Whisky pilgrimage for Morton…for charity

ONE of the best-known presenters on BBC Radio Scotland is set to join forces with an actor, a comedian and a journalist in an epic whisky pilgrimage across Great Britain and Ireland.

Writer and broadcaster, Tom Morton, is to take to the road next week along with Scottish actor, David Hayman; top comic, Vladimir McTavish; and editor of Whisky Magazine, Rob Allanson, in a year-long effort to emulate the achievements of Alfred Barnard, who 125 years ago visited all 162 distilleries in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.

The trip, heralded as The Barnard Challenge, will see the group travel the length and breadth of the British Isles on motorcycles – visiting the most northerly and southerly Scottish distilleries and enjoying a dram or two along the way, of course – to raise funds for Spirit Aid, a charity set up and run by Hayman to help impoverished children both in Scotland and across the rest of the world.

Says Morton, who has an afternoon music slot on BBC Radio Scotland and broadcasts from the Shetland ‘capital’, Lerwick: “Rob and I will be covering over 2000 miles on motorcycles, so any drinking will have to be, as ever, extremely moderate.

“We aim to collect unopened bottles from each distillery for auction, and I hope people will follow in our wheeltracks in later years – the Barnard Challenge is a continuing charity project and I’m hoping people will visit distilleries on pushbikes, on foot, on horseback, following Barnard, having fun, enjoying the occasional dram and raising money for Spirit Aid.”