Wednesday 30 May 2012

Steamin' in Speyside!

It is not every day, as a hotelier, that you'll get a telephone call asking if five steam lorries can pop by for a spot of lunch!

The wonderful Knockomie Hotel, an Inn just south of Forres on the Moray coast, found it self in the privileged position recently!

The answer from host Gavin Ellis was a resounding YES which shouldn't come as a great surprise for those who know a little about his family history with steam.

You see, Gavin's father Graham founded The Mull and West Highland Narrow Gauge Railway Company in 1984 to take tourists from the ferry terminal at Craignure to the castle gardens.

It became quite possibly one of Mull's greatest attractions and as honours go it couldn't get much bigger when the BBC filmed an episode of Balamory featuring characters such as PC Plum on the train!

The railway was forced to be mothballed a couple of years back now but it was no surprise when SteamBoat Ellis (as he will be forthwith known to his friends) invited these steam powered vehicles into his car park.

For those with a knowledge of these things there were four Sentinels – a trio of twin cylinder double-acting chain-driven machines and one S Type four-cylinder single-acting shaft-driven unit – ans they were accompanied by a 1928 Foden.

Over the years Knockomie - a hotel in name but an Inn in welcome - has been the stop off point for many Classic, vintage and veteran cars and this just added to the collection of motorised visitors (and their owners) taking advantage of the superb facilities and just-off-the-road location.

In the coming weeks and months Knockomie will be welcoming a collection of motor bikes from Germany touring Scotland, visiting castles and Distilleries.

The Drivers and supporters had a hearty lunch, the wagons where replenished with water and from Forees they made their way to Grantown on Spey for an overnight stop before proceeding back to Elgin via Aberlour. A 90 mile journey of steamin' Moray and Speyside Magic!

And did anyone mention whisky in Speyside?

Well there's a lovely little book called Distinguising Distilleries in there somewhere by a certain Mrs Penny Ellis but that's for another blog...

Thursday 17 May 2012

Get on Yer Bike...

EventScotland has this week announced details of plans to work with British Cycling and UK Sport to develop a proposal to host the opening stages of the 2017 Tour de France. The proposal builds on work carried out by EventScotland over the last few years and aims to engage with as many partners as possible and make a significant contribution to the ongoing story of the Tour, while delivering the maximum possible impact for the UK.

The Tour de France is one of the World’s largest annual sporting events, and the benefits to its host are paramount to a UK bid. The Tour is watched by around two billion people every year, with around two million lining the streets for the opening stage. Contested by around 200 cyclists including the greatest road-riders in the world, the Tour de France offers a great opportunity to host a truly global sporting spectacle.

The proposal has the full backing of the Scottish Government, with First Minister the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP saying: “Scotland has a strong relationship with the international cycling community, and I am delighted that a proposal is being developed for the opening stages of the Tour de France. To bring such a fantastic event to Scotland would be a huge coup, but we have a strong track record and I know that the country has a huge amount to offer ASO and the cyclists taking part. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting major international events, and I have no doubt that the combined expertise of the UK partners would lead to a first-class opening stage of the Tour.”

Scotland has strong track record in the delivery of major cycling events, including the Tour of Britain - pictured above, which has been supported by EventScotland since 2005. Scotland is the perfect stage for major cycling events, with spectacular scenery and challenging terrains providing the ideal backdrop to the action. Since its inception in 2003, EventScotland has invested over £1.5m in cycling events including the ToB, UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and the Halfords Tour Series.

Thursday 10 May 2012

£99 Malmaison Offer in Scotland

Fancy a wee special treat in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Malmaison are offering a £99 offer on their own website. Click on the image to BOOK DIRECT.

Live it up at the Mal. It's true. You've been a workhorse by day. A slave to the 9 to 5. At last the night time has arrived. And from now on night time at the Mal is all about wining and dining. You deserve it. Treat yourself, go on, we dare you. That's Mal life.

Monday 7 May 2012

Art Exhibition for Curtis Cup Golf

There's free entry to an art's exhibition taking place before the Curtis Cup in Nairn next month between the 6th and 11th of June at The Court House on High Street Nairn.

The Curtis Cup is the bi-annual golf competition between teams of amateur lady golfers representing the United States of America and Great Britain & Ireland.
This prestigious event will bring golfing enthusiasts from all over the world to the Scottish Highlands and to add to their enjoyment an exhibition including some of the best professional artists from the area will be showing, and selling, their work in the historic Nairn Court House.

The Festival is also delighted to be featuring original work from Lucy Tormey, Curtis Cup Event Artist at this exhibition.

FInd out more on the Nairn Book and Arts Festival Site