Kinlochewe Hotel, Lunchtime
I am making a habit of leaving civilisation at a tardy hour and I finally escaped the pleasures of the Torridon Youth Hostel just after ten. The morning has been absolutely glorious. Wall to wall sunshine with fluffy little cotton-wool balls of clouds and a cooling breeze.
I gave up on the idea of slogging around the back of Liatach & Beinn Eighe and opted for a relaxed stroll up the glen on the quiet little road. I bumped into one of the assessors for the myriad groups of DofE groups who was anxiously scanning the hillside above us searching for one of his late running groups.
He is a retired GP from the Borders, who is enjoying every minute of his retirement after the slog of the last few years working under the new contract system. He is certainly looking well on it and is joyfully putting back into the DofE scheme all the pleasure he has gained over the years from the hills.
The walk along the road gave me wonderful views of Liatach and Beinn Eighe from all the southerly angles -a fantastic pair of hills that I shall definitley re-visit without a rucksack! I saw three eagles playing and soaring from above Beinn Eighe and sweeping over to the southerly bulky mountains, spiralling upwards on the updrafts. I stood and watched them for a full ten minutes before they disappeared over the horizon.
I am now safely ensconsed in the hotel bar where I missed having a sandwich by one and a half minutes (!) as the kitchen has 'now to ready itself for the evening's meals.'
I notice on the window that it has a two star Scottish Tourist Board rating. I would not even give it that. Straight after me they then refused a sandwich lunch to a group of four for the same reason. They obviously do not own the place as they just turned away a small fortune as the group promptly about turned and went back to their cars to find somewhere that will treat them decently..
I have to say that this is a rare example of shocking hospitality I have recieved on Scotland - elsewhere it has been first-class.
However, in their defence, they DO serve good beer - currently sampling an Isle of Skye 'Summer Blonde' which is delicious. Will try the Red Cuillin and Beinn Eighe next...
This might be a long afternoon. I have no scruples.