Whisky and No Room at the Inn

Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
Trip End Sep 14, 2007

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

   I said goodbye to Marrell as well as Bruce and Jodi as my wonderful two day stay at Amalfi B&B came to an end.  It was tough to leave as the dogs were great to come home to, reminding me of Anderson.  I knew today was going to be a long day, because I was going to drive from Dornoch all the way to the "other" East coast of Scotland just north of Aberdeen, in Cruden Bay.  I decided to make a brief stop-over at the Glenmorangie Distillery and take a tour of the facilities.  It was very interesting to see how they make the whisky - first how it is actually beer, then how they continue to work with the distilled sugars from the barley to make whisky.  Glenmorangie is the best selling whisky in Scotland, which I'm sure says a lot about the quality. 

   They use taller spirit stills to get more of the bad vapours out of the alcohol, thus allowing them to say "Our whisky is that much closer to Heaven."  Very witty.  Anyway, the real reason for a whisky tour is the wee dram at the end, which was very warming, to say the least.  I got a couple of good pictures of the spirit stills, but after that, I was on my way.  I drove back through Inverness, and around the Moray Firth through Elgin.  From here it was very much small hills and tiny villages, so I will leave the descriptions out.  I had enough "pictures of cows and barns" from earlier so I really didn't stop to take any. 

   I arrived in Aberdeen around 4ish, and I proceeded to drive the twenty miles or so north to Cruden Bay, the course I was planning on playing the next day.  I found it easily (get to the small town, turn towards the ocean, there's the course) and set up a tee time for 9AM.  With that set, I went into town to find a room.  Of course, there were absolutely zero rooms in Cruden Bay.  I drove back to Aberdeen, and come to find out, there were zero rooms in Aberdeen (at least the hotels).  I didn't know where any of the B&B's were, and Aberdeen is a bigger city, so I went north.  On to a small town of Ellon, which had no rooms.  I was beginning to notice a trend.  I went to Newburgh, no rooms.  I went to Peterhead, which is a good 30 miles north of Aberdeen, and I couldn't find a thing.  No vacancy signs on all the B&B's, no rooms in the hotels.  By now it was 7:15 and getting darker, and I had a bad feeling I would be sleeping in the car.  The last B&B I went to didn't have room, but he had a friend who operated a B&B and hostel in Rattray Head, about 5 miles north of Peterhead. 

   I took it, and proceeded to listen to his directions, which included "once you get to the end of the pavement, don't worry, just keep going on the dirt road, and you'll get to it after another mile or so."  NOT the most confidence-inspiring quote I was looking for.  However, it was 7:30 and I was very tired, and I didn't much feel like sleeping in the car.  So on I went.  I turned down this very dark, very small road that lead out into farmland.  One word kept flashing through my head . . . ."hostel, hostel, hostel" as in the movie Hostel.  Which does happen to be a horror movie about people who stay in a hostel getting chopped up and such.  Very much the correct frame of mind I should be in at this point.  So I keep fighting the tickle in the back of neck telling me to turn around, and I push on through the dark. 

   I take the next turn, following signs to Rattray Head, which is nothing more than a lighthouse on a promontory.  Ah yes, here we get to the dirt road, which looks nothing more than a tractor track, bracketed in by fences.  That means there IS no place to turn around if I go forward.  The itch is stronger at the back of my neck, but my desire for a bed wins out.  At this point there are no lights anywhere except my headlights, beaming down some dirt track with who knows what at the end of it.  I finally crest the hill and see a couple of lights coming from a two building compound, one is the B&B, the other is the hostel.  There is nothing but this place for a good two miles.  The lighthouse beams around as I peak the hill, and we are surrounded by dunes and fence.  The prominent thought was "if something happens to me here, no one will ever find me."  It reminded me of the place in the desert where the Mafioso take there victims to be buried.

   I keep the car in drive, and press on to the buildings . . .
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