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Issue 77 - Destination

Scotland Magazine Issue 77
October 2014

 

This article is 3 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Destination

Dumfries and Galloway

Scotland Magazine's ‘Destination of the Year 2014’ is Dumfries & Galloway. This large and unspoiled area not only boasts fabulous places to stay and eat, but it offers a wide variety of historic attractions and outdoor activities. By highlighting these special destinations, the Scottish Hotel Awards and Scotland Magazine are seeking to catch the interest of those planning their next holiday and to draw them off the beaten track and direct them to somewhere truly special.

So often overlooked in the race to travel north into the Scottish Highlands, the scenic beauty of Dumfries & Galloway, its history, hidden away fishing and sailing communities, Christian heritage, important contributions towards Scotland's visual arts and literature, fresh local seafood, dairy farms (fabulous Galloway cheese), ancient castles and charming country houses make it unsurpassed as a “must explore” place to go.

The Annandale Distillery

With markets for Scotch Whisky continuing to open up throughout the world, old distilleries, mothballed for decades, are springing back to life. One such example is to be found 16 miles from the town of Dumfries, seven miles north of the England/ Scotland border.

The Annandale Distillery was established by George Donald, a former Excise Officer, in the aftermath of the Excise Act of 1824. After his death, it passed to John Gardner before being taken over by John Walker & Sons, a company that already owned the Cardhu Distillery on Speyside. Annandale was mothballed by John Walker in 1919, and closed two years later, after which the Robinson family acquired the distillery farm, the kiln being used thereafter as a rain-drying plant.

Then in 2006, Professor David Thomson, a cereal chemist, and his wife Theresa Church acquired the site. Bringing in distillery consultant Dr Jim Swan and Malcolm Rennie, former manager of Kilchoman Distillery on Islay, the mill room was converted into a stillhouse, adjoining the mash house. Forsyths of Rothes was commissioned to build the stills, and the two existing warehouses have been immaculately restored to hold approximately 12 months of production.

The first spirit run is imminent with visitor facilities being in place by the end of the year, followed by a café/restaurant in 2015. The peated version of Annandale will be smoky, with no iodine notes, However, when the spirit is flowing, Thomson intends to release a quantity of new-make. Watch this space!

Annandale Distillery, Northfield, Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland DG12 5LL www.annandaledistillery.co.uk

Holiday Inn Dumfries 

The Holiday Inn Dumfries is one of the most exciting hotel developments in Dumfries & Galloway. Amidst 100 acres of gardens and just one mile fom the centre of Dumfries, this impressive listed building with very spacious bedrooms and beautiful views of the picturesque Crichton Estate is the ideal location for both leisure and corporate guests to relax, network and dine. Holiday Inn Dumfries was re-branded from Aston Hotel Dumfries to Holiday Inn in June 2014 and it hosts Marco Pierre White's first restaurant in Scotland: Wheeler's of St James. The hotel has been awarded SHA Regional Business Hotel of the Year 2014 and its beautiful large gardens make it a glorious location for outdoor weddings and special events

The Crichton, Bankend Rd DG1 4ZZ www.holidayinn.com/Dumfries