SUNDAY 15th MAY 2011
Andy must have had a terrible night baling out Wendy as at the appointed hour of departure, he was still a good twenty minutes behind schedule, leaving his poor, poor, time-conscious colleagues to shelter from the cold, rain-sodden blustery winds in the plantation. “Punctuality: It’s the loneliness I can’t stand….”
Still, we won’t hold this against the lad, well, not until the Challenge is over, at least… So, it was an hour from Day 1 and twenty minutes from today then…. But who’s counting?
So, a couple of K’s of bog hopping then it was an easy stroll down the road to Cannich. Things were looking up; the weather wasn’t too bad, with the wind behind us.
There were the inevitable traffic jams as we strolled along the super-highway:
Calming pond-life kept everyone’s nerves from fraying:
At lunchtime, we found ourselves in the Slater’s Arms in Cannich. I was met with: “What do *you* want?” as I walked inside.
“Well” – I thought – “That’s a great welcome”. For just the very briefest of moments I thought of letting him know that my exact needs and desires at that precise moment were friendliness, a great welcome, excellent customer service and first class food and drink. However, common sense got in the way, realising that a whole posse of Challengers were about to descend on the oaf’s establishment, who all required a chair, table and nourishment, so I bit my lip for the time being. He pointed me to the back room which looked dark, cold and unwelcoming, so I chose instead to sit at the nicest table in the window at the front as he shrugged and stumbled back behind the bar.
I went out of my way to be nice to him, complimenting him on his excellent soup to try and get some sort of warmth in return. He did try, but it was very forced. The bread was par-cooked baguettes that had been not quite cooked enough and the butter was sparing. What a miserable place!
After lunch I nipped into the shop next door to witness the rescue of a slow-worm that had found its way into the shop. Naan breads were on offer – so I bought three tons of the stuff as they were a bargain. I was still munching my way through them at Braemar… doh! Then we went and put the tents up to dry them out and found out from the owner of the campsite that the terrible looking pub that we had just walked past was in fact a great place and so we decided to eat there in the evening instead and let everyone else know that too. I don’t think the Slaters did great business that evening whereas the pub did a roaring trade.
Back at the campsite the owner volunteered to do cooked breakfasts for everyone tomorrow starting at 7:00am. What a great place to stay! Two examples of Great and Terrible Highland Hospitality.