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.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Putting the fun into fundraising

Plenty of fun was had during our busy autumn festival ‘Octoberfest’ and the full programme of live music, gin & whisky tastings, pumpkin carving, quizzes & pool competitions kept us all busy.
Halloween Staff fancy dress
Serious pool sharks

Tabitha and her amazing pumpkin

Our rolling fundraising commitment to actively raise funds for a variety of locally based charity/projects raised £200.00 for the Glencoe Community Defibrillator Fund.

Pool Winner

Staff Pool Champ
Many thanks to all who participated in these fun events and to our suppliers who donated generous prizes for the winners. See you again next year.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Octoberfest 2016

Alfresco dining October 2016
The dramatic change of colour in the glen marks the arrival of Autumn, shades of green turn orange and brown, the temperature begins to drop and whilst Rowan trees are loaded with bright red berries others are shedding their leaves. It’s a great time of the year to visit for a brisk walk in the woods in the crisp autumn air. Octoberfest is about getting out and about before the onset of winter and enjoying all that Mother Nature has provided. and you can be sure we’ll have the log fires lit for your return. 

A wee dram by the fire?
It’s hard to imagine October at Clachaig without a festival.  We’ve been doing it for so long that it’s almost second nature. It’s not that hard is it? Stick on a few more beers and plant a banner in the paddock, ‘if you build it they will come’, to misquote the Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams. 
But we’re better than that and our customers expect and deserve more, so what is our autumn festival all about? Well, as you’d expect there will be beer, music and hearty grub as usual but this year we have a few surprises in store.

Cascading Hops
There’s a definite hoppy theme in the boots bar where Ann Marie has been busy festooning or whatever it’s called. Our arty bar staff have been busy waxing lyrically on the chalkboards about our deliciously moreish hot chocolate drinks, new additions to our growing gin collection and upcoming live music whilst the rugged outdoor types are stacking logs for our guests to enjoy cosy nights by the fire.

We will, of course, be showcasing the very best of Scotland’s cask and craft ales including some new brews from Loch Lomond launcing exclusively at Clachaig. This year we introduce Strathaven Ales and can’t wait to taste their Fiery Cauldron along with a variety of aptly named autumnal cask ales including Octoberzest, Witches Cauldron and Lochtoberfest.  

We will be rotating a very tasty craft lager selection from Cairngorm, Loch Lomond, River Leven, West, Orkney and Williams Bros and we’ve not forgotten the stout either with Silkie Stout and Black gold both putting in an appearance. For cider lovers we have cask and keg delights from ThistlyCross and
Cairn ‘O Mohr
For those pondering which ale to have, why not try our new beer flights offering your choice of 3 glasses x 1/3 for the price of a pint. Flights are a great way to sample our vast selection without committing to a full pint. On the other hand, if you know exactly what you want you could double your pleasure with our new 2-pint steins 

Enjoy 3 ales for the price of a pint

double the pleasure
Over 300 malt whiskies and a growing collection of 40 something Scottish gins grace our shelves so there's plenty to choose from. If you're a newby to the mystical world of whisky or baffled by rise in popularity of Scottish produced gins then we have the very answer to your prayers. Our ever popular Whisky and Gin  Tasting Masterclasses hosted by our supplier Gordon and Macphail are back. Pre-booking is strongly advised. Our evenings are relaxed and informal, and very unpretentious. An ideal opportunity to get to grips with what can appear to be a very daunting (but equally very pleasurable) part of Scottish culture.

Glasgow School of Art students enjoying a dram
Hungry? Allow our talented chefs to set your taste buds drooling with impressive daily specials using the very best local produce available including Prime Scotch Steak, local hill-shot venison and award winning freshly culled haggis. They’ve been busy creating a variety of casseroles and sausages using beer, whisky, cider and gin and not your average bangers either, fancy a foot-long hot dog with a variety of toppings including Chilli, cheese or fried onions....or all 3. 

Foot long banger anyone?
 So now you’re suitably fed and watered, what next? Depending on when you visit you could:
Did we mention our legendary live music? This year we really have rolled out the big guns.
Join in the music session
·         Friday 14th Derek Young; Derek has amassed a strong repertoire of songs, including both contemporary and traditional Scottish, Irish, Country and Folk music.
·         Saturday 15th Kinky Karma; Predominantly a covers band playing music from the 60’s to present. Songs by  Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Kasabian and many more
·         Sunday 16thOpen SessionAll musicians, twangers, strummers & part time whistlers  – and everyone else for that matter – are very welcome.
·         Saturday 22nd Lewis Hamilton; Lewis and his band are Scotland’s hardest working Blues-Rock trio. As a guitarist he pays tribute to some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, taking influence from people like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Rory Gallagher.
·         Sunday 23rdOpen Session; don’t be shy, bring along your Bodhrán, guitar or violin and join in....or borrow one of ours.
·         Saturday 29th Halloween fancydress/pumpkin carving and music from Moonshine Maggie; Dig out your dungerees for some good old Foot-stompin’ country, southern and classic rock…..Yeehaa!

So there you have it folks, Scottish cask and craft ales, locally produced food, Scottish gin, vodka, rum and  whisky, Scottish stouts and ciders, Scottish music and the best craic you can experience, surely something for everyone.

Special Offers on our Hotel Accommodation to coincide with our autumn festival in Glencoe.
For 2016 we have held our prices from last year. No increase, offering even better value, especially on our Dinner, Bed & Breakfast packages.
Now THAT’S Octoberfest.