Fri 24th Jan - Sun 26th Jan, 2020

The Famous KMC Burns Night

Daniel O'Brien

Members: Dan O'Brien, Dave Wylie, John Castick, Andy Stratford, Jo Stratford, Greg Nunn, Tim Howarth, Laura Bond, Gareth Williams, Pete Hughes, David Rainsbury, Jim Symon, Philippa Maye, Izy Somers, Ian Crook, Andy Vine
Guests: Max Driscoll, Jon Vardy, Will Johnson, Lydia Galloway, Hazel Raison, Mimi McNaull, Emily Hulley, Mike (sorry, didn't catch a last name), Sam Crabb

The weather, though changeable on the Saturday, allowed plenty of opportunity for outdoor adventures. David and Mimi enjoyed some chilly rock climbing on Little Tryfan. Max and John did a long hike over Moel Eilio. Jon, Will and Lydia went bouldering near Clogwyn-y-Bustach. 

As the night drew in, climbing and hiking was replaced with peeling and boiling. Everyone enjoyed a haggis supper and then moved into the lounge for the main event - the 8th annual KMC Burns Night Whisky Tasting.

This year, the theme was "By Recommendation". Six KMC members had recommended bottles of whisky that had some personal significance for us all to try.

First up was Tim with the Minor Case Rye from Kentucky. It was named after Minor Case Beam of the Beam whiskey dynasty and was an excellent start to the evening.  Next up, Greg presented the Penderyn Grand Slam. This Welsh whisky was bottled to commemorate the Welsh Rugby team winning the 6 Nations Grand Slam in 2019. It was finished in port casks and divided the room. I thought it was very good.  To finish the first half, John Castick presented the Balvenie 12 Year Old. As one of the more experienced whisky drinkers, John also took us through his whisky collection. 

The second half kicked off with a special bottle from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society presented by Gareth. The bottle, from Balmenach, was purchased from the famous Vaults in Leith during a particularly grim spell of weather on a KMC trip. It was named "Sweetie Bags in a Slate Quarry" which seemed apt and Gareth generously paired this dram with bags of pick and mix for everyone.  Dram 5 was presented via video link from Wellington by Graham. This oddly smoked malt (using Manuka wood) came from the Thompson micro distillery.  With notes of smokey bacon frazzles this was a very popular dram.  To finish, Dan presented the Glen Scotia Campbeltown Festival edition from 2019.  It was 15-years old and finished in rum casks.

The vote for dram of the night was close with the Thompson Manuka Wood just edging out the Glen Scotia by one vote.

On Sunday, as people began to disperse, either to the hills or to nurse their hangovers in a local cafe, Andy, Jim and Mimi headed out into the quarries with the aim of completing Snakes and Ladders (a classic adventure).  Whether they succeeded or not is lost in the mists of time (unless Andy logged it in the hut book!)

Another great meet - thanks to everyone for getting involved and congratulations to Jo Stratford for winning the Marble Run.  You had to be there...

Daniel O'Brien

Meet Promo:

***UPDATE*** This meet is now 75% full - book soon to avoid disappointment!

You are cordially invited to join us for the 8th annual Burns' Night haggis dinner and whisky tasting at the hut. After a big day out on the hills on Saturday we'll get the fire on and prepare the Haggis either caught (for the carnivores) or unearthed (for the veggies), in time for dinner.

After a filling supper we'll adjourn to the fire side and work our way through six very different whiskies, words of wisdom about the topic at hand and possibly a film.  There will be the usual multi-media delights and fantastic whisky, some audience participation and some unexpected surprises!

Cost (not including hut fees) will about £20-25 but will depend on the number of attendees and the cost of the whisky (not confirmed at time of going to press).

As always it'll be first-come-first-served and numbers are limited to around 25 (for logistical reasons) - there will be a reserve list. Please let me know by 5pm 10th January at the latest if you'd like to join me so that I can get appropriate provisions. Also let me know if you'd prefer you haggis caught (meaty) or unearthed (veggie).  Once you confirm your attendance, I'll ask those intending to have whisky to provide a deposit of £10 so my bank balance doesn't get too mullered procuring the drinks!

Obviously it is over 18s only for whisky drinkers. Non drinkers are equally welcome as the food, the talk, film and photos are an excellent evenings entertainment regardless. The hut is still available for members not taking part in the meet to use, but you should be aware there will be a complete takeover of the kitchen and living room at various points on Saturday evening (there might be room to squeeze in a few extras to see the photos and films).

Finally you should note that this, as always, is going to be a seriously good trip.

Daniel O'Brien

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