Glen Mhor Site Visit May 2021


Last year I was fortunate to be visiting family up north and had the opportunity to stroll along the banks of the Caledonian Canal. 

Regulars will recognise the above perspective from many historical photographs of Glen Mhor, which would have been on the right-hand side of this view.

It was a visit and walk of mixed emotions, a gloriously sunny day with the hustle and bustle of the city fading from memory. We parked the car in the retail site, which has replaced Glen Mhor and the football stadium that once sat behind the distillery. And walked back out onto Telford Street (we'll talk about this in another post) before turning onto the causeway and venturing up to the locks.

In the above photograph, you can see the back of the Lochkeeper cottage which still stands and also the distillery wall that has been featured in many historical photographs. You can only appreciate the height difference from the canal side to the distillery floor by visiting the site.

It's a sizeable difference in height which would have brought its own issues and explains why so many photographs of Glen Mhor from the canal, only feature the tops of the production buildings. Around 10 feet is hidden from view if you are standing beside the canal.

This photograph takes us into the top left corner of the retail park, which continues behind a locked gate to the left and the Lochkeepers Cottage above. To give you some context, this is where we'd be standing in the Glen Mhor era, taken in the 1970s:

So, to reach this point, we've walked right through the heart of the distillery production. Looking at it again, I believe my car was parked where the maltings used to stand.

When you put such things into context, it does unlock mixed emotions. Trading a production area for a car park and the original warehousing for a carpet retailer doesn't make much sense. And you're left to gather your thoughts and look for clues of a former purpose, which we'll talk about in another post.

Despite the summery vibe, the buzz of canal traffic and individuals out enjoying a walk. The area does seem disjointed and lacking an identity. I wonder how many of the residents and passersby know of the two distilleries that once stood in this area and the rich history that they offer us today?