Food and Fun

Once again the joys of dining with good company have risen to the top of our travel experience. In this case it was a bit like having  two blind dates in one day.

It began with an arranged lunch visit with fellow innkeepers with whom we have occasionally chatted with in an innkeeper’s forum. It’s always great to have a chance to visit with others that do what we do. Even better, they too have received a fair amount of recognition for being one of the best places to stay in Europe.

So it was off to the shores of Loch Ness and then into their local hotel and pub, the Dores Hotel, for a tasty lunch and some great conversation. It’s great how similar and yet so different your story is when you have the chance to share with other innkeepers. Of course, it’s nice to have others validate what a great way to live innkeeping can be.

While we opted for the one track roads going there, we shifted to the motorways for our return to Grantown-On-Spey. We had an afternoon lay about and before you know it, we were headed out to the local pub famous for their meat pies.

Craig Bar serves ONLY pies, all kinds of meat pies, and they throw in a couple vegetarian ones to please other palates. The pies have names like Moo and Blue, Deerstalker, Matador, and Free Ranger.   It is decorated in military paraphernalia and has a good beer selection.  Pets are allowed.  The music is 70’s – think ACDC and a bunch of stuff you may not know.  Very friendly and easy to have a good time.  The pies are excellent and there is no chance of feeling like you didn’t have enough to eat.

We turned up and discovered that the place was turning people away. Turns out that a reservation for 9 people never showed and there were eight of us waiting. Hey, let’s eat! Our impromptu group hit it off right out of the box.  None of us has the good sense to actually make a reservation, which was highly recommended, so we started off on the same page.

On one side we had the anonymous Canadian hikers from Vancouver and on the other we had the fun folks from Nottingham up for a holiday. Right out of the gate we learned that the beautiful fields of rapeseed we were seeing are grown in Canada as well and they’re called canola, as in Canadian Oil. We’re hoping this is true! After all, would folks who just walked 17 miles on the Speyside Trail in the wet cold rain have any reason to pull our leg?

On the other side, we learned that Nottingham is about as far away from the sea as you can get in the United Kingdom and that Cornwall was at the top of the list of places to move to, although the list may need some additional input. 🙂 Great, great fun to chat with a bunch of fun loving folks about traveling, itineraries, history, and even politics. Lots of shared experiences and easy laughter.

a plate of food with a meat pie, a bowl of beans, and two beers

Inside the Craig Bar