‘You have to go up high to get good views’, says Mike. He’s driving his minibus up a steep incline as we manoeuvre potholes and perilous ditches en route to our accommodation. The road curves abruptly, stone dykes marking our path, and finally the hillside eco-house falls onto our horizon.
Walking up to Annandale is like looking at the Ikea of whisky distilleries. The sandstone is fresh and untainted, the doors a bright blue and each pane of glass etched with a signature ‘A’. Although this place first opened back in the 1830s, the First World War put paid to Johnnie Walker’s alcoholic ventures here, and the building fell into dusty dereliction. Then in 2008, a very rich man and a £150,000 grant began to resurrect these alcoholic ashes from the grave. Annandale was reborn.