The Whisky Lounge at the Speyside Centre
It can never be said of the Lambie family that they are content to sit back and rest on their laurels. From the moment in 1972 when David and Betty Lambie and their two young sons Craig and Iain arrived at the Skye of Curr from Carmunnock in Lanarkshire, their enterprising spirit has led them from small beginnings on to greater heights. Their inventive minds and entrepreneurial talents have resulted in what we know today as The Speyside Centre.
Their initial accommodation on the small piece of land at the corner of two roads was a caravan. They lived in the caravan for three years, bringing up two small sons. But being the enterprising souls that they are, it was not long – the summer of 1973 to be exact – before a sign was erected offering heathers for sale.
One thing led to another and soon Betty was offering tea and home bakes, all produced from the tiny kitchen area in the caravan. It proved very popular with tourists and residents alike and even earned the accolade of being the smallest tearoom in Scotland. With only one table and four chairs it must have been very cosy indeed.
In 1978 they were able to purchase the old Rothiemurchus School canteen/classroom and this was re-assembled as The Centre and The Clootie Dumpling Restaurant. This was extended in 1992 and, as David and Betty had completed 21 years in Speyside, they introduced the “21 ways to have your Clootie Dumpling”.
From very small beginnings indeed David and Betty have built up an incredible centre. David’s first love is heathers and there is very little he does not know about them. Forget any preconceived notions that heather is purple or white and covers the Scottish hillsides with a magnificent carpet of colour each September. There is far more to heather than that and a visit to the audio visual heather museum within the centre is a must. David has written a number of books on heathers. He is also a keen photographer…
To read the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of the January 2016 issue!