Deanston and Doune

Deanston Distillery
Deanston Distillery

We’ve been meaning to visit Deanston Distillery for ages – it’s less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow – and finally got around to it in November. It’s unusual because it wasn’t purpose-built: it started life in 1785 as Deanston Cotton Mill and functioned as such until 1965. However, unlike many abandoned industrial buildings, it didn’t go into decline but reopened as a distillery in 1967. The mill’s location on the banks of the River Teith made it ideal for its new purpose and the constant cool temperature in the weaving shed was perfect for maturation.

We were lucky that a tour was just starting as we arrived. We paid £9 for the basic tour which included two drams at the end and, as John was driving, I got to drink most of that – hic! A few highlights will suffice – if you want to know about the details of whisky production at Deanston, there’s a great account on Alcademics.com.

Outside the distillery were stacks of casks – most of Deanston’s whisky is matured in ex-bourbon casks.

The most photogenic of the machines inside were the malt mill and the stills. The malt mill is the original from the 1960s, made by Porteus in Leeds. It has only had to be recalibrated twice in all that time – in fact, the company went out of business because their machines were so efficient that they never needed to be replaced!

The whisky is stored while it matures in the old weaving shed. At the front were rows of signed barrels, including one signed by the cast of the Ken Loach film, The Angel’s Share, parts of which were filmed at Deanston. (The angel’s share is a term for the amount of alcohol which evaporates from the casks during maturation.) If you know Ken Loach’s work at all you’ll perhaps be surprised to learn that this is a comedy crime caper. I’ve seen it and would like to see it again now to spot the locations!

After our tour we had an excellent lunch in Deanston’s café, The Coffee Bothy, which helped me counter the (very slight, of course) effects of the whisky, and then we set off for a walk round nearby Doune.

We started at the castle which was built at the end of the 14th century and has found fame as a film location featuring in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Game of  Thrones and Outlander. We’ve explored its interior many times, but this time we took the track which follows round the outside.

This took us down to the confluence of the Ardoch Burn on the left and the River Teith on the right. Walking upstream alongside the Teith we met some friends grazing.

Eventually a high fence blocked the riverside but a path up to the right led us to the main road, and another right along the pavement took us into the village of Doune. We passed the Muir Hall and St Modoc’s Episcopal Church.

The Moray Institute, now homes, and some picturesque cottages.

There have been two referendums in recent years. The occupant of one cottage left us in no doubt which way s/he had voted in either of them, with Saltires and European Union bunting fluttering in the breeze.

We emerged onto the main street by the Mercat Cross, and then passed the Highland Hotel and the former Kilmadock Parish Church.

A final footpath took us back over fields to the castle and our car having enjoyed a lovely and varied day out.

Doune Castle
Doune Castle
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55 thoughts on “Deanston and Doune

  1. Denzil January 9, 2017 / 11:04

    Quite a movie-themed day out, it seems. Is their whisky sold as Deanston’s? I have never heard of that brand; although I not a whisky connoisseur.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anabel Marsh January 9, 2017 / 12:07

      I suppose it was! Yes, there are Deanston single malts. It’s maybe not one of the better known ones, being relatively new.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor January 9, 2017 / 11:26

    Despite all of the other things that were filmed at Doune, it will always be associated with Monty Python first and foremost for me. When I’ve visited there, I always start laughing as I imagine Monty Python skits being played out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh January 9, 2017 / 12:08

      Me too! I’ve not seen either GoT or Overlander anyway.

      Like

  3. nomad, interrupted January 9, 2017 / 13:40

    You did indeed have a varied day out, enjoying the distillery and some whiskey, and then such a nice walk around the castle. I love the horses and Doune Castle looks very atmospheric. 🙂

    Like

  4. Pit January 9, 2017 / 15:13

    Hi Anabel,
    I’ve never heard of that brand ot whisky. But then, I’ve not had any whisky for years. Anyway, thanks for the tour, and have a great week,
    Pit

    Like

    • Anabel Marsh January 9, 2017 / 15:27

      I had never heard of it either until the distillery started advertising tours. The samples were very nice! However, we didn’t buy any as we have plenty others at home for the occasional treat.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pit January 9, 2017 / 15:31

    I used to buy whisky on the freeies when I visited the UK, They had some very good ones there, at reasonable prices. And I still remember those Single Malts from the Highlands and/or Islands very favourably. But lately I haven’t had any whisky. Maybe some time? Who knows?

