Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Ossian Bedrooms Refurbishment

How are you liking our new feature bathrooms. Why hide your bath in a little en suite when you can have a bath right slap bang in the middle of your bedroom?!

Room 5 with a new look

We're now half way through our project to completely refurbish our 4 bedrooms in the Ossian Wing. Chaos rules. Despite working inside, the wild winter weather has been taking its toll, mostly because many of our trades are coming up from the Central Belt. Or not, as the case may be!

We've gone right back to the guts of the building on this one. We've found some very old original panelling, and some very wacky wallpaper which would probably be quite fashionable now if it wasn't so faded by generations of being hidden away. Much of that is now disappearing again as we start to put it back together.

Room 4 - from this...

As you can see, the bathrooms are being completely rebuilt. New baths, fully tiled throughout, heated towel rails... And the bedrooms also get a complete once over with new furniture, new radiators, 26" flat screen TVs, new carpets and some fairly bold wallpaper.

 ... to this. Room 4 at the moment!

 Meanwhile chaos also reigns at The Grog & Gruel where we're also midway through the makeover. Only another week and this will all be a distant memory, and it will all be calm and peaceful again. Or so we're told!

Room 5 bathroom - minus bath

The wee resident's lounge is also getting a bit of TLC too. Stone walls, bold wallpaper and some timber panelling will give it a completely new look. We're also creating a little book corner - more news about that later. The only slightly worrying thing is that we still haven't selected a wallpaper for the corridors!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Winter has arrived!

There is no escaping the news that Winter has arrived in Scotland and with that the ski season is about to kick off. Being located close to Glencoe Mountain Resort they provided us with the following information to share with you.
View from the summit at Glencoe Mountain

Glencoe Mountain Resort, the UK’s original snow-sports destination is now gearing up for the 2010/2011 season. With heavy snow falling all over the country Glencoe looks like it is on track to have it’s earliest ever opening. For details about the opening date and to receive weather and news updates from the centre please go to

Over the summer there has been lots going on at Glencoe including the creation of a brand new beginner’s area with its very own tow exclusively for the snow sports school. This will make the learning experience even better than before. Work is also ongoing with creating a brand new terrain park. This park will have exciting new features for advanced riders and also a brand new beginner’s area making the park accessible to all levels of skier and snowboarder. Freestyle lessons will be available on a daily basis through the snow sports school. If you need to hire skis or a snowboard then you won’t be disappointed – 70% of all our boards and skis are brand new for this season. We also for the first time ever have top of the range Trespass ski suits available for hire. This is on top of what’s always been available at Glencoe – namely the amazing off piste opportunities, the steepest black run in the UK, great natural gullies and features and some of the best beginner’s terrain in the country. Combine that with one of the best ski schools in the country, friendly staff and a great community feel and we are confident you will have a great time whatever the weather.

See you soon at Scotland’s original and best ski area

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Christmas shopping and the GMRT

With Christmas approaching, many of you will no doubt be eagerly looking forward the inevitable pre-Christmas trip to the shopping centre. Surely there can be no better way to spend a hard earned day off, than to wander aimlessly from shop to shop, looking for that perfect gift? Add in the thrill of trying to find a parking space, navigating through the crowds, the long queues, and you’ve got the makings of a real epic!

If, however, this isn’t your “cup of tea”, and you’d rather shop online and let the postman do the work, then are you helping the Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team at the same time? And if not, why not?

It was around this time last year we here at Clachaig set out to try and raise some extra funds for the local team using the EasyFundRaising scheme. We’ve just passed the £200 mark, which isn’t bad given that not one of the supporters so far has had to give a single penny of their own money, but it could be a lot more if we can persuade more of you folks out there to help us.

Details of how this works are available on our GlencoeScotland website. In short, pretty much every time you buy something online, you could be adding a little more to the team’s funds. The cost to you? Nil. Not a penny, Just a minute or two to register (email address and chosen cause only) and a few seconds each time you shop to go via the EasyFundRaising site first. Say for example you buy a £9.99 DVD from Amazon, then Amazon (and NOT you) will pay a 2.5% commission/donation to the GMRT. Okay, only 25p in this example, but if enough folks help out then that can easily build into a more meaningful figure. Don’t forget, this isn’t a one-off or short term scheme, but ongoing.

