In the northern spring of 1998, Sweetheart Vivienne and I rode our tandem bicycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Our 1,175 miles (1,891 km) journey took 37 days. And on almost all of them it rained. As we pedalled through western Scotland, Sweetheart Vivienne exclaimed she didn’t mind that rain at all – as it’s so pure they make Scotch whisky from it. They do indeed . Scotland’s famous for its whisky. In many ways. A lesser known one concerns the SS Politician  – a cargo ship that in 1941 ran aground in a gale off the Outer Hebrides, near the island of Eriskay  – with 264,000 bottles of whisky on board. The islanders, alcohol starved due to WWII rationing, looted the ship to the tune of 24,000 bottles. These events prompted Scottish author Sir Compton Mackenzie  to write his novel Whisky Galore in 1947 . And in 1949 Whisky Galore!, a comedy film, was released . In the 69 years since 1941, only a few of the remaining bottles have been salvaged from the SS Politician’s wreck. Next 18 August one of these bottles (pictured) – of Ballantine’s – will be auctioned in Edinburgh . The salvaged whisky’s rarity, and the romance associated with it, is generating great interest. The expected price is A$2,000-3,000. A spokesman of the auction house Bonhams [9, 10], said the whisky’s ‘still very drinkable’. Me? I’m not bidding. I’d rather cycle through the Scottish rain than drink Scotch whisky. Och aye!
P.S. My Dad, whose 98th birthday’s today, was partial to a nip of Scotch.