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Tag: Highlands

FyneFest Trip – Day 7

Back to Glasgow to hash

After a last bacon and egg roll, it was time to say goodbye to the glen and the coos, and to get on the bus back to Glasgow.

After a pancake brunch at the Stack & Still, and staying at BrewDog Kelvingrove for a couple of hours, for some last beers at one of my favourite bars in Glasgow, and to get the festival blog updates online, I slowly made my way south.

The first stop was at Ride Brewing Co., which didn’t actually have their taproom open, but the brewer was happy to sell me some cold cans. Second stop was of course at the Koelschip Yard.

The final destination in Glasgow was at Eala Bhán. Not for the food or beer though, but to meet up and run with the Glasgow Hash House Harriers. They couldn’t believe I didn’t get my hash name yet, so they named me right then and there! Henceforth I’ll be known as “Out of Kilter”, although my home kennel might have to say a thing or two about that…

Then I caught the last train to Edinburgh, to finally check into my hotel for the next two nights: DogHouse Edinburgh. What a contrast with that yurt!

FyneFest Trip – Day 4 till 6

Finally FyneFest!

After a lot of anticipation, on Friday morning, FyneFest finally started for real!

Friday

After a pancake with bacon and maple syrup from Hector & Harriet for breakfast, and securing some T-shirts from the merch tent, it was time to get properly started. The ‘doors’ of the main tent opened at 11.00, and I managed to order the very first beer of the first official festival day there! The line of keg pumps and beer engines was impressive, as were the beers listed behind the bar, but as it would be a long weekend, and the servings relatively large for a beer festival—1/3 pint (19cl) or 1/2 pint (28cl)—I decided to take it slow, alternating and combining beer tastings with concerts and food… Speaking about the music: one of the first acts was a proper ceilidh band!

Saturday

The second festival day had plenty of variation as well. Pellicle’s Matt Curtis was hosting a couple of interesting talks with brewers, and in between I walked up to the Walkers Bar, five kilometre upstream, where they served some gravity poured cask beers.

In the evening the highlight without a doubt was the Massaoke show, which got the whole crowd singing their lungs out.

Sunday

The last day of the festival started with an awesome bacon roll with egg from Prime Street Food. The beer boards were a bit more sparse, since it was basically leftover day. Still enough beers I hadn’t tried yet to keep me occupied for a while though!

I also booked a Fyne Ales brewery tour this day, so I could see where our host’s beers come from.

After having gone through most of the festival beers, I spent some time in the brewery courtyard to enjoy some of their Origins beers.

After six, the Brewers Lounge tent was the only place still open, but there still was beer—just to drink and enjoy, done with rating—live music, loads of happy and nice people, and a gorgeous sunset!

FyneFest Trip – Day 3

Motherwell & Pre-Festival

The last day in Glasgow was spent mostly out of the city. First up was a visit to BrewDog’s Hop Hub, their Scottish, refrigerated distribution centre, which of course also has a bar. It’s a bit in the middle of nowhere though, not particularly public transport user friendly… But I hadn’t visited it yet—it was still closed during my Flying Scotsman Trip—and they had a 2-4-1 pizza offer on, so I had to go!

Once back in Glasgow, after a way too tight connection, another Citylink bus brought us to the Fyne Ales brewery, where FyneFest was about to start for the early birds. A nice cold can as a welcome was very much appreciated! The brewery taproom was only open until six, but luckily the Brewers Lounge was serving some beers after that, already with some live music to kick off the fun.

Cell reception isn’t great, but expect a full report of the next three festival days on Monday! Off for some more beers now…

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 1

Inverness, Inverurie, and Aberdeen

After a day of quite heavy drinking in London, and a nightcap on the train, I fell asleep—or did I pass out?—as soon as I put my head down. I even forgot to take out my contact lenses, or set my alarm, so when I eventually woke up, I was already late for breakfast! Luckily not too late, and mere minutes after getting up, I was enjoying a Highland breakfast and tea.

The Caledonian Sleeper arrived ten minutes early in Inverness, leaving me with a little less time than planned… In the rush, I couldn’t find my toiletry bag until the very last minute—it was on my bed under the blanket—leaving me with a rather peculiar hairdo for the rest of the day.

When I alighted in Inverness, I had still some time to kill before the first Stagecoach bus to Culloden Battlefield would leave, so I first had a coffee at Velocity Cafe and Bicycle Workshop.. The bus then dropped me off right in front of the visitor centre and museum. As a fresh National Trust for Scotland member, I had free access to the exhibition.

After that, I walked upon the battlefield itself. It was a chilling experience to stand on the exact spot where the MacLarens must have stood in 1746, in line with many other Jacobites, just seconds before advancing to the enemy, and for many of them, towards their death…

At Culloden I also learned that the perfect amount of social distancing is two Scottish broadswords long, or four targes. I think people would keep their distance much better if everyone was actually still wearing broadswords!

Back in Inverness, I had a pizza for lunch at the Black Isle Bar, where they of course also served beer from their brewery on the other side of the firth. Before getting to the train station, I had to little walk through town, and quickly visited Leakey’s Bookshop. After all, since handing over a sixpack of 75cl bottles, and a couple of cans and small bottles in London, I had plenty of room in my bag for books!

After this little excursion, it was time for the first Scottish BrewDog bar of this trip, and my first stamp towards the Flying Scotsman reward: BrewDog Inverurie! I was still a bit rough from the day before, so I just had one beer there, and a whole lot of water. The staff was great though, and the Craig Fisher graffitis were awesome as usual!

My last train of the day brought me to Aberdeen, which would be my home for the next two nights. I checked into Travelodge Aberdeen to get settled, and to check out my obligatory day two Corona test kit. It looks like I’ll get to play doctor on Sunday!

All settled, freshened up, and hair finally combed, I then headed to BrewDog Castlegate for dinner. I didn’t account for the Saturday night crowds, however, and had to wait outside for a bit. Not for long though, and I only just had the first sip from my second beer, when the lovely staff told me they found me a table! It then didn’t take long before I was tucking into a Korean fried chicken burger, this month’s special.

My final stop of the evening was at the OG BrewDog bar, BrewDog Aberdeen. Here BrewDog News Podcast’s Rob left me a bottle of MMXXX I won in a prize draw a couple of months ago. Thanks for that, Rob, and we’ll surely meet in person another time!

Lochearnhead Highland Games

Saturday was the day of the Lochearnhead Highland Games, including the Clan MacLaren AGM, Stone of Strength, Tug o’War and lots of other (heavy) events. In the evening we celebrated Donald MacLaren of MacLaren’s fiftieth year as our chief with a supper and ceilidh in the Balquhidder Village Hall.

Creag an Tuirc!

Today we joined the excursion visiting places of interest to the Clan MacLaren. Finally visited Creag an Tuirc!

Balquhidder

Our home for the next couple of days…