The Scottish Malts 2021 – The Adventure Begins in the Morning
Through the streets of old Edinburgh, above the gentle hum of a city coming back to life came a familiar sound, the skirl of bagpipes, drifting through the narrow-cobbled thoroughfares of Auld Reekie, bouncing off the buildings hewn from ancient stone and cutting its way up to the crowds gathering at Arthurs Seat. A short way down the Royal Mile stood a solitary piper, playing a lonesome lament for anyone who might care to listen, an endless thrum as one tune bled into another, under the shadow of the ancient castle stood proudly on the hill. The piper cut a proud figure, and played with an unusual vigour, as if his music might begin to drag this city, and perhaps the world from the dirge of the past 18 months. Not far down the road, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, another piped ensemble had begun to gather, to take their own steps to the kind of freedom and fun that have been missing just recently, although theirs would be a very different sound…
59 Crews to Join the Dots Between Distilleries as they Battle to Win This Ever-Popular EventIn the morning this particular ensemble, of fine automobiles, will play off one at a time to begin this year’s Scottish Malts rally. A five-day adventure through the mountains and hills in the east of Scotland, charting a route along paths less travelled, using traditional navigational techniques. The occupants of these classic vehicles all will be attempting to arrive at the various checkpoints stretched out before them exactly on time, there are no prizes for being quickest out on the open road in this form of motorsport, and the route is very much a mystery.
As the competitors gathered this afternoon, to complete their scrutineering checks and get ready for the off there was a mix of excitement and nervousness in the air. This rally, like many events, has been a long time coming after a forced postponement thanks to our old friend Covid and whilst there have been shorter events closer to home, this is one of the first with more of an international flavour to it. Crews have come from as far away as America, desperate to drive and compete in this fabulous part of the world, desperate to experience the thrill of motorsport again, desperate perhaps for a taste of freedom.
That will come soon enough, as the first cars depart the Dalmahoy Hotel when the flag drops at 8 am tomorrow morning. It will certainly be a lot more entertaining than the usual Monday morning commute into work, as 59 cars strike out to cut a path towards the evening stop at Pitlochry. As the crow flies this is but a short hop, but the route that the Malts will take, as it explores the countryside and hops between distilleries, will ensure that plenty of miles have gone under the wheels by the time the last control is reached.
No doubt the Piper will still be stood stoic in the old city, playing out his tune, as our crews set out across this ancient land to the rhythm of the timekeeper’s clock, following the path to adventure, to whisky and, for some, to glory.