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...

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