Fellow Travellers

Monday, September 6, 2010

Golf Golf and Whiskey - Scotland 2010

“The Open” and Scotland July 17 to 25, 2010

St. Andrews

It was a dream vacation for my dear G! Two days at The Open, 4 days of golf, okay make it 5 and a tour on the Whiskey Trail – whoa! Many thanks to Lisa, Bryn, Chris and Lori for organizing the entire trip! All I did was show up :)

Our journey began in the hamlet of St. Andrews, home of the famous “Old Course” and the host of the 2010 Open. The weather mostly cooperated for us as we watched our golf idols battle for the top prize. As you know, a relatively unknown golfer, Louis Oosthuizen from South Africa, won The Open this year. It was noted that each time the gang has ventured to the event it’s been one by an obscure player. Unusual!

We caught the action from the turn on the 7 through 11 holes on Saturday then on Sunday cheered the players from the dreadful 17th hole. Had a great time watching as player after player bogey the hole – only one birdie last day!

St. Andrews is a very quaint town with a number of ruins near the coast side and a great number of picture perfect Scottish architecture. We enjoyed the fabulous little pub on the corner from our accommodations where the boys made friends with the locals who invited them to play at the “Old Course” at St. Andrews.

On our last day, while the guys were golfing, the girls and I enjoyed poking around the town on our last morning (although I will take a pass on the Scottish Oats for breakfast in the future). Lots of cute shops and specialty food stores kept me busy – bought some local cheese “Inkster” and a “Keen’s cheddar” for the gang to try – votes in favour of the Inkster.

That afternoon, enroute to Cruden Bay, G and I detoured to Dunnottar Castle to get our first view of the nations many castles. The Dunnottar, a 14th century castle, is well worth the quick detour before Aberdeen as the setting is absolutely spectacular! The setting on a island/cliff is very romantic and I loved the views of the cliffs and the ocean from the castle rooms. The castle is famous for saving the Scottish crown jewels from the invasion of Oliver Cromwell in the 1600’s.

…..On to Cruden Bay for some golf!

Golf and the Whiskey Trail

Cruden Bay

The Cruden Bay golf course enjoys a beautiful dune location which was particularly unkind to my game. My dear G played the course twice as you can go round as many times as you like for one price but I was done in after the first 18. I was much too crabby and not in the right mood for another round after losing at least 10 balls and throwing out my score card. There were a ton of youngsters playing the course and I dare say they played much better than I!

I have to say a few words on the hotel chosen for our stay in Cruden Bay – totally gluten free friendly. The Kilmarnock Arms, is a charming hotel in it’s own right but I was over the top to learn I could order toast with breakfast, gluten free fish and chips, pasta – whatever was on the menu they could make it. The owner of the hotel, Lucy, was herself a celiac and has really spent a lot of time adapting Scottish foods for celiacs. I have to say, I am going to beg her for her bread recipe and it was like the real thing! I ended up buying a loaf and dragged it with me the whole trip.

Dornoch – That’s Royal Dornoch to you!

We departed Cruden Bay and drove through some very wild weather on our way to the Royal Dornoch Golf Course for our 2 pm tee time. I was dreading having to golf 18 in a torrential downpour ( given my performance in the previous days game) but at least I would be with the girls. Luckily the rain turned more towards drizzle, so we suited up in the rain gear and wacked our balls through the 18 holes. Also a lovely course, set amongst a barren craggy grass landscape and dunes along the seaside. Golfed the course the following day in much more hospitable weather and managed to at least finish one scorecard.

The Whiskey Trail - Gran Town on Spey

Although not technically on the itinerary we ended up in this little town for a night. It was very cute and I had my own name sake café! Found a terrific wet weather hat for the fall/winter and Scottish hand knits. The hotel is situated on what’s known as the Whiskey Trail on which we made a few stops on Friday afternoon. Glen Grant, Glenfarclas, Glen Morangie, Cardu and McCallums….. I tried it again….still don’t like it. Thank god there is wine.

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