Where was I ?

Oh, telling you about the Great Scottish Ticking Trip, which came to a halt last Monday in Ben Lawers last Monday, leaving me stranded on nine (9) pubs to go to complete the lot. Will BRAPA get there before me at this rate ?

40 minutes off the glorious A9 from Pitlochry to the Ben Lawers, in its way a tricky a tick as the Westford or the Applecross.

Easy to get to, but seemingly impossible to get into.

Loads of praise, but here’s a selection of the negative reviews of the Ben Lawers on Google reviews;

Lots of comments about weird opening times fails; sounds like a micro pub rather than a dining pub in the heart of tourist Highlands.

I’d phoned up a week before and asked the owner when they were open.

We open from 4.30, but only if you’re dining. Drinkers only from 8pm“. Honest.

So Mrs RM booked a table for tea, despite us only just finishing fish pie at the Appleford. No way was I missing out on a tick for the sake of 1,542 unnecessary calories of stodge.

We arrived as mist and drizzle descended, and the picturesque setting was a bit lost on us.

But who need beauty when you have RULES.

At the gate we were instructed to ring the bell and wait in the rain for our host to let us in. Now I love getting soaked; Mrs RM, not so much. “Take a brolly !” you scream.

some of the rules are seem strange to say the least probably never going back” says Peter on Google.

It was certainly old school. I must have committed 9 crimes at least, sitting at the wrong table, walking up to the bar, ordering the thing that wasn’t available.

But at least I wasn’t the one singing along to the adverts on Radio Tayside while it counted down the Songs of Summer Top 10. Mrs RM was horrified; I thought it was wonderful. “Staying Alive” at Number 5, “Boys of Summer” at 3…

We were first in at 18:30, joined by a couple of gentlefolk diners chinking glasses of Chauvignon Blanc.

Mrs RM had the sole cask, a good crisp Tempest (NBSS 3+), and a veggie curry that made me feel guilty about my burger.

The food was good value pub food, though when the landlord came to take our plates and noted aloud “you’ve swapped” I wondered for a second if that rule violation would incur an extra cost. It didn’t, and I reckoned I’d got good value, even when I lost a bet with Mrs RM that No.1 on the Tayside Sounds of Summer would be “Only Happy When It Rains” by the Jesus & Mary Chain (it was actually “Mr Blue Sky“).

Weird but kinda wonderful.

Oh yes, I really wanted to use this Number 9 track to please Mark C, so here it is anyway;


  1. The pub opposite the railway station in Mossley once had a large blackboard in the bar with a long list of rules, including some quite bizarre ones which obviously reflected things that obsessed or irritated the somewhat curmudgeonly landlord. I often wondered if that was why, despite between the stop between Greenfield and Stalybridge, it never appeared on the Transpennine Ale Trail, or maybe he just refused to take part in it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Looks like the Ben Lawers is still sticking rigidly to Covid rules, and expecting customers to wait out in the rain before being allowed inside, isn’t exactly welcoming either.

        As for not serving drinkers before 8pm, without ordering a meal, well words fail me. Even more puzzling is why the local Camras put this Scottish version of Fawlty Towers, forward for the Guide in the first place, as it does little for the credibility of CAMRA’s flagship publication.

        Signed, disgusted of Tonbridge!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The landlord of the Mossley pub mentioned used to watch CCTV upstairs to check if customers moved seats which was a kicking out offence. Allegedly……

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Correct, back in the GBG with a newish landlady, I understand that the rather odd previous incumbent is no longer with us. Now’t odd about Mossley, well not much.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The first time I went to that pub in Mossley, one of the locals told us that the chemists down the road had just had an attempted armed robbery by a gang who hadn’t heard that it was no longer a bank.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nine! As BRAPA said, you’re in the single digits now— one of only two people to achieve this feat. Wish those remaining ticks could fall like dominoes for you, but I reckon it’ll be a bit more strenuous than that.

    I think your pick for top summer song would’ve been far more interesting. And thanks for posting Revolution 9 on my behalf. Always like to think of young Paul McCartney gritting his teeth and saying, “Brilliant, John. One of your best…”

    I’m flying to Norway today, where I will happily get to see my mate from Macclesfield. We shall raise a glass in your honor!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I infinitely prefer Revolution 9 to Staying Alive. Anything that gets up Macca’s nose is good enough for me. But how can anyone tell if it’s been remixed?

      And as for Mr Blue Sky – well, you can stick it where the sun don’t shine, as far as I’m concerned. So, quite appropriate for the Ben Lawers, do I hear you say?

      Sorry, you seem to have caught me in a curmudgeonly mood.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Certainly, if you are using “better regarded” in its now obsolete 14th century meaning of “avoided at all costs, usually by drinking up quickly and leaving the pub” (loosely translated from Old Middle English).


  3. The Grindleford Cafe was the best place for notes with rules everywhere: “A set meal is a set meal so don’t ask to change them”, “If you want to stand in front of fires join the fire brigade”, “We do not and never have served mushrooms” and my favourite was the one in the gents that said “Clean up your own shitty mess, we’ve had enough”.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d expect “We do not and never have served mushrooms” in a poky micropub – because “We don’t have mush room”

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s