Monday, 24 May 2010

Hedge your bets

It's no secret that we're offering £10 for your photos of a Clachaig t-shirt in an interesting location. You send us your photo. We put it on our web site and you a £10 voucher to spend on assorted goodies, refreshments, whatever at Clachaig.

Something not quite right...?

But it does seem that, for some at least, the offer of Clachaig freebies is a little too tempting. Check out the latest entries in the gallery and see if you can spot what we mean!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Which way to Land's End?

Our reception team always ask departing guests 'where are you heading today?', standard replies range from 'heading back home', 'off to find the lost valley ' or 'finishing the last leg of the West Highland Way'. Not often do we hear 'Continuing my walk from John O'Groats to Land's End'

Pictured above is Patrick Fleming who is doing this epic journey of 1600 miles over 80 days and is hoping to raise £30,000 for The Gurkha Welfare Trust, which supports Gurkha ex-servicemen and their families. These fighting men of Nepal are well known for their bravery and courage. For nearly 200 years the Gurkhas have fought alongside Britain as a friend.

To support Patrick's cause or for more info on his walk & The Gurkha Welfare Trust check out the following link.

Refreshed & fighting fit after a night at Clachaig we waved farewell to Patrick and look forward to welcoming Joanna Lumley any day soon. Good luck Patrick.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


Mayfest is just 24 hours away now and while the staff are all psyching themselves up inn house (if you'll excuse the terrible pun) preparations are preceding a-pace.

The bottle store is so full you can hardly see the floor, the spirit store is full enough to make every move a careful one in case you trip over a box of wine and put your head through a bottle of whisky.

Meanwhile (the important one, to me at least) the cellar is rammed full of beer. With 6 different breweries providing 23 different ales for the first weekend alone we hope we have something to cater for everyone’s taste. There's everything from Williams Brothers' wonderful light hoppy Harvest Sun to An Teallach's fantastic caramel 80 shilling style An Teallach Ale to the Isle of Skye's deliciously dark Black Cuillin.

Also, we're going to be springing some new products on you over Mayfest. We've got a Holston alcohol free beer, bottles of Peroni lager and, as an initial trial but (with your support) continuing through the summer, Westons cider on hand pump. Having had difficulties getting hold of the Thatchers we've had over the last few years we've been looking for a change. I was going to make a political joke at this point but as they say alcohol and politics don't mix.

Hope to see you all over the next few weeks.


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

All the Munros in 40 days?

Here's an act of madness for you. I used to think that running the Ben Nevis Race every year is a physical challenge to be proud of. Ohh.., how tired my legs are after all the up and down. Now I'm thinking what a big jessie I am.

Stephen Pyke is attempting to complete all the Scottish Munros in around 40 days. That's some going given that there's 283 of them. Passing through Glencoe this weekend, at least the weather gods were kind.

Enjoy the daily blog entries as he heads further north, and how about Just Giving in view of the tremendous effort. Good luck, Spyke!

20,000 Readers!

Just a very quick post to note the landmark of 20,000 readers since we moved the blog to Blogger just 17 months ago! Amazing!

Hope you like it. Keep telling us what you want to hear. You can join Clachaig on Facebook.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Winter Experience Lectures 2011

Most of you are no doubt thinking about what to do now that there's a bit of warmth in the air. But for us, we're already a season ahead and we're looking a the details for winter 2011. And to help you with your advance planning, here's the dates for the Winter Experience Lectures run in association with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.

Alpenglow on Stob Coire nan Lochan, Glencoe. Copyright James Roddie

Lectures will run for 6 weeks on Tuesdays commencing 1st February 2011, the last one being Tuesday 8th March 2011. Bidean Lounge Bar. 8pm. Free Entry (but bring some small change for the collection bucket).

We're also organising a repeat prescription of superb winter weather for you!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Back to Winter

Or is it forward to Summer? Who knows. It's all seasons in one day at the moment.

