Travel by numbers: Scotch whisky

Scotland is home to more than 80 malt whisky distilleries. Laura Lindsay counts the ways to explore them for yourself

59: The latitude of the world's northernmost Scotch whisky distillery, Highland Park in Orkney. A revamped visitors centre includes a "cask education area" which highlights the importance of sherry oak casks to the process and, of course, there's a tasting room, where you can try the Highland Park varieties. A standard guided tour is £6; the connoisseur's tour costs £35.

01856 874619; highlandpark.co.uk .

12: The average number of casks of whisky – holding about 2,000 litres of alcohol – produced each week at Edradour, Scotland's smallest distillery, located near Pitlochry in Perthshire. The distillery employs just three staff, its stills are the smallest in Scotland, and the equipment that is used in the whisky-making process has remained unchanged for 150 years. Tours around the distillery are free.

0179 647 2095; edradour.co.uk

2: Tours of the Glenrothes Distillery will be conducted on 8 May, at 9.30am and 10.30am. The Rothes distillery, founded in 1879, is normally closed to the public but is opening as part of the Speyside Festival celebrations ( spiritofspeyside.com ). The tours end with a complimentary tasting of the Glenrothes Select Reserve. Call 0131 555 5522 to book a place. For other great whisky encounters, and many more activities, see

visitscotland.com/perfectexperiences

250: Years since the birth of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet. To mark the anniversary, Scotland is holding a year-long Homecoming celebration which takes in a huge variety of events – and May has been designated Whisky Month.

homecomingscotland2009.com

2000: The year when black grouse were last sighted on the Isle of Arran, until their re-introduction in February. Since 1970, the British population of the species has decreased dramatically. The Famous Grouse distillery (0176 465 6565; thefamousgrouse.com ) donates 50p from the sale of each bottle of its Black Grouse blend to the RSPB's efforts to protect the species.

visitarran.net

1949: The year that the iconic film Whisky Galore! premiered. It was based on the true story of 1941 shipwreck of the SS Politician after it left Liverpool and the unauthorised removal of its cargo of Scotch. It was filmed on the island of Barra.

visithebrides.com

60: The length, in miles, of Scotland's malt whisky trail, which winds past eight distilleries and one cooperage in Speyside, including Glenfiddich, Glen Moray, Glen Grant and Glenlivet. The trail itself is marked from the roadside at various points; the distilleries can be visited in any order.

maltwhiskytrail.com

8: The number of whisky distilleries on the island of Islay, which works out at one for every 500 inhabitants. Whiskies distilled here include Laphroaig and Lagavulin. The Islay Malt and Music Festival is held from 23 to 31 May. It includes distillery open days, ceilidhs and an RSPB walk around Loch Gruinart.

islayfestival.org

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