The Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame

This year we have made one important change to the Icons of Whisky line up. In the past we have honoured members of the industry with a Lifetime Achievement award. We have now evolved this award into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame. All those who have been given a Lifetime award will be elevated to the Hall of Fame.

Inspired by the top 100 greatest whisky figures in history who appeared in the 100th edition of the magazine, the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame will be a permanent tribute honouring those noteworthy individuals who have made a lasting contribution to the world of whisky.

Douglas Campbell

Master distiller and brand ambassador Tomatin Distillery

Now joining the lofty ranks of those having passed 50 years in the industry, Our first inductee tonight has worked at the same distillery throughout his whisky career.

He started in 1961 as a clerk, and has worked through almost every area in the distillery; from the maltings, filling store, mash house, still house, cooperage, head  brewer in 1988, then distillery manager in 1990. He was appointed master distiller in 2009, and now works as a brand ambassador.

With his vast experience, his role is to keep track of the whiskies as they develop their own distinctive characters and then he decides how best to utilise these casks, to maintain the consistently high standard of his whiskies.

Richard Forsyth

Chairman Forsyths

For the last 80 years members of our next inductee’s family have worked at the heart of the whisky business.

By investing heavily in making sure the company has the finest artisans, and by maintaining quality the company has flourished.

In the last few years the company has contributed its expertise to the likes of The Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenmorangie and the building of the distillery Ailsa Bay at Girvan.

It designed, installed and commissioned the fully automated distillery in Taiwan that is now so successfully producing rising star Kavalan, and it has involved in projects in Jamaica, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Sweden.

Elmer T. Lee

Master distiller and brand ambassador Buffalo Trace Distillery

Elmer is known throughout the industry for his expertise and knowledge of Bourbon whiskey. His career in Bourbon began after the Second World War when in September 1949 he began working in the engineering department at a distillery in Frankfort.

Although retired in 1985, he continues to serve as ambassador, educating the world on the unique qualities of Kentucky’s Bourbon whiskey.

In 1984 he introduced the single barrel bourbon concept to the world and is also only one of three living master distillers who have a Bourbon whiskey named after them.

For more information please visit

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World Whiskies Awards 2012



Japanese whisky continued its dominance of World Whiskies Awards this year; with Suntory scooping one of the top titles and Nikka securing the blended malt title for the fourth year running. For the first time a South African blend, Three Ships, took the title of World’s Best Blended Whisky.

More than 300 whiskies battled during three intensive blind tasting rounds for the coveted titles of the ‘2012 World’s Best Whiskies’.

Judges for Whisky Magazine’s independent editorial panel were drawn from the best drinks journalists and retailers across the world, with industry representatives made up of master blenders, distillers and brand ambassadors in the final round. The winners of the ‘World Whiskies Awards 2012’ were as follows:

World’s Best Single Malt Whisky                           Yamazaki 25 Years Old

World’s Best Blended Malt Whisky         Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Years Old

World’s Best Blended Whisky                                     Three Ships 5 Years Old

World’s Best Grain Whisky                                     Greenore 18 Years Old

World’s Best American Whiskey                     Eagle Rare 17 Years Old

World’s Best Whisky Liqueur                                     Dunkeld Athol Brose

The World Whiskies Awards is the annual selection of the very best whiskies internationally. This year entries have been received from: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, India, Ireland, Japan, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, USA and Wales. Categories are based upon the commonly held whisky groupings, which define both the style and the process of whisky and whisky production: single malt, blended, blended malt, grain, American and whisky liqueurs. Organised by Whisky Magazine, this annual competition selects, awards and promotes to consumers and trade the ‘World’s Best Whiskies’.

The competition is open to proprietary bottlings only, and is chaired by Rob Allanson, Editor of Whisky Magazine, and exists to inform and educate consumers throughout the world about whisky.

Chairman of the judges, Rob Allanson, commented: “The competition featured some eye-opening whiskies and the judging panel had a hard time separating the good from the very good. My congratulations go to the winners, the judges’ exacting standards mean that the winners are truly the greatest whiskies in the world.”

