Saturday, 12 May 2012

McBlog Day 3: Tillicoultry To Ratagan - Keeping It Real!

Day three of the holiday appeared without prior warning the moment I opened my eyes. The camp bed I was sleeping on was lovely and comfortable - if a little camp. I got dressed and went downstairs to join the rest of my holiday counterparts. After a quick breakfast (Weetabix) we gathered our thoughts and belongings and set off. Our accommodation was in the town of Ratagan, some 3hrs and 45 minutes away. Our destination was fun!

Our journey took us through Glencoe, which has some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. The road we were on wound its way through majestic munroes and mountains - many of which were sprinkled with a dusting of snow. They looked so beautiful, it truly is one of my favourite places in the world. If you've never been, you are missing out - so get out of your houses and get up here!

Come on!! NOW!!

We stopped after 2 hours at Clachaig Inn - a regular visiting place in previous Scotland holidays. Outside in the Car Park there is a stack of empty Barrels proclaiming the many virtues of this establishment: "Clachaig Inn"; "Clachaig Chalets"; "Real People"; "Real Hospitality"; "Real Craic". I thought it would be fun to have my photo taken next to the barrel that said "Real People".

We then went in and had a bite to eat. I had a Venison burger which was ├╝ber delicious. The food is always good there. We had a chat about a few things: how to fake climbing photos, how Ben and Jim survived the infamous Ridge a few years ago, and what the heck the lump of mayonnaise covered sultanas and potato was that was dished up with Ben and Leigh's meals. None of us knew - but I ate it anyway.

Once we had all eaten, we headed back to our cars. On the spur of the moment we decided to have a group photo taken in front of the barrels again. Unfortunately, the group photo didn't turn out quite as well as we hoped, partly because Ben took the photo and so couldn't be in the photo - but mainly because at the crucial moment Jim decided (or maybe didn't decide; maybe it just happened due to some sort of mental 'episode') to pull a face resembling a small child who had wet himself. Amid the cries of "Oh Jim, what have you done?", "Jim, you've ruined that photo!", and "I knew I shouldn't have married you, you childish buffoon!", I had an idea with which to lighten the mood. I playfully suggested that it would be quite funny if someone did a moonie next to the barrel that said "Real Craic".

Well it was only said in jest, but before you could say 'Not the done thing in a public car park at a popular Scottish eating establishment, let alone in front of a 14 year old boy' I had lowered my trouser and boxers, and was bent over next to the barrel while all my friends egged me on. I would just like to say that this sort of thing is not what I usually do, but in my defence I am A) on holiday, B) A spineless fool who is easily controlled by my more dominant friends, and C) in possession of buns of steel after walking almost 600 miles so far this year.

It was very funny, and that is what this holiday is all about. Funny things and having fun, not me getting my arse out all over the shop.

We piled back into our cars and carried on. We still had almost two hours more driving to do, and the weather was clouding over. It rained intermittently as we made out way towards Ratagan, but the scenery remained constantly spectacular.

We made one more stop on the way - at Fort William Morrisons to get some shopping. We only got basic provisions - bread, milk, John Smiths, Chocolate - but enough to make sandwiches etc. and by the way, while I am on Holiday I have rescinded my Chocolate abstinence. I'm not eating loads, but will be partaking on occasion. Anyway, I will be doing more strenuous walking, so will be burning off the chocolate covered calories. But as soon as I'm back to Dorset, I'm back on the Wagon.

Once we had got what we needed, we headed off on our merry way. The road to the isles is very windy (as in winds through the land, not predisposed to high winds) - but that didn't stop some twat in a Transit overtaking on a bend on several occasions. Some people shouldn't drive.

Eventually we arrived at our accommodation - Silver Birch Lodge in Ratagan. It is a very nice property, with great views of the loch. We got settled in and had a bite to eat.

And I am now typing this in the lounge, contemplating having Chocolate Buttons for afters.

Well, I am on holiday!!

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