The Clachaig Inn.
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My discussion topic on the walkhighlands.co.uk forum has been converted in to a reader’s poll where you can vote for the three best pubs for walkers in the Highlands.

 Two of the nominations are mine, one extremely obvious the second probably unknown to many.

1. The Clachaig Inn (NN 127 567)

This had to be nominated as the iconic climber’s and walker’s pub nestled in the heart of Glencoe. With The Three Sisters, the Aonach Eagach Ridge, Bidean nam Bian just a stones throw away most people when they have been out on the hills close by gravitate here in the evening. Good food (try the Venison Sausages), local beer from the Atlas Brewery and plenty of tall tales from the mountains.

2. The Creagan Inn (NM 973 445)

Just before the A828 cross Loch Creran on the way to Oban this pub used to have a pretty poor reputation. New owners and a major refurbishment have transformed it in to a great place for a drink and good food. The picture windows facing westwards out on to the give fantastic sunset views and if it is warm enough you can sit outside on the terrace decking. This is a good place to visit if you are tackling some of the Munros or Corbetts from Loch Creran such as Beinn Sgulaird and Creach Bheinn.

Not surprisingly the ever popular Clachaig Inn is the frontrunner at the moment. You can register your vote here, but you will need to register as a forum member if you are not already. 

Related posts:  Search for the best walker’s pub in the Highlands

Further reading: Forum discussing nominations

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There’s a baker’s dozen of great walks still on offer in the summer programme of the Nevis Hillwalkers. This is my local hillwalking club and although I am unable to go out with them every weekend, whenever I am free I  try and spend a day on the hills with them .

My highlights during the summer programme are:

  • Through route from Glen Nevis over the two Aonach summits and down to the Nevis Ski Centre (not using the gondola!)
  • The Five Sisters of Kintail – one of the classic ridge walks in Scotland.
  • Ben Nevis – no tourist track for us, up the Ledge route and descend via the CMD arete.
  • A full traverse of Buachaille Etive Beag from Glen Etive through to Glencoe.
  • Sgurr nan Gillean, Skye – let’s hope the great weather we are having now stretches all the way through to September.

I know that walking with a group of people is not to everyone’s taste but this club is a bit different. Even when there is a largish group (say 12) of us out on the hills, you can still get a feeling of solitude. If you want to walk slowly or fast you can do, no one is going to make you walk with the herd. Collectively we will all keep an eye out for each other but we all take individual responsibility.

This last weekend whilst out on Gulvain I opted out of joining the rest of the group for the “interesting” steep descent from the summit in to Gleann Fionnlighe and the cleg and midge delights that would greet them there. Instead, wanting to stay high, I walked back in the sunshine along the main ridge. That’s the ethos of the club, the programme is there as a guide but with enough flexibility for us to try different routes if we chose.

If you are visiting the Lochaber area over the summer and fancy walking with some local people take a look at our programme. Visitors can join us on three club walks a year before having to join. You’ll be assured of a warm welcome. .

You can download our programme here. Or find out more about the club here.

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{{de|Grosser Krottenkopf von Westen (Allgäuer ...
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I am stunned to find out that I have won an adventure holiday for two to the Allgau Alps in Bavaria. This was after I entered a competition in the July issue of TGO magazine.

One of my customers comes in to post at least half a dozen competition entries a week and once told me that the number of entries to these competitions is relatively small so you have a high chance of winning. So it has proved because this is the second prize I have won with TGO this year. Admittedly my previous prize was a less glamorous win – two tickets to the Outdoor Show.  Most of the time all I have to do is answer a simple question and press the send button on my email entry.

So I am now looking forward to five nights at a mountain lodge run by a company called My Peak Potential. The activities that are on offer look great, I am particularly tempted by the gorge experience but really want to try out some of the Klettersteig (via Ferrata) routes in the area. The food is cooked by a local chef some good Bavarian specialities will be sampled washed down by German beer. Great!

If anyone has been to this part of Germany I would be interested to hear of any recommendations,  particularly for day walks in the area.

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Over at the excellent walkhighlands.co.uk forum I have launched a quest to find the best walker’s pub in the Highlands. You know the sort of place, somewhere you long to be when you’re on a hillside with a gale force wind and a blizzard battering you. The thought of that blazing log fire and plate of steaming sausage and mash keeps you going. Or on those glorious days when the sky is blue and the sun cream is out you know that your thirst can be quenched by a cold pint down in the inn in the valley so it spurs you on to yet another peak.

I have asked fellow forum members to come up with their nominations for their favourite walkers pub. If you haven’t already visit the site and nominate your favourite. If it’s your visit take a look around and see what else is being discussed as well.

Link to forum thread: here

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A team of fundraisers are attempting to climb the highest point on each of the four Small Isles in just 24 hours to raise £2000 for the charity Sightsavers International. This may not seem a big challenge to undertake with some of the islands having diminutive peaks of less than 250ft but it involves 40km of walking and 5500ft of ascent over some tough terrain.

The challenge will see them travelling from island to island in a high speed RIB to climb Carn a’Ghaill on Canna (210ft), Askival on Rum (812ft), Beinn Airein on Muck (137ft) and An Sgurr on Eigg (393ft). They will have some great walking on the challenge, I particularly like the route to An Sgurr which provides stunning views of the Rum Cuillins, assuming the weather is good.

An Sgurr - Isle of Eigg The Rum Cuillins from Eigg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of us who have concerns about the effect that large scale charity events, such as The Three Peaks challenge have on a fragile mountain environment and without any benefit to the local community this event organised by adventure company Wilderness Scotland seems a better option. Not only are they taking people away from the well trodden paths of places like Ben Nevis but they are using local businesses to provide a boost to the local economy, albeit a small one.

These guys have set themselves up for a tough challenge. Good luck to them!

If you want to find out more about the challenge and make a donation, click here.

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……nor a hill, hillock, hump or bump in sight. I am sitting next to Breydon Water in Norfolk where most of the countryside is below 20m. Such a change from where I live in the Highlands. I have been walking part of the Weavers Way on a hot, sunny day. I am sat in the sunshine outside the Berney Arms in awaiting a Ploughman’s lunch.

Shaun the Sheep
Image by Diva Sian via Flickr

Don’t get sheepish about this

Ewe will be relieved to learn, as I am, of the existence of the Sheep Trust. I am not sure what this organisation does but no doubt it is a high level lobbying group giving a baa-dly needed voice to so many sheep up and down the country.  This is no woolly liberal thinking group trying to knit together differing views. Butt one that is prepared to grab hold of the horns of a dilemma and ram a distinctive message home. 

The trust’s membership is unique in eschewing the need for one member one vote, instead preferring to follow the rest of the herd. Like the Church of England the trust has its own schisms. Recently traditionalists within the Welsh branch resigned in disgust as modernists tried to bring to an end the rumoured practice of inter-species relationships in the Province.

Controversy flared up following recent proposals to introduce charges for grazing rights, one leading campaigner claimed, “The proposals would result in members being fleeced.”

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