Tuesday, 31 January 2017

It's like painting the Forth Road Bridge

It's all change at Oak Tree Lodge this week. The carpets are out, the bath is out, even the toilets are out. And before you think that must leave plenty of room inside, think again. Last we looked it was hard to get in through the door for all the plumbers, joiners, electricians, decorators and carpet fitters who were all hard at work. Yes, it's time for a refurbishment at Oak Tree Lodge.

Everything out - ready for a fortnight of chaos

Keeping on top of things at Clachaig is a bit like painting the Fort Road Bridge. Just when you think you're finished, and everything is looking spick and span, it's time to start all over again.

Oak Tree Lodge has served us well. It looked slightly smaller and less well loved back in 1984 when we arrived at Clachaig. By 1988 it was in line for a bit of extending and alteration, although that could probably be better described as a near complete rebuild and a start again.

Preparing for a rebuild circa 1988

It then became a family home for a number of years, and quite possibly a family home with one of the most spectacular views in the country. As we became more established at Clachaig and the enormity of developing the business a little more became slightly less daunting, we were able to move out of the tiny flat in the hotel and take up residence in more salubrious surroundings.

Oak Tree Lodge Lounge (as was)

From 1998 things had changed again and Clachaig Holidays as a self catering business in it's own right came to the fore for the first time.  Oak Tree Lodge came into being as a lovely 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 4 star self catering holiday lodge. The rest, as they say, is history. 

The West Face of Aonach Dubh

The lodge is undergoing a complete makeover, and will be available for letting again as of next week. We'll be back with some photographs in due course. In the meantime, we'll be moving on with some new flooring and some less invasive works at Rowan Tree Lodge before moving on to another major overhaul at Riverbank Holiday Cottages in Glencoe village. Remember, it's like painting the Forth Road Bridge...!

For booking enquiries, please see Clachaig Holidays, with real time availability and ease of online booking for all our 4 star self catering chalets and cottages in Glencoe and Ballachulish.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Clachaig FebruaryFest "Yard Sale"

Over the years we seem to gather a fair few nick nacks. Quite often we'll carry out a refurbishment and give things a fresh look, but decide that the old look was perfectly good and far too good to throw away. But it comes to a point where the office door will no longer open because of the amount of accumulated goodies that we just don't have a home for.

The answer quite simply is that it's time for a clear out. And rather than add to landfill or have a big bonfire, we're passing on the opportunity to acquire a little bit of Clachaig (and Grog & Gruel) memorabilia. Welcome to the Clachaig Yard Sale. And whilst it would be quite nice to use the funds raised to pay for the next refurbishment, we're going to add the proceeds to this year's Big Winter Raffle, and donate to the South Lochaber Villages Defibrillator Fund.
Our local communities would like to initially install two public access defibrillators, with one in Glencoe village at the Ambulance Station and one in Ballachulish at the Medical Centre. If funds permit, a third defibrillator in Onich is also on the wish list.

Purchase and instalation of these life saving machines will cost in the region of £2000 each, plus spare batteries and pads. These units also require hard wiring as the boxes need to be kept at a constant temperature. The Glencoe Ambulance Station will monitor and check them on a regular basis.

To date enough money has been raised for two of the three machines being installed on the area. Clachaig has already donated just over £200 which we raised from Pub Quizes and Pool Competitions over Octoberfest.

Alongside this “Yard Sale” we will be running Raffles every week over Februaryfest with a really big one being held on Saturday 4th March and we will be having a Pub Quiz every Monday night throught FebruaryFest as well. All money raised will be donated to the Community Defibrillators.

How will it work?
Browse our gallery at our website. If you like what you see make us an offer – your best shot. We’ll collate all the offers and come the end of FebruaryFest the best offer wins. All work MUST be collected by 4th March. Failure to do so will result in us relisting the item, possibly for immediate sale.
Send your best offer to inn@clachaig.com with the subject ‘yard sale’. Please ask any questions before you submit your offer.
We reserve the right to sell any item before the conclusion of the sale in return for a ridulously attractive bid, or do with as we so please. C’est la vie.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Ballachulish Santa Swim

Ever wondered what Santa does when he's finished a long shift delivering pressies to everyone? Well, he takes a nice refreshing swim in the loch, of course! 

Mr & Mrs Claus
On Christmas morning, Santa invites anyone mad enough to join him and Mrs Claus for a swim in Loch Leven. And the odd thing is that there was a fair crowd to join them this year. Even Santa didn't see that one coming.

18 hardy souls took to the water on Christmas morning

In all 18 hardy souls, plus 2 daft collies, met at the lochside by the Isles of Glencoe for a bit of a dip / swim. Storm Barbara was just abour ready to move on. Storm Conor was just about to put in an appearance. Out on the loch there were some impressive squalls, and enough white tops on the waves to wonder whether bring the surfboards down wouldn't actually have been a bad idea. Still, if you're going to jump in a loch and get wet anyway, ...

Smiles all round - it must have been fun
Swimming styles varied.  Dave arrived in a dry suit, which was quite a good idea, or at least would have been had he remembered his gloves. His was more of a bob than a swim. For some it was just a quick dip and out. For most at least, there was a lap of the buoy. And the Loch Leven Ladies, a group of regular swimmers on their home turf, there was a full lap of the bay. Alas, no one braved the waters without a suit of some sort this year.

The Loch Leven Ladies setting the pace.

But none of that matters. What does matter was that 18 people had a great time while taking taking part in a random act of madness on Chirstmas morning. They're all heroes. And you can bet that their Christmas dinner tasted absolutely fantastic!


