State of the Savage: September 2015

September 30, 2015 by Keith Savage
The View Across Rannoch Moor, West Highlands, Scotland

In the wake of summer’s demise we arrive (in the northern hemisphere, at least) to my favorite season: Autumn. Hard to believe it has been more than a year since I introduced my travel consultation service for folks looking to visit Scotland, and in that year I’ve helped more than 100 solo travelers, couples, and groups realize their dreams of visiting one of the most beautiful countries on Earth.

I didn’t really know what I was getting in to when I rolled out the idea. Could I have imagined that I would Skype with people from around the world, from Australia to Norway, and India to Germany… Read more...

Hiking in Glencoe: Signal Rock and An Torr

September 23, 2015 by Keith Savage
Hiking the Signal Rock and An Torr in Glencoe

Glencoe is one of the most beautiful glens in all of Scotland, and that’s saying something. Tucked in the west highlands just south of Fort William, Glencoe is an easy visit as the main highway shoots directly through its heart. There are several pull-offs and small parking lots to make soaking in nature’s grandeur a piece of cake, and this is how I admired Glencoe the first several times I visited. But there’s a lot more to Glencoe than the impressive visitor center and the span you can see along the road, and this post will give you a look at what you’re missing if you don’t leave the car.

There are many hikes in the valley of Glencoe… Read more...

Tasting Classic Malt at Oban Distillery

September 16, 2015 by Keith Savage
The Oban Distillery, Oban, Argyll

Oban 14 was the first bottle of single malt Scotch whisky I ever purchased. I must have been 24 or 25 at the time. Shortly before then I had taken my first trip to Europe, which, of course, included a visit to Scotland, and I’m sure it was in one of the many perfect pubs that I acquired a taste for the water of life. It also made sense to graduate to a finer spirit now that my Busch Light- and Old Thompson-fueled college career was in the rearview mirror and I had a paying job.

Still, of all the single malts on store shelves, why Oban? The attractive packaging? The curious teleporting effect of the sound of the name ‘Oban?’ Read more...

Finding the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran

September 9, 2015 by Keith Savage
The Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran

Scotland’s west highlands present some of the best hiking opportunities in the country. Trails snake amongst the deep glens, sea lochs, and forested hills, and who knows what you’ll find on any given day out hiking. There’s boundless serendipity to be had out in the highlands, and indeed Scotland possesses a trove of hidden treasures. I spent much of my recent time in Appin out in the natural splendor seeking these treasures, and I found more than a few, like Castle Tioram. I missed many more, but it’s the endless nature of this quest that keeps me in thrall to Scotland. There was one place, however, that I found and wished not to leave. I wanted time to stop when I looked upon the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran. Read more...

Upon the Highland Line at Glengoyne Distillery

September 2, 2015 by Keith Savage
Glengoyne Distillery's Golden Wares

Due north of Glasgow stands one of the nearest distilleries for those looking for a dram straight off the plane. Wedged between Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and Scotland’s biggest city, Glengoyne Distillery hides among the hills of Dumgoyne in quintessentially green and pastoral Scottish countryside. The distillery is uniquely sited upon the Highland Line — that old bugbear fabricated to separate “lowland” and “highland” cultures and used by the King to resettle the non-barbarous Scots (i.e., lowlanders) in Ulster and the New World.

More of a relic than anything these days, a semblance of the Highland Line still plays a role… Read more...