From East to West

I’m hoping the embedded map above is showing you the route OH and I drove yesterday. In case it doesn’t – we went from Fife to Oban and home again via Glencoe.  The scenery was amazing. The many lochs en route were made of glass, which showed the snow capped mountain reflections perfectly. If I had made OH stop to let me take photographs you could have framed them, hung them upside down on your living room wall and your visitors would not have noticed the difference.

OH wanted to stop before our final destination to allow the dog to stretch it’s legs (that’s code for pee and poo) so it wouldn’t be stressed on the pavements of Oban (that’s code for KayakersOH not wanting to carry a bag of poo around the streets of Oban). Therefore, we stopped at the Connel Bridge and watched on whilst brave and mad kayakers played in the eddies and tidal rapids rushing under the ugly metal structure.

Dog business done we made our way to Oban, which, as is the norm, was bustling. Huge ferries shuttled in and out the harbour taking visitors and workers to and from the various islands scattered around the west coast of Scotland. 2016-04-09 15.53.25.jpgThe Seafood Hut next to the ferry  port was surrounded by happy fish eating people and the Wetherspoons next to that was the biggest one I’ve seen (and yes I’ve seen a few). We sat at table number 204 for a quick drink – that’s how big it was. From Oban we then headed towards Glencoe but again, to let the dog stretch (and to take pics) we made a temporary stop at Castle Stalker in Appin. 2016-04-09 16.47.43.jpgI’m pretty sure Game of Thrones could use this site in their next series and allow it to keep it’s own name.
Dog walked, pics taken it was then dinner time. OH has climbed the majority of Munros in Glencoe so he is au fait with where to eat and drink so suggested the Clachaig Inn. I would have driven right past it but apparently if you’re a climber/walker you will know where it is. When we arrived it was fairly quiet and we therefore managed to get a seat easily. However, by the time we left people were vying for seats and the place was full of people who buy their clothes from Trespass. I felt positively unfit and, pork-and-chorizo-chilli.jpgafter a tortilla bowl full of diced shoulder of pork, chorizo, chargrilled peppers and smoked paprika with sour cream, positively fat too! OH had Clachaig Chicken, which was pan fried chicken in breadcrumbs with a honey and mustard sauce served with chips and salad – it definitely didn’t look as awesome as mine. view.jpgHowever, what was also awesome was the view. For 2 enjoyable main meals, a pint of Elderflower Cider and a soda water and lime it was £27.00.
I overheard there was a spit and sawdust bar next door, which is where the majority of climbers chill but the main lounge we were in was warm, relaxed and very well decorated without a bit of sawdust in sight.

We then headed home through picturesque Glencoe but unfortunately my phone had run out of battery so you will just have to imagine the magnificent Buichille (that’s a Munro btw), the herd of red deer, the pheasants wandering among the newborn lambs and the unbelievable sunset that set the sky on fire.

Yeah I know you – you’ve every right to be jealous 😉

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Ben Lawers Hotel, Loch Tay

Valentine

As it was Valentine’s weekend and I wasn’t oncall I decided to have a browse online to see what offers were available. I happened upon a hotel on Loch Tay which was only opening for the Friday and Saturday and was offering an excellent rate for bed and breakfast AND it was dog friendly. Obviously I couldn’t resist and booked it for Valentine’s Day.

The drive there was stunning. Scotland never ceases to amaze me with it’s beauty, if you haven’t been already what’s stopping you? You won’t be disappointed. Anyway, when we arrived at the Ben Lawers Hotel we were shown to our room, which was ideal for our overnight stay and beautifully decorated.

2015-02-14 15.20.57OH asked where we could walk the dog and the warm and friendly owner directed us down a track to the banks of Loch Tay. We strolled as we were shown and the scenery was fantastic. I was glad I had brought my wellies as we spent ages wandering around the old ruined village and nearby graveyard.

2015-02-14 15.09.26When we got back to the hotel we enjoyed a couple of pints in the bar, which was full of hill walkers who had tried to climb the nearby Munro, Ben Lawers, the highest mountain in the Southern Highlands (1214 meters) and the peak the hotel is named after.

We booked a table for 7pm and enjoyed a game of pool pre dinner (I won just incase you’re interested ;p)

The owners of the hotel have a large family and all the kids helped out in the restaurant, supervised by mum. Given the ages of the children, they did a fantastic job taking orders and bringing out the food their dad had lovingly prepared. I was really impressed by their willingness to help and how polite and well mannered they all were.

We took our seats just before 7 and checked out the menu and specials board. We decided to share a starter so we wouldn’t be too full for our mains and went for the Ham Hock Terrine with Melba toasts. The terrine was chunky, very tasty and beautifully made. For his main meal OH went for the 9oz2015-02-14 19.26.46 Mature Scottish Ribeye steak 2015-02-14 19.45.43with homemade onion rings, chips, tomatoes and a Stilton and walnut sauce. OH raved about his steak saying it was seared wonderfully and cooked exactly as he likes it (just chase a cow through a hot kitchen and he’s happy). He didn’t pour the sauce over as he said he wanted to taste all of the steak but instead dipped his chips in it and gave it the thumbs up.  I had fresh fillet of Scottish salmon topped with a mild delicate mustard butter and oven baked, accompanied by fresh vegetables and new potatoes. 2015-02-14 19.45.51It hit the spot and I cleared the plate without any difficulty. We gave dessert a miss although the menu tried very hard to persuade us.

After dinner we sat in the bar and chatted with other guests and the owners. It was a lovely evening and lots of real ale, whisky and wine was drunk.

The following morning we actually managed to make breakfast, which wasn’t an easy thing for us to do, having to drag our hungover asses out of bed. There was the usual offerings of juice, cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit and toast as well as a cooked breakfast menu. OH went for the full cooked whereas I wasn’t quite as capable and just had scrambled eggs on toast. Again everything was cooked well and presented beautifully. There were definitely no complaints.

When we checked out I was pleasantly surprised by the bill. Dinner, bed and breakfast, a bottle of wine, numerous pints and whiskies came to £148.70.

The scenery is amazing, the owners and their family were fantastic, friendly and caring and the hotel was comfortable and cosy. If you’re looking for someplace to crash after a hill climb or just somewhere in the middle of nowhere for a romantic getaway I can recommend the Ben Lawers Hotel.