BBC’s ‘Where in the World is Andy?’ Talks Campbeltown, Kintyre & Machrihanish

Radio Host: He is an hour later than he is on a Thursday. We are about 35- 40 minutes late with our roaming travel reporter Andy Mossack. Where in the world is he this time? But first thing is: I need your help, and I have clues here but no answers, so are you ready for clue number 1? You can also help me out with this on the same number.

Clue number one for Andy Mossack:  The 17th century town near here once claimed it was the whisky capital of the world, when it was home to 30 distilleries. Now there are only three of them left, but it still remains as one of the five official whisky producing regions of this country, which is leading me to think he ain’t that far away. But the 17th century town near here once claimed it was the whisky capital of the world, when it was home to 30 distilleries. There are now only three of them left, but it still remains one of the five official whisky producing regions of this country. Where in the world is Andy Mossack?

There is another clue, which I will give you, the start of the midnight moment, and the man himself, about 20 past twelve. I’m thinking Scotland, personally, but where exactly I am kind of at a loss.

Maybe the second clue, which I have not seen yet, will help us out on this.  03453033333. Send me a quick email as well at  Rhodesfield here helping me out with Andy Mossack here. I think the mystery location is Campbeltown, out island beaut, most westerly town in Scotland. An old friend of mine lives there, I think we are in the right nation. I am sure it is Scotland, I think. I am fairly certain it is Scotland. Now I did say I would give you the second clue, and then we shall get on to more romantic matters, and I’ll start talking down there.  So here is the second clue. Excuse me, where is the second clue? Got to open the envelope for this. There we go. Let’s find out where in the world is Andy Mossack. (Laughs). I think we are highly likely to get it now. (Laughs).

Paul McCartney mutualized, no he immortalized this beautiful place in 1977 when he released a song about it, which became a global hit. Well, I have no idea. No idea what-so-ever.  So it was the whisky capital of the world, or claimed to be, and in 1977 Paul McCartney wrote a ditty about this place, which became a global hit and sensation. Where in the world is Andy Mossack? Catching up with him 15 minutes from now.  We, uh, for guesses and help we had two clues about Andy Mossack now. Sui Murphield, Gavin Tilslee, and Gene Holmes, Field Grey, I mean McCrepp. Now I’ve got to say Angie Gavins, who all say Mull of Kintyre, alongside Norma in Sleatford, Andy Crepps says The Island of Moe…….. Everybody says they are going for that, I suppose. We ought to find out! Otherwise, we won’t get to sleep tonight without knowing this, if we leave it hanging so, Paul McCartney sang a song about it, and it was once claimed to be the whisky capital of the world. Thirty distilleries. Thirty distilleries. These days, only three of them left. I’ve visited a few in my time, but it is time to find out exactly where in the world he is.  Andy Mossack! Good evening.

Andy Mossack: (greets him in another language)

Radio Host: (greets him in another language). So it is Wales! No, I’m only joking. So good evening, or good morning should it be Andy?

Andy Mossack: It is a bit later than normal!

Radio Host: Just a little bit! So let me guess, is it actually, are you on the Mull of Kintyre?

Andy Mossack: I am indeed.

Radio Host: Oh, we got it right! Excellent. So everyone gets a pat on the back, whoever managed to spot that one. What exactly are you doing up there?

Andy Mossack: (laughs). I am doing what you think. I am visiting some amazing distilleries, but also just exploring this fantastic coastline, which is quite extraordinary. Um, I don’t know if you have been up this way.

Radio Host: I have. I have spent many lovely holidays in Scotland, and I’m reminded every time someone says “Let’s go on a holiday to Scotland,” I am reminded of an old joke that Billy Connolly said once, where it goes, where he says, “Go to Scotland. There is nobody there.” It is miles and miles of breathtaking country side, and nobody’s in it.

Andy Mossack: Yes, quite right. I mean the extraordinary thing is, I am in Campbeltown, which is about 8 miles away from the Mull of Kintyre. And, uh, it is on the peninsula, it is called the Kintyre peninsula. The extraordinary thing is it’s 60 miles as a crow flies from Glasgow, but it is 140 miles by road, because you literally have to drive around the Lochs. I mean you go around Lochgilphead, and then you have to drive around Lochead. There are no bridges anywhere, so you are continuously circling these incredible Lochs, which are, just as you say, breathtaking. And then you get to the ocean side, which is, again, you’ve got the Atlantic Ocean for about 30 miles down the peninsula. So it really is quite extraordinary, and Campbeltown itself is quite a lovely town. And it, as you say, it was 30 distilleries, and they called themselves the whisky capital because it had 30 distilleries, and there are three still going. But it is the official, one of the five, whiskey regions of Scotland, and here is one of those. It’s got a lovely Springbank whisky.

