Our Highland Trip
Our Highland Trip
The car was loaded up and early on Monday 21st September we headed north, our first port of call was the Green Welly at Tyndrum, passing through such places as Stirling, Callander and Crianlarich. At the Welly stop we enjoyed a cooked breakfast and then took a long amble through the large shopping area, with Jim having a long look in their Whisky section.
Jim thought that the selection of Malts and Blends was quite extensive, including a Whisky from New Zealand, Jim was aware that the pricing in the shop was certainly on the high side, but Jim did purchase a bottle. (pity it was a bottle of special Scottish Gin for Jacqueline)
Well watered and fed, we continued our journey north, our planned next stop was at the Glen Coe centre, but as the weather had closed in and is got very misty and drizzly some of the fantastic views were well hidden. We still managed a wee look around the centre prior to continuing our journey.
We then passed over the Ballachulish bridge and onwards via Fort William, Spean Bridge and stopping at the Invergarry Hotel (www.invergarryhotel.co.uk) for lunch, which was of very good quality and great service, priced well also, the Whisky Boys recommend this as an ideal stopover from a meal or light snack.
Our final stop before arriving at Plockton was at Eilean Donan Castle at the mouth of Loch Duich, and what a fabulous location, when you stop there, take plenty of pictures, send one or two to the Whisky Boys.
A half hour drive or so from the castle we arrived at the Plockton Inn ( Shore Street Plockton Ross-shire. telephone 01599 544222. website: www.plocktoninn.co.uk).
Now what can we say about the Plockton Inn, the rooms are comfortable/clean but very basic, but don’t let that put you off as you will only be sleeping there, as Jim and Jacqueline have stayed here on one or two occasions before and find this Inn is in a fantastic location with great walks on your doorstep. You are only a half an hour drive from the Skye Bridge.
Now about the food. Great, local, fresh, expertly cooked and presented, very reasonably priced, then you go through to the bar/lounge and enjoy a fantastic selection of malts and real ales, chat to locals and indeed the staff and owners of the Inn, and on our second night they had some locals playing various instruments (pipes,drums, fiddles penny whistles etc etc) and a great sing-song was had by all, a magic evening,
Breakfast was a culinary delight too, everything from a full fry up to smoked salmon and eggs any way you want them.
Our main outing whilst at the Inn was to take Bruce and Laurel to Applecross via Loch Carron and Loch Kishorn and over the Pass of the Cattle ( we believe to be the highest road in the UK, giving plenty of warnings prior to attempting the drive over)
The journey to Applecross was great up over the mountains and through the clouds, with some hearts in the mouths at the hair pin bends and sheer drops, but at the journey’s end you have the Applecross Inn (Applecross Inn Shore St, Applecross, Strathcarron, Ross-Shire, IV54 8LR 01520 744262 www.applecross.uk.com )
This Inn is a welcome site after coming over the mountain. Sited in a wonderful location looking over to the Isle of Raasay and the Cuillin’s on Skye. With great local produce served all day, a good selection of Whisky and ales it is a brilliant destination for all travelers going in to the Highlands.
Two nights and two days up in this area of Scotland is way too short, but Jim and Jacqueline are already making plans for a return visit and very soon we do hope.
On Wednesday 23rd September we reluctantly left Plockton and headed for Inverness and Kingussie.
Instead of going down towards Invermoriston and then up the Great Glen and on to Inverness, we decided to go across country via, Achmasheen, Dingwall, Black Isle and over the Kessock Bridge into Inverness.
We had some chores to do in Inverness, we wanted to visit the large used book shop in the city centre and also some shopping and lunch.
Lunch, let me tell you about lunch. We noticed Bella Italia on Bridge Street and entered hoping for some good Italian fayre.
We all looked at the menu and then the waitress eventually asked for our order, but she advised us that they had ran out of buffalo mozzarella, and even blamed it on the delivery driver.
This should gave us a wee warning, we should have left then, but we unfortunately stayed.
The service was terrible.
The glasses they gave us for our water were dirty and had lipstick marks around the rim.
The food was hot, but only just.
One of the poorest experiences the four of us have ever had when eating out.
From Inverness we headed down the A9 heading for Kingussie via Aviemore.
We arrived late afternoon at our hotel, Scot House Hotel situated in Kingussie’s main street. (www.scothouse.com)
On arrival we liked the grand look of this hotel and were welcomed by the owner/manager signed in and headed to our rooms. The rooms we were shown to were of excellent quality, clean large and great outlooks.
We had a couple of drams down at the bar and to Jim and Bruce’s delight, the malts were a plenty, and a few were taken with a little water as usual.
The girls arrived and we had a quick look at the menu, which looked basic but quite adequate.
It had been a long day and we decided to have an early meal. This is where it all went wrong we decided to eat in the hotel.
The service was almost insulting, the waitress gave the impression that is was a hardship having to serve people and she continued to scowl and certainly made our meal very tedious and unenjoyable, yes, and all this is down to the attitude and the non-capability of this so called waitress. We ordered a bottle of wine – Sauvignon Blanc – she said “what !!! you need to tell me the number on the list”. After and extensive wait the owner of the hotel brought the wine. The situation was getting really quite funny – shades of Fawlty Towers, but not as efficient as Basil.
Guess what she was on duty the next morning for breakfast, and her face and attitude remain the same, we did advise the owner/manager that this member of staff is a reason that (albeit we loved the hotel overall) we would book alternative accommodation on our next trip north. Or we may even stay in the hotel but certainly eat out.
Whether it was the staff on duty these days but we did feel that the food served certainly was not local or freshly prepared, it did seem that it was processed, and of poor quality.
Lets not go on about this down side of our trip but tell you all about the good bits.
Macdonald Hotel in Aviemore was great for a shopping trip for the girls, Jacqueline bought a fur hat, does look great on her – very posh !
We had a big and unhealthy great lunch at the Winking Owl in the main street in Aviemore.
We went up Cairngorms, again another trip involving altitude and a close encounter with the Scottish clouds.
The open air museum between Kingussie and Newtonmore, a visit is well worth it and it is free admission and if the weather is good you can spend many an hour wandering around all the interactive exhibits.
This is just a taster to our trip north, we were only away for 4/5 days and it would be difficult to include every activity and pub and delicious malts we tasted.
The highlights are;-
The Plockton Inn ( a great place to stay, fab food and staff) – Jacqueline can’t wait to go back.
The trip over the Pass of the Cattle to Applecross.
The Applecross Inn ( a very welcoming journey’s end)
The top of the Cairngorms in the clouds that came and went at their own will.
All the malts we drank ( guess what, not a bad one was tasted)
The downlights are;-
Just one, the waitress at Scot House Hotel in Kingussie.
Our greatest joy was once again The Plockton Inn, food, staff, atmosphere and the locals that play most nights in the bar, wonderful.
Jim and Jacqueline are so glad that both Bruce and Laurel thoroughly enjoyed their trip north, especially Plockton and Applecross.
Watch out for Laurel’s blog on her personal and very satisfying Sticky Toffee Pudding Trail.