Our intrepid editor recently journeyed to Scotland to sample the local sporting and spirituous offerings. 

Shotguns, single malts and some serious off-roading

Here’s Part I of his double-barreled account:

Shotguns, single malts and some serious off-roading were the order of the day on our recent excursion to the Highlands while in Scotland to sample Glenmorangie‘s newest offering, the awesome Artein.

Land Rover Discovery (LR4) on the obstacle course at Dunkeld Park; click to enlarge

Before visiting the legendary Glenmorangie Distillery (more on that later), we traveled to Dunkeld House, the classic country hotel on 280 acres owned by the Hilton brand, to sample the outdoor delights of its activity center, site of the Land Rover Experience off-roading school.

Site of the Land Rover Experience off-roading school

Between bouts of battling the elements—no mean feat on a blustery Scottish day in February—we admired the picturesque setting on the River Tay and honed our skills on the clay pigeon course.

On the sporting clay course at Dunkeld Park; click to enlarge

And while there we found our soul mate, sportively speaking, in the Beretta Silver Pigeon 20-bore, a beautifully balanced shotgun that made short work of the clays no matter which way they flew at us.

A beautifully balanced Beretta Silver Pigeon shotgun

Also numbered amongst our essential equipment was a waxed cotton “Rally” jacket from our favorite UK gent’s outfitters Hackett, embellished with automotive detailing that went well with our Land Rover antics.

Hackett waxed cotton Rally jacket; Beretta Silver Pigeon 20-gauge shotgun; Ralph Lauren cashmere scarf; Project X Designs PVD Rolex Submariner; Dunhill driving gloves; click to enlarge

Once we’d adjusted to the right-hand drive position, our instincts took over as the Defender and Discovery effortlessly traversed the obstacle course, from steep descents to swampy dugouts and everything in between.

The Defender and Discovery effortlessly traversed the obstacle course

Come snow or the proverbial hell or high water, there was nothing the quintessential British SUVs couldn’t handle, while our instructor tactfully pointed out our errors and sought to educate us in the vehicle’s myriad capabilities.

Defenders on the Land Rover off-road course; click to enlarge

Our encounter with the Defender, which as we’ve noted before is all but a stranger back home and soon to be extinct in its iconic shape, was a wistful one and all too brief.

Classically boxy looks equate to raw power off-piste

A beast of a machine, its classically boxy looks equate to raw power off-piste where it’s most at home, though some weekend warriors may bemoan the lack of luxury SUV creature comforts.

Range Rover Sport; click to enlarge

If that’s your cup of team, of course, the Discovery—now known as the LR4 on our shores—and the Range Rover models are as well-appointed as anything on the road while still packing plenty of muscle where it counts.

We’d probably have to give the Range Rover Sport top marks

For sheer versatility, we’d probably have to give the Range Rover Sport top marks among the bunch, though it’s not an easy choice to make.

Entrance to Dunkeld House; click to enlarge

There was plenty of time to contemplate these and other important issues once the sun set on a glorious day following some bouts of aggressive Scottish weather.

Nursing a dram of Glenmorangie by the peat fire

The Dunkeld House may seem a bit down-at-the-heels to some, but we quite enjoyed its air of shabby gentility and the opportunity to nurse a pint of Tennents 80 Shilling and a dram of Glenmorangie by the peat fire after a long day’s “work.”

Drawing room fire at the Dunkeld House; click to enlarge

The proximity of so many great outdoor activities

The proximity of so many amazing outdoor activities—we didn’t even have time to go fly fishing—more than makes up for any sybaritic shortcomings.

And after all, what’s not to like about a hotel with a sign like this on the front door…

Dunkeld House sign; click to enlarge

Glenmorangie Original; click to enlarge

Village of Dunkeld on the River Tay; click to enlarge