10th Dec, 2016

Favourite place: Enjoying a dram in Edinburgh

Stratford Editorial 3rd Jan, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

ITS about this time of year many of us start dreaming of distant shores and summer holidays.

In recent years the ‘staycation’ has become popular with many opting to forgo jetting off abroad in favour of a destination closer to home.

They say travel broadens the mind. True – but you don’t necessarily need to travel thousands of miles to find that special somewhere. All of us have been to a place which has struck a chord for one reason or another, the memory of which stays with us for a variety of reasons – as our reporting team discovered when they pondered on a place which meant something to them.

EDINBURGH holds a special place in my heart for many reasons, but especially the whisky – the water of life.

It’s a city like no other. It may be a capital city, but it doesn’t feel like a city. The hustle and bustle of London, Birmingham, and Manchester  is absent and I like that.

An impromptu recent decision to take a short city break saw myself and other half Gary flying up to Scotland. Gary had never flown before so the knees were knocking even before take off. He could have used a dram at the airport to calm his nerves.

There is a reason why Edinburgh is known as the Athens of the North. It is stunningly beautiful.  Sitting on the Firth of Forth and surrounded by rolling green hills, with a heart of solid no nonsense stone buildings – from John Knox’s house which looks like it’s relying on the neighbouring building to stay upright, to the elegant Georgian buildings of the new town area, to the ultra modern Scottish Parliament building in the shadow of the extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat – with views to rival any in the world.

And then there are the many winding and cobbled streets that make it so easy to lose your bearings but that also makes it all the more interesting to explore.

But it was the whisky that had the biggest impact on our visit to Edinburgh.

Next door to the castle is the Scotch Whisky Experience, where the water of life is quite literally brought to life. Visitors can ride a giant whisky barrel while discovering how the famous spirit is created.

There are  four main regions Scotch is classified under – Highland, Lowland, Speyside and Islay – each with their own distinctive tasting features, the result of different drying techniques and barrel choices and so much more.

Whisky is a wonderfully varied tipple.

I can heartily recommend the gloriously smooth soft taste of  Glenkinchie, but this girl will be steering clear in future of  the peaty Islay, which to my mind was akin to licking an ashtray (not that that is something I have ever done).

As the Scottish say in their native Gaelic tongue – slàinte mhath! (To good health).