Throwing back the curtains this morning revealed quite a heavy frost. Saturday also started with a frost and at 6am I had to scrape the ice off the windscreen before heading north to Shieldaig for the day. But this morning, it was a proper winter frost. White over. Middle of May!?

Glencoe: Frosts and flowers!

Not only that. Davy from the An Teallach Brewery delivered another van load of beer yesterday and brought further proof that winter is still refusing to let go. Leaving the west at an unearthly hour he'd passed by Ullapool where he'd had to drive through a couple of inches of 'proper' snow on the road.

And then last night we had to endure a power cut for 2 or 3 hours. Fortunately, at Clachaig it came after food service and so for most it made for a pleasant bit of atmosphere in the pub. On Facebook I see that there were a few suggestions of increased demand for midwives in 9 months time (names withheld for fear of incriminating those with a filthy mind). Fortunately, I'd just returned from a 25 mile time trial and was much more interested in how I was going to microwave my TV dinner and get a mug of tea with no electricity. The idea of a lie down in a darkened room had an altogether different appeal.

But before you all cancel your trips to Glencoe for fear of getting stuck in deep snow drifts and having to battle through blizzards (yes, at Easter plenty of you did exactly this didn't you?), I can also tell you that by 8am the sun was over the mountain tops, the frost was gone in 10 minutes, and it's now a glorious sunny day here in Glencoe.

Monday, 10 May 2010

A Tale of 2 Bike Rides

This weekend I have mostly been cycling. And what a real treat it has been, getting out and active in the sunshine in the Scottish Highlands; a winning combination of stunning scenery, clear skies, adrenalin, fresh air, and good fun.

A sunny afternoon at Castle Stalker, Port Appin

Fun, however, is probably not a word used by many to describe the Bealach na Ba Sportif. Starting and finishing in the small coastal village of Shieldaig, the route takes in the highest road pass in the UK, the (in)famous Bealach na Ba and 43 miles of the most stunning scenery. Did I mention that it also includes 6500 feet of ascent?

The route profile. Can you spot the top of the Bealach?

Ok, so after a while, the climb does start to hurt a little bit. Quite a lot in fact. But then there's the downhill on the other side, and whilst not everyone's cup of tea, I personally do rather enjoy it. I'm sure the view is fantastic, but at 45mph on skinny tyres with steep hairpins I can't say that I saw much more than the tarmac in front of me.

With the makings of a cyclist's sun tan and 15 minutes shaved off last year's time, we headed back home to Glencoe, well satisfied and slightly fatigued. Nothing that a little cake and beer couldn't sort out.

Compare and contrast the ride we did yesterday. A little more relevant to a Glencoe blog, and a little more 'inclusive'.

Following the route of the old Oban to Ballachulish railway line by Castle Stalker

Every now and then we mention the new Sustrans cycle route being developed between Oban & Glencoe. Some sections are now complete, and so we decided to head south to Appin and enjoyed a very leisurely 14 mile loop.

Breathe in when crossing the narrow Jubilee Bridge

The best place to park is at the long lay-bye at Lettershuna, just before the road takes the sharp corner and steep incline up to Castle Stalker View Cafe. Here, you can join the old railway line and follow it round the corner (at low level) past the picture postcard backdrop of Castle Arggghhh. The track continues through the Strath of Appin but alas ends before Creagan Bridge, where the next section of track picks up.

Another narrow section by the Jubliee Bridge

However, crossing over the main road takes you onto the very quiet back roads and round by North Shian, and on to Port Appin. And when in Port Appin, the thing you have to do is sit on the terrace at the Pier House with a cold beer, taking in the sun and the view across the sound to the isle of Lismore.

The views are so good it's best to stop to take them in

From Port Appin there's another short road section before cutting off on a narrow track to cut the corner off over the Jubilee Bridge. This track soon meets up with the railway line again, from where it's just another mile back to the car, with one last look at the view of Castle Stalker.

All told, the ride is about 14 miles and with one exception (a short walk if you're out of puff!) has very low gradients.