Rene - I see I got David's name wrong - I'll correct it. Actually, I met David last year on the walk from Dufftown to Aberlour and was impressed,so it was a no-brainer to go back.
The Glenlivet safari was one of the real highlights. To be honest, once you've seen one distillery, you've pretty much got the idea. But with David Newland we were able to access the hills on the horizon and wildlife fell out of the landscape for us. We saw curlews, oystercatchers, gulls, lapwings, crows, mountain hares, roe deer, red deer (about 50 of them, in a herd, and it was my spot!!!), red grouse, meadow pipits and goodness knows what else. David was able to show us leaves that tasted of lemon, various types of heather and some grass that was used as wick for fish oil lamps. He knows the land and its inhabitants - and that is very special. There was a tie in to whisky with the smugglers trail and the drams we had but for me, it was the flora and fauna of Speyside that were all I needed. The place is very deceptive - it seems open and smooth but is far from it, and I have only ever seen it in spring and summer which doesn't give much clue to the real extremes of climate in the area.
If anyone is looking at a future Spirit of Speyside, please forego a distillery trip or two for the Land Rover trip - it's so worth it.