Dr's Casebook: Experimenting with whisky on my porridge in Scotland

We were up in the borders last week, walking from Melrose to Lindisfarne.

By Dr Keith Souter
Saturday, 2nd October 2021, 4:45 pm
Oats make a healthy breakfast. Photo: Getty Images
Oats make a healthy breakfast. Photo: Getty Images

It is just under a hundred kilometres and each day’s walk brings its own challenges in terms of terrain, distance and weather.

That being the case it’s always important to start off with a good breakfast.

We certainly had lots of choice in the range of B&Bs and hotels ranging from total fruitarian fare to full Scottish breakfast and, as we neared the English coast, kippers.

Yet in a hotel on the Scottish side of the border I was offered porridge with whisky.

Now that intrigued me, because I had once previously had whisky on my porridge.

That was at a medical conference in Belfast.

There the hotel I was staying in had a bottle of a very fine Irish malt whiskey on an optic next to a huge help-yourself porridge pot.

Since the conference was being held in the hotel and I did not have to drive I took a dram in my porridge for the sake of scientific research.

It was delicious, but I am afraid that I found myself dozing through the conference until lunchtime.

With this in mind I wondered if it would be sensible to succumb to the temptation and see if a good highland malt whisky would have a similar effect.

Again, as I did not have to drive and all I had to do was climb one of the Eildon Hills, it seemed worth it in the name of comparative research.

Well, a bowl of porridge has a low glycaemic index, which makes it ideal for a long walk, so I wondered what harm could it do.

It certainly proved delicious and the whisky seemed to go well with the porridge.

It gave me a warm glow and I started out brimming with confidence as we climbed the Eildon Hills.

I managed the walk, but as we stopped for our lunch of cheese and oatcakes I fell asleep in the heather.

So, what did I learn from these two experiments with whisky on my porridge?

Two things basically.

Firstly, I affirm that porridge is a good sustainable breakfast.

But secondly if you have to stay alert and awake all day, leave the whisky in the bottle.