Category and sub category winners


Best Blended Malt – Scotch The Hive, Wemyss Vintage Malts

Best Blended Malt – Non Scotch   Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Years Old


Irish Blended Whiskey shortlist
No Age Statement                   Bushmills 1608

12 Years and Under                   Tullamore Dew 12 Years Old Special Reserve

13 to 20 Years                                     Kilbeggan 18 Years Old
Best Irish Blended Whiskey Kilbeggan 18 Years Old

Japanese Blended Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Nikka From The Barrel
12 Years and Under                   Hibiki 12 Years Old
13 to 20 Years                                      Hibiki 17 Years Old
21 Years and Over                   Hibiki 21 Years Old
Best Japanese Blended Whisky Hibiki 17 Years Old

Best New World Blended Whisky Three Ships 5 Years Old

Scotch Blended Whisky shortlist

No Age Statement                  The Naked Grouse
12 Years and Under                  Johnnie Walker Black Label

13 to 20 Years                                    James Martin’s 20 Years Old
21 Years and Over                   Black Bull 40 Years Old
Best Scotch Blended Whisky Black Bull 40 Years Old

Canadian Blended Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve

13 to 20 Years Old                  Wiser’s 18 Years Old

Best Canadian Blended Whisky Wiser’s 18 Years Old


Best Bourbon shortlist
No Age Statement                  Hudson Four Grain Bourbon

7 Years and Under                  Four Roses Small Batch

13 to 20 Years                                      Eagle Rare 17 Years Old
Best Bourbon Eagle Rare 17 Years Old

Best Rye shortlist
No Age Statement                  Rittenhouse Straight Rye 100 Proof

7 Years and Under                  Sazerac Straight Rye

13 to 20 Years                                       Sazerac 18 Years Old

Best Rye Whiskey Sazerac 18 Years Old


Best Pot Still Whiskey shortlist

No Age Statement                  Green Spot
12 Years and Under                  Powers John’s Lane Release

13 to 20 Years                                    Redbreast 15 Years Old
Best Pot Still Whiskey Powers John’s Lane Release

Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky shortlist
12 Years and Under                  Hazelburn 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                    Springbank 18 Years Old

Best Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky Springbank 18 Years Old

Highland Single Malt Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Glenmorangie Signet

12 Years and Under                  Glen Garioch 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                     Old Pulteney 17 Years Old

21 Years and Over                  Speyburn 25 Years Old

Best Highland Single Malt Whisky Speyburn 25 Years Old

Islay Single Malt Whisky shortlist

No Age Statement                  Bowmore Maltmen’s Selection

12 Years and Under                  Lagavulin 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                     Lagavuin 16 Years Old

Best Islay Single Malt Whisky Bowmore Maltmen’s Selection

Island (non Islay) Single Malt Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Talisker 57º North

12 Years and Under                  Highland Park 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                     Scapa 16 Years Old

21 Years and Over                  Highland Park Vintage 1971

Best Island (non Islay) Single Malt Whisky Highland Park Vintage 1971

Speyside Single Malt Whisky shortlist

No Age Statement                  The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 2

12 Years and Under                  Singleton of Dufftown 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                     Aberlour 16 Years Old, Double Cask

21 Years and Over                  Glenfiddich 40 Years Old

Best Speyside Single Malt Whisky Glenfiddich 40 Years Old

Lowland Single Malt Whisky shortlist

No Age Statement                  Auchentoshan Valinch 2011

12 Years and Under                  Auchentoshan 1999
Best Lowland Single Malt Whisky Auchentoshan 1999

Irish Single Malt Whiskey shortlist
No Age Statement                  Connemara Cask Strength Peated

12 Years and Under                  Tyrconnel Single Malt Sherry Finish

13 to 20 Years                                     Tyrconnel Single Cask

21 Years and Over                  Bushmills 21 Years Old

Best Irish Single Malt Whiskey Bushmills 21 Years Old

Japanese Single Malt Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Miyagikyo Single Malt

12 Years and Under                  Miyagikyo 12 Years Old

13 to 20 Years                                     Ichiro’s Malt Card Nine of Clubs

21 Years and Over                  Yamazaki 25 Years Old

Best Japanese Single Malt Whisky Yamazaki 25 Years Old

New World Single Malt Whisky shortlist
No Age Statement                  Kavalan Solist Fino

12 Years and Under                  Armorik Double Maturation

Best New World Single Malt Whisky Kavalan Solist Fino

For more info visit:

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World Whiskies Design Awards 2012

Yesterday the inaugural World Whiskies Design Awards were announced at the Waldorf Hilton in London. Many congratulations to the award winners.

