'Virtual' club meeting..
12 May 2020

Although Covid-19 prevents us from meeting together, we do share 'Zoom' sessions each Monday evening. Not the same of kind of fellowship of course - but we can chat, see each other and conduct business. 

09 March 2020

We were pleased to welcome a number of guests on 9th March to hear from Scottish Gin-making duo Craig and Mark Munnoch-Wahlberg. Their’s is a very small, craft venture ‘SOS Gin’ - Scotland’s Other Spirit -  a venture where their unique mix of botanicals are found locally and are selected and picked by hand. It is a venture that started as a hobby and with no ambition to expand into large-scale production.

Mark told us that it was a sense of smell that helped determine which botanicals might work well together - the result being a mix of just four - juniper, three kinds of de-seeded rose hips, rhubarb and chamomile.

It was clear that there is a focus on quality and presentation in their marketing plan. Bottle choice, closure type, labelling, packaging and presentation clearly being to the fore. 

A 100-litre copper pot still is used with 5-micron filtration and care taken to reject ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ from the still - just the ‘hearts’ being used, to ensure perfect clarity of spirit. The product is bottled at 45% ABV.

Sales are currently on-line, together with selected wholesalers and retail outlets plus some farmers’ markets.

It was interesting to hear of the business aspects of this venture, particularly of the care that must be taken to ensure compliance with HMRC rules for the production of alcohol and, of course, the payment of duty.

Following questions and a most enjoyable sampling, George Hunter proposed the vote of thanks.

More about Craig and Mark’s venture can be found at WWW.sosgin.co.uk.


HMS Dragon..
02 March 2020

Speaker on 2nd March was club member Derek Mathie. Derek has family links to the Royal Navy and spoke about visiting HMS Dragon. Entering service in 2012 this is one of the Royal Navy’s six type 45 air defence destroyers.

152 metres long, 8,000 tonnes in displacement, 190 crew and with a range of 7,000 nautical miles it is a formidable fighting unit - and one that comes with a £1Bn price tag.

We heard of the ship’s armaments including Sea Viper missiles with a 70 mile range and a main 4.5 inch gun with a range of 13 miles - and with guidance from radar having a 200 mile range.

But Derek spoke too of a less obvious role for this vessel - that of combating drugs. In March 2019 Dragon made its seventh drug seizure: 224 kg of heroin from a fishing vessel in the Arabian Sea. In total Dragon has made 8 drug busts and seized over 18 tonnes of narcotics.

And in a humanitarian role, February 2017 saw Dragon rescue the fourteen crew of the British yacht Clyde Challenger, which had been dismasted and was adrift in the Atlantic Ocean 610 nautical miles south west of Cornwall.

Derek also spoke of the stress that serving in the Royal Navy can place on families - with long absences for serving officers; both men and women. He told of his experience at the dockside awaiting the homecoming of Dragon and speaking to a small girl there. ‘Are you waiting for your Dad?’ asked Derek. ‘No - my Mum’ replied the child. A very human story that brings home the reality of life for those service men and women on whom we depend for our safety and security.

This was very interesting and personal talk and, following questions, a vote of thanks was proposed by Bill Batchelor.


View All Stories

Click for Map
site map | cookie policy | privacy policy