole new set of neural pathways for your brain to develop! Hard to miss that Pixel is located
in the grounds of the Loch Leven Hotel, so why not book in for a couple of nights and cover both bases?
Two wonderful spirits in two wonderful days. That’s truly being kind to yourself and your grey matter. That should be normal.


Lost Loch Distillery, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire is re-opening once restrictions allow. Luckily their airy and
spacious gin school lets everyone discover all about gin or other botanical spirits (the choice is yours) with lots of space around them. Spend the day learning about how botanical spirits are created and work
alongside the experts to design your own unique expression, and take it home with you at the end of the
day! At present, you might be best to buy a voucher, which at £115 is a promise of an extremely
educational and therapeutic day to come. Go on, your brain (and taste buds) will thank you for it. They
normally do.


Kirkwall’s Kirkjuvagr Distillery is re-opening for tours very soon, and looks forward to welcoming you back
to take part in their Gin Making sessions. This immersion in all things gin can be for 1, 2 or 3 people
sharing one mini-still. The price ranges from £125 for one person, £175 for two and £225 for three people
working together at this harbour front distillery. It’s a five hour experience and must be booked in advance of course, subject to Covid restrictions. But that’s completely normal.

Crafty Distillery is home to Hills and Harbours Gin, Newton Stewart. It re-opens on Friday April 30 th for
their informative tours, which include a perfect serve of the base spirit, a cocktail and a Hills and Harbour
Gin & Tonic for £20, or a non-drinking driver tour for £10. Their highly regarded full day spent with the
Master Distiller which includes foraging for botanicals and learning the art of distilling, will begin once
Covid restrictions allow. If you can’t wait, call the team and it may be possible to set something up if you
use your own transport. New normal.

So Are You Ready?


So, as normal, Ginspired has come up with the perfect guide to enhancing your wellbeing as we adjust to getting back to normal. If you, or someone you know, has a brain that would benefit from attending school (and who hasn’t?), book them in. You’re bound to find that their whole demeanour is improved immeasurably, when thoroughly immersed in Scottish Gin, (completely normal).

So click through the links (as normal) and book yourself on!


You’re welcome. (That’s normal too.)

We are all revelling in the delight of travel restrictions being eased around Scotland. So for us, first stop, Cairngorms National Park!

The Cairngorms National Park takes a leading role in many wildlife and adventure stories.  It’s no co-incidence that Chris Packham and co are regularly spotted filming Springwatch and its seasonal counterparts here, as it boasts the full set of Scotland’s wildlife heroes, and a spectacular backdrop for every vibrant scene.

Getting Here

Easy to find – the heart of the Highlands

Aviemore is accessible by car (A9). Approx 40 mins from Inverness and 1hr 40mins from Perth, it is perfect to get there and back in the same day, and still have ample time for exploring.

Join us as we take our #GinspiredDayTrip around Aviemore.

Loch Morlich

Head a few miles up the ‘ski road’ to the stunning Loch Morlich.  Fed by snow melt from high up on the sub-arctic tundra of the Cairngorm Plateau, the water here never feels anything less than baltic. However the local ducks will welcome you warmly, especially if you’ve brought some peas, sweetcorn, or porridge oats (never bread), to reward their attentions.  A small parking fee will allow you to spend a while here. Paddling (for the brave), picnicking, watching the sailing boats and enjoying the views of the mountains behind.

Rothiemurchus Visitor Centre

Nearby Rothiemurchus Visitor Centre is a must during your day out. The Farm shop is open, and always worth a visit. Why not order a pre-packed meal kit for when you return home. A hamper or afternoon tea box and team it up with one (or two) of the local gins, for the ultimate ‘Luxury Lazy day by the Loch’. Here you can refresh yourselves with coffee and cakes from ‘The Barn’ which is open for takeaway only.  If budgets and time allow, book clay pigeon shooting, quad trekking, hairy coo safaris, pony trekking or the ever popular Treezone.  If not, a map of the estate and it’s many trails and paths is a great investment. 

Some of the Activities available at the Cairngorm National Park

Ariel View of Loch Eilein, Cairngorm National Park

One of our favourites is the lovely path around Loch an Eilein.  It’s £4.50 to park a car, but that does give access to toilets and a small visitor centre telling more about the local area. Please check before you travel to see if these facilities are open at this time.  The walk encircles the loch which is home to a small medieval castle on a rocky island.  Strolling through ancient pine forests, this walk is as good in winter as in summer.  Red squirrels are evident, if you don’t see them in person, you’ll see the pine cones they’ve stripped littering the forest floor.  Look out too for wood ant nests, which form huge piles of pine needles among the heather and other woodland shrubs.  Interesting mosses, ferns and pine bark textures in among towering trees, some several hundred years old.  It’s both atmospheric and somehow inspiring. 

Bike Your Way Around the National Park

Mountain biking is very much in vogue in the Cairngorm National Park..  Bike and eBike hire is a great way to get around for the energetic. The trails are endless if you wish, shorter if required. But every possible level of talent and fitness can be accommodated. Hire a bike locally if you can’t bring your own.   Wear a helmet though – those ancient pine trees can be hard!  Segway taster sessions, fishing for beginners and children at the well stocked lochs are also available for pre-booking. Fun for all the family.