    Like

    • Anabel Marsh January 9, 2017 / 15:53

      Maybe! I do like a dram now and then, but it’s not something I can drink a lot of.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Liesbet January 9, 2017 / 15:34

    Nothing is better to get sober than a nice walk with fresh air and historical sights! 🙂 How ironic it is that well-made products go out of business, because they never break or need to be replaced. Sometimes, they don’t find representation for that reason as well, because the resellers won’t make enough money.

    Like

    • Anabel Marsh January 9, 2017 / 15:54

      I think being so well made it never breaks is almost unheard of these days!

      Like

  7. lilyandardbeg January 9, 2017 / 16:51

    stunning photos-I’ve never been there (will put it on my list!)

    Like

  8. Kathleen Jennette January 9, 2017 / 17:04

    My husband love whisky in he evening. Just a little, or a scotch. I really like the fact the old buildings are alive and living over there! There are so beautiful and have much historic value.

    Like

  9. Helen C January 9, 2017 / 17:25

    Sounds like a very nice walk, Anabel. This reminds me of my Jameson Whiskey tour. I still keep my certification saying I am a certified Jameson tester 😉

    >> The angel’s share is a term for the amount of alcohol which evaporates from the casks during maturation.
    I like that term 😉

    Have a great day.

    Like

  10. philosophermouseofthehedge January 9, 2017 / 22:42

    I love old places that have lead multiple lives. Fish in a rock – now you don’t see that everyday either. Cool

    Like

  11. Blue Sky Scotland January 10, 2017 / 00:15

    I’ve cycled around that area a few years ago and was impressed by the distillery and the small mill village beside it then went off to see the castle and the red kite centre nearby. It makes a good interesting tour by car as well I’d imagine. Not a bad Scottish film that one.

    Like

    • Anabel Marsh January 10, 2017 / 07:41

      Yes, it’s a nice example of a planned village. We didn’t have time for the red kites but a friend has been and enjoyed it so it’s definitely on the list.

      Like

  12. the eternal traveller January 10, 2017 / 01:09

    What a pleasant day out. Mr ET would enjoy the distillery visit, especially the samples at the end. He usually gets my share, except for the day we went to the Steigl brewery in Salzburg. One of their special beers is a shandy – the beer is mixed with different fruit juices. So it’s very much like cider. I used all my sample vouchers that day. 🙂

    Like

  13. Birgit January 10, 2017 / 03:23

    What a great day and so varied in what you saw. I love it that you saw the castle from Monty Python fame. This looks like a really nice town but I would pass on the whiskey since I don’t like it. My Michael on the other hand would love it.

    Like

    • Anabel Marsh January 10, 2017 / 07:49

      It was a lovely day, Birgit. Micheal would definitely have loved the whisky – very smooth.

      Like

  14. hilarymb January 10, 2017 / 09:05

    Hi Anabel – sounds like an excellent tour … with fascinating history – the modern part i.e. the cotton mill and distillery, then the older part – the castle! Yes the blue and white stand out … we live in interesting times … cheers Hilary

    Like

    • Anabel Marsh January 10, 2017 / 13:50

      Yes, interesting times indeed! A bit too interesting.

      Like

  15. Ann Coleman January 10, 2017 / 15:06

    I’ve never visited a distillery, but hope to some day. Here in the States, we have several good ones in Kentucky and that’s an easy drive from my home. But I’d much rather visit one in Scotland!

    Like

    • Anabel Marsh January 10, 2017 / 16:18

      I’d be interested to visit a bourbon distillery to see if it differed! I’ve never been to one in the US but we went to one in Canada. However, that was Nova Scotia so it was malt whisky as at home.

      Like

  16. dconnollyislandgmailcom January 10, 2017 / 23:18

    Thanks for the tour, and for the reminder that there are often great places to explore less than an hour’s drive away!

    Like

  17. tots2travel January 12, 2017 / 21:33

    I love visiting distilleries, the history is always fantastic. The Ken Loach link is spot on too.

    Like

    • Anabel Marsh January 12, 2017 / 22:57

      Thanks, I agree. And even though the process is basically the same, they all have some unique quirk to be proud of.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. BeckyB January 14, 2017 / 11:58

    Must admit I don’t like malts (bad experience in Leeds once!!) but what a fascinating day . . I would have loved going around.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. rosemaylily2014 January 15, 2017 / 07:17

    Looks a wonderful day out Anabel! I love the idea of “the Angel’s Share” hadn’t come across that expression before!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. paintdigi January 15, 2017 / 10:27

    Happy 2017.
    Good posts, beautiful blog.
    Congratulations.
    Welcome to see my creations:
    paintdigi.com

    Liked by 1 person

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