Dad and I woke for the final day of our trip, saying goodbye to Corby and the Raven Hotel and setting off towards Manchester for our flight home. We had one final stop before returning the hire car, a slight detour to Poynton, Cheshire, to visit Greg Dillon from Great Drams. Greg was a true gentleman and invited us into his home to chat whisky and sample some of his personal collection. Greg graciously shared a delicious Balcones Baby Blue corn whiskey, an exclusive Chivas Brothers Linn House Reserve 31 year old blend and a single cask Aberfeldy that Greg bottled at the distillery himself. I took the opportunity to swap a bottle of Starward 10th Anniversary Edition, brought all the way from Australia and carried around for our whole trip with a bottle of Lakes Distillery The ONE. It’s great to meet people like Greg in person, which is not always easy when you live on opposite sides of the planet. I hope to get the opportunity to repay his hospitality in the future, if he ever visits Down Under.
We departed Manchester airport, having been in the UK for 28 days, driven 2,067 miles (3,310 km), visited 26 distilleries, collected 36 glasses, bought 10 bottles of whisky and I personally took five bottles home in my luggage, which I declared in Sydney but didn’t have to pay any additional duty despite the 2.25L limit.
for me the trip wasn’t about the whisky…
Four weeks is a long time to go on holiday, especially when visiting distilleries most days; but when travelling all the way from Australia, you really don’t want to deal with that flight for a short trip. I would be lying if I didn’t say the experience ‘whiskied me out’ a bit; something I didn’t think was possible, but I have drunk (and written) very little since returning. I feel the thirst for both returning now, but for me the trip wasn’t about the whisky, it was about the once in a lifetime opportunity to travel alone with my dad. We had blast travelling Scotland, meeting new people and visiting places from his childhood.
Many of us often take our parents for granted and while I have always had a good relationship with mine, I don’t know if they fully realise how proud I am to be their son. I could not have had better parents growing up and it makes me so happy to see how much my kids love spending time with their Nan and Pop.
After this trip with Dad, I now have a record of experiences that I can share with my own children and help them connect to their family history in ways that they would not have been able to do before. The whisky was great, but I cannot put a value on the quality time I got to spend with my dad; especially now that I am a dad myself. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to go on this trip and know it wasn’t easy for my family back home – I promise I will take you with me next time.