So as I sit here on a Moray evening in December it is not surprising our days have become shorter and the long dark nights are coming in earlier, summer seems a distant memory. With our longer summer days and shorter nights, it is hard sometimes to appreciate our global location. For example, did you know that here in Moray we are on the same latitude as Kodiak Island – we just don’t have the bears!
Orkney Islands Day Trip
This makes me think of some of the Summer holiday activities you can do from here. This Summer I found the time to take a day trip to Orkney Islands. A day full of incredible new experiences and sights. The ferry ride home was just magical and the scenery not to be missed. Again, latitude wise I was reminded that as I marvelled at the medieval St Magnus Cathedral I was closer to Norway than London and yet still in the UK!
Speyside Cooperage Visit
This Summer I also found the time to visit Speyside Cooperage and watched with fascination the ancient art of Coopering. Still using many traditional methods, the Coopers busy themselves shaping, shaving and charring casks for what is an integral part of the local whisky industry. The skill that goes into looking after these barrels is incredible and each distillery has its own special barrels. I definitely recommend a visit as you explore our local distilleries.
And of course, no Summer is complete without a visit to Edinburgh. Although we are in the Highlands it is a very scenic drive through the Cairngorms National Park or an easy journey on the train from Aviemore to arrive where you need to be in the city centre. Both my visits to Edinburgh this year where on business.
The first trip was to celebrate Blervie House being included in latest “Scotland The Best” guidebook. Written by Peter Irvine who knows Scotland inside out – it is indeed a special honour to be included in his Guide. The second visit was to a Visit Scotland meeting in Leith, the old maritime centre of Edinburgh and current home of the Royal Yacht Britannia. That gave me the opportunity to explore a new side of Edinburgh. I loved the waterfront area and the lovely restaurants in that area and actually so accessible from the City Centre.
So as Christmas approaches like most of us I will be thinking of what presents to give and look forward to Hogmanay. Scotland will be celebrating the Year of Coastal Waters 2020 so with Moray having some 35 miles of Coastline and some of the best Dolphin spotting in the UK there will be some great new experiences out there.
Which can only lead me to wish all of you reading this a Happy Christmas and hoping you find some time to plan your own 2020.
Top Tip – if you are booking car hire from Edinburgh consider hiring from one of the Leith locations as it makes pick up and driving out of Edinburgh very easy plus gives you time to enjoy the city without a car!