If golf is Scotland’s passion, then fishing is its religion. But fishing here is not fishing unless it is done with an artificial fly, preferably hand-tied by the fisherman himself. The classic quartet of salmon rivers – the Tweed, the Tay, the Dee, and the Spey – is world famous, but other rivers and lochs throughout Scotland hold enough brown trout to answer the prayers of any angler.
The sport was born here more than 600 years ago, and several courses – St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Muirfield, and Turnberry – are the stuff of legends, from Old Tom Morris to the young Tom Watson. Advance bookings are a must at these famous links, which can humble even a PGA pro. But there are more than 400 other – and easier – courses in Scotland, many of them unheralded gems where you can step right up and take a whack.
Start in Edinburgh on a tour that combines two of Scotland’s indelible symbols: castles and whisky. Learn the single-malt story at the Scotch Whisky Heritage Center near stately Edinburgh Castle (home to the Scottish crown jewels), then head north to Pitlochry, where you can visit Blair Athol Distillery and Blair Castle (whose walls held the secrets of the last Jacobite rebellion, in 1745). If by now you’ve had enough walls but not enough whisky, continue north to the distilleries of Dalwhinnie, Tomatin (Scotland’s largest), and Glenmorangie – and remember, there are still 60 or so more to go.