Lots of spectators (at the windows) at the Isles of Glencoe Hotel

A drop of 3 degrees over the last couple of days - lots of fresh run off in the loch
Santa seems to have ditched the sleigh in favour of a Ford Transit.
Same place, same time next Christmas Day!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Clachaig Christmas Party 2016

Its that time of year again. Christmas is just around the corner.

Which must mean it is time for the Clachaig Christmas Party.

Getting set up

Finishing Touches
This is now our fifth year hosting the party and we are seeing more and more regulars returning each year.
But can you blame them? Greeted with a warm mug of mulled cider as you are seated at your table, the smell of the hog roasting away as you enter the bar. It doesn't get much better than that. 
First guests arriving
Once all the food was finished the Big Man himself even graced us with his presense with the aid of his assistant he made his way round the bar making sure everyone got a wee something.
Andy couldn't contain his excitment at finally meeting Santa

After Santa had handed out presents to all the good boys and girls, Mak-A-Din got the gutairs out and got most of the bar up dancing helping to burn off all that food.

All in all it was another great success. Everything went smoothly and everyone seemed to have a great night.

All of us here at the Clachaig had a great night as well but the best moment of the night  probably came when we were able to pounce like Vultures on the left overs.


From all of us here at the Clachaig we wish you a Merry Christmas and hopefully we will see you all for the Clachaig Hogmanay Hoolie

Thursday, 8 December 2016

How hard can it be?

It's in use from early in the morning till late in the evening every day, all year round. Just quite how many feet pass over it every 24hrs doesn't bear thinking about. No wonder it was showing signs of wear after years of use and abuse. Time to replace the specialist vinyl floor covering the in the kitchen at Clachaig.

Clearing out
It'll be fine. I mean, just how hard can it be?

Out with the red

Well, first of all everything has to come out to be able to get at the floor itself. So where do we put the ovens, the hot cupboards, the fridges, chillers, work benches, dishwasher and sinks? And then how do we serve food while the kitchen has been emptied? And if we can't serve food, and we're a food business open 24/7, then how do we manage that?

Just one of the many challenges sent to try us.

Preparing the floor
Ready to put the vinyl down

New vinyl being laid


Whilst we we've been looking forward to a little quiet time at the the end of a very long season, it's been far from getting the feet up and chilling out. Instead, it's been a chaotic week of juggling. But we've done it. A few days of disruption, but we've now got a kitchen with a new floor and we're good to go with the food production again. Phew!
Still room looking bare.
In with the grey

Where does it all go?

And just to make life even more interesting, we replaced the carpet in the office too. Well, it had been there since 1970, er... something.

Has anyone seen my desk?

The clear desk policy needs reviewing

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Glencoe Community Defibrillator

During Octoberfest and Febfest we usually try and raise some money for the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team. However this October we decided to raise money for another local and worth while clause. The Glencoe Community Defibrillator. There will actually be two defibrillators installed. One outside the Glencoe Ambulance Station and the other outside the Ballachulish Medical Centre.

We managed to raise £200 over Octoberfest by donating all money raised from our Pool Competitions and Pub Quizes. There was also money raised by our customers who kindly put a donation in the collection box on the bar which the ladies picked up today. They tell me they have so far raised £3000 of the £4000 needed.

Head over to our website to see what else we do for our local community.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Outdoors Pub of the Year 2016

Fantastic news! Clachaig has been awarded Outdoors Pub of the Year 2016. Whoop, whoop!

Here at Clachaig Central we drew straws for the trip down to the annual awards presentation in Kendal and Assistant Clachaig Manager, William, won. The Clachaig van was given a bit of a wash and a polish in preparation for a rare excursion out of the glen, and William put on his best shorts while the rest us continued to slave away, sorry, sat waiting patiently, for the news from Kendal.

Whoop, whoop!

The awards recognise the great and the good across a whole range of categories relevant to life in the Great Outdoors, with everything from cafes, gear and clothing, books, campaigns and personalities represented.

And in our category we won! We have to say that we're over the moon with the result. It's been a long, hard season. As a family we've been here since May 1984, so we've seen quite a few now. You'd think that it would get easier, or at least that's always the hope. But, no. 2016 was busier than ever before, making it bigger, longer, harder and more intense. There were a few sighs of relief when Octoberfest finally closed and for the first time since March a calm descended about the place.

A shiny van & William's best shorts

So, to win after all that is tremendous. And what makes it even better is that the award is the product of a public vote. It's you, our customers, who voted in masses, to make us no. 1. A big thank you to everyone who ticked the box for us. It's particularly satisfying for everyone here at Clachaig to know that our collective efforts are appreciated.

And there must also be a huge thank you to the full team at Clachaig. Though Clachaig is still family owned and run by Ed and Guy, it's the staff; the chefs, the house team, the managers, who are the public face, and the ones who keep on delivering even when under pressure. It is they who are Clachaig.

William's big smiles

Hopefully we're not being too conceited when we say that awards have been a part of life at Clachaig over the years. It's nice to be able to say that we've won a few, not least of which was the Outdoors Pub, Restaurant or Cafe of the Year 2013. (Nice to back after a short break!) But we don't go looking for them. Invariably the awards are a recognition of our achievements, of what we offer, by others. That's what makes them so damn rewarding when they come along.

A slightly younger Guy & Ed with Camra's Best Pub in Scotland Award 1994

As we prepare for 2017 and our 33rd year here at Clachaig, rest assured that we'll keep on doing what we do best, and we look forward to welcoming all our customers, old and new once again.