Whisky tourists ride into Roudham

MORE than 100 years ago, a legendary guide to whisky distilleries in the UK was published to much acclaim by a man called Alfred Barnard.

MORE than 100 years ago, a legendary guide to whisky distilleries in the UK was published to much acclaim by a man called Alfred Barnard.

Over a year he visited every working distillery in Britain, and what would become the Republic of Ireland.

Now, two motorcyclists have celebrated his journey with one of their own.

Rob Allanson, editor of Whisky Magazine, from Beatrice Avenue in Dereham, and Tom Morton, Scottish broadcaster and author, visited distilleries throughout Britain, including Scotland's most northerly and southerly, each on a Triumph Street Triple.

The pair began at Highland Park in Orkney, before travelling through Scotland to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Wales and back to England, finishing at England's only whisky distillery in Roudham, near Thetford.

Beginning at Highland Park in Orkney, the northernmost distillery in Scotland, the pair travelled to Wick and then to Glen Ord near Beauly.

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From there they visited Scotland's southernmost distillery, Baldnoch, in Wigtown, and then onto Bushmills in Antrim, Midleton in Cork, Pendryn in Wales, and St George's in Roudham.

Finally, they will travel back north to Beauly, site of the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, where they will conduct the Barnard Challenge Whisky Tasting, using whisky from the eight distilleries visited.

Mr Morton, 54, from the Shetland Isles, said: “It's funny because you plan it for the best part of six months and then it's all over. “I'm fairly relieved I'm still alive and will be even more relieved when we get to Beauly tomorrow.”

Mr Allanson, 35, added: “Normally I just go to Norwich and back on my bike but this time we were going through places without stopping which was interesting.

“Highland Park was fantastic and was a good place to ride.”

The aim in years to come is to for people to visit the same eight distilleries, travelling in the most imaginative ways possible. From walking to pedal cycling, tandems and horseback, it is hoped the Barnard Challenge will become a fundraising institution year by year.

Whisky collected from each distillery will now be sold at auction by Bonhams in Glasgow in November. Proceeds will go to a charity called Spirit Aid, which runs humanitarian projects around the world.

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