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Bagpipes meet tailpipes as The Scottish Malts 2021 gets underway

59 crews ready themselves for battle as their five-day distillery-studded journey across the mountains and hills of east Scotland begins.

Today, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, the wail of Scotland’s national instrument will be drowned out by an entirely more universally appealing sound - the thrum of combustion engines! This Monday marks the start of the Scottish Malts 2021, one of the highlight regularities of HERO-ERA’s calendar. As is the nature of regularity rally, competitors won’t be rewarded for arriving first, and instead must arrive exactly on time at each control, using traditional navigation techniques of old. No, that doesn’t mean swapping out your iPhone for a Tom Tom. With five days of travelling the less-beaten path ahead of them, there will be plenty of opportunities for the competitors to lose their way, especially as the route is unknown until they are handed their Routebook, so it will be interesting to see by how much time the top runners are off the mark. 

With scrutineering checks completed yesterday afternoon, we’re sure the competitors are experiencing excitement and nerves in equal measure after the event was initially postponed by the ever-cooperative pandemic. Whilst HERO-ERA have already hosted a number of successful events this year, The Malts will be the first with international flavour, with competitors travelling from as far as America, desperate to drive and compete in this fabulous part of the world. As of 8 am this morning the first cars have already departed from Dalmahoy Hotel, carving a path towards the first evening stop at Pitlochry. As the crow flies this is a short journey, but the competitors will be doing a lot of exploration, hopping from distillery to distillery as they traverse the Scottish countryside, ensuring that by nightfall plenty of miles will be under their belt. We’ll be providing more coverage of The Malts 2021, so stay tuned to find out who emerges victorious! 


Photos by Will Broadhead