Celebrate whisky at Spirit of Speyside Festival

Scotland’s national drink is intrinsically linked to the landscape in which it is produced.

And now the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is bringing the two together in a series of events which celebrate both the amber nectar and the great outdoors.

Event providers have pulled out all the stops to deliver on their promise to ensure the festival, which takes place from May 1 to 6, provides something for everyone by organising a range of whisky-themed outdoor activities.

From golf outings and geocaching to canoe trips and trail runs, visitors to this year’s Festival can spend every day surrounded by stunning scenery, learning about history, heritage and how geography influences Speyside’s drams.

Festival chairman James Campbell said: ‘With over 660 events on the festival programme, this year is the biggest on record. It is also the most varied programme that I have ever seen, with some very imaginative and innovative activities planned.

‘If anyone thought that the only thing to do at a whisky festival was to enjoy a dram or visit a distillery, this year’s programme completely dispels that perception. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is very much about having fun while creating great memories – and these events will certainly deliver.’

One of the more unusual events is Secrets of Spynie on May 4 which combines walking and canoeing. During their guided journey by foot and by voyageur canoe, visitors will be able to learn about the 1,500-year history of the Laich of Moray where much of the barley used in local whisky is grown.

Guides will also be sharing the story of Macbeth, the history of Spynie Canal and will visit Spynie Palace, which dates back to medieval times. This is an easy to moderate activity which is suitable for all.

Visitors can also enjoy a dram against the backdrop of one of Speyside’s most photographed attractions – Craigellachie Bridge. John Dewar & Sons, which operates nearby Craigellachie Distillery, will be hosting Scottish Aperitivo hour at the iconic landmark on May 4 and 5 at 6pm.

Complimentary drams of some very special Craigellachie and Aultmore single malt whisky will be served at the free event, which is designed to get people to stop, think and simply enjoy a dram in beautiful countryside.

Dog lovers will revel in the hunt to find Rebel, the missing Murray McDavid dog. This treasure hunt with a difference takes place on May 5 and will task visitors with finding 10 wee ‘Westies’ that have wandered off into the Speyside countryside.

Participants will get a map of where the dogs were last spotted – and every map can be redeemed against a 5cl miniature. However, the Murray McDavid team will ensure that those who are able to reunite Rebel with his owners are richly rewarded with a bottle of whisky.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place in locations across the region – the spiritual home of Scotland’s whisky industry – from May 1 to 6. Over 660 events are on offer during the six days, including exclusive behind-the-scenes tours, whisky nosing and tasting, food pairing and outdoor and heritage activities.

The programme is designed to appeal to people of all levels of interest in whisky, from the connoisseurs who have a deep-rooted passion for Scotland’s national drink to those who have never tasted it before. While many events are ticketed, some are free – and it is possible to enjoy the excitement and atmosphere of the Festival without touching a drop.

Tickets for individual events are on sale now at www.spiritofspeyside.com.