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" Lakes Distillery Visit and Lunch "
Date & start time: Monday 30th January 2017
Location of Start : The Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 196 320 )
Places visited : The Distillery and Bistro
Walk details : Not a lot.
Highest point : A great visit, full of highlights.
With : Dee and John, Ann and myself (no dogs).
Weather : A sunny winter morning, clouding over after lunch.
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On Tuesday Ann and I had planned to visit and have lunch at The Lakes Distillery
but Dee and John rang as they also had the same idea for Monday. They would be returning to Durham the following day
so a quick change of plans, and flexibility on the part of the distillery, found four of us booked onto Monday's tour.
On the drive from Loweswater to Bassenthwaite we drove along the old A66 Embleton road
and just had to stop for the lovely view of snow-topped Ladyside and Hopegill Head.
With the wide angle lens the sunny but hazy panorama unfolds . . . here is part of it from Hopegill to Mellbreak.
To our left the view included a fresh fall of snow on the high fells.
The Skiddaw massif, reaching up to over 3000 feet above sea level has a good covering of overnight snow.
The top 200 metres from Ullock Pike upward has a beautiful wintery look.
The view improved all the way until we turned into the Distillery car park.
It was quarter to twelve and time to meet up with Dee and John.
Wrapped up warm against the breeze.
The distillery has been open two years now and has been extremely popular as a tourist destination.
It is a completely new venture, designed and built around an old Victorian farm complex on the Dubwath road near Bassenthwaite.
As whisky takes three years and a day to mature, it will be another year before they can sell their own "Lakes Whisky" as a single malt brand.
We join Simon who will take us and four others on a distillery tour.
The whole place took over a year to remodel from farm to distillery.
Previous pictures here on Loweswatercam date from the early days of that renovation and are linked here or at the end of this page.
A lot has changed since our original visit.
In the visitor centre is a circular relief map of the River Derwent catchment area from which they draw their water for the whisky.
The map shows the course of the river between the headwaters of the Derwent at Sprinkling Tarn and the sea at Workington.
The four-leafed leather seat surrounding it was a great place to watch their short video of the river journey.
The lights are dimmed for a helicopter flight from Sprinkling Tarn down past Bassenthwaite to the coast.
Pictures inside the distillation room were not allowed so we must rely on framed photos or their website again.
The whisky is first "brewed" into a liquor in much the same way as beer using the stainless steel mash tuns in the foreground.
The liquor is then heated and distilled into the proof spirit in the copper stills.
Tradition has it that they are named after the wife of the distiller (Susan) and other important ladies if there is more than one still.
In the background here are two other copper stills, the far one being used to produce Gin and Vodka distillations.
The distillation process creates "Lakes Spirit" which will then mature in wooden casks, gaining more flavour and colour as it does so.
It can only be called whisky once it has matured for three years and a day.
First sales of their locally produced single malt whisky are eagerly awaited from December 2018
but some will be held back and will mature to perfection over the next ten years.
Cheers . . . or should we "Slàinte mhath" (good health).
The tasting included not only the One Whisky but also opportunity to compare their Gin and Vodka which they also produce here.
All those tastes and aromas put you in the mood for lunch . . . and where better than the Bistro at the Distillery.
No pictures of starters or main course. The camera only surfaced with the puddings !
Lunch was delightful, their full afternoon tea looked very attractive and their evening meals have a great reputation too.
A short stroll around the grounds afterwards took us round the outbuildings . . .
. . . past the water treatment equipment (presumably) . . .
. . . and down towards the river, from which they draw the water from Sprinkling Tarn to make the whisky.
I managed a distant photo of the back ends of eight of their alpaca herd that feature on the distillery brochure.
Unfortunately they were too busy having their lunch to turn round.
We'll close the gates on a lovely and long overdue visit to the centre.
" Chi mi a-rithist thu " (I'll see you again - gaelic)
" Last yan out, shut yat " (Last one out please shut the gate - Cumbrian).
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Compact System Camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . someone to write our name on a small barrel ?
Previous walk - 28th January 2017 - Late January Walks and Visitors
A previous time up here - 17th November 2014 - Dubwath and Binsey
Next walk - 1st February 2017 - Rannerdale with Jo