Island Hopping Weekend 15-18th June 2017

 Much anticipated project, proposed by our enthusiastic Bobbie, our Secretary. As far as his skills in weather forecasting, he’s a downright failure. He joins the ranks of Ronnie Ronaldo, who, a couple of years ago, arranged a Sunday Run, culminating with a lunch at Kippers, near Inveraray.

He, Ronnie, managed to locate us, by a cunning use of a new SatNav system, to be the ONLY people in the WHOLE of Britain to have rain descending on them throughout the day

Thus it was in the Island Hopping W/E. If I repeat this matter- please forgive me- it was the only talking point other than the projected tiny portions anticipated at the Isle of Mull Hotel (part of the Crerar Brothers Group- remember Loch Fyne Hotel portions?)

Some 13 of us set off at the start & 17 ultimately attended 

Off from Tarbert as usual.Tarbet Tearoom Thereafter via The Loch, Green Welly all the way to Spean Bridge, led by the Braille specialist John, since no one else could see thru the spray

We stopped just short of the usual rubbish food dispensers in Spean Bridge, viz last year (Tomintoul W/E) into a wee joint with a number of bikes outside. While it wasn’t 4*, it was good enough, great staff & a good atmosphere.

Once more into the breech- Glengarry, then decided NOT to stop ahead of the Kyles. There we stopped for food, warmth & coffee etc at Hamish’s Café. Then it took us about ½ an hour to get to the Sligachan Hotel. The car park must have had around 100,000 vehicles, & we wondered if we could get in.Hotel 2

However, all was well, EVENTUALLY, (a shambles at Reception now & on leaving). Rooms were small, food was OK & we all got on famously & retired to bed quite early.BridgeHotel and LandscapeIMG_1467 The scenery around the hotel was spectacular with hunners of visitors photographing the wonders of Scotland AND the rain

We headed off to Armadale anticipating no issues with the Ferry, no- an extra 1½ hours to wait, partly when the ramp was lifted to allow the crew to have lunch! We, meanwhile, continued enjoying our constant showerArmadale (8)Hielan Johnny.Ferry on its way

Fuelled at Mallaig &, led by Bobbie waded thru the Ardnamurchan peninsula to Salen- where we noted a number of us were not there. Panic- where had they gone? Answer, decided to go off piste as there was a sign with the magic word “ferry” on it. The fact it was the wrong ferry only registered sometime after. As it happens, the sensible ones were already tucking into Coffee & Cakes, when the stragglers arrived. I forgot to mention, that Decibel, Bobbies wife, was the chaperon in a certain 350bhp Focus- so you’ll understand how she didn’t hold us up!!!Untitled-18Lochaline Ferry

We then got the ferry to Craignure (about 25 minutes), and it was just a few miles from our destination, the Isle of Mull Hotel. It was OK, as far as rooms & facilities are concerned, although smallish rooms. Reception, again, seemed totally chronic, now & on trying to leave.

Much speculation & hilarity in anticipation of having to use magnifying glasses to find our 7 portion dinner. Indeed, If I said the first course- smoked duck was the size of stamp- would I be exaggerating? No- and see the bowl of soup!IMG_1539IMG_1545

However, by the time we got to the main course, all was well- we believe they got the hint with all the interrogations which we subjected them to.Isle of Mull Hotel (3)

So a big decision to be made re Saturday. Do we or do we not seek to be cleansed with Holy Water in Iona, or chicken out? Cluck cluck was the answer. We played for time- Just as well as we had “issues” with Reception again as they could not get access to our emails, since the GM kept them as secrets (as per Sligachan).Tobermory 2DSC05329

The Bairds b—ed off to Oban early as did Ronnie (the wimps), and the rest of us went to Tobermoray- coffee, goodies & shopping then back to another Salen, on Mull, for lunch- which was great.Tearoom at Craignure Ferry booked & no probs & off to Oban.Ferry to Oban Thereafter a wet run to Cairnbaan Hotel, which outshone the others by a margin. Everything was fine, organised, food, rooms, prices- what a refreshing change. However Jim Downie had a different experience 2 days earlier.Cairnbaan Hotel 2

The next day, we decided not to ferry to Arran & some returned home by Dunoon, while the rest went down the loch. As soon as we got further south, the sun shone & we sweltered the last 15 miles or so- that’s the way the Cookie crumbles

Great pals & much humour & really, mostly, a good time had by all.Cairnbaan Hotel 1Tobermory 1DSC05332IMG_1538DSC05341Isle of Mull Hotel (4)Tobermory 5