A Place that Felt Like Home

After the distillery tour we went to dinner at the Craigolicky Hotel and then I checked in to the Ugie House in Keith for the night. It was a modest room but clean and had a nice view and a working window. Of all the towns I’ve visited so far this was the first one I could see myself living in.

I visited the pub downstars. Nothing fancy but the croud was friendly and John helped me pick out a whisky. I ordered it with two cubes of ice. The amber liquid because it became cloudy when the ice melted, I’d noticed that before and just figured the water wasn’t great. But John told me that was a sign that it was a good whisky. The next one I ordered didn’t have the cloudy look so that led some credibility to his claim since I could assume the ice was from the same source. When I questioned him about the cause he said he didn’t know.  I will get that question aswered before I leave.

At 10am the next morning I had an appointment with Cullum McWilliams. Cullum is tattoo artist I found on the web with an extensive body of work. I emailed him on a whim and a few days later, to my surprise, he replied. I emailed him a  emailed him a sketch of a bird wing and my travel dates and asked if he had time to ink me. He estimated would take about 6 hours to complete. That would mean at least three trips to his shop, a forty-five minute drive from Forres where I would be staying for ten days.

I sent Cullum a new design and we set the date for the consult for this morning at ten am. Right before I checked out of the hotel, the maid knocked on the door. “just a minute” I said and grabbed up my baggs. I met her in the hall on my way out and she appologised for disturbing me. Of course she noticed my accent. Her face lit up and she said, “You’re traveling alone, oh my, you’re so brave.” and grabbed my arm smiling and a twinkle in her eye. “I want to goo to New York,”she said. My friend went and she had the best time. I told my daughter I’m going to take her when she turns 20. She’s only eight now.”

I told her I was on my way to get a tattoo and she said “Are you going to Kelpie?” I nodded and she said what a Cullum was great and then held up the hair, exposing her neck and showed me her tattoo.


I met Cullum, we discussed the tattoo size and placement. Now all I had to do was kill 6 hours and return at 4pm for my session. Cullum said there wasn’t much in Keith except an old bridge. I headed out the door..
It’d now been a week since I left home and my scalp was starting to itch. My plan was to leave all the supplies at home and drop into a beauty shop once a week. I was parked outside a K’s beauty shop so before I walked to the bridge I went in and asked about a shampoo and blow dry. The woman said they could take me at 2PM. So I set out to explore Keith.

The stone bridge was easy to find and I could see an old graveyard behind it.

Keith Graveyard with the Auld Brig in the backgroud.


I stopped at the Boogie Woogie Coffe shop and had the most delicious raspberry tart I’ve had to date and even better it was gluten free!