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Friday 15 September 2023

September in Scotland (Part 2)

Week two kicks off as week one did with Parkrun. This time at Alness. It’s a really nice course out onto a land/sand spit with a 180 degree turn around a human dressed as a cone. I run with the Lad, starting at a walk after everyone else has gone. We gradually catch up and increase our pace. Somehow we stay friends. 

We have a nice coffee with other parkrunners at the Commercial Hotel then we drive to Dornoch beach via Tain where we allow the Lad back into the sea. We have a beer at a pub in Dornoch. In the evening we walk from the hotel to nearly Saltburn Woods. We have a nice meal back at the Ship Inn apart from the fact that both the ice cream and the orange juice are too cold for my Dad. Thank God for the Wild cat and it’s driven L to the Prosecco.

After hitting the breakfast buffet we drive along the length of Loch Ness to Oban with apples, bananas and other snacks rolling around in the car as my Dad has insisted on getting his money’s worth from the breakfast buffet. After a very hot first week the weather has now turned and today it rains most of the day. We pop into Nevis Range for a coffee and it would have been nice to have taken my Dad up in the cable car but at £25 each not cheap.

We reach Oban and check into the Great Western. L and I go for a walk and I check out the Fyne Ales in the Oban Inn. Back at the hotel L does her weights workout while I dabble and the Lad disrupts. We eat in the hotel and I find a very nice 14 year old Oban whiskey.

An ambulance rocks up later but it isn’t for me or my Dad but there are clearly a lot of potential ‘customers’ in the hotel who have had too many chips or there ice cream may have been too cold. Must happen all the time.

On Monday we spend a day in Oban without moving the car. L and I walk up to Dunollie Castle past a rocky outcrop known as the Dog Stone. Then we walk my Dad into Oban centre as far as the Oban Inn for first coffee and then beer. Unfortunately the Oban Bay Brewery that served us well last time is no more. After returning him to the hotel we then walk up to McCaig’s Tower. In the evening we go for a curry at Spice World which appears to have nothing to do with the Spice Girls. My Dad eats everything for only the second time, the other time being the curry in Stornoway when again there were no chips on offer. The owner bribes us with free whiskeys to encourage us to write a review online. I oblige as it was a decent curry. We have another whiskey back at the hotel.

We start Tuesday with a morning run. I am feeling my knee a bit so I only do 2.5k but L does 4k. Then we drive to Tarbert on Loch Fyne (the Tarbet with an extra r). We get the ferry across then head to Colintraive where we grab a coffee at the Colintraive Hotel before getting on the ferry to Bute. Retracing our steps of what was the Lad’s first trip to Scotland but in reverse. We grab an ice cream in the centre of Bute then head to our hotel, the Glenburn in Rothesay, which is mightily impressive place.

With the weather dropping colder having to warm L up between the sheets in the late afternoon has become a regular and rather pleasant ritual. On this occasion though we then have to head back into town to get the Lad some dog food, a dog cannot survive on chips alone, then we have what has become another regular ritual, a pre-Dad drink in bar. They have no beer obviously but do have Schiehallion lager in bottles which is at least Scottish. Sadly just like the Oban Bay Brewery, the Bute Brewery has shut down and overall there are far less bars serving real ale in most of the places we’ve visited compared to what it was when we last came up here.

Amazingly we manage another meal without chips and my Dad doesn’t get a dessert either as the staff seem to lose interest in serving us. We have a few whiskeys but L opts out, leaves us drunks to it and goes to bed.

Wednesday sees us do a car tour of Bute following the tour bus route that we didn’t think would take the Lad. He gets on the beach at Ettrick Bay, we have coffee at Kilchattan Bay, visit a book shop in a phone box and then have a beer (a real one, Jarl on handful) at the community owned Anchor at Port Ballantyne. L insists on again being warmed up in bed later that afternoon. In the evening my Dad finds another motorcyclist to talk to in the bar which makes for a long night as only one person in the conversation knows what he’s talking about but L manages to escape early again. 

On Thursday we manage another morning run, 4k this time before we check out. Not content with raiding the breakfast table my Dad steals all the toiletries from the hotel as well. We then get the ferry to Wemyss Bay back on the mainland. We drive done the coast to our final stop at Portpatrick stopping on the way down literally opposite Ireland at a tearoom near Turnberry.

The hotel is again impressive and has a great cliff top location, the harbour below is impressive too and on our last day delivers the best beers of the holiday where the Crown Hotel, visited on our pre-Dad trip, has hand pulls from Galloway’s Five Kingdoms Brewery. 

The best beer of the holiday comes at the very end of it. Our hotel also sells their beers in bottles and their Invisible Hand ale accompanies my evening meal. 

On Friday we depart for home via breakfast near Dumfries in the same roadside café\container that we have visited before.

The trip down the M6 is a nightmare but then what other types of M6 trips are there.

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