Way back when, in 1984, May bank holiday weekend saw the arrival of the Daynes family at Clachaig. 35 years on and we're still here, still very much with the finger on the pulse of a thriving and still growing business.
|Some time circa 1984|
Until the mid 80s we lived in York. Like so many, the lure of working for yourself in the Highland glens carried some appeal. The fact that Peter Daynes was a civil engineer and had no experience of hospitality other than doing a few nights B&B didn't really come into it. One day the house was sold, the bags were packed and the move north to a new career and a new home was really happening.
The early days were a challenge. Very hands on. Very long hours. So much knowledge to acquire. So many stresses and pressures to deal with. The learning curve was indeed steep. The seasons were short. The financial pressure to succeed was considerable.
Clachaig was very different in those early days. And running Clachaig was very different too. It's really hard to describe just how different. The evolution from small hands on Highland hostelry to multi-million pound modern business has been gradual, but consistent.
We've changed a little too. We're a little shy when it comes to getting in front of the camera. Here's one of Ed & Guy back in December 1985. It's not deliberately in soft focus, really. It's just that the phone in those days was more bakerlite than it was 16 mega pixel integrated camera.
|Ed & Guy - do you recognise the location?|
But the lure of Glencoe gets you in the end. Careers were dropped and the move north made. Guy in 1989, and Ed in 1991. Peter & Eileen took a step back from the front line in 1992 to concentrate on Strathlachlan Guest House (now Riverbank Holiday Cottages). Ambition ran high and we opened The Grog & Gruel in Fort William in 1994. In 1998 Guy & Ed took full control of Clachaig.
Clachaig is many things to many people. We see some of our regular customers every month or so. Others visit once a year; an annual pilgrimage of sorts. Some of our regulars have been visiting for decades, and have been a part of Clachaig for a lot longer than we have. Such is the nature of the place. We get to meet some amazing people. We quite often get to work with some amazing people. It's an amazing place to live and work.
So that's a potted history of the last 35 years. What else is there to say, other than bring on the next 35 years. We're more than ready and the passion still runs as strong as it did on the very first day. The "customer promise; the strap line that you'll see on our web site and elsewhere is no accident. Real people, real hospitality, real craic. That's it. No further explanation required.
Oh, and the commute to and from work can be quite nice too.