So, in the coming weeks, when your credit card is taking a bit of a hammering, console yourself with the fact that at the same time, you could be helping out the GMRT. With snow on the hills, and more on the way, these guys are likely to be in for another busy winter. Take a minute or two to read a bit more, and hopefully we can convince you to sign up and help out. It’s all for a good cause, as the saying goes.

Never a dull moment

There's barely a sole around at the moment. The skies are clear, the frost is crisp and the snow on the mountains looks like it needs playing in. (Have a look at a couple of the featured blogs on the right hand side for some proof!) But despite all that, there's not much chance of sneaking out for a little fresh air this week.

Clachaig's Ossian Bedrooms - time for a makeover
As soon as our weekend guests check out on Sunday morning we make way for a team of joiners, plumbers, decorators and electricians, as they invade our peace and crack on with the refurbishment of our Ossian bedrooms.

The four bedrooms, along with their adjoining en suite bath, shower and toilets are all being given a complete makeover. In addition, we'll be giving the wee lounge a new lease of life, along with the connecting corridors and stairwell. What started out as a fairly simple 'lick of paint' has turned into a fairly major makeover.

These bedrooms were the first to be refurbished when we set about bringing Clachaig up to a good modern standard several years ago. They've served us well, and still look good. But there's never time to stand still and we're now taking them to the next level. Carpets, wall coverings, furniture, baths, tiles, sinks.... All change!

And as we never tend to do anything by halves, we're also clearing out The Grog & Gruel on Sunday morning too. After 16 years, Fort William's favourite Traditional Alehouse and Restaurant is also getting a bit of a makeover. With the impossible brief of modernise the theme, but don't break what's already there, we're pretty confident that you'll like the new look pub and restaurant. But worry ye not, it'll still be The Grog & Gruel.

So, by 16th December, we'll have re-invested another £150,000 or so into the businesses, making sure that we're ready and raring to go for the Hogmanay Hoolies!

More on the Facebook pages as we go (if we dare show you). Click here for Clachaig and here for The Grog & Gruel.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Gales aren't that uncommon, particularly as we approach the depths of winter. But perhaps because they're not uncommon, their effect isn't usually too severe. Most things that are going to get blown over have already been blown over.

 Not so this morning, however. The Clachaig mobile heading one way, kids on the way to school heading the other, and this huge oak came down between them. A lucky escape for both.



Plenty of firewood on the old village road!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

This is a great time to escape the autumn blues with a late season visit to Glencoe.

Winter is knocking on the door and it is bringing Christmas and Hogmanay with it.

You have probably already spent hours pondering over which presents to get for whom and who will receive a card from you this year. Chances are you are dreaming of a quick escape from this all before there IS no more escaping it. This is where we come in…..

Of course we want to help and knowing how expensive these times are, we have thought of a special 3 for 2 offer which provides excellent value for money.

When you book a 2 nights stay with us at the standard bed and breakfast rate you can stay a 3rd night for absolutely free!

This offer is valid for a limited time only between November 12th and December 23rd (Valid for all our rooms - subject to availability)

Contact Us now with your requirements including number of guests, preferred dates, and room types and we'll get back to you by return.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Cutting off a life line?

The week started well. A few projects on the go at the moment, so despite it now being officially the quiet season, we're very focussed on taking the business forward into the next trading year. And then a chance conversation regarding a comment someone had seen on a web forum. A proposal that the A82 would be closed for a 14 week period whilst improvements to the section at Pulpit Rock are carried out. Surely not?!

Surely not, because if there something so impacting as the closure of THE Trunk Road to the North West was on the cards, someone would have told us. Or a newspaper would have let a story on it? Or the business network across Lochaber would have picked it up and shared it? But no, none of these things had happened. Despite our wide network of contacts (Discover Glencoe, OCUK, Chamber of Commerce, people we meet all the time....) no one had heard. And that folks is "consultation"! And the consultation period ends today.

Clearly, there's cause for concern. Yes there are other routes. But yes, clearly there are other destinations as well. And we're not blessed with a network of roads here. The alternatives involve some significant distances and times. And yes, the A82 desperately needs repair and upgrade. But at what cost to the communities it serves?

So, as we said, the week started out well, but amidst all the planning of investing (more of that later we hope) in the future of the business, protecting and growing employment in a fragile rural area, we have to drop everything for a few days to to fight closure. There's an irony there, don't you think?

