Cuil-an-Duin Country House: Where Boutique Luxury Feels Like Home

January 18, 2017 by Keith Savage
Cuil-an-Duin Country House, Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland

In the heart of Perthshire, directly in the center of a triangle formed by the wonderful towns of Dunkeld, Pitlochry, and Aberfeldy, stands one of the region’s finest accommodations. I had the chance spend a trio of nights at Cuil-an-Duin Country House at the beginning of this past November, and as you will see it’s hard to ask for a better base from which to explore the glory of forested Perthshire.

This part of Scotland, being just north of the cities and on the main route deeper into the highlands, is filled with all types of excellent accommodations, from B&Bs to hotels to castles. It seems to me to be a difficult place to start… Read more...

Picture This: The Queen’s View

January 11, 2017 by Keith Savage
The Queen's View, Perthshire, Scotland

The road to Loch Tummel hangs upon the hillside like a poem upon the lip. There is the warmth of fire on the hills in autumn. Gold and orange, copper and bronze, sloping upon green cleaving deep into the blue. Here at the eastern edge of the loch, the Queen’s View, where the mind and heart exult in harmony. Lambs call the ewes by the shore while November wind pirouettes on the water and draws the eye ever westward to brooding Schiehallion, Rannoch Moor, and Glencoe. The Queen in question was not Victoria, as she had assumed, but Isabella, the wife of Robert the Bruce, who stared west in that bright age and marveled at what was possible.

The Softer Side of the Highlands

January 4, 2017 by Keith Savage
Tomatin Distillery, Inverness-shire, Scotland

One of my personal goals is to visit every malt whisky distillery in Scotland. That’s really just the first step, though. I don’t want to simply step foot in the visitor’s center and jet off, I want to have in-depth tours and tastings to glean the nuances of each establishment because Scottish single malt whisky is all about nuance. To wit, I’ve visited around 45 unique distilleries in Scotland, and several of those I’ve visited multiple times (places like Aberlour, Talisker, and Highland Park). I am continuing my quest today with an epistle from one of my more recent visits: Tomatin Distillery.

Tomatin is one of the easier distilleries to visit in Scotland. It lies just off the A9, the main road north into the highlands, about 25 miles south of Inverness, but this position, wedged between the western highlands, northern highlands, and Speyside, makes it somewhat hard to classify in terms of style. The Tomatin brand is quite familiar to me because I see it on store shelves everywhere here in the Midwest USA, but my experience with it amounted to a few micro-drams at whisky shows… Read more...

State of the Savage: December 2016

December 28, 2016 by Keith Savage
In the Birks O' Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland

The days are getting longer. Light seeps back into the world, slowly, inch by inch and day by day. We are cataloguing and packaging up the past year, wiping away tears for the lost ones and celebrating the continuation of our heart fires. But there is a chill in the air from something other than these late December nights.

A dark road unfurls ahead and we are walking on it together, whether we like it or not. The modern world can seem like a terrible place beset upon by our darkest demons if you take it all in. What we see on the news, hear on the radio, and read in papers is humanity at its worst… Read more...

Scotland Itinerary Ideas: Wester Ross

December 21, 2016 by Keith Savage
The mountains of Wester Ross, Scotland

I’m returning to a series of articles that has become the most popular source of information on Traveling Savage. These Itinerary Ideas highlight different regions of Scotland and provide a handy batch of activities, sights, and experiences I’ve drummed up during my explorations. It always feels good to craft another entry in this series. I look at it as an homage to the area, one I plan to make for every corner of Scotland. Today Iā€™m highlighting Wester Ross, a region whose landscapes are the dreams of gods and whose very name sounds like something out of a fantasy novel. If you’ve read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, you’d know Westeros sounds damningly similar. Read more...