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Icons of Whisky 2012


Whisky Magazine’s ‘Icons of Whisky’ have become one of the highlights of the whisky calendar and the 2012 competition has lived up to its reputation with the number and quality of companies entering the awards. The Icons are designed to celebrate the people and places behind the amber liquid. The 2012 Icons of Whisky were announced at a dinner held at The Waldorf Hilton, London, on 22nd March 2012 and the winners are as follows:


Whisky Retailer of the Year, single outlet The Vintage House, England

Whisky Retailer of the Year, multiple outlets La Maison du Whisky, France

Whisky Online Retailer of the Year Master of Malt, England

Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year Jack Daniel Distillery, USA

Whisky Brand Innovator of the Year Irish Distillers, Ireland

Whisky Ambassador of the Year Ashok Chokalingham, Amrut Distillery

Whisky Distiller of the Year Irish Distillers, Ireland

Initially, nominations for the awards are invited from the industry themselves. Based on the evidence supplied, an independent, international, editorial panel, chaired by Rob Allanson, Editor of Whisky Magazine UK, draw up a shortlist from which the winners are picked. Voting rounds are held in the USA and Scotland in conjunction with ‘Whisky Live’ events ( Nominations are also invited from the rest of the world. The global icons are then drawn from this final shortlist.

Rob Allanson, Chairman of the Judge’s comments: “This year, in some cases we have seen smaller companies punching well above their weight to top their bigger rivals in the polls. The results also reflect the global nature of the whisky world. To make the final shortlist, given the all-encompassing nature of these awards and the quality of the entries, is an honour. I heartily congratulate all the 2012 winners as well as the shortlisted individuals and companies.”


Whisky Retailer of the Year, single outlet

Federal Wine & Spirits (USA)

The Vintage House (England)

The Whisky Shop Dufftown (Scotland)

Whisky Retailer of the Year, multiple outlets

La Maison Du Whisky (France)

Luvians Bottle Shop (Scotland)

The Liquor Barn (USA)

Whisky Online Retailer of the Year (USA)

Loch Fyne Whiskies (Scotland)

Master of Malt (England)

Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year

Aberlour Distillery (Scotland)

Jack Daniel Distillery (USA)

St George’s Distillery (England)

Whisky Brand Innovator of the Year

Buffalo Trace (USA)

Irish Distillers (Ireland)

Whyte & Mackay (Scotland)

Whisky Ambassador of the Year

Ashok Chokalingam (Amrut Distilleries)

Colin Dunn (Diageo)

David Blackmore (Glenmorangie USA)

Elmer T. Lee (Buffalo Trace)

Susan Colville (Wemyss Vintage Malts)

Whisky Distiller of the Year

Balcones Distillery (Craft Distiller, USA)

Diageo (Scotland)

Four Roses (USA)

Irish Distillers (Ireland)


For more information please visit:

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We all need some education

Raising the bar is a phrase all too often bandied about; however the innovative World Masterclass education course, which has just been unleashed for knowledge thirsty whisky fans, has done just this.

The game-changer in how education is delivered and consumed, the brain child of Whisky Magazine’s Dave Broom and one of the world’s leading hospitality training firm Lobster Ink, features a comprehensive on-line/DVD course.

I saw the course in action during its unveiling at Whisky Live South Africa, and have to say the results are excellent; in fact I cannot wait to get my hands on it and start going through it properly.

Each of the lessons includes a ‘classroom’ session, with Dave explaining in depth the principles behind each aspect of whisky production, followed by a lesson featuring distillers talking of their own specific techniques.

This means that students can learn about malting from Eddie MacAffer (Bowmore), milling from Georgie Crawford (Lagavulin), mashing from Andy Cant (Cardhu), fermentation from Alistair Longwell (Ardmore), distillation from Mickey Heads (Ardbeg), maturation from Andy MacDonald (Glenmorangie) and finishing from Jim McEwan (Bruichladdich)… and many more.

What better way to learn about whisky than from the people at the heart of the creative processes.

Dave tells me: “We genuinely saw the whole of the whisky-making process in amazing detail and got the people who make the whisky to explain what they believed it was all about. The end result is this fusion of hard fact and information placed in a real and living landscape populated by real people.

“When you listen to Georgie Crawford or Russell Anderson, Andy Cant or Eddie MacAffer, Frank McHardy or Alistair Longwell, Donald Renwick and Jim McEwan all talking – at length – about what is happening, it isn’t just the facts that stick with you but the passion these people have for their work. Capturing that, allowing them to speak, is the course’s greatest achievement – and there’s so much more still to come!

“The fact that they did this underlines that they recognised how important a course such as this is. It is generic, it treats all whiskies equally. We couldn’t have done this without the whole of the industry’s backing. That’s some achievement.”