Here's the official version of events:
The last link on this page entitled "This brochure" is worth a click.

Chances are you're reading this too late to expres your own opinion. But for what its worth, here'swhat we said.

The issues

Fact versus perception
Many years of dealing with the public leads us to believe that there is a very big difference between what is actual fact, and what is public perception, simply based on headlines. The perception that the A82 is closed, ergo the access to the north west is closed is highly likely, regardless of advice given on alternative routes. A lack of willingness to travel north and west due to fact or perception will cause significant loss of business to the Lochaber area.

Loss of Trade
A significant amount of trade to the Glencoe area comes from the Greater Glasgow, Ayrshire and Ireland. Glasgow and Prestwick Airports are key Gateway points to our market. This geographical draw is extremely significant in the weekender and short break market. This is also an informed market, who are able to make decisions based on such variables as weather, activity, and convenience.

Based on fact or perception, this market can easily make decisions to head to the east, rather than the North West, resulting in significant loss of business to Lochaber businesses.

Winter Market
Our business, as many visitor based businesses in the South Lochaber and Fort William area, trade year round. Whilst the summer market is critical to our very existence, the winter market, both before and after the Festive period, is still very significant and keeps many people in year round employment as opposed to traditional seasonal tourism employment. However, it is fragile and has taken many years to develop. Any loss of business in summer would have massive economic impact. Any loss of business in the winter would have direct impact on employment.

With 2 ski areas served by the A82, any impact on the ski season would be devastating to an already beleaguered sector, and be especially harmful to Glencoe Mountain.

Inadequate Consultation
There is insufficient knowledge of the proposed closures across all the affected areas. The advertising of the consultation process may well satisfy the statutory requirements with a small ad in a local paper but few businesses appear to be aware of it. Consequently, the ability to take more time to make a considered and informed opinion has been prejudiced. In any event, something so fundamental as the long term closure of a Truck Road should have been given much wider airing.

Inadequate Consultation (further demonstration)
Glencoe business have long recognised the importance of the A82 to the economy and the community. For this reason, regular meetings with representatives of Transport Scotland & TransServe have been held for a number of years. These meetings have helped to address issues arising out of the various A82 bridge replacements. The specific issue of the A82 south of the Glencoe was raised at the most recent meeting on 22nd September. There was absolutely no mention of the proposed closures and the imminent consultation process.

Our track record shows that where adequate consultation has been permitted, we have been able to work to find a mutually agreeable solution. Through the process, we have been able to understand the more technical issues involved, in some cases prevent proposed closures by finding alternatives, and certainly to mitigate the potential negative impact of essential works through mechanisms such as alternative timing, re-scheduled work patterns, adequate publicity and signage etc.

The solutions

The exceptional prolonged closure of a major arterial Trunk road requires exceptional measures to mitigate the impact of the closure on the fragile economies and communities it serves.

In the extremely short amount of time we have had available in which to prepare a response, we would list the following as essential measures which must now be taken.

  • Direct, detailed and on-going proper consultation with all affected parties, but in as far as we speak for ourselves, with our representatives from the Glencoe area, in advance of decision being made.
  • No decision to be made on the closure period without reference to the proper Consultation process. There is no ‘good’ time of year for a closure, but periods may be better than others. In all cases, traditional peak trading periods, both summer and winter must be avoided.
  • Close examination of the options and alternatives to complete and prolonged road closure with clear reference to the Consultation process.
  •     Temporary / Weekend opening
  •     Use of Bailey Bridges for parallel working
  •     Flexible / Intensive shift working patterns
  •     High penalty clauses for over-running.
  •  Clear and express ‘positive message’ at all available opportunities, fully describing alternative routes and avoiding negative implications.
  •  Advance signs advising of alternative routes (and not congestion/delay) 
  •  e.g. major advance arterial routes M74 etc.
  • No non-emergency road works to the A84 or Argyll alternatives during the planned closure periods.
  • No negative reporting – the A82 isn’t closed, but ‘the A84 and A81 are open and it won’t take much longer’.
  • Careful management of press releases to ensure accurate information and to respond to any potentially negative reporting should the need arise.
  • Public transport links, especially the Glasgow – Fort William bus service maintained throughout the closure period, with clear, accurate and easily accessible information about alternative schedules brought about by the diversion.
  • Budget allocation from the overall scheme costs to be given to marketing bodies in the affected areas for the express use of communicating the “open for business” message. In terms of scheme costs, this sum would be negligible. In terms of the mitigation that it could achieve, it would be substantial.
  • E.g. Discover Glencoe, OCUK, and not VisitScotland   
  • Advertising in the Glasgow Evening Post
  • Direct distribution to Glasgow & Prestwick Airport, Ferry terminal in Troon,
  • Car hire centres etc    .

