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Thread: Gerrys Hostile Achnashellach

  1. #21
    Mini Goon
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    This guy is a complete idiot and has the manners of a pig. I'd never stay there again. Straight talking is one thing, being moody, abrupt, rude and sometimes aggessive is out of line. If that ass ever swore at me I'd feed him his lungs, on his property or off it.

  2. #22
    Ultra King Kinley's Avatar
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    Deadpan irony is an oft underrated form of comedy. Well done.

  3. #23
    Ultra King alexander rae's Avatar
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    I think you may be correct Rod, in that it may not be a spelling mistake. I was near a MBA bothy for a night and got talking to the folk in it ( I had a tent ) and they had all been to Gerrys at some stage and all agreed he was a bit of a "Character", ok if you talk hills to him, I would have thought "going with the flow" would be a good idea .

  4. #24
    Widdler
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    I read this thread a day before staying at Gerry's just to see the reviews. Reading what was on here really made us nervous!

    Anyway Gerry was not home when we reached and the whole place was empty. 4 friends in an empty house on a rainy Highland evening. Recipe for a D-grade horror movie. We contemplated leaving but we stayed anyway for 30mins just cause the weather was so bad. Gerry showed up about 20mins later. We expected a rude hostile man but Gerry was very welcoming, he laughed a lot (a big hearty laugh) and mumbled jokes (some we didn't undetstand). Yes he is a bit eccentric but nothing major. The bed was comfortable, the kitchen clean and the common room quirky and interesting. The view of the hills from our room was spectacular. We had a great time at Gerry's so don't be put off by some of the comments here.

  5. #25
    Widdler
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    Just had three nights at Gerry's last week, enjoying his hospitality and the comforts of the bunkhouse. It is a world away from the generic hostels wardened by seasonal staff and students. I and the mainly foreign guests sat in front of his legendary fire in the evening with the music playing on the record player. Couldn't get more relaxed. Gerry joined us one evening swaping stories with French visitors and imparting his knowledge of the area's hills, and proffering a glass of his wine. A hearty gufaw announced the next anecdote. Sure he will quickly let you know, in as few words as necessary, when you do something in a way that doesn't fit his view or unwritten bunkhouse rules, but the guy has forty years of his heart and soul in the place. I'd say go there, give the guy your business and get a fleeting glimpse of a Scottish hill-going era that has almost gone.

  6. #26
    Widdler
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    Sorry for dredging this thread up a monthlater- but i've got to say this place sounds great...filled two pages worth of comments based solidly on one man has got to be a testament character! (no matter what side of him your on)

  7. #27
    Widdler
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    It is worth going once to be able to live to tell the tale. I arrived (having prebooked) moderately late one evening, only to find the dorm completely full, and Gerry in bed (or so I thought). Someone told me that the upstairs was empty, so I put my gear up there and moved in. I briefly opened the window, to freshen up the dank place, and then closed it. I was in bed and nearly asleep when Gerry appeared in his legendary dressing gown (half open) and asks me what the hell I was doing upstairs, and why did I open window (which was now closed). He knew because he had lodged little bits of paper in each window, to detect whether they had been opened!!!

    I explained the situation, and he told me that I could sleep upstairs for an extra £60 ! I moved my gear back downstairs, and disturbed the whole dorm again. After 10 minute Gerry re-emerges, and says 'you can sleep upstairs for an extra £3!). I thought that he might have forgotten, but the next morning he was up bright and early to extract extra the money.

    He also has a 'larder' selling salt and pepper sachets from McDonalds for 1 p each!!!

    There are Xmas cards up all year long...in fact some of them are years old when you look at them, so it appears that he is popular, when in fact he has received 30 cards in 40 years.

    Yes he is ok when half p*ssed, but I was there on a May bank holiday weekend and it was empty. From his black book (and de facto accounts), I reckon he is only doing about 1000 bed nights a year, which is why he chases every penny/ An alternative would be to change his bad attitude, but I guess that is harder for him to contemplate. In that location, he should be doing 5 times that.

    As it says in the guest book at the nearest bothy 'if this place had a shower, Gerry would be out of business'.

    One to absolutely avoid, until it is under new ownership.

  8. #28
    Ultra King alexander rae's Avatar
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    , just as well you didn't put a log on the fire .

  9. #29
    Widdler
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    Point taken. Gerry is a throw-back to another era. He won't ask for you for any 'feedback' on your stay,or Spam your email account with 'special offers that may be of interest to you'.

    Yes he is a character; andI take the point that you are not really part of the walking communityuntil you have a couple of Gerry related incidents toreport in a large group where everyone else has some scarcely credible anecdote to tell....


