After my octreotide treatment today my sister, Hazel and I take a drive to my local single malt whisky distillery. Served with water from the Lammermuir Hills this local distillery was founded in 1837. It proudly serves as one of the Four Corners distilleries of Johnnie Walker. Set in well kept gardens and knowing there are a couple of sheep that are going to the Royal Highland Show I jump at the chance of a visit to Glenkinchie Distillery. The plants in bloom bring beauty and colour to the garden. The beautiful statue sheep are an additional attraction, alongside the wonderful sculpture of Johnnie Walker and his dog nearing the entrance. As we walk in a member of staff warmly greets us and welcomes us to Glenkinchie. I certainly recommend a visit to Glenkinchie Distillery. And perhaps sample the whisky earning the title of The Edinburgh Malt.
Glenkinchie Distillery is close to Pencaitland, East Lothian only 15 miles from Edinburgh. The red bricked visitor centre nestled in farming countryside. Originally the distillery was founded by two farmers in 1825, John and George Rate. Until 1837 it was named Milton Distillery. The Kinchie burn runs through the glen and so came the new name with new licensing in 1837 Glenkinchie.
The shop has something for everyone. Gardening tools, clothing, pencils, books, bags, diffusers, cocktail kits, glasses, of course whisky plus more. A fabulous cafe. The distillery can arrange wonderful tours. For us today it is a short visit. In the first instance to see the sheep. However, while I am looking around my sister catches a bargain or five. To say the least she got an amazing wax jacket, a sweatshirt and a bottle of whisky. After all you can’t go to the distillery without buying a bottle of whisky, can you?
Where are we going today then? Not only one of our favourite beauty spots, but one of the most scenic drives; St Mary’s Loch. Living in the country is a blessing and I never tire of the single lane roads, winding turns, humps and bumps giving the tummy a thrill when driving certain speeds. Reminding me of my childhood in Glenshee when my Father would drive the car over such similar roads, he would say to my sister and I close your eyes girls know what was in front, Hazel and I would say in unison bumpy bumpy whee …… and no street lights to be seen, for me utter paradise.
Surrounded by beautiful countryside and not seeing a person, shop, house or a car for miles or hours. The beauty and tranquility of our surroundings brought the most fantastic memories flooding back. Such wonderful thoughts and recollection of amazing trips with our sons, paddling our feet in the water and building a dam. As I planned our trip to St Mary’s Loch and two reservoirs.
Our first destination for the evening drive from our home in Sunny Boggs Holdings, Pencaitland, East Lothian was St Mary’s Loch in the Scottish Borders. Accompanying Steve in the Mini rather than us driving our Harley-Davidson® is always a delight for our happy labradors. Our labs are always a welcoming addition to any trip. They were excited and eager. Bella is a beautiful golden lady, gentle and very loyal and loving. Husband Buddy, a fox red Labrador is my ever so handsome assistance dog. He is an amazing lad. If he got his way he would never leave my side.
Location of Beauty
St Mary’s Loch is a location of beauty. The drive is pleasant regardless which way you are coming from, either Edinburgh, or down south. The loch is the largest natural loch in the Scottish Borders, its 5km long and 1km wide. It lies on the south side of the A708 between Selkirk and Moffat and is only 45 miles from Edinburgh, well worth the drive. The loch was created by glacial action during the last ice age. Why is the loch called St Mary’s? There was once a church dedicated to St Mary which once stood on its northern shore. Unfortunately only the burial grounds are now visible.
St Mary’s loch is fed by Megget Reservoir. The reservoir in the valley in Ettrick Forest in the beautiful Scottish Borders. The 259 hectares reservoir is held back by the largest earth dam in Scotland. The reservoir collects water from the Tweedsmuir hills.
A firm favourite with all
The drive to the loch was such a pleasant one, filling the car with the sound of our singing voices at the top of our voices, the dogs slanting their heads from one side to the other. Glancing at us, and I’m not too sure if they could speak if they would say “come on give us more” or would say “for goodness sake Mother, give it a rest, our ears are bleeding”. Driving through Innerleithen with the infamous ice-cream shop had our dogs slavering in the car. I swear they know every place that has possible food stops. Labradors would eat non stop……
They look out the window and you know they remember every last stop and treat they had the last time they were in the car. As we drove through Innerleithen and passed the ice-cream shop they got excited in anticipation, thinking we should stop at the shop and treat them to a cone. No such luck, shop was closed. Buddy’s face fell like a sulking child getting the wrong toy. However the elation when we opened the boot when we stopped and they got out into the open space.
They ran about 10 yards, both of them came right back to me. Buddy gave me one almighty slobbery kiss so hard on the lips he almost knocked me over. Their way of saying we love you guys. You could see the happiness on their faces. buddy my ever so handsome Fox Red Labrador and Bella, Golden Labrador, she is sensitive. Both dogs are very loving.
Megget and Talla Reservoirs
St Mary’s Loch and Megget Reservoir are super area and firm favourite with us to either drive the Harley-Davidson® or take the dogs. Most certainly a place to favour walking in the evening with the dogs, not a person in sight. So easy to park, peace and tranquillity. Only sound to be heard was the birds.
After a walk, cycle or drive, St Mary’s Loch is a scenic place to sit and rest. There is a fabulous cafe opposite the loch, you can park right beside it. Food is excellent, and fills the belly of many a biker. They serve a lovely cup of coffee with cake. Delicious sandwiches, homemade macaroni, curry are on the menu. Food is good and prices are extremely reasonable.
After sitting by the loch, I reluctantly left the scene of beauty and headed toward Megget Reservoir. On the road from the loch to the reservoir it is narrow and somewhat uneven. Let’s say I felt the bumps in the road and was glad it was a very quiet evening and we didn’t pass anyone coming the other way. It is a fairly steep incline to get up to the reservoir, the landscape scenery is one of beauty. The road gets a tad hairy at times and you have to remember what goes up usually comes down. Lets just say we were going slow enough to take in the stunning scenery and manage to take photographs without stopping and getting out. Once we arrived at the Reservoir we took in what was on offer and boy it did not disappoint. The labradors enjoyed running around too.
Heading home… ice cream at Innerleithen on the way
We grudgingly took our seats and made our way on the beautiful scenic five and a half mile journey to Talla Reservoir, only one mile from Tweedsmuir in The Scottish Borders. Opened in 1905, Tala Reservoir is an earth-work dam fed by Talla water. It is supplemented by water from the Fruit Reservoir nearby. To help bring in materials for the Reservoir construction the Talla Railway was built.
If you have the time take a journey to either St Mary’s Loch and have a cuppa or enjoy one of the reservoirs. We managed the three of them in an evening. Had a wonderful relaxing time. Recharged the batteries. Took some photographs, enjoyed the peace and quiet.
…..Finally ice cream in Innerleithen
The ice cream shop at Innerleithen is Caldwell’s Homemade Ice Cream. You can find them at 88 High Street, Innerleithen. They have a fabulous array of homemade flavours. They do vegan for those that has such requirements. Tastes amazing, in my opinion be hard pushed not to satisfy anyone that likes ice cream. I most definitely give Caldwell’s 5 stars. Hoping they are hoping the shop is open the next time we are driving through Innerleithen and we can stop and buy some.
Above is Bella and Buddy. Sadly since taking this journey my beloved Buddy has passed way. Wife Bella is doing well. Loves her walks and journeys with Mum and Dad. When we are away she stays with Sally at Sals Pals. Could not ask for a better place for her to be looked after.