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

All that Glitters

Captured by Clachaig's very own resident mountain man Alex Roddie this afternoon.
If ever you needed proof of the 'pot of gold' at the end of the rainbow then the above picture is surely a sign.

Alex & the rest of the team are on hand to serve up a warm welcome to our Octoberfest, complete with roaring fires, the finest selection of cask ales this side of the equator, whisky & ale tastings, unrivaled live music & an activity programme to keep everyone occupied.

Our festival is running until Sunday 31st October so come along for a pot of gold-en ale....just follow the sign.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

A bicycle built for 6

Here’s something that you don’t see every day – a bicycle made for 6.

These guys stayed over at Clachaig on Sunday night, during their fundraising John O’Groats to Lands End charity ride. We see plenty of ‘end to end’ers during the course of the season, but we have to say that this is probably one of the more memorable groups to pass by.

Being bike fans ourselves, we were rather taken with the details of the bike. But so many questions...
  • Riding a tandem is hard enough but when there’s six of you all working together..?

  • How big (or a little) a bump does it have to be before it bottoms out? We’re guessing that at 17 feet long off roading isn’t going to be that easy.

  • What’s it like when the guy at the front has the front brake and the guy at the back has the back brake, and you’re hurtling down a steep incline towards a hairpin bend? And what’s it like when you’re sat in the middle and have neither brake?

  • And just how fast could a hand picked half dozen of the strongest legs from the local bike club complete a 10 mile time trial on it? Assuming no up hills and no dead turns, that is.

  • Just how much torque is there through the axles when you’re braking for 6?
And even more remarkable is the fact that the bike can be configured for 3, 4, 5 or 6 to ride. Groovy! See the Saddle Row web site for more.

The ride aims to raise money for a variety of 6 cancer related charities and we’re sure that they’d welcome any donations you’d care to send their way.

Good luck chaps!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Octoberfest is coming!

A little over 10 years we came up with the brilliant idea of having an end of season Beer Festival here in Glencoe. A little celebration, if you will, to mark the end of the main trading season, and before the tumbleweed and the darkness really set in. The tail end of October was busy enough to justify it, with a reasonable number of folk making the most of the half term hols. We also came up with a totally brilliant and unique name for a beer festival held in the month of October.

And now, here we are 10 years on, with a hugely successful annual event now celebrating its 10th birthday. Our special Festival Accommodation Offers help to fill the inn during the festival. Every year we try to look at what's on offer, and ensure that we do our utmost to make it a fun and informal time, offering good value and great craic. Quite often, we find ourselves trying to think of a new way of doing things, only to realise that you can over-engineer things, and that the real success is often due to the bare simplicity of what we do. Our Customer Promise sums it up, namely "Real People, Real Hospitality, Real Craic".

But this year, as we are marking a bit of a milestone, we have come up with something new and different for Octoberfest - the Octoberfest Activity Programme.

The basic idea is that during the festival, your evenings are destined to be spent at Clachaig. In addition to the wide selection of cask conditioned ales, and this year cider and lager too, there's also live music, pub quizzes and beer and whisky tastings. But what about during the day?

When you look there's actually so much on offer, but sometimes its just a case of being able to see the wood for trees. So we've teamed up with a wide variety of local attractions and activity providers to provide an exclusive programme of things to do during the festival. In each case there's a special package on offer to Clachaig's Octoberfest Customers, whether it be a keener price or some great added value add ons.

 Download the full programme on our web site

There's something for everyone, in every weather, and for every ability. For the children, there's ranger led trips to explore the natural environment, for the more adventurous there's a chance to try your hand at climbing, kayaking or canyoning, and for everyone, there's Landrover Safaris or trips up the Mountain Chairlift. And more. See our web site for more information about the activities on offer.

