Monday, April 10, 2017
Standing in a cemetery across from a distillery doesn't really sound like the type of tour introduction one might expect, but that's exactly how our recent visit to The Glenrothes began. Ronnie Cox, Brands Heritage Director, stood amidst the headstones memorializing denizens of the village of Rothes and told us a ghost story.
The distillery was founded in 1879, and the building that now houses the big-bellied pot stills producing this magical elixir was once its malting floor. That malt house was converted to house the stills in 1979.
At the turn of the 20th century, an orphan boy named Biawa "Byeway" Makalaga was found under a bush in Africa by Colonel Grant of Rothes. Grant brought "Byeway" back to Scotland to be raised in his hometown. The young man grew up to be the Colonel's helper and a well-known figure in the village, playing on the local football team. "Byeway" passed away in 1972, seven years later when the former malting floor was renovated and the new stills installed there were two reports of his ghost appearing in the still house.
The distillery brought in a local professor to investigate, he found a disruption in an energy line that was caused by the new stills installation, this led him to walk to a specific gravestone across the road, 70+ yards from the still house, and after a brief moment of conversation he returned and said the situation had been resolved amicably. The gravestone was that of Biawa "Byeway" Makalaga, and his ghost was not seen again.