I know, I know, we're a whisky festival and you would expect everything we do to be whisky based or at least alcohol-based, but that's where we differ slightly! Our festival is not just about whisky, but about our community and all the wonderful things we have to offer in Dornoch, of which whisky (and gin) is a big part of!
The reason we're saying this is because people expect us not to have anything for the non-drinkers, but we have plenty! Below is a list of events that you don't have to even enjoy whisky or alcohol!
Live much at the Eagle - It's what it says on the tin, live music at the Eagle Hotel in Dornoch. Which is a pub, which serves plenty of soft drinks (as well as craft beers, non-craft beers, cider, spirits and an assortment of other drinks!) And if drinking alcohol isn't to your liking, there's plenty of soft drinks too so don't worry about going into a pub and ordering a soft drink - we do it often! This is a great event because it gives you a real feel for our community because, throughout the year, you'll find a lot of us at the Eagle, mingling, drinking, dancing and just generally 'catching the craick' so come and join us!
Historylinks Tour of Dornoch - another great thing about our wee town is we have so much history! About 4000 years worth (and then some!). Our whole town is built predominantly around the 15th-century Cathedral and although in most cases, a cathedral makes it a city, in our case, we get to keep town status! Making us that little bit more special and unique. This tour is great for the whisky lovers among you because it also looks at our history of illicit stills bit the focus is primarily on our town's history and heritage. Learn about fires, jail's, castles, wells, plagues and perhaps most infamously for us, the last burning of a witch in Scotland.
The David Urquhart Memorial Golf Trophy - although whisky and golf do tend to go hand in hand, there will be no drinking on the course and this is a fantastic opportunity to play one of the best (and sought after) courses in the world.
If golf isn't to your liking either, then make sure you take a walk down to the beach where you can walk between the Championship Course and the Struie course to admire the gorgeous Dornoch beach.
Ceilidh at the Castle - Now we're not trying to play up to the Scottish stereotype of donning a kilt and some tartan to do a strip the willow - we truly enjoy it! It's a great night which is a chance for those who have had a full day of whisky drinking to dance, get to know some great people, have a dance if they'd like and just generally enjoy themselves. For those who haven't had a full day (or any part of the day) of whisky drinking, it's also a great chance to get to know some great people, have a dance if they'd like and generally enjoy themselves! Well teach you how to do a strip the willow if you don't already know; and if you do, you can help us teach! It's all in the Highland hospitality way!
The Community Market - We have some amazing and ridiculously talented local crafter's, farmers, bakers, chocolatiers, artists and all sorts of brilliant people located in the Highlands and we are so lucky to have some of them attend our community market. A few of them have stated they'll be adapting their products to suit those who like whisky - fantastic! Again, that's the Highland way, but this isn't a whisky event. It's a community one. Where we're taking some of the best stalls around the Highlands and showcasing them to you (be you local or visitor) because they produce such fantastic wares! You'll get the chance to mingle with some great folk and truly see the inspiration of the Highlands that a lot of them draw on in their work.
So yes, we may be a whisky festival and we may be wee, but we've got much, much more to offer than just whisky.
See you non-whisky drinkers this weekend,
The Dornoch Whisky Festival Team