We hope you'll find a reason to come and visit us at our 10th annual Octoberfest.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A cracking weekend

By all accounts it was a cracking weekend. The summer all but over, a last minute appearance by the sun reminded us of the fun in the sun that was still possible. But with a good hard frost in the mornings (-4.4 degrees recorded at Tyndrum!), there was also that feeling that winter was just around the corner. Either way, it was a great weekend to be out and about in the Highlands.

 Some of the action from the Etive River Race

The Etive River Race is establishing itself as an annual event. Featuring 7 drops of up to Class 4+, the race covers a stretch of some 2.5km down the River Etive, falling some 53m in the process. Some call it utter madness, others may call it grown men having legal fun in black rubber. However, it's a great spectator sport in a stunning setting and we very much hope that the event keeps on coming back.

 A late season bit of seaside fun (but no fish and chips or candy floss to be seen).

But elsewhere, be it up a hill, at the beach or on a cycle path, a good time was being had by all. Here's hoping that the appearance of the sunshine wasn't just a passing fad, and that we'll have plenty more opportunities to get out and play this autumn.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Banchory Veterans hit the high notes!

After 9 months or more in the making plus a few mini practice walks to test the gear, lungs and limbs, idle Friday night pub chatter finally culminated in a successful tour of the West Highland Way for the Banchory Veterans. 

Describing themselves as complete novices they completed a mini version covering the prettiest (their own words) and most northerly part of the route from Bridge of Orchy to Fort William.

  Rumour has it they even bought a few books on the way.

The team enjoyed a well deserved pint (or two) here at Clachaig on Saturday night and recorded the craic - & unfortunately their singing too - in the boots bar for all to see.

Thanks for your company lads....see you all again very soon.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Like drowned rats...

That the Scottish Highlands can be pretty wet is a well known fact and waterproof clothing makes up a big part of most of our wardrobes.
 Check out the pink slippers!

Three young men cycling through Scotland thought they were well prepared for the weather conditions up this way - but then met with Rannoch Moor. Setting up camp on the Moor on one very wet night, they discovered (the hard way) overnight that their tent was not as waterproof as most of their wardrobe. 
The following morning they arrived at Clachaig Inn hungry, cold and with not a dry thread on their bodies, leaving small puddles at every step. There was space for 3 more guests in the breakfast room so the hunger bit was easily solved. In order to warm them up, we offered them staff uniforms while their clothes were being dried in our drying room and tumble dryers. Fluffy pink slippers were found to warm their feet, to much hilarity of the serving staff. (We actually had plenty of alternative footware, but we thought the pink slippers would be quite amusing, for us at least).
After the refuelling and a quick snooze they set off for Fort William, braving more of our Scottish weather. No doubt they probably got a soaking all over again. We hope they wont find themselves waking up quite as miserable on the rest of their trip, but if they do, we hope some more Highland Hospitality will see them right.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Hills Are Alive...

Regular readers will be aware of our literary connections see - Sue Fletcher - so no surprise that Richard Happer, author of The hills are stuffed with Swedish girls should choose to do a book signing here in Glencoe.

The real surprise is that he will be doing this at the top of the Devil's Staircase. So if you fancy hearing Richard read from his wildly funny novel, head for the hills on Saturday 18th September for some exercise, a story and even a sausage if you're lucky.

We have it on good authority that Richard may even grace the Boots Bar here at Clachaig afterwards so don't bring your Swedish have been warned.

Drumming up support

These 2 chaps were at Clachaig last week, "drumming" up a little support for Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team. For a bit of small change (or even large notes) they were playing a few tunes on the pipes and drum. They didn't hang around long enough to let us know how much they'd raised, but it all helps!

Now to go and think of a pun that includes something about 'he who plays the piper... '

Monday, 6 September 2010

10 Ben Races (and feeling it)

Why, oh why, oh why do I keep on doing these stupid things?

Above all else, this was the question I couldn't get out of my head on Saturday afternoon, having just finished my 10th Ben Nevis Race. That was, of course, once I'd drunk more water than you'll find in the river Coe right now, and I could just about think straight again.

 Half way down and beginning to run out of fuel

Each year brings its own challenges. And I should know; it's now 22 years since I ran my first Ben Race. Last year for example, went fairly well. Or at least as well as two and a half hours of physical torture can go. And when it goes quite well, thoughts soon turn to next year's race. But this year, by contrast, was a bit of a living hell. And thoughts turn to why, and can I possibly keep on coming back year after year. Only another 11 years and 11 races and I could get a little plaque; the coveted Connochie Plaque awarded to runners who've completed 21 Ben Races (you'd maybe be surprised just how many of these there are!)

