As much as we love Edinburgh, there is so much more to explore in Scotland and we will take any excuse to venture out of the city. Derek and Shirley recently headed up to the Coylumbridge Hilton in Aviemore, for the Bentley Drivers Club Annual Whit Weekend. This year was the 60th anniversary of an event, which is arguably the highlight of the Scottish region’s social calendar. The event is so popular, club members join from all over the UK and even Canada and Australia. Just imagine staying a hotel, when over 150 modern, classic and vintage Bentleys rumble into the car park! It’s quite a sight, and sound. The the weekend is the same each year, just in a different location; arrive on Friday for a welcome dinner, head out on Saturday morning for a ‘run’ to a point of interest, picnic lunch and drive back for a black-tie dinner. Repeat on Sunday, just with less black-tie and more games!
Saturday took the group to Gordon Castle. Gordon Castle has a fantastic Gin…sorry meant, fascinating history. Well, they do have a fantastic Gin as well, which you all know is one of our favourite things! Completed in 1770 it was one of the largest houses in Scotland. Sitting in the Spey Valley, it has some of the best salmon fishing waters running straight through the estate. The Castle was used as an auxiliary hospital during the Great War and since then has had it’s ups and downs before being lovingly restored by the present owners, Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox. Whilst the group visited, the weather was so beautiful, after lunch in the cafe they spent hours walking the incredible walled garden. Once just an overgrown field, the gardens are now at the heart of the local community, employing 65 local staff who love the garden as if it was their own. The grounds also have a completely natural play area for children, not a piece of plastic in sight. Just sand, wood and water. What more do children want! After a lazy afternoon, the group headed back to the Coylumbridge Hilton for a gorgeous black-tie dinner with Champagne reception, served by a brilliant team.
Sunday morning the group headed off to Ballindalloch Castle. Ballindalloch Castle has been home to the Macpherson-Grants since the Sixteenth Century and is one of the finest surviving examples of a real Scottish baronial castle. It is truly stunning. No sooner had the group parked up, the man himself, Guy Macpherson-Grant, was straight out to greet everyone who’d arrived. This warm Scottish hospitality was so like our own at the Dunstane Houses that we felt instantly at home. The gardens were beautiful to walk around, relaxing on the lawn with a gourmet picnic, admiring the castle itself. Inside didn’t disappoint either. We also had a chance to find out more about the North East 250, which was great as we already have a great relationship with our fellow award-winners the North Coast 500, so now we can plan a 750 mile road trip…who’s in! The dinner that evening was the most incredible buffet. As said previously, the food the Coylumbridge Hilton serve at events is delicious. The buffet not only tasted great, but had watermelons with the club logo and badge carved into them in intricate detail. What a touch! Chaos reigned that evening though, after the awards ceremony and winner of the kids (and grown ups!) “count how many post boxes you pass” competition had been announced, life-long club member Fraser organised his annual games competition. In the past we’ve had human hungry hippos and sumo wrestling, this year was a boys vs. girls relay involving a tiny children’s bike and a space hopper…! Very competitive and with a lot of cheating, the boys won, but the true winners were the two very happy kids who went home with the bikes!
Monday means home time. People used to wish the Whit Weekend was a week long, but honestly most people are secretly very glad it’s not, it’s a full on weekend. What the weekend gives however, apart from a chance to meet up with people you’ve not seen since last year, is the opportunity to visit places and areas in Scotland that are ‘off the beaten track’ and you perhaps wouldn’t think of visiting. The club have discovered a lot of hidden gems over 60 years and The Dunstane Houses are a great place to start your own adventure.
With just a short walk to Haymarket station you can go anywhere. Or take the chance to book one of our amazing packages, such as Scotland with a Highlander or The Caledonia Job. Discover the life of Mary Queen of Scots or just do the Festival in style! Book an escape or get in touch for the best rates on your next adventure.