We only visited the 'outlaws' in Drumnadrochit two weeks ago, with a stay in Drum and a night in Pitlochry on the way back, so you might be tempted to think another trip to the Highlands was boring, repetitive?
This time, we joined a busload of Geordies (folk from Newcastle, for those uninitiated to British regionalisms) on a weekend of skiing (not us), walking, eating, drinking... and singing!
The coach collected us early Friday evening. By that time they'd already been on the bus, and on the booze courtesy of hip flasks, for over 2 hours. We'd only had a beer at Jane's who had prepared a yummy courgette lasagne. This of course meant we had some catching up to do. I'd borrowed a hip flask which I filled with vodka & lime, a little more tasty than plain vodka, or whisky which hubby decided on.
We were just in time to join a quiz, which we did pretty badly in. But soon we arrived in Newtonmore, checked into our rooms, and gathered in the bar. That first evening went quick, with everyone chatting, drinking, chatting and, yes, drinking. A pint of Best, or two. Then a G&T, or two. Eventually, by 1am, we went to sleep, though the party continued.
Saturday, after a leisurely breakfast, we joined a small group in a minibus for a day of walking, with a visit to a distillery. The rest of the crowd went to the slopes for a day's skiing. I must admit it's nice to be able to sit back and enjoy the scenery while someone else is driving. As the designated family driver, I never really get to look around properly. The driver dropped us off around 3 miles from Aberlour, and on we went, traipsing along muddy forest trails, skidding on some icy patches where the snow had gathered into puddles, and frozen. Fun to watch everyone sliding across the ice. ;-)
We had our lunch - and a couple of pints - at a lovely pub in Aberlour. I enjoyed the salmon and monkfish skewers, even though the fish was slightly overcooked. It was delicious. Then onwards we went to the Glenfiddich distillery but as the next tour was still an hour to go, we decided against it and took a slow, scenic drive back.
At our hotel, despite feeling a little snoozy, I decided to join Jane for a swim. Bliss! At least that way we worked up an appetite for dinner, after which we gathered at the bar again. Later that evening two guys got their guitars out. It was time for a singalong. Around 1am, we began to fade, so went to sleep. We heard the next morning that some stayed up as late as 6am - two hours before we got up again. Hardy souls, those Geordies! But funny that there seemed to be fewer people heading for the slopes on Sunday...
We took it easy, too, with a shorter walk, the Wildcat trail, around Newtonmore, followed by a couple of rounds of Wildcat ale at a hotel bar. Somehow I think we took it over. Not sure what the few locals - there for their Sunday lunch - made of us, though. ;-)
After a late lunch - by 4.30pm - we went on our way home. As a nice treat to finish off a really fun weekend we came 3rd at a quiz. Go us!
We had such a fab time, lovely chats, plenty of fresh air, nice ales and good food! I can only recommend a trip away with a bunch of Geordies. Thanks, guys and girls, for a great weekend!