Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Visiting Kirkwall, Scotland and the Highland Park Distillery

Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland, 850 km (530 miles) north of London and 520 km (320 miles) north of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city (Edinburgh is the capital, but smaller).  Kirkwall has a climate of cool summers, mild winters, strong winds, a lot of rain, and generally overcast skies (similar to most of Scotland).

We head into town and explore the shops on the main shopping street, which turns from Albert Street into Broad Street and then Victoria Street over the course of a few blocks.  The Saint Magnus Cathedral dominates one side of Broad Street with its grounds and buildings.  We enter the cathedral (stepping out of the rain for a bit) and find that the Kirkwall Flower Arrangement Club is setting up  the annual Flower Festival displays to raise money for the Saint Magnus Cathedral Restoration Fund.  We ask about the origin of the flowers and they tell us that they were all just shipped in from Holland.

 Albert Street/Broad Street/Victoria Street

 Saint Magnus, setting up for the Floral Festival

Across the street, we find the Orkney Museum, a delightful collection telling the stories of this island, with beautiful grounds in the rear.

 Orkney Museum and grounds

A short ways from the museum, the office of the Kirkwall City Pipe Band proudly displays pictures and uniforms in the window.

 Kirkwall City Pipe Band

The shops have beautiful fabrics and we browse through, but soon focus on finding a fish and chips shop.  We've been in Scotland a few days and have not yet had this local favorite.  We share one haddock with panko breadcrumbs and one haddock with batter (and chips).

 Beautiful fabrics in the shops

 Fish and chips

After lunch, we head over the Highland Park Distillery for a tour.  Highland Park has been making Scotch whiskey here since 1798 and is one of the few distilleries to malt its own barley, turning it frequently by hand and then drying it with peat from the local moor mixed with heather.  We take a tour and see all the effort that it takes to make this award-winning whiskey.

 Highland Park Distillery

 The final product

 Malting the barley, drying it by burning peat and heather

 Milling, mashing, and fermenting

 Stored for aging

After the tour (and a few samples of 12 and 18 year old Highland Park), we walk back to the ship, viewing the residential outskirts of this charming town.  As our ship leaves, a bagpiper serenades us from the dock.

 Residential Kirkwall


No comments:

Post a Comment