Radio Host: So the interesting thing about Campbeltown and the whole area, but especially about the area where you are, for me, would be, you have, it is a question of what came first. Was it the whisky business and then the town sprung up, or settlement for other things, such as industry or fishing, then whiskey followed? So which came first, whisky or buildup?

Andy Mossack: Well I would say, first it was a fishing, fishing area. Then, with the Campbells, the clan started it. And the Duke of Argyll, the guy who started the town, it was brought up in just a beautiful area, and the fact that it is relatively peaty and the water here is wonderful, so it started whisky.

Radio Host: Because that’s the magic of whisky, isn’t it? It is clean spring water. And it is very peaty earth, isn’t it?

Andy Mossack: Absolutely. It is actually to be called single malt, you can only call it that, first of all, it has got to be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years and one day. I don’t know quite where the one day comes in.

Radio Host: For good luck!

Andy Mossack: Yea, that’s probably it! It has to be used by using one distillery, and one type of malt and water. And that’s your Scottish Scotch. I don’t think it can be called Scotch unless it has been in that oak barrel for three years and one day. It is taken very seriously down there!

Radio Host: You aren’t kidding! Now, you obviously visited one or two distilleries on this.  Now, the most recent distillery I visited was Highland, no, not Highland Park,

Andy Mossack: Well there is Highland Park

Radio Host: Yes there is. It is the one on Orkney. So you’ll have to forgive me if I got that incorrectly. I went to the Orkney house, I have family up there, and so we go up, we went on the distillery tour, and, you know, it is a wonderful process. Some of it is a working distillery, and the smells you get, they dry out, certain ingredients they dry out on the floors and they basically just sweep it every day and basically that is aerate it. But they had bottles of, let’s say, particularly fine vintages in the shop at the distillery. And there was a bottle of Scotch for 35,000 pounds. On the side of this. And it was there on a glass cabinet, and, how good must that taste? Are there similar things down there, because it is quite a touristy thing, isn’t it? People like to go to distilleries.

Andy Mossack: They do, they do. I will tell you a secret, actually. Personally, I believe, and it is my opinion, but good single whisky, really, if it is ten to twelve years old, it’s good. Now, I don’t necessarily think that if it is 40 years old it will taste much better, it is just there is less of it. So, that’s why it is more expensive. And I think they call it the Angel’s Share, when it is in a cast and it evaporates, and that’s obviously why, but yea, I’ve got a lovely collection at home, all different ones, and I have a great joke, actually, if I’ve got time.

Radio Host: As long as it’s clean.

Andy Mossack: I went to this apartment, and they had a very bold statement above the boxes that said they had every single malt ever created in Scotland. And I said to him, “Have you gotten a bottle of Glenhottle and uh, Glenhottle, is,

Radio Host: We know, yep,

Andy Mossack: He faces me, white as a sheet, and he disappears, he disappears, in the back office, and all I could hear was clashing and bashing and all kinds of stuff, and he came out, demented, and he came out, and says “I have not, I have not got it” It was hysterical, really, and I was on the floor, and I had to come clean eventually.

Radio Host: Leave him hanging for a couple of hours, though.

Andy Mossack: Yea, don’t worry about that! Don’t worry about that.

Radio Host: Stay there Andy, and we will come back, and talk a little more about the town, and the town itself,

Andy Mossack: And Mull again

Radio Host: Oh yes, and Mulligan.  Well in fact, it is funny you should say that, because we may as well have this now, of course. More Andy Mossack, who is in, this place. That is where he is in the world. Just shy of three million, and I feel bad now, because this is Christmas music, and here we are in June. Good stuff though. Andy Mossack, of course. We now found out where in the world he is, he is in Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre, and we have stories and plus one coming in soon, but we have a few more questions that I would like to be asking Andy. Now, aside from the whisky business, these days, in Campbeltown and whatnot, to get there, how easy is it to get there, what kind of stuff is there to do once you are there, are there lots of places to stay, good variety of different places to eat, what is the food like?

Andy Mossack: Well, goodness me, where do I start.

Radio Host: Pick one, there you go!

