A Long Walk To The Pub
Traditionally in January or February each year we try to get away for a mini break and, in recent years, this means a trip up to the Duchally Country Estate on the outskirts of Auchterarder in Perthshire, Scotland. Duchally is part of the CLC World Hotels & Resorts and has hotel rooms as well as luxury lodges. We always stay in the latter, because it allows us to take family with us at no extra cost, is more relaxed and gives us the flexibility of self-catering accommodation. On this occasion, Amanda’s Dad came with us for a week of R&R, walking and whisky sampling. To be honest, Amanda and I had planned on having a very chilled week, but we ended up walking for miles.
Sunday saw us travel over to St Andrews for a bit of sightseeing and photography. We walked across the famous Old Course, the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world, which was a totally surreal experience on so many levels. Golf is not allowed on the Old Course on a Sunday, so we got closer than many ever get the chance to do. We stood on The Swilcan Bridge halfway down the 18th fairway; we shuddered at the thought of playing out of the huge pot bunker alongside the 17th green and we wandered through the ‘valley of sin’, the swale just in front of the 18th green, that is so much deeper than it looks on TV.
The weather turned horrible, so we sought refuge in the St Andrews Golf Museum and café, before venturing around the castle and walking down the pier. Having survived the worsening winds and avoiding being blown into the undoubtedly freezing water, we headed back to the car via a fish and chip restaurant.
The Gleneagles Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort is 2.5 miles from Duchally and it is a must visit for anyone in the area, irrespective of whether you enjoy golf or not. The hotel is luxurious, the restaurants opulently expensive and the whisky shop simply way out of our league! In contrast, walking around the golf course, which you can do freely, is lovely and anyone that gets the chance to play here is one very lucky golfer. The clubhouse is well worth a visit, with two restaurants and a relaxing bar area, offering a high quality people watching opportunity.
The highlight of the trip was our pub crawl day. We got the train into Dundee and, following a trip to the local tourist information, decided to walk up ‘The Law’. The Dundee Law is the plug of an extinct volcano, with a summit of over 500 feet above sea level. The lady had told us the views from the top made the short walk worthwhile. Don’t believe the word ‘short’ and add the word ‘steep’! The views were great from the top, but the view of my pint afterwards was so much better. The pub was called The Phoenix and is renowned for its chilli (OMG, it was hot, but very tasty). Having downed a couple of pints and filled our bellies with food, we headed off on the pub crawl. The list of establishments was as follows:
- Old Bank Bar (pre Law drink)
- The Phoenix (x2)
- The Beer Kitchen
- One Seven Two
- The Speedwell (urinal warning – see below)
- Duke’s Corner (x2)
- The Counting House
- The Bank Bar
- Star & Garter
URINAL WARNING: Do not, and I mean DO NOT, take seemingly innocent photographs of old fashioned urinals (or any type of urinals for that matter) and then post them online as Andy (Amanda’s Dad) did in The Speedwell toilets. Those photos have since been reposted on a very dodgy web site, masquerading as a porcelain appreciation site…you have been warned!!!
Our favourite bars were definitely Duke’s Corner, a modern and trendy bar serving real and craft ales, plus Brewdog with its range of quirky and somewhat pricey beers. Dundee was a great day out and is clearly undergoing a bit of rejuvenation at present, so go check it out for yourselves…Try the Chilli in The Phoenix, but avoid the toilets in The Speedwell 🙂