But this year we did our utmost to ensure every local buisness we passed had a profitable May, so I though a wee bit of blurb on the delights of the Scottish hospitality industry might be a good start point.
Glasgow Thursday 7th.
The Counting house, George Sq.
Thankfully just an hour to kill between arriving from Aberdeen and departing for Oban, a swift (apart from the 5 minute wait to get served in an empty bar, i think we were a bit of an inconvenience to the bar staff tbh) guinness and a red wine that was honking and left 3/4 full. 3/10
Oban , Thursday 7th.
The Corryvreckan, Oban
Very friendly staff, £1.99 for a very nice pint of Orkney Brewery dragonhead, im told the pimms was excellent too, it didn't last long anyway.7/10
Again very nice, friendly staff, great pasta and a very fine house red, decent price too 8/10
Corriemar guesthouse, Oban.
Excellent, comfortable, friendly and next to the sign out hostel, a decent price and a large varied breakfast selection, black pudding was a winner, a good choice 7/10
Day 1. Friday 8th
Creagan Inn & Restaurant, middle of nowhere
Staff friendly, drink - good, food - filled a hole, maybe a tadge pricey for what it was, maybe im being harsh. 6/10
Day 2. Saturday 9th.
The Gathering, Glencoe village.
We both really enjoyed our late (and large) lunch with drinks, so much so I had a fiver ready for the tip (a fiver from an Aberdonian is a big deal) then we were informed of a £2 service charge for paying by card, the fiver went back in the pocket. Service charge my arse. Food and drink 7/10. service charge 0/10
Day 3. Sunday 10th
The Tailrace Inn, Kinlochleven.
Really hammering down with rain, so we decided the huge "open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner" banner was calling us, except it wasnt actually open for anything, another sign spotted on the bar door said "open at 12", well it was 10 past 12 and it stil wasn't open, so back on with the bergans, just as some lights came on, too late, they had they're chance. 0/10
The Ice Factor, Kinlochleven.
Just a short wander along the road to a very nice cafe inside the climbing centre, two huge, afy afy tasty bacon rolls and a lovely big cup of coffee was just what was required before the climb up to blackwater dam. Friendly staff and an outdoor shop to buy some more gear you dont really need if required. 7/10.
Day 5. Tuesday 12th
Dalwhinnie bunkhouse. Dalwhinnie.
Due to losing 3/4 of a day (day 3) after being unable to cross a river near the blackwater dam, we had to do catchup and pushed long and hard to make dalwhinnie from Ossian on day 5, eventually crawling in the door of the bunkhouse at 1900hrs, cold, wet, blistered and exhausted to a fantastic reception, heat, beer and good wholesome food, plus a warm bed and hot shower. Breakfast the next morning kept us going all day. Little extras like paper for boots, resupply parcels in rooms and offering to do a laundry make this place the star of the crossing. 10/10
Day 7 Thursday 14th
Kincraig post office. Kincraig.
One of those, really really tired mornings, we hadn't had a breakfast and after walking for a couple of hours we were both really quite puggled and it was only 0900ish. The PO loomed ahead and the coffee sign drew us in, who knew a post office could raise morale so, the hot counter had two sausage rolls left, with two smelly hikers and three smelly builders all drooling, a great piece of feminine guile ensured one was snaffled for the smelly hikers to share while sitting on the bench outside with a nice cup of coffee. 8/10 (6/10 if the builders had been quicker on the sausage roll snatch)
Roo's Leap, Aviemore
First stop as it was too early to check in across the road, guiness was good, food (fancy burger) was big and tasty, staff excellent, not to bad price wise considering the location. 7.5/10
The Cairngorm, Aviemore
Nice bar, huge room (biggest bed in the world), very friendly staff, no airs and graces, free wifi, fine evening meal and a big tasty breakfast. Very happy with the stay 8/10
Day 10, Sunday 17th
The Barrel, Ballater.
Arrived in town early and it seemed the only place open, If you've ever seen the American werewolf in London film, the opening scenes must have been filmed in here, swiftly drank our drinks and headed to the alexandra. 2/10 (gains 2 for being open).
The Alexandra, Ballater.
Excellent lunch (we even returned for an excellent supper), fantastic staff and a really good vibe about the place, wish we had booked a room (see next review) 9/10
The Deeside inn, Ballater.
Not really impresed, staff ok, room ok, breakfast not what was ordered, no coffee refill, very very slow, I nearly walked out it was that long in arriving and a surchage for using a card to pay over 100 pound bill, ridiculous, not recommended I'm afraid. 4/10
Day11, Monday 18th.
Lord Kinord Hotel, Dinnet.
We will be eternally grateful to the three lads that tipped us the wink that Dinnet was the place for scones (scottish pronunciation pleeeaase), we would have wandered by otherwise. Just as the rain came on we arrived, uber friendy, very comfortable sitting room, and scones, cream and jam to die for. Ive driven past the hotel hunners of times, I'll never pass again without stopping. 9/10
The Boat, Aboyne.
Friends have mentioned it before but we had never been, the weather was shit and it was lunch time, the guiness, soup and crayfish sandwiches were just the morale booster required. Very nice bar/restaurant and again as with most places on the crossing the service was excellent. 8/10
Day 12, Tuesday 19th.
The Ship Inn, Stonehaven.
After another 20 plus mile day, a pint or two of Guinness at journeys end seemed a fair reward before our lift home (with a fine Aberdeen Chinese carry oot in hand) appeared, . No complaints 7/10
It seems I lost some weight this year, unlike last, hard to believe really. Is it possible to cross while passing a pub/restaurant everyday?