But good or bad, the Ben Race is rather special. It does kind of get under your skin. So, regardless of a slightly harder time if it this year, doubtless the memories will fade with the passing of time and come January the application form for number 11 will be in the post.

And let's try and keep things in perspective. I was only 10 minutes or so down on a time that would have been quite satisfactory. And what's 10 minutes when you're talking about up and down the Ben (and a mile each way on the tarmac to start and finish with). 

Conditions weren't ideal for me either. The big difference between this year and last was that last year the mountain was in monsoon conditions (close to being a cancellation) whereas this year it was more like the inside of an oven (ok, moderately pleasant temperatures for a Highland summer). Cool or cold = quite good. Warm or even moderately hot = overheated disaster.

 Entering Claggan Park - just 400m to go

And, of course, I must enjoy it.  Er.., well, it's hard to put the pain of 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon into the 'enjoying it' category. Knowing that you've got to keep on going despite there being absolutely nothing left in the tank. Knowing that all you have to do to stop the misery is stop. But also knowing that stopping as easy as it is impossible. But after a little reflection, it dawned on me that I've actually run the Ben 5 times this summer, getting on for 14 hours spent haulin' ass up and down that track. (And a very hungover Half Ben Race too). And I just wouldn't do that unless there was something in it for me.

 But all is not well.... Pain is only weakness leaving the body

So, chances are that next year I'll be back again for another physical beating. And for the challenge of it. And for the craic. Because there is no sense in it. It just gets under your skin.

Here's hoping that the Adventure Show TV cameras had all packed up and gone home by the time I returned to the park!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Two Inns Race

Saturday saw the first "Two Inns Fell Race", a fairly arduous 24km high level crossing between the Creagan Inn on the shores of Loch Creran, and Clachaig Inn, Glencoe. 37 hardy runners took on the challenge with finishing times varying between a little over 3 hours and 5 and a half hours.

 Originally suggested as a fund raising event for Oban & Glencoe Mountain Rescue Teams, the success of this years event looks set to lay the foundations for developing the run in the coming years. 

The race report can be read on the Scottish Hill Runners web site and there's a few photos from the event to be found on Facebook.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

More biking news from Glencoe Mountain

Regular readers will have realised that, in line with other ski centres across the globe, Glencoe Mountain are looking to mountain biking as a summer/non-skiing activity.

 Glencoe Mountain Bike Trail Map

We'll leave you to read the latest update from Glencoe Mountain copied below (you can subscribe on their web site to receive these direct). But we'll just add that with the potential expansion of trails such as the Weasel Track, and new events such as the Macavalanche in the pipeline, there's every reason to get rather excited about these new developments.

This from Glencoe Mountain...

Downhill Biking

The downhill track is currently being upgraded with new jumps and features on the top section and some modifications to the bottom including a widening of the finish area to allow for overtaking in the finishing area.

Our KONA Stinky downhill bikes have at last arrived (only 3 months late). So if you don't have your own kit or don't want to bring it we have everything you need - goggles, gloves, full face helmets and body armour all for hire.

XC Biking

Some work on the Weasel track has been done so that those who prefer downhill XC biking can follow a rough 4km trail from the top of the chair down to the car park. This is a very rough trail which rides well in the dry but is still a little (or very) swampy when it's wet. Feed back on this trail has been mixed. From "brilliant old school XC mountain biking", "great fun" to "bl**** awful". The differences in view seem to be a combination of expectation and different weather conditions.

This is not a nicely manicured trail it is very rough and it is guaranteed you will get wet and muddy if you choose to ride it.

You may only have a few more months to try this trail in it's current state because we are currently applying for funding to get the track upgraded to a wide blue trail making it accessible to all standards of riders.

At the moment we would only suggest riding the track if you are comfortable riding red downhill trails. It can be ridden on a hard tail bike but it is more fun on a downhill bike.

We have a whole fleet of Kona Cindercone XC+ bikes for hire at the centre so if you want to bring a group up to try the weasel track or one of the more gentle, plateau or valley bottom trails then please phone Angela on 01855 851226 to check availability.

Downhill events

The next event at Glencoe is "Wild and Dialled" on the 4th and 5th of Sept. We are still accepting entries for this event so if you want to enter or just want more details just go to the link at the bottom of the page.

