Wednesday, 5 June 2013

My top three's along the route from John O'Groats to Lockerbie.

A fairly drab walk today, 16 miles from Moffatt to Lockerbie, along flat roads with little to look at except stinking great trucks. Though I did get a nice picture of Annandale water, and the church outside The Black Bull in Moffatt ringing it's bells was a pleasant morning wake up!

So, it now seems a good time - with only a few miles until we cross the border, to list my top three's, all my own personal opinions, no offence or favouritism meant!

My top three guest houses.

 Eden Coille, excellently run by Elsie and Drew Robertson. In Kinlochleven. 3rd place.

Glen Rowan in Drumnadrochit. Superbly run by Alistair and Vanessa Ferguson. 2nd Place.
And the winner, Glengarry House in Tyndrum.
Very well run by Ellen and Andy Cattanach.
My top three hosts
Alister Ferguson (George Clooney). Ellen Cattanach and Alison Fraser (Glen Alva, Drymen)
.Glenalva in Drymen.
Though it must be said that every single guesthouse/bnb/hotel owner/manager host or hostess throughout our plod through Caledonia has been very good indeed.
My top three pubs.
Many good watering holes have been visited over three and a half weeks. A couple were totally naff in every way. The Rowardennan Hotel qualifies for nothing but a kick up the collective rear end. Very ordinary food at a vastly inflated price and very poor service. Also no ale. Won't be going there again. The Weatherspoons in Wick was as naff as predicted, a dinner fit for a mouse - a small one at that. Again, poor service and no ale.
Now, the gooduns.

The Belgrave Arms at Helmsdale, and The Sutherland Inn at Brora.

Both pretty good.

These two also pretty good, The Conon Bridge Hotel,

and The Black Bull at Moffatt.

Getting to the best ones now; The Kings House in Glen Coe,
or 'the middle of nowhere' - great location, very good service, good ale. Food average, but all in all a pretty good one, and not to be missed.
I liked The Camps Bar in Wick very much. It was found late in the evening, after wasting an hour and a half eating a teeny weeny dinner in The Weather-naff-spoons, and deciding not to go into two naff looking sports bars.
The Camps Bar was actually empty, save for the very friendly barmaid. The manager/boss came in later and we had a very aimable little chat with him and the barmaid about the walk. The ale was very good, the malts were nicely priced, and the place had a very nice feel about it.
The Benleva in Drumnadrochit, also a hotel, but we stayed just up the road with Alistair and Vanessa at Glen Rowan. Alistair's personal recommendation took us to The Benleva - twice actually, as we had a rest day in Drumnadrochit. The food was good, the service was very friendly, and the ale was excellent. The Loch Ness micro brewery is in Drumnadrochit, in the old British Legion building so I understand. They make 4, I think, 'Wilder-Ness', 'Red-Ness', 'Dark-Ness' and 'Hoppy-Ness'. They may do more, but these I saw. The Wilder and Dark were my particular favs, but all very good.
The Benleva was also filled with local characters, as opposed to tourists, and it was a very friendly atmosphere. We had a splendid evening in here with Lyn and Bev from Canada, who were also staying in Glen Rowan. Lyn is a chap, by the way!

The Seaview Hotel at John O'Groats

and The Tyndrum Inn at Tyndrum were also pretty good.


The Tailrace at Kinlochleven was excellent. Superb food, great service, tremendous atmosphere, and high quality ale. Ember's 80 Shillings (from Glasgow) is a very fine dark ale indeed!


And so, the winner of Old Milko's top pub on the Scottish section of the big plod is...
The Drovers Inn at Inverarnan.
Excellent food, good accommodation, fine ales, service I have never seen bettered, wonderful friendly atmosphere. Yep, you got it, number one on my list!
Alec Hawkes - may have a pint or two in England soon...
On Walkabout in Scotland  05.06.13

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