The filming for Year 1 took place in the studio for the classroom material and during an intense three week period in Scotland, where the team filmed at more than 40 distilleries.

Dave adds: “Filming was an extraordinary experience, not only because of the number of sites we managed to visit, or the fact that we saw (and filmed) all of Scotland from Campbeltown to Islay to Skye to Orkney to Speyside down to Edinburgh, but the access we were given to the distilleries.”

I don’t think we can underestimate the impact this course is going to have on the education of whisky lovers, current and future. You can read as many books as you like, but this is almost as good as being there; and you get to watch and learn from some of the most important people in the industry.

In Dave’s words: “It tells you from the horse’s mouth what whisky is about and it does so in a way which is accessible to the newbie while also exploding a few of the myths which the aficionado may still be holding on to.”

With Year 1 complete, the team is working on Year 2 which will launch in spring 2012, featuring in-depth focuses on specific distilleries as well as Irish whisky and Scotch blends. Further whisky categories are then planned as well as extending The World Masterclass into all other spirits categories. “We have so many great ideas for this platform,” says Broom. “The possibilities with this application are endless.”

Students go to to enroll.  Year 1 costs £99/USD150. The course is also available in a 5-pack DVD format in selected countries.

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Explore Granite City

Aberdeen’s Merchant Quarter has partnered with Glen Garioch, the city’s local distillery, to launch a Whisky Walk.

The Whisky Walk guides visitors around the historic Merchant Quarter’s bars where they can enjoy a dram or two and learn about Scotland’s national drink.

The tour features something for everyone, from the most ardent whisky fans to those just keen to know more about the famous spirit.

The Whisky Walk is being sponsored by Glen Garioch Distillery, Aberdeen’s local dram.  Based just 17 miles from the city centre, it boasts a proud Doric history and has been producing the finest whiskies for more than 200 years.

Walkers can hop on the bus at Union Square to tour the Glen Garioch Distillery in Oldmeldrum before heading back to the Merchant Quarter in Aberdeen to sample some of the region’s finest drams.

Gary Atkinson, of the Merchant Quarter, said the Whisky Walk offers something different for locals and tourists who want to experience the north east’s whisky heritage.

He said:  “We have a long whisky history in the north east and the Merchant Quarter bars wanted to celebrate that and so the Whisky Walk was born.  With the Glen Garioch Distillery on our doorstep it lets people experience an authentic working distillery and then enjoy the fruits of it on our Whisky Walk.

“The 12 bars taking part have more than 200 whiskies in stock and the enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff can help you select the dram to suit you.  We hope the Whisky Walk will offer Aberdonians and visitors a little taste of Scotland and the Highland whisky region.”

John Mullen, Glen Garioch brand manager, said the distillery was delighted to support the Merchant Quarter Whisky Walk.

He said: “Glen Garioch is proud to be Aberdeen’s local malt and the Whisky Walk is a perfect way for whisky newcomers and enthusiasts alike to experience the region’s whisky history.

“Glen Garioch is one of the oldest remaining distilleries still in production and produces some of the finest single malts which are lauded the world over.  With the distillery just 17 miles from the city you can see whisky production in action before savouring the liquid in a tour of the Merchant Quarter bars making it a perfect day out.”

Gordon McIntosh, Aberdeen City Council’s Director of Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure, warmly welcomed the Merchant Quarter Initiative.

He said “North east whisky production is a key part of our heritage and initiatives like this bring it to life for locals and visitors alike.

“It is fantastic to secure the support of local distillery Glen Garioch.  The Whisky Walk will offer something for everyone, from whisky buffs to those just keen to know more about the north-east’s whisky history.”

The Merchant Quarter Whisky Walk includes 12 bars offering everything from a smooth and mellow experience in Carmelite Bar and Grill with its selection of 40 whiskies, woody and spicy whisky fun at the Prince of Wales and Old Kings Highway to a smoky and peaty flavour at The Hen Hoose and The Lorne Bar.    

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Scottish Icons of Whisky 2012

Johnnie Walker owner Diageo has been voted the best Scottish distiller in this year’s Scottish Icons of Whisky, held by Whisky Magazine. The firm, which owns some of the most iconic distilleries in the world , faced stiff competition from a shortlist of Scottish distillers.

To celebrate the people and places behind the greatest whiskies in the world, this year’s judging process will include regional heats in the U.S., Rest of World and Scotland.

