The Pimms Cup

Last weekend while most traveled to Scotland for the Ryder’s Cup,

we ventured into the Highlands for the Pimms Cup.

We joined friends from London on their annual Pimms Cup trip, a reunion weekend among college and graduate school classmates that began 20 years ago.  Over the years, the original group has grown to include others outside the initial alumni circle.  Placing my husband among a congenial gang of former Dartmouth frat boys was an easy match.  We even knew some people from our days at Tuck where we were classmates together.

To celebrate the Pimms Cup 20th reunion year, we took over the Royal Scotsman train for a three day trip from Edinburgh up into the Highlands.  Jeff and I were thrilled literally and figuratively to be along for the ride.

A lone bagpiper, resplendent in his traditional tartan kilt, led the group to the train at the onset of the journey.

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There, we were greeted with the delicious and apt Pimms cocktail.  It seemed that every day we followed a piper and were served bubbly drinks, a routine that is easy to get used to!

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The boys played golf by day and made merry by night.  We ladies, the self-proclaimed “Pimmettes”, skipped the golf and went on what I like to call the Castle, Cashmere, and Country tour.

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On our first day, we meandered among ancient trees, colorful heather, and gentle lochs of the wild countryside.  We did a bit of clay shooting, and then we dined in an old hunting lodge filled with overstuffed furniture and priceless antiques.  Later, we returned to the train for a three course dinner in the elegant oak-paneled dining cars.

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On our second full day, we visited the Ballandoch Castle where we met with the current “lairds” or estate owners.

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I was lucky enough to sit next to the matriarch of the estate who is appointed by the Queen to act on her behalf in the region, an honor and civic duty that she takes quite seriously.  We shared a passion for spaniels and spent a good deal of the lunch swapping stories about our beloved dogs.  She even offered me the name of a breeder of “posh dogs” should I need to find a companion for Lucy!  We then ventured into Elgin to visit the Johnston’s cashmere factory and walk among the grounds of an old church that was majestic despite being in ruins.

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On the last night, we celebrated in style with a formal dinner in which both the women and men were required to wear skirts.  Traditional kilts were the dress code, complete with sporrans and daggers.  We were less scared of the knives tucked in the men’s socks than the”bits” tucked beneath their kilts.  Let’s just say we had to remind a few of the guys to keep their legs crossed when sitting!

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After dinner, the train parked in the Dundee station but rocked as if in motion from all the dancing to the DJ spinning tunes near the caboose.  By midnight we had spilled out of the train and spread onto the deserted platform dancing and clowning into the “wee” hours.

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Jeff and I are no strangers to reunions among friends and have spent the past 20 years introducing our favorite people to each other so that we can connect the dots in our lives.  It was wonderful to be among a group of people who do the same thing and value friendships built over a lifetime as well as those forged more recently.

The Ryder Cup may have been a disappointment, but the Pimms Cup was a huge success!

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