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Thread: Gerrys Hostile Achnashellach

  1. #1
    Mini Goon
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    From the initial conversation that was had with this establishment I cant understand why its the oldest establishment in Scotland, is it because no one has ever stays there!!!

    We were heading up to Lochcarron area on Monday when we phoned at about 6pm from Aviemore to confirm that we would be coming up( we had called earlier to ask about avail). The man who we spoke to on the phone was Gerry and when he asked what time we would be there we stated we were going to try for 20:30, the latest time of arrival that it states on the website. The voice retorted down the phone"well then, dont dally!" .

    It actually seemed that this man didnt want a two bed two night booking coming to £50. On the phone he was rude, abrupt and genuinley dis interested. Is this the friendly welcome that we want to give to visitors?

    We met a couple of other people in Lochcarron that stated similar experiences to us.

  2. #2
    ‹bermensch druidh's Avatar
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    Ha ha ha!

    Gerrys is the most outrageously relaxed place you could ever want to stay. The man is a legend in his own lunchtime. I was there a few years back when he had to make trip to Edinburgh for a couple of days. He just left the place unlocked with an honesty box!!

  3. #3
    ‹bermensch
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    He's a great, but evidently sometimes laconic, guy, and it's a great place; often packed.

  4. #4
    ‹bermensch Lindsay Boyd's Avatar
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    I have only stayed there once and he was a very oblectionable to a family group from the south of England that was staying there.

    Some like the weirdness of the establishment others dislike the place and wont go back. A few females are concerned about him wanderingaround the bunkhouse in his dressing gown and find this a bit weird.

    However there isn't much else to choose from in the area.

  5. #5
    Mini Goon
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    Not stayed there since 1989 ...... simply because I've not been back in the area. He's certainly a quirky chap, but I got on okay with him.

    Of course, his eccentricity may have grown since then .....

  6. #6
    ‹bermensch Nearly Normal Polar Bear's Avatar
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    I saw his, ahem, gruff side last autumn. Pretty entertaining to be honest. Gives you something to remember, and talk about as this thread is proving.

    Otherwise the hostel is very handily located for some out of the way hills and has reasonable facilities, so don't be put off.

  7. #7
    Mini Goon Mal Grey's Avatar
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    Gerry is a proper eccentric, but that is part of the appeal. Takes a while to understand his sense of humour, & he is intolerant of anything he sees as a misdeameanor at first, but once he knows you he's normally more than helpful & very entertaining. I would imagine the "don't dally" comment may have actuallybeen meant in a slightly humourous way but knowing him Itotally understand it may well have not come across like this, especially on the phone! Having visited him most winters since about 1990, we've become "regulars" & get trusted to chop our own wood & deliver his takings to the bank for him. This is obviously a great honour! He's a likeable chap when you know him, but certainly "different". Offer him a beer & take a few minutes to chat to him & you're well on the way to breaking the ice. These days he mostly keeps himself to himself in his rooms, whereas in the past he sat in the common room a lot. He makes the best log fire known to man, watch & learn. I can understand some ladies are somewhat perturbed by the view when his dressing gown flaps open...

    There is no other hostel I've been to that has the same atmosphere as Gerry's on a wild winter night, with the superb fire & the ancient old records. Just don't take him down the pub to play pool & expect to win against "Gerry's Rules".

  8. #8
    Widdler
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    Stayed here recently on a bike trip. Gerry was the most gruff and rude person I've encountered in Britain. Perhaps part of his eccentric charm. We brought our bikes in (clean, disassembled road bikes, btw, nothing dirty or damaging) for safe keeping and assembly before the the next day's ride - and Gerry nearly tore our heads off. Literally shouting all kinds of abuse you can imagine, and making aggressive gestures as if he might hit us. A surreal experience. So make sure you leave your bikes in the car! Beds are clean and warm, though, and kitchen and common room supply everything for a self-catered trip. If you can I would avoid the place. But if you need a bunk for the night it does the trick.

  9. #9
    Ultra King alexander rae's Avatar
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    I stayed there years ago when working in the area, he is a law unto himself , he guards his fire/ stove that's for sure, perhaps he's getting more cantankerous as he gets older .

  10. #10
    ‹bermensch
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    I agree with most of the points above, Mal hitting the nail on the head. He does take a bit of getting used to but once you're on something like the same wavelength, he's great. But different to most hostel keepers, I agree. I suggest if anyone's interested in a bit of Scottish hill history, go there while you can, because I doubt it'll stay like that forever.

    How many remember Nancy Smith's at Fersit? Now that was different, too!

