Al fresco in April wooo hooo

Last weekend we were hit with that terrible first World dilemma – day trip or mini break?

It doesn’t take a genius to work out which option won.

Early Saturday morning we bundled into the car with the Wee White Dug, bound for Glen Lyon and an overnight stay at the dug friendly Fortingall Hotel.  Having street viewed the hotel via google it ticked my remote requirements. Pretty scenery, tiny village and single track road.

We decided we’d find a good hiking spot in the glen.  At 34 miles long and the largest enclosed glen in Scotland that didn’t prove difficult.

We parked at Innerwick on the Meggernie Estate and checked a route map located in the carpark.  We opted for Cam Chreag an 8 mile hike up a Corbett and back.  A Corbett is a Scottish hill between 2,500 and 3,000 feet high.

Mr G insisted he’d seen the start of the route a little further down the road by a war memorial.  I did point out that the map seemed to suggest it was pretty much where we were standing but he was undeterred so off we marched Towards said war memorial………

…… and off we set on Kirk Road a 14 mile round trip to Loch Rannoch and back.
You’ve guessed it the Cam Chreag route started back in the carpark where I thought it did. Och well.

The climb up out of Innerwick was long and steep. Some might say never ending.  I muttered and moaned about Everest, the North Face of the Eiger, Meru and all of the other big mountains I could think of.

Alas poor Yorick! I knew him, Hortatio!

Once we’d scaled K2 the going was easy.  The weather Gods were kind and for once the rain that had been forecast didn’t materialise.
The wee dug was happy as Larry. It never ceases to amaze me how hardy terriers are.  He might be no bigger than Tom Thumb but he’s a tough wee Scotsman through and through.

The hiking route is known as Kirk Path as churchgoers living in remote communities around Loch Rannoch used to walk it to get to Glenlyon Church at Innerwick.  A 14 mile round trip over hill and moor in all weather just to listen to the meenister rant. No thank you.

For lunch we headed to the nearby Glen Lyon Tearoom at Bridge of Balgie.  I had reservations about it being open in early April given its remote location.  I needn’t have worried. It was indeed open and hooching into the bargain. As the weather Gods were still smiling down on us we ate al fresco. Yay – our first al fresco lunch of 2016.  Please let it be the first of many.

We enjoyed freshly made soup,sandwiches, ice cold drinks and a nice strong pot of coffee. Casper the wee dug enjoyed some lean ham, tuna and a snooze under the table.

En route back up the glen to check into our hotel we stopped at Roman Bridge for a few snaps.

Known locally as Roman Bridge it’s actually far more recent and probably dates to the 1700 or 1800s.

On arrival at our hotel to check in we heard those magic words which people travelling with dogs rarely, if ever hear. “You’ve been upgraded.”  Yippee.  Our room was beautiful.  Roomy, tastefully decorated and with gorgeous views of the glen.   They’d even left us a nice crystal decanter with a little tot of whisky each.

The Village of Fortingall has a very famous and very old resident. The Fortingall Yew. A tree believed to be the oldest living thing in Britain. It’s said to be 5,000 years old but experts think it’s more likely to be somewhere in the region of 2-3,000 years old. Whatever the true age it’s staggering to think how long it’s stood there.  Nine years younger Mr G kindly pointed out that it was even older than me!

After Mr G’s age jibe I felt no guilt as I delayed beer o’clock and dragged him off down the road to the edge of the village to view some ancient standing stones I’d spotted in a nearby field.

Three stone cicles with three surviving upright stones in each. Excavation of the site uncovered fragments of pot and cremated human bone by one circle. Clearly once a site of some significance but we’ll never really know the true purpose.

I delayed beer o’clock further as I marched Mr G off to explore some quaint thatched cottages in the village.

Finally after a thorough exploration of the village I relented and let Mr G have his beer.

The Ewe Bar at the hotel is lovely. Traditional and cosy with a roaring log fire. We were lucky enough to arrive as some local musicians were jamming. Two guitars, a fiddle and some singing. A brilliant fusion of country and folk.

A fruity red wine, roaring fire, live music and my two favourite boys. What could be better.

Dinner later that evening was excellent.  Mr G declared his steak the best he’d ever eaten. Praise indeed.

We ended our evening in the lounge bar beside yet another cosy fire. It was blissfully calm and chilled until another couple joined us and preceeded to whisper instead of speak.  It was freakishly odd.  They seemed to weirdly believed that under no circumstances should they speak out loud in the hotel! Possibly they’d mistaken it for a library.

We retired to our room for a nightcap away from the deafening whispers.

I braved the firewater in a vain attempt to develop at least a slight appreciation of my national drink. Mmmmmm burn, mmmmm this one is quite smooth, burn. How people drink the stuff without grimacing and wincing is beyond me.  Mr G wimped out entirely with a beer. Coward.

After a top breakfast we checked out and a delighted Casper was fussed over loads and complimented on his nice new Bowzos Bows Harris Tweed neckerchief. No charge for the boy either.

Another excellent minibreak and top marks for dog friendliness. The Wee White Dug gives The Fortingall Hotel and Glen Lyon a big paws up.

Until next time ………..


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