Beautiful skies over Northern Scotland – Caithness

Some wonderful Shining clouds and a glimpse of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in this time-lapse video taken in Caithness, Scotland on the night of the 4th August 2013.

What a fantastic view it must have been. The clouds are called ‘Noctilucent Clouds’, and if you want to know more about the Northern Lights, you can read about the Aurora Borealis (and Aurora Australis – Southern Lights) here.

There are so many beautiful things to see here in the Scottish Highlands.

Video: Maciej Winiarczyk; Music: Jolanta Galka-Kurkowska

A photograph of the award winning 'The Singleton of Glen Ord' whisky. Photograph: Cognis PR. - www.ionahighlandtours.com

Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland

The Glen Ord Distillery is one of three distilleries we visit on our ‘Distillery Tour’. The distillery has passed through several hands since it started life in 1838. It is now owned by Diageo Distilling, which was formed when former owners Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan in 1997.

A photograph of the award winning 'The Singleton of Glen Ord' whisky from the Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland. Photograph: Cognis PR. - www.ionahighlandtours.com

The Singleton of Glen Ord only available in Asia – or the Glen Ord Distillery visitor centre in Scotland

The distillery specializes in providing whisky for blending, and specialist brands to the Asian markets. If you are a fan of The Singleton of Glen Ord, the distillery visitor center is the only place outside of Asia where you can buy it! If you like ‘a wee dram’ you’re in luck. The £6.00 price of the guided tour of the distillery itself includes a sample (price checked August 2013).

History

The history of Glen Ord is entwined with Scottish lore and the MacKenzies of Ord. The Glen Ord distillery was founded in 1838 by Thomas MacKenzie. Originally called Ord, the distillery was re-named Glenoran in 1882. It finally became known as Glen Ord in 1923, when it was sold to John Dewar & Sons. Dewar’s are well-known for their blended whiskies, and still use Glen Ord whiskies in their blends to this day.

The current distillery has an annual production capacity of five million litres. Six new copper stills are being added to the distillery in 2013/2014 to double the production capacity to ten million litres a year. The remainder of the whisky, not used for creating blends, is marketed as single malts exclusively in south-east Asia and Japan.

Notes

For health & safety reasons, children under 8 years old are not permitted in the production areas of the distillery.

A full list of opening hours and prices is given on the distillery website

[dacallout type=big]Due to construction work ‘mini tours’ only are available between August 20, 2013 and November 18, 2013. Admission is reduced to £3.00. The good news is you still get a sample![/dacallout]

Map – Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland


View Glen Ord Distillery in a larger map

Google Street View of the Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland

Interestingly you can ‘drive through’ the distillery with the Google car in Street View! There are lots of signs of the impending construction to be seen.

View Glen Ord Distillery in a larger map

Links

Isle of Skye Time Lapse Video

We’ve found a beautiful video of Skye, which we’d like to share. It was made by David Watson, who recently compiled over 6,000 of his images for this breathtaking video.



If you are interested in one of our Tours to Skye, you might want to find out more about the area, so, here’s a quick primer to get you up to speed.

Some background information on the Isle of Skye

The island has a long history, having been occupied since around 6,000 BC when nomadic hunter-gatherers arrived. The isle came under Norse rule. We have modern day evidence of that because a 12th century Viking shipyard was discovered in 2011. For a long period Skye was overseen by the Scottish Clan MacLeod and Clan Donald. Later on, the Jacobite risings of the 1700s led to the breaking up of the clan system in Scotland and then the Clearances which completely changed the culture by replacing the local communities with sheep farming. Time moved on, people moved in and out, and Skye’s population once over 20,000, was 9,232 by the time of the 2001 census, and is now growing again.

Skye’s key modern-day industries are tourism, agriculture, fishing and whisky-distilling.

A relief map of the Isle of Skye showing the principle locations.

Isle of Skye Relief Map

At around 640 square miles, Skye is the second-largest island in Scotland after Lewis and Harris and it is dominated by the Cuillin hills which are also known as An Cuiltheann in Gaelic.

The Black Cuillins are composed mainly of basalt and gabbro and they include twelve Munros (mountains in Scotland with a height of over 3,000 ft – there are 282 in total!). This is great news if you are a Munro bagger! A complete hike off the Cuillin ridge can take 15–20 hours. The Red Hills, known as Am Binnean Dearg in Gaelic, to the south are also called the Red Cuillins. They owe their reddish colouring to the granite composition of the stone, which has been weathered into rounded hills and has lots of scree slopes.

The geology of Skye brings some very unique and striking features. The Trotternish area has a basalt base which produced relatively rich soils and some interesting rock features. The Kilt Rock is named after the tartan-like patterns in the 344 ft cliffs rising above the sea. The Quiraing is a spectacular series of rock pinnacles on the eastern side of the peninsula and further south is the rock pillar of the Old Man of Storr.

Beyond Loch Snizort to the west of Trotternish is the Waternish peninsula, which ends in Ardmore Point’s double rock arch. Duirinish is separated from Waternish by Loch Dunvegan, which contains the island of Isay. The loch is ringed by sea cliffs that reach nearly 1,000 ft at Waterstein Head.

Want to see the Isle of Skye yourself? Why not try one of our tours?

The above information was taken from:

Urquhart Castle on the banks of Lochness. Scotland. www.inonahighlandtours.com

Urquhart Castle – Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle on the banks of Lochness. Scotland. www.inonahighlandtours.com

Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness


Urquhart Castle (pronounced ‘Ur-kert’) is a popular destination on our 4 hour Loch Ness Tour. The castle is in a very picturesque position on the northern shore of Loch Ness near Drumnadrochit. An area famous for its sightings of ‘Nessie’ – the fabled Loch Ness monster.

Urquhart castle started life as a Pict fort, and legend has it that St. Columba visited the area in the sixth century.

First formally documented in the thirteenth century, the castle has a long history of battles, skirmishes and sieges. It finally fell into disuse around 1690 when the gatehouse was blown up – the remains of which can be seen today. The roof of the Tower – ‘Grant Tower’ collapsed after a severe storm in 1715.

The visitor centre includes an audio visual presentation, tea rooms and gift shops.

Links

Map – Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness


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