  11. #11
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    Gerrie's at Achnashallach.Eccentric ?.No down to earth yes. You get what you see.No pretence,a very generous man unless you try to tell him his job.As has been said ,once you have his trust, what he has is yours. Nellie Smith over at Fersit. Home cooked food nothing too much trouble,sadly these characters are leaving us. The whole family at Cougie in Glen Affric would turn out to offer help.All good home cooked food by Val, a real laugh too.Hot scones keep coming,pots of tea.How much?. Put something in the pot,was the answer. Another one, way back was "Boonie" and his dog near Kinlochewe.I never new his real name. A cooked meal with a dish of rasberries and cream to follow,too much to eat. How much?.Leave a couple of bob for the dog he would say, wether you had a full meal or a couple of scones. Sadly missed these generous characters.




  12. #12
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    Waldo - who isNellie Smith? It was Nancy in the early 80s. and a daughter called Susan Essan, nearby, who let out the odd caravan which we used once. Nancy used to knit some pretty fancy jumpers.

  13. #13
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    Sorry Rob, I can't give much of an answer although the time frame was eighties. I don't think your Smith and mine are the same.If I remember right the caravan was just off the track through the woods to the farm.I don't know of a Susan.I passed that way a few times in the eighties going between Dalwhinnie and Nevis ,Grey corries etc..up along the Coire Laire. My" Smith" lived in the cottages opposite the phone box.Always good for a bacon sandwich,cake or pot of tea.I first called when needing some coins for the phone box. No mobiles then or GPS.. Thats it really.Cheers.

  14. #14
    Widdler
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    Stayed here earlier this week (8/8/13). Gerry retains his gruff edge and the bunkhouse looks very rough by modern standards. I had the place to myself though everywhere else to the north was fully booked. But it's clean and everything works. I spent a splendid evening relaxing in tatty but comfortable chairs in front of a log fire while listening to Chopin on Gerrys hifi. If I'd been bored there was a pile of ancient climbing mags dating back to the 80's full of articles by Pete Boardman and Mick Burke. The bunks are extremely comfortable and Gerry himself disappeared once I'd paid For a nostalgic stay I'd say it couldn't be bettered. But perhaps best go with a group unless you're feeling very adventurous. MartinJ PS. Sensitive potential guests may be relieved to hear that the flapping dressing gown appears to have been replace by baggy tracksuit bottoms.

  15. #15
    Widdler
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    A group of us were regulars at Gerry's Independent Hostel in the 1970's, and we never really had any issues with Gerry and his eccentricities once he knew our ways and we knew his. He didn't suffer fools gladly then but was generally courteous to all and once brewed up some 'herbal tea' for Christine and Ann while we were away doing some of the hills nearby. The contents were unknown and after a few sips were couped into a nearby pot plant in the garden, from where they had probably began anyway!

    Granted, he could get a bit grumpy but that was generally when one or another of the guests had stepped over the mark or put too much wood on the fire, risking setting the lum up! We did hear a story of Gerry chasing someone around the building armed with an axe, but then that might have been a bit of a tall tale!

    We'd often find him walking up from Sid the Yids at Achnasheen on a winter's night, strolling along the middle of the then single track road, which guaranteed that any car going his way would have to stop and give him a lift.

    We've not met up since the late 80's so though the place is much improved judging by comments we've heard, Gerry may now have become 'less tolerant' of those he perceives as fools or timewasters, or simply not his kind of people. I suspect we all get that way as we get older, it's just that Gerry doesn't bother to hide it. He likes folks to turn up and take care of themselves and does not do 'greetings at the door' for tourists I'm afraid.

    Nancy's at Fersit was another occasional stopover on a winter's night, usually where we stopped to await the snow plough in the morning to clear the road a bit for us, and as Rob Smith says, was run by Nancy Smith. I don't recall a Nellie Smith in the area. Nancy sang folk songs with her husband; can anyone recall their stage names?

  16. #16
    ‹bermensch
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    er, Rob Smith? But good to hear from another user, a bygone age... And re Gerry's, it's another place/person that has forged a bit of Scottish mountain history, regardless of the various comments made. He's been good to us, after his initialgruffness! So I strongly recommend OMers to visit while you can. Yes, you can have all the mod cons you like at expensive hostels, but somehow, a bit of 'roughness' seems appropriate out in the sticks!

  17. #17
    Widdler
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    Sorry Rob, busy thinking ahead!

  18. #18
    ‹bermensch
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    Sorry Rob. Nancy it is then,I'm sure it's one and same person.

    Memories of long,long ago. Who remembers John the Warden at

    the SYHA Hostel in Glen Clova,with sweeping brushes hanging in

    order of length,almost army fashion,but he wasn't army,John was a retired plumber. Cheers.

  19. #19
    Widdler
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    I am not too sure I would like to stay in a place that is "hostile." Maybe a hostel but not a hostile. I come from Africa and believe me there is plenty of hostile there.

  20. #20
    Goon Rod MacDonald's Avatar
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    I've often wondered if the miss-spelling of hostel was intended in the title.

    I've stayed there once and it was fine, we were in an upstairs room with 4 beds which appeared to made from fence posts.

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