While London and the rest of the country suffered a tsunami I was elsewhere. North East Scotland for a few days walking along the River Spey from the coast to Aviemore. Mostly easy walking in what is famous fishing and whisky country. For first two days bright sunshine and a stillness saluted the last days of summer. Over head a Vee squadron of one hundred geese going South and East into the sun. After a few hours on a hill we could see the Spey stretch thirty miles back to the sea. Magic.
Although the idea was B&Bs it wasnt always that easy. After the first days walking it was the four star Craigellachie Hotel. Hot bath, towel robes,the business. Across the road was the Highlander bar boasting 500 malt whiskys. I did my best,but others were way ahead and more practiced. I got friendly with the bar manager as one does. She was a tall and gracious Japanese lady. Also one of the world’s malt whiskey experts. Give her a taste and she will come up with the brand. Everyone was in love. Those that had been the night before were rewarded with high fives. They were mostly Dutch. It got so crowded that we had to retreat to the hotel bar where mien host was Hungarian.
The next night was in Cragganmore House a Victorian pile built in 1860 for the distillery owner in the village. Now run by Tony and Helen. Only four rooms but here there were open fires, Tony turned out to be one the world’s great hotel owners and the meal was one of the best ever tasted. Certainly a far cry from the fish and chips in Elgin and the Indian in Grantown!
Another highlight was the four fat Germans who were visiting whisky distilleries and going on Highland safaris. Did I like telling them about my exiled German Jewish, stepfather Hans, 99 and spending his last days mumbling German nursery rythmes ,did I,yes.
Dont talk about the war? what else is there to talk about with Germans? Goethe, Hienne, Schiller,Mann,Grass. Come on,where’s the sport in that,they love the guilt,give it to them.Both barrels.