Even though Jamie Williams grew up on the other side of the world – in Invercargill, New Zealand, a town so small, he says, “it gets omitted from most maps” – he was no stranger to Highland hospitality. “My town was predominantly Scottish, so in some ways Skye is a home away from home. I love the natural splendour, the feeling you often get here that you have the whole place to yourself. I’ve travelled to so many different places but Skye has breathing space.”
Jamie spent his youth in New Zealand, but picked up “the hospitality bug” while working in pubs and hotels. He travelled to work at Australia’s Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth, in 2010 where he met Krissy Thiem. Together they found roles at Kinloch – and the rest is history.
At Kinloch, you’ll find Jamie and his megawatt smile behind the bar, where he’s always happy to offer up advice on which of the many amazing beverages you may want to try. He has a wide variety of tastes. “I like to start with a beer, as a palate cleanser,” he says. “But I love wine too.”
He has a deep love for whisky. His own first dram was a Glenfiddich 12, which he used to win a cocktail competition back in New Zealand (with his aptly named creation, the Highland Orchard). At the moment, he advises that “you can’t go wrong with a Craigellachie. It’s got a maturity beyond its years and it’s precisely layered. Whoever is making that whisky knows exactly what they want.”
Besides enjoying a complex, balanced glass of something delicious, Jamie listens to music, turns tables and reads as many books about wine and whisky as he can get his hands on.
Favourite Skye Spot: “Glenbrittle – it’s a no brainer. The main walk is literally like a walk in the park, but if you have the perseverance, you can access so many amazing places.”
Top Tip: “Make sure you bring a good pair of walking shoes. If you have walking shoes, you can always move away from the midges.”