The Ugadale Hotel
The Ugadale Hotel
The Royal Hotel
The Royal Hotel

Andy Mossack: Yes, well, um, all the usual local carriers come into Glasgow and, like I said, I got a car at Glasgow and I drove four hours to the lovely town of Campbeltown. And, um, there is a lovely story here now, because there is an American company, who has practically reinvented the town, and a lovely little town next to it, it is called Machrihanish, and, um, they’ve come in and taken over what was fairly run down hotels, and put, breathed life back into them, and the lovely Ugadale and the Royal Hotel are fantastic, beautiful 19th century buildings, which were really, had gone much to ruins. And they came in and renovated them all and built a fantastic course called Mach Dunes, which is a beautiful links course right next to the ocean, and have employed, what is in fact thirty to up to one hundred people, locals, so they’ve helped employment in the area, which I think was a fantastic thing for them to do.

Mach Dunes
Mach Dunes

Radio Host: So there is this bit of, you know, re-invigoration happening in the area.

Andy Mossack: Absolutely. Yea, yea, and what a great place to do it, in fact. There is a lovely old golf course here, at Machrihanish, which was designed by Tom Morris, in fact, who did St. Andrew’s. So they’ve got a lot of heritage there, but beautiful fish, obviously seafood up here. Great salmon. The food is wonderful, and the people here are just wonderful. The nice thing about it, I think, is in my opinion, is that it’s not that touristy at all. As you said, you can drive for hours without seeing a soul. But people here are genuine, they really are, and I just loved the place. And they talk a lot about Paul McCartney because he did very much joining in with the locals and he was down in the pub quite often, and they re-go the tales of the McCartney’s very much so.

Radio Host: So what you’re saying is Campbeltown Pipe Band, they are the ones doing the bagpipes and drums at Mull of Kintyre the record.

Andy Mossack: Are they? I didn’t know that. What a lovely story.

Radio Host: Yes and the Campbeltown Pipe Band, he featured those on it. I mean he has had a house there for a very long time. It’s like an estate really.

Andy Mossack: Yea, um, Hyde Park farm actually. The sad thing is he actually hasn’t been here in about five years, apparently. He’s been spending most of his time either in England or America. But they do talk of him very fondly, which is nice, and I did see the farm. I did drive by it. It is literally on the outskirts of Campbeltown. It is still there, but there is still a lovely, also, another story on a thin and windy road, if that is a clue, up from the mountainside to the farm. So it is a single chat road, literally, you drive along it, and when you get to the Mull of Kintyre, you walk all the way down to the lighthouse bottom, which is fantastic. These days you can rent that lighthouse as a bed-and-breakfast, wait, no, not as a bed-and-breakfast, but as a self-catering place that the visitors of Scotland have put together. So you walk all the way down, and you can park yourself there for a few days.

Radio Host: So lots of things to do, lots of things to see, of course. Even though it is Scotland, it classifies as a stay-cation so to be on trend you can go there. So what is left on the itinerary for you then? Is it maybe another round of golf? Another discovery? Maybe some fish and chips?

Andy Mossack: I will do that, but I am going to drive up a little bit north past Oban, and there is a very lovely old, Isle of Eriska, which is over that way, so I am going to check that out and then drive back though the Trossachs and come back to Glasgow.

Radio Host: Well, lots of good stuff. Well you have-

Andy Mossack: And the weather has been amazing, that’s kind of throwing a spin in it. Most people think the weather is terrible but it is absolutely beautiful.

Radio Host: Do you know that I’ve only been sunburned once in the last ten years and that happened on Olpendi? Believe me, I’ve been to some hot places, even 56 degrees in Egypt when I was in the Valley of the Kings and I, degrees Celsius, and I was in the Valley of the Kings, and my shoes melted it was so hot but I didn’t get sunburnt, and later that year we went to Olpendi and I burned. And I thought, and there you go, you never know. Scotland is unpredictable as ever.

Andy Mossack: I thought you were going to tell me what it is twins with.

Radio Host: Oh, no. I don’t think Campbeltown is twins with anywhere I would say. Because you know I like to find out where places are twins with but no, as I can tell, it is not twinned with anywhere, which I think you need to get a word with the mayor and see if they have some sort of a twinning program.

Andy Mossack: I think so! Why not twin it with radio leads.

Radio Host: We could do twinning with the BBC here so in some way it can be a bit more glamorous. Twinning with Los Angeles or San Diego or something like that. I think it would go down well. Andy, you take care and have a fabulous evening. Always nice talking to you.

Andy Mossack: Great.

Radio Host: Great. Thank you. Take care. Bye-bye. And there he goes. Andy Mossack. And now we know where he’s been. Campbeltown and all around Mull of Kintyre. Easy to find these things. If you ever want to go on a holiday to Scotland visit Scotland’s main tourist site. Find it online, weigh up your options, and honestly — go. It is a fabulous place to go on a holiday, anywhere in that particular nation. We’ll be catching up with him again soon I’m sure.