Other big winners in the Scottish Icons included: Whisky Ambassador Colin Dunn (Diageo), Young Whisky Ambassador Susan Colville (Wemyss Vintage Malts) and Whyte and Mackay for its work replicating Shackleton’s whisky.

The icons were announced at an awards ceremony at Oran Mr, Glasgow, on Friday, September 2nd, held to mark the opening of Whisky Live Glasgow.

Full results were:



Highly commended: Kilchoman Distillery


Aberlour Distillery

Highly commended: Glen Grant Distillery


The Whisky Shop Dufftown

Highly commended: Gordon and MacPhail


Luvian’s Bottle Shop, Fife

Highly commended: Royal Mile Whiskies


Loch Fyne Whiskies

Highly commended:


Whyte and Mackay

Highly commended: The Glenmorangie Company


Colin Dunn, Diageo

Highly commended: George Grant, Glenfarclas Distillery


Susan Colville, Wemyss Vintage Malts

Highly commended: Karen Fullerton, The Glenmorangie Company

Visit for full results

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Bushmills finalists

Colum Egan, Master Distiller at the Old Bushmills Distillery, has today announced the eleven pairs of friends who will represent their countries at ‘Bushcamp’, the global final of ‘Make it 2 Bushmills’, a competition hosted by Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

The eleven pairs will be taking part in the final, dubbed the ‘Whiskey World Games’, on Ireland’s north coast this August. The competition offers two friends the chance to win two weeks working at the world-famous Old Bushmills Distillery, where they will make their own unique blend of BushmillsIrish Whiskey, live in luxury penthouse accommodation and get £5,000 spending money. Then, the winning friends will get VIP access to the ultimate Bushmills party back in their home country.

The Bushcamp finalists are:
• Representing Belgium – Johan Lolos, a Student (23) and Mathias Gilles, a Student (24)
• Representing Bulgaria – Marin Aganderov, a Student (22) and Kiril Todorov, a Student (22)
• Representing Czech Republic – Ondřej Šimeček, a Hospitality Product Manager (27) and Jiří Tlach, an Insurance Officer (28)
• Representing Germany – Patrick Seidel, a Bartender (27) and Andreas Andricopoulos, a Bartender (27)
• Representing Great Britain – Keeley Sutcliffe, a Junior and Infant School Midday Supervisor (34) and Tom Lawrence, a Telesales Manager (39)
• Representing the Netherlands – Richard Beatty, an IT Consultant (36) and Michael Weijzig, a Social Worker (36)
• Representing Northern Ireland – Richard Roberts, a Customer Service Assistant (59) and Carol Roberts, a Home Care Worker (55)
• Representing the Republic of Ireland – Peter Majernik, a Hotel Concierge (32) and Vladimir Majernik, a Hotel Porter (31)
• Representing Russia – Nikolay Fedoseev, a Graphic Designer (28) and Ilya Rybalsky, a Chemical Engineer (26)
• Representing South Africa – Sean Tickner, a Orthotist and Prosthetist (30) and Jonathan Oliff, a Brand Strategist and Marketing Consultant (27)
• Representing the United States of America – Curt Neeb, an Inventory Specialist (40) and Paul Kowalski, a Graphic Design Business Owner (49)

The duos were selected to represent their countries by public vote on Facebook and will compete against each other in a number of challenges to find the ultimate winners of Make it 2 Bushmills. Some of the challenges they can expect to face include barrel-rolling, coopering and beach golf.

The final will be judged by the BUSHMILLS Master Distiller Colum Egan and some famous fans of BUSHMILLS, including Kevin Baird of Two Door Cinema Club, Jonathan Galkin of DFA Records and Rob Allanson of Whisky Magazine.

Colum said: “Bushcamp is going to be the World Games of Whiskey, played out in true Bushmills style. Kevin, Jonathan, Rob and I will be challenging the finalists to try out some of the things that the team at the Old Bushmills Distillery do on a daily basis as well as some of the things that we like to do in our spare time…all with a Bushmills twist.

“But of course, being the Old Bushmills Distillery, we’ll not be forgetting the whiskey itself. A couple of the challenges will test how passionate the friends are about BUSHMILLS Irish Whiskey. All will be revealed when we welcome them here in August!”

Bushcamp will take place from 16th – 18th August at the Old Bushmills Distillery, in Bushmills village and the surrounding area, with the winning pair of friends being announced on the evening of the 17th.

Visit to follow the finalists’ progress and for more information on Make it 2 Bushmills.


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Sandwiches and sweat

I promise I will never spurn the attentions of a simple ham and tomato sandwich again, however to really appreciate one properly now, I need to work incredibly hard and summit out at about 1,000ft.