  10. #30
    ‹bermensch cathyjc's Avatar
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    Gerry can also be really solicitous and kind. Last time (3rd visit) I stayed upstairs with the kids - he spent a load of time making sure there were no midges in the room so we wouldn't get bitten. His grumpyness isn't attractive but I don't blame him for wanting to keep 'order' in his establishment. I'm sure he's had plenty of instances of folks leaving him with their 'messes' to clear up. Just don't expect him to change any .

  11. #31
    Widdler
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    The news that Gerry died in February has only just filtered through to me. I am saddened, but glad he passed peacefully, and now I have my breath back I think I can help disentangle some of the names mentioned earlier in this thread. I met Gerry in 1965 on the day I met his friend Dave Goulder, whom I later married.

    Back in 1965 the wardens of the Glen Doll Hostel were Danny Smith and his wife Nancy. They had three children, Susan, Alastair and Ewan. Glen Doll was famous for its ceilidhs, often attended by well known traditional singers like the Stewarts of Blair, and continuing in the warden's quarters into the wee sma' hours after the hostellers were in bed. Another regular was Davy Glen, who lived at that time in a converted railway carriage at Tealing near Dundee, and worked as a drystane dyker for the council.

    Meanwhile, the old Achnashellach Hostel, also famous for ceilidhs, was wardened by Dave Goulder, a former railwayman from Nottinghamshire. A number of his friends had followed him north and found jobs in the area, including Gerry Howkins, who was a length-man on the Kyle line and had a tied cottage two miles down the road. The SYHA decided to close Achnashellach after the 1966 season and appointed Ray Walder as the last warden. At a ‚??wake' on the last night we decided to try for a lease on the buildings to run as a private hostel. After an epic year we failed, but just in time got a lease from the NTS on a cottage in Glen Torridon which opened as a hostel on August 4th 1967. The following year British rail sold the trio of railway cottages in Achnashellach and as Gerry was the only sitting tenant he got first dibs, and opened his hostel in 1968.

    That June I had paid Glendoll a visit and found Danny and Nancy on the verge of parting. Nancy was living in a campervan at the time, and I went with her to view the little hut at Fersit, which became a hostel in no time. A truly magical spot. Davey Glen moved up there after he retired and lived in a bus. Dave and I married in 1969 from Glen Doll with Danny as best man.

    So there you are ‚?¶ oh, and Danny and Nancy were not the folk singers. That was Dave ‚?¶ and me. Stage name Liz Dyer.

  12. #32
    ‹bermensch
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    Liz - thanks so much for this. Really interesting. Fersit was indeed a special place, and I feel proud to have known it and to have metNancy. I don't know what's happening there now but assume the hostel is long gone.

    Rob

  13. #33
    Widdler
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    Yes, Cathy, Gerry was very kind at heart, and sheltered me and a friend for six months after the closure of Glen Cottage. I had a stroke (thought to be MS at that time) and was broke, homeless and unfit for work. He gave me time to recover and gain strength, after which I went south. I owe him a lot.

  14. #34
    Widdler
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    Liz - You probably don't remember me but I was a mere schoolgirl when I first found your wonderful hostel at Glen Cottage. I had at least one New year with you and Dave and all youramazing visitors. It left a very lasting impression on me. I bought a picture by John Fielder, exhibited inyour common room.I hitch-hiked back home to Aberdeen with it wrapped up in a sheet or blanket.It is on my living room wall where I live now.

    I never had the chance to thank you for your hospitality and kindness. As a schoolgirl I was sick of being patronised but you always treated me as an adult.

    You and Dave told me about Nancy Smith and her hostel. Thanks so much for that. I became a regular at Fasgadhevery year since. Some summers I had the privilege of looking after Fasgadh while Nancy travelled in Yugoslavia or Canada.

    Nancy died of cancer about 22 years ago and her funeral was well attended. She was buried in the wee graveyard at the church overlooking her precious Grey Corries above Spean Bridge. A modest gravestone appeared a few months later and I think the plan was to put stones from the tops of Munroes on top of her headstone.

    Then later I visited her grave and the gravestone had gone ! I visited again yesterday and the memorial stone is still gone. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THIS ? Sorry to write this in capitals but it's to stop other folk having to wade through lots of text and maybe missing the main point of my message.

    I passed the site of Fasgadh on the train yesterday and noticed a new rustic building there and some caravans. Theoriginal Fasgadh building fell down years ago after Nancy's death

  15. #35
    Widdler
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    Hi i am Karen one of Nancys granddaughters. I dont know why i decided to google her name ton8ght...i do this now and again is reading others stories about her always brings back happy memories. I dont know anything about the stone from her grave being missing. I visit regularly and only last year refreshed all the writing on it have visited twice this year and all has been well. Been up to fasgadh a couple of times in the last year too...never gets easier to visit. Thanks to you all for keeping grannies memory alive.

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