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!