The humble buttie was the reward for about four and a half hours training for the Bowmore Ben Nevis challenge. God it tasted fantastic: standing on top on the little hill above the Aberfoyle outdoors centre with the team, having put into practice the lessons from Event leader and founder Ken Hames.

The breaded delight was made all the more tastier as we had been trekking downhill for about 30 or 40 minutes. Clearly much easier than going up hill, which we had already done and to be honest I thought at one point I was going to die, fairly quietly because I was too knackered to make much of a fuss. But we kept going, knowing that on the Ben we have to push on.

Anyhow as we reached to bottom of the hill, Hames gave us one of the harshest lessons, so we could all learn how to manage in the face of more adversity, and told us to go back up the hill and hit the summit.

Hence the sandwich, in one of its most humblest guises, was an excellent reward.

Essentially the Ben Nevis event, supporting Capability Scotland, Scotland’s best known disability organisation, sees teams of disabled and non-disabled people work together to take on the challenge of scaling the UK’s highest peak.

Last weekend we all got together for the first time as a time, and met our disabled captain Daryl.

Billed as a taster weekend, it was incredibly hard and very quickly you managed to get the measure of yourself, not just in terms of physical fitness but mental strength as well. Also it is about forming a bond of trust between everyone, learning each other strengths and weaknesses.

After arriving at the David Marshall lodge, home of the Go-Ape treetop play ground, the mood was confident among the teams, although this dissipated after Hames announced that in his opinion this was the toughest challenge in Britain at the moment; and this from a long serving SAS officer and hardened adventurer.

So after picking our faces and stomachs off the floor, deflated with mild panic at the task ahead, it was time to learn about pushing, pulling, manoeuvering and manhandling the specially adapted wheelchair over obstacles and the mountainside terrain.

First day not so bad, but the second day was the real eye opener – but I think you get the measure of it from the opening paragraphs.

That said there was a real sense of elation having reached the summit and returned; that was just a little hill. The Ben is another 2,000ft on top of it. There will be some emotion and elation when we summit out on it. One thing for certain, this will be a life changer.

So I have set up a justgiving page and would ask that you please give generously as the cause is good:

If you want to know more about the Challenge then visit:

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Challenging Ben

The Bowmore Ben Nevis Challenge training day is drawing very near, in fact I will be heading North on Friday to Glasgow, before carrying on to Aberfoyle on Saturday morning. The chance to get back out and tackle such an iconic peak, and for such an excellent cause prompted a few thoughts. As things begin to defrost here after what has been a long and very cold winter my thoughts are starting to turn to the summer, and getting back into the great outdoors.
One highlight on my calendar, something I am greatly honoured to have been asked to be a part of, is the Bowmore Ben Nevis Challenge.
The event, supporting Capability Scotland, Scotland’s best known disability organisation, will see teams of disabled and non-disabled people work together to take on the challenge of scaling the UK’s highest peak.
And what a summit Ben Nevis offers. People have been taking on the Ben for generations now, and although it has a relatively ‘easy’ track to the top, this lump needs to be treated with great respect. People still die on this hill. However the teams and myself with be in excellent hands. The challenge will be guided by ex-SAS officer and TV Presenter Ken Hames.
All we can ask is that the Ben is kind to us and the weather is clement. I have to say I am so looking forward to the challenge. It has been a while since I have been released into the wild in Scotland. Living in God’s country, Norfolk in case you were not aware, I do miss the hills.
As a Northern boy, I grew up with my sky being framed by these silent giants, one of my favourite lies not to far from my family home, a little lump called Knowl Hill in Lancashire. The romance of wandering about on the moors, the pull of ancient places occupied my thoughts quite often. It was no different when I lived in Scotland looking across the Clyde to the rising Kilpatrick Hills. That yearn to escape and just be part of the landscape never leaves you. The tingling nervous feeling of standing looking up to a shrouded peak is second to none; a sense of our own place in the world.
There is nothing quite like clearing the head than a decent walk through some wonderful countryside and of course ending on, at that moment in time and as far as you are concerned, the roof of the world.
Part of the appeal of being out on the hills in Scotland lies in the changes in the light and the interaction with the landscape. Few things in life can really rival stepping out on a wakening day, making your own tracks, heading into hills and coming back at dusk to a welcoming dram by a roaring log fire.

I will post some details after the training weekend about donating to the cause, or you can visit here: Remember to give generously please….

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