Thursday, 23 October 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 16: Highland Spirit

By Rupert Millar

The battlefield at Glenlivet today
I saw three lords in battle fight…”
- The Ballad of Balrinnes

Whisky lovers will know the name of Glenlivet, a distillery nestled on the edge of what is now the Cairngorms National Park. Perhaps you're reading this, sipping a 15 year old dram while contemplating the wonderful roll of the Scottish hills (through the mizzle no doubt). But few may know that just three short miles east of the distillery is the site of an old battle between highland clans and an interesting one at that.

The feuds and quarrels of the clans may not give Hollywood scriptwriters or SNP politicians the chance to further push the Walter Scott-esque vision of Highland romanticism (they’re killing each other not dastardly English overlords after all), but leaving the political tub-thumping aside there is a great deal of Scottish military history which is largely forgotten, wholly fascinating and which took place near some of the most famous whisky distilleries in the world.