Locations galore! New VisitScotland map highlights whisky movie's sites

A map highlighting the locations used in the new film version of Whisky Galore! has been created by VisitScotland.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 5th May 2017, 10:23 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:01 pm
A scene from the film Whisky Galore! filmed at St Abbs.

The movie, which is based on the 1947 novel by Compton Mackenzie and stars Gregor Fisher, Eddie Izzard and Sean Biggerstaff, is released in Scottish cinemas today (Friday, May 5) and will be out in the rest of the UK on May 19.

While Alexander Mackendrick’s 1949 comedy was shot almost entirely on location in the Outer Hebrides, where Barra stood in for the fictional islands of Great Todday and Little Todday, Gillies MacKinnon’s version makes use of outstanding locations throughout Scotland, from the Borders up to Aberdeenshire, from Ayrshire to Glasgow and across to the East Neuk of Fife.

Working closely with Whisky Galore’s distributors, Arrow Films, the national tourism organisation’s map shines a spotlight on the principal filming locations, including the Aberdeenshire villages of Portsoy and Pennan, St Abb’s Head in the Scottish Borders and the Central Bar in Glasgow.

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Filming scenes for Whisky Galore at St Monans Parish Church, Fife. Pic: Jerzy Morkis.

The map is available for download today at www.visitscotland.com/films. A printed version will be available in selected VisitScotland iCentres, as well as at some of the locations featured.

Based on the real-life sinking of the SS Politician off the coast of Eriskay in 1941, and the subsequent seizing of thousands of bottles of whisky by locals, Whisky Galore! is a celebration of a nation’s love for the “Water of Life”.

Gregor Fisher, who plays postmaster Macroon, said: “I’ve been in this business for 40 years and I can honestly say this was one of the nicest, if not the nicest, job I’ve ever had. There were no negatives about it. On a seven-and-a-half-week shoot in Portsoy, it rained for half a day – max, and even then it was very light drizzle.

“Normally when you take over a town, which we more or less did at Portsoy, there’s a bit of agro because you’re closing roads and so on, but there was none of that. We were welcomed with open arms to the point that when I expressed an interest in buying some lobster, four lobsters were delivered to my door the next day, free of charge. I couldn’t believe it. Half the community is in the film. It was a joy.”

Filming scenes for Whisky Galore at St Monans Parish Church, Fife. Pic: Jerzy Morkis.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland is widely recognised as an excellent location for film and TV productions. Whisky Galore! has been added to the growing list of films shot here. This map allows visitors from home and abroad to walk in the footsteps of the actors and actresses that appeared in the film, and they can also enjoy the spectacular scenery that Scotland has to offer.”

Jenni Steele, film and creative industries manager at VisitScotland, said: “Since the novel by Compton Mackenzie was published back in 1947, Whisky Galore has been raising laughs for 70 years. Celebrating not only this nation’s love for the Water of Life but also demonstrating the warmth, humour and spirit of our people, this new film shows off Scotland at its dazzling best. Our handy map will allow visitors to explore the Whisky Galore! locations and enjoy a set-jetting holiday around Scotland.”

Locations on the Whisky Galore map include: Aberdeenshire – Portsoy Harbour; Mill Beach and New Aberdour Beach, Pennan; Argyll & Bute – Luss Village Hall; Ayrshire – Beach at Ardeer; Fife – St Monans Parish Church; Inverclyde – Loch Thom, Greenock; Dumbarton – Geilston House and Gardens; Glasgow – Central Bar, Renton; Pinkston Watersports; North Lanarkshire – Forrestburn Race Track, near Harthill and Scottish Borders – St Abb’s Head, Berwickshire.

Filming scenes for Whisky Galore at St Monans Parish Church, Fife. Pic: Jerzy Morkis.
Filming scenes for Whisky Galore at St Monans Parish Church, Fife. Pic: Jerzy Morkis.