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Tullibardine Distillery, Blackford

Tullibardine Distillery, Blackford, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on Tullibardine, one of my favourite small distilleries, and which I will be visiting again later this month. This  distillery does not have the profile of some of the Speyside or Islay malts but, arguably, this rarity factor does add to its appeal. Moreover, location on the  main A9 tourist route, between Stirling and Perth is very convenient, added to which it is in close proximity  to a small shopping centre. From a whisky perspective, Tullibardine is categorised as a Highland malt.

Tullibardine sits at foot of the Ochills in Perthshire from where the key water supply is obtained. Beer has been brewed on this site for hundreds of years and to this day at Tullibardine the visitor can purchase a beer branded ‘1488’  in recognition of the purchase by King James IV of  a supply of beer at the location in celebration of his coronation.

Tullibardine ranks as one of the youngest distilleries in Scotland.  It was established post WW2 by a Welshman subsequent to which it underwent many ownership changes including a ‘mothballing’ for a period.  Now under private ownership, the distillery was re-commissioned in 2003 and benefits from the blending skills of master distiller, John Black. Tullibardine is one of the few distilleries which will sell entire casks of spirit to the public, although at around GBP1500.00 such are not cheap.

From a tour experience perspective, this is one of my favourite distilleries with the distilling area being very compact enabling the visitor right up close to smells, steam and various vapours as malt barley is converted to spirit. This video clip gives a flavour for the experience. The distillery tour guides are very good and display a passion for and knowledge of the product.

Glasgow Cathedral, Scotland

Glasgow Cathedral, Scotland from Necropolis

This evening, I am posting information on Glasgow Cathedral, Scotland. Technically the term ‘Cathedral’ is a misnomer because the building is currently a Presbyterian place of worship but historically it was Roman Catholic and the old name has lingered on.

The current Cathedral building dates from the 13th century and replaced an earlier 12th century building. The actual site probably has a Christian heritage dating back to the 6th or 5thcenturies AD. According to legend, the site is closely associated with an early Christian missionary, St Kentigern (also known as St Mungo) who may have been active in the late 6th and early 7thcenturies AD. In medieval times there was a cult developed around St Kentigern whose tomb can be seen in the final image below. St Mungo/Kentigern is the patron saint of Glasgow.

The Cathedral is unusual in that it survived the ravages of the Protestant Reformation (1560 AD) largely intact, one of the very such Scottish church buildings to do so. The University of Glasgow was founded here in 1451 by papal bull. However, by the 17th century the University had established its own premises and continues to this day as a highly rated academic institution. continue reading…

Dunfermline Abbey, Dunfermline

Dunfermline Abbey, Dunfermline, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on the ancient and historic, Dunfermline Abbey which is located in S.E.Scotland and not far from Edinburgh. Prior to 1603 ( when the Scottish royal court moved to London) the Abbey and nearby Palace was a very important power centre in Scotland. However, after departure of the Royal Family, the Palace was left to decay. Post Reformation, the nave of the church continued in use a a parish church and therefore survived. In the 19th century the present parish church was added to the east of the Old Church.

The name Dunfermline may mean Fort of Parlan (Parlan=MacFarlane), and the town/settlement probably has a history dating back about 2000 years. This was the site where Scottish monarchs were buried before burial on Iona became the custom.

The Old Church (subject of this post) was founded by King David I in Romanesque style in the 12th century. This replaced an earlier structure founded by Queen Margaret in the 11th century. The tomb of King Robert the Bruce, one of Scotland’s most famous royals, is located in the ‘new’ 19th century church.

Key features of the Old Church:

  • Side walls are carded on five massive pillars on left and six on right.
  • Atop the pillars are semi-circular arches to support upper part of the walls.
  • Two pillars have a chevron design
  • Above the vaulting there is a gallery or arcade which runs the length of the building.
  • In the video clip note existence of remains of coloured decoration which pre-dates the Reformation.
  • In the exterior image (above) note the massive arched buttresses which were built to stop the structure collapsing.

This building together with nearby ruins is an important part of Scotland’s history but does not normally feature on the tourist route. There is an added bonus in that the high elevation can afford stunning views over the locality. continue reading…