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Thread: new refuge for central-Munro-baggers

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    A piece of good news for a good Munros area: The Inn at Loch Ericht (the hotel in the middle of Dalwhinnie village) is under new ownership, and they (Calum and Ally) are discontinuing coach-tour bookings (which previously sometimes kept walkers out) and are keen to concentrate on the hillwalking/climbing/outdoors community. Challengers on the TGO Challenge got a terrific welcome, great comfort and excellent food. Calum plans to buy some bicycles for hire, which would be great for getting along that long Loch Ericht-side landrover track to Ben Alder territory and similar. They're even thinking of arranging a drying-room, MWIS forecasts etc.
    An initiative that deserves support, I reckon.

  2. #2
    Mini Goon James K's Avatar
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    I'd second this recommendation. We were there over this weekend just gone and they didn't bat an eyelid at our rucksacks or us hanging around waiting for the sleeper back home. Very nice food and a friendly welcome - we got invited to join the pub quiz that was laid on for the coach party who were staying there. Hmm, never did find out how we did tho... The bicycles for hire for the private road into Loch Pattack/Ben Alder sound like a great idea as I sit here nursing the blisters on the soles of my feet from said road . They seem to be in the process of refurbishing at the moment - the bar was closed while we were there, though you could still buy booze from the restaurant (as long as you were eating/for takeout), so we didn't find that a problem.

  3. #3
    Mini Goon Steve  Perry's Avatar
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    The bar was closed while we were there on the challenge as well and they stopped serving drink at 10.30pm - even to residents.They must have lightened up a bit since I was there, it was my worst night of the trip. A few of us asked if they would put on a TV to watch the Champions league final in a corner in the dining area and they flatly refused.

  4. #4
    Widdler
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    Oops, sorry Steve. I'm sure you just need to give them - or their new staff - a bit of time.

    By the way, I followed a couple of hours after you and Lorraine into old friend Nick Priest's bijou accommodation at Loch Ossian and enjoyed a large mug of beautiful tea. He said you two were disagreeing about Ben Alder in the rain that evening (I won't betray which way...) Did you go up there? The "Loch Ossian Hostel overflow camp" was pretty wet below!

  5. #5
    Mini Goon Steve  Perry's Avatar
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    Never got up Ben Alder Jean, maybe some other time. We went straight to Culra instead and did The Fara the following day.

    Nick at Loch Ossian is a great guy and has been a good host on both my visits there, he's perfect for the job.

    I think different people can have different experiences with the same people/hotels so maybe I should give the folks at Loch Ericht the benefit of the doubt and try them again sometime. Besides, if its chucking it down in Dalwhinnie and you want a pint where else are you going to go.

  6. #6
    Widdler
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    I had a slight advantage, Steve: I had the chance to introduce myself in advance. Not knowing of the change of ownership, I rang to ask if I might send myself a food parcel there, and found myself explaining all about the Challenge, and that underneath the wet and the mud, hillwalkers were usually all nice folk!
    They had had a bad time being let down by coach parties (booking and not cancelling in time), and therefore welcomed Challengers as a far more interesting alternative. But they're new to the scene, and anxious to learn what hillwalkers want. They also have good new chefs, who would much rather cook for hungry (& thirsty!) hillgoers than for cheap-soup-and-sandwiches large coach parties. So it seems they are really, really worth encouraging, and they'll get more flexible once they feel more secure.

  7. #7
    Widdler
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    I received an email from Eric today asking about parking at our hotel, The Inn at Loch Ericht, and in our email exchange he told me that there had been some good comments about us on this site, so, curiosity got the better of me and here I am!

    Firstly a huge 'thank you' to Jean for the kind comments and to James. (I have replied directly to Steve on his points).

    I haven't yet had the chance to get back to so many people who emailed to thank us after the TGO. One of those emails was from you Jean, so hearty thanks for the kind words. We loved having you here and are pleased we managed to make your stay a good one. Next year we will keep those dates in the hotel free for TGO and we will try to put together something specific for you all. We will of course continue to receive food parcels too - I think we hit about 50 this year.

    One idea suggested by a TGO guest was that perhaps we could put together a list of people who might be prepared to share rooms with other walkers rather than take up a room as a single occupant, therefore creating more potential shelter for you all. How does that sound ?

    As a piece of general help for anyone coming through here, you are welcome to park your car with us rather than leave it at the station. All I would ask is that you let us know your Reg No., where you are going and when you'll be back. Just a bit of peace of mind for everyone should you go AWOL.

    Likewise, if you are on the sleeper like James please feel free to come by. You can hang out here as long as you like before your train. (Don't remember your quiz score, but it wasn't the worst by a long way!).

    By way of update, the first two rental bikes are here. (Mens), the rest should have been here a month ago but are promised for next week. (guys and ladies bikes).

    The old bar had to be wripped out because of a problem with the original installation, but the new one will be incorporated into the restaurant/cafe and there will be a new shop! The shop will sell some touristy stuff (no hairy coo's though) and we want to offer a good selection of essentails for people like yourselves. We'd really welcome your suggestions.

    Also, from the end of this year - around mid October there will be a Drying Room!

    I hope all of this will make visiting this area more enjoyable and practical for you too.

    Warmest wishes

    Calum

  8. #8
    Have to say that having followed this thread I did visit the Inn....now just called The Inn, Dalwhinnie and I cannot beging to tell you how impressed I am at the refurb, the quality of food, great menu, amazing first class staff and all round environment.

    We need to encourage this place and any others that should try to follow their lead. It is a refreshing change and an addicitive find.

  9. #9
    Ultra King
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    So you bought it then

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