This will be an awesome spectator event so if you have nothing planned for the 4th and 5th of Sept come along and see some of the top riders in the country take on one of the toughest tracks in the UK. Spills and thrills are guaranteed.

See you at the centre soon.

P.S We are planning a ski/snowboard car boot sale at the centre on the 7th Nov. More details very soon.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

You're Nicked!

Can you guess what it is yet?

To be honest  we don't get out much during the peak season, however, on a recent visit to the Claymore filling station we noticed something conspicuous by it's absence not to mention a new 'view'.

Can you tell what's missing from the pic above?.......locals & regular visitors to Glencoe will have spotted that the police station is no more. But a word of warning to any hoodlums out there contemplating a crime spree - a new one is being built and the foundations are already in place.

Now move along please, there's nothing to see here!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Don't forget to pack your t-shirt

It might be summer holiday time. How can we tell? Well, firstly the blog posts have dried up. And second, the entries for our t-shirt photo competition have picked up again. Presumably because folk are now returning from their trips to 'interesting locations'.

 R Emery on Palombaggia Beach, Corsica.

If you fancy £10 in beer vouchers to spend as your will at Clachaig, or perhaps another clachaig t-shirt to give to your loved one or simply add to your collection then all you have to do is send us a photo of your Clachaig t-shirt in an 'interesting location'. The judges are harsh (well, not really, but I'd like to think of myself as the Simon Cowell of t-shirt photos), but if we publish your photo in the rogues, er, sorry, winners gallery, then you're a winner!

So as you head off for your summer hols, don't forget to pack your t-shirt.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Best Country Pubs in the UK

Another nice bit of recognition for us here at Clachaig...

Put together by The Independent, Clachaig features at number 25 in the top 50 Best Country Pubs. Thanks guys!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Clachaig to the Holly Tree by bike

Any day now the bike tracks along the A82 from Glencoe to North Ballachulish will be complete. After months of work, which passers by can't help but have noticed, the new tarred paths alongside the busy road are all but finished.

 New signage to guide your on your way - Glencoe crossroads

The new bike paths provide both an important link between scattered rural communities and a valuable addition to the local tourist  infrastructure. Being able to travel safely by bike amidst such gorgeous scenery is a must, and so to prove a point we checked out the ride from Clachaig Inn in Glencoe to the Holly Tree Hotel at Kentallen Pier.

The first couple of miles are on quiet single track roads, and there's a nice bit of downhill gradient to get you into the swing of things. Nearer the village, the first sections of the Glencoe Orbital Track will take you off the road as far as the Hospital Drive. In time, it is hoped that there'll be a path all the way along the old village road as far as Clachaig, where it will then meet up with a return down the glen, past An Torr and Signal Rock and then back to the village by the National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre.

If you haven't got your bikes with you, then try hiring from Davy at Crank It Up Gear. Leave your car in the Glencoe Village car park and start the journey from here.

From Glencoe Village, the route uses the old section of road past Craft & Things (save your coffee and cake stop for the return!) and along TighPhuirt. Sections of new tar then take you along past Ballachulish Village and towards the impressive setting of St John's Church. Built in 1842, the present church is now in need of repair and restoration and attempts are being made to raise the estimated £1m required.

It's definitely worth stopping to take in a bit of history, and to also marvel at the panoramic views across Loch Leven from the church.

 St John's Church, Ballachulish

Stunning panorama across Loch Leven to the Pap of Glencoe from St John's

More smooth tar will take you to Ballachulish roundabout next. If you're heading for North Ballachulish, continue on over the bridge, but we took a left turn along the old Ballachulish railway line, which continues through Glenachulish and is currently rideable all the way to Kentallen Pier.

 Left turn for Glenachulish, Kentallen and Oban!

But a little more exploring and a much needed coffee break was required, so once in Glenachulish we took a right turn off the Sustrans track and headed down past Ballachulish House to the Dragon's Tooth Golf Course.

 Passing the walled garden at Ballachulish House

Simply exploring this hidden corner of the area is a good enough reason to head down to The Gathering Place, but equally, the prospect of coffee, cakes and a more extensive bar menu might tempt you!

Parked up at The Gathering Place. Cakes, coffee, golf... Take your pick!

