Scotia Distillery, Campbeltown.
EARLY next day we were again astir and started for the Scotia Distillery. The morning gave promise of a very hot day, which fortunately for us was fulfilled. We walked by way of the sea-shore and Kinloch Park, on our way encountering many hardy fish women, with sunburnt faces, selling fresh herrings which glistened like silver in the sunshine. Campbeltown is a great fishing station, and numbers are employed in this occupation and the manufacture of nets. After leaving Kinloch Park we reached the romantic and historical neighbourhood of Parliament Square; here in the year 503, Fergus, the first king of Scotland, built his Parliament House, where the affairs of Scotland were administered till 843. Tradition says that the Stone of Destiny, upon which the sovereigns of Scotland were crowned, originally came from this spot and was subsequently removed from Scone by Edward J. to Westminster Abbey.
The Distillery is situated at the end of a subway in High Street, and seems to have hidden itself away out of sight, as if the art of making Whisky, at that time, was bound to he kept a dark secret. It was built by the present firm in the year 1832, covers a little over two acres of ground, and has been several times enlarged to meet the requirements of an increasing business. At first sight it presents a somewhat straggling and old-fashioned appearance; nevertheless, the additions have been made as convenient as possible by means of gangways and other approaches, and it is a Distillery that can be easily worked.
On one side of the yard are three Barley Lofts, one of them holding 1,500 quarters of barley; beneath are three Malt Barns, one of which is 300 feet long, and in which are the usual Steeps. These Malt Barns are connected with the Kilns by means of quaint old-fashioned wooden bridge across the yard. There are three Kilns floored with perforated tiles, and heated with peat mixed with a little blind coal. Contiguous is the Mill House and the Grist Loft; and in the adjacent Mash House there is a Mash Tun, 12 feet in diameter and 5 feet deep. The Tun Room contains the six Washbacks each of a content of 4,306 gallons. In the Distilling House there are three Pot Stills containing 1,640 850 and 520 gallons respectively; also three Receivers, and on an elevation the Wash Chargers which command the Stills. The Coolers which are in the open possess fans which are driven by steam. The Steam Engine is 8-horse power, and the Boiler is 20 feet long and 7 feet in diameter. Across the yard is the Spirit store, and there are seven Warehouses containing 1,700 casks.
The water used in the Distillery comes from the Crosshill Loch, but in addition there are two wells bored down to the rock 80 feet deep, which yield a never failing supply of clear water.
The Whisky is Campbeltown Malt, and the annual output is 85,000 gallons.