Back on the bed of the old railway line, the views open out, and on a day such as the one we chose, it's just amazing. The views across Loch Linnhe to the Ardgour and Morvern Hills are the best you could wish for. There's a few little shingle beaches and coves where you can get off and search for crabs, watch the cormorants, or simply take a snooze.

Carved stones and impressive ironmongery add to the atmosphere of the route.

The Sustrans route will hopefully continue beyond the Holly Tree Hotel, all the way to Oban and beyond. When it does it will be a superb journey. For now, you need to join the road again as far as the bad corner at Lettershuna, where you can join another section of track past Castle Stalker and the Strath of Appin. Further on, there's also a complete section from Creagan Bridge to the Sea Life Centre

 I just want to jump in!
Time to head back again

In the meantime, take a while to enjoy the view (and a beer!) at the Holly Tree before jumping back on your bike and doing it all over again in reverse!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Bikes and bows

 Glencoe Mountain Resort very kindly invited as many of us as could make it to come and see what's on offer during the summer months. And it would be rude to decline such an invitation so we played around with the diary a little and set off up the glen .

Can you spot Kingshouse?

The centre has been through difficult times of late. But under new ownership, a new lease of life has been brought to the longest established ski centre in Scotland, and there's already evidence that the centre will soon become a year round activity centre, with something on offer for everyone. The snow conditions for years this past winter have certainly helped and the momentum gained is now clearly continuing through the summer months.

I never knew that uphill on a mountain bike could so easy!

Sitting in the log cabin cafe with large picutre windows looking straight at Buachaille Etive Mor was an activity within itself. Coffee and cake was far more appealing than the Downhill Mountain Bike Course which was looming on the hillside just above us. However, Dangerous Will was up for it. He still had use of all of his limbs at the end but did mention something about going to the bike shop to replace some broken parts.

'Dangerous Will' looking confident

For the lesser mortals amongst us, we opted for a nice gentle ride up the chairlift with our bikes. We made a quick exploration of the plateau before opting for taking the weasel track down. Overgrown and washed out, this track dates back to some of the early days of gaining access to the hill, but is earmarked for development into a more formal biking track. In fact, speaking to Andy and the team, and listening to their ideas is both enlightening and refreshing.

Keep on through the snow fence to find the weasel track.

The weasel track has bags of potential and even in its current state was a good bit of fun. There's a few wash outs and bottomless swampy bits, but there's also long sections of good cruising and a few more challenging sections, including a couple of rock slabs. Great fun! And the view..!

Blasting the return to the centre, with the access road and Kingshouse clearly visible.

The tracks onto Rannoch Moor are begging to be explored by bike, and with a fleet of new Kona mountain bikes available for hire, Glencoe Mountain Resort is the ideal base from which to start.

Out of the black, into the red, nothing in this game for 2 in a bed. Smashing, super, lovely...

Back at the centre, we tried our hand at archery, a new activity for this summer.Strangely addictive, especially when your arrows end up around the centre but not in it. Just one more go! I can see a Clachaig staff tournament coming on. In fact, I've just had a brilliant idea for Octoberfest!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The value of feedback - part 2

Read our recent post about our guest feedback process and you'll know that it's a subject close to our hearts. Learning how to use it, how to interpret it, has been a learning curve over the last 18 months. If you take it too literally, then it could either lead you to complacency (you're wonderful, don't change a thing) or conversely drive you mad (you're terrible, get your act together).

The new cooker in situ at Quarry Cottages, Ballachulish

The best example we can give is on the subject of the comfort of our beds, as it's quite possibly the most subjective of all opinions that we receive. Tracking our forms we've discovered that completely opposite opinions can be forthcoming on the same bed within a matter of days. The solution? First and most obvious is to test out a negative comment to make sure something hasn't suddenly gone horribly wrong. And second, is to maintain a register of all our mattresses with replacement dates, so that we can tell exactly how old a mattress is and whether it's due for the next round of our rolling replacement programme.

One area where we have acted directly on feedback received is on the cookers at Quarry Cottages. Knowing quite how well these perform is a bit tricky unless we're told, and recent feedback suggested that they weren't performing well at all. And rather than risk acting on just one of the properties, we've replaced all 3. So, Quarry cottages are now equipped with some rather nice new cookers with double cavity fan assisted ovens and ceramic/halogen hobs.

Next up, 3 new flat screen TVs. These should be in within the week!