As I approached the Final Countdown at the end of August, the blogging became a bit manic, so think of these next few posts as a sort of “artists reworking”, or “RetiredMartin – How It Should Have Looked“.

A reminder of those final 22;

Reader “US $1=$1 Dave” wrote

21! You’re so close now I’m getting giddy just thinking of it. At this stage it doesn’t even matter if they’re all c****y pubs and you’re running for the potted plants at every one of them— the goal is in sight!! We’re all cheering you on, Martin; here’s hoping they all fall before your highlighting marker, one after another.

and I was aware of the wishes of a ticking nation as started the first of two mammoth trips to the country called “Scotland” in the GBG, and therefore that’s what I call it to.

By now we knew my final pub would be a Scottish one, but which one ? That would depend on opening times, ferry strikes and the quality of Mrs RM’s driving.

On that Friday night of 26 August all that matter was making 3 pubs in Lochaber before closing. The morning in Sheffield had been fraught, our noble campervan requiring two (2) nights in campervan hospital for replacement tyres, whatever they are.

So we only left the Blind Monkey at 13:12, ploughing along M1/A1/A66 and through the wonderful Trossachs with only a stop at Gretna Services for a wee.

21:17, and Pub 22 was the Ben Nevis Bar, a smart place for tourists I described as “frankly rubbish“, which seems a bit unfair, but don’t the folk in this scientifically enhanced photo from that original post look bored.

By this time I was getting worried about missing last orders in Mallaig, and Mrs RM put on her posh voice to politely seek clarification on closing times in Arisaig, where Pub 21 was a classic village local with fiddle music,

and Pub 20 the Steam in Mallaig, our stop for the night. “We’re open till 1am” they said. I didn’t believe them, but we pressed on.

We rather neglected our booking at the West Highland Hotel, who may have been surprised to hear we’d checked whether the pubs would stay open but neglected to ask if our bed for the night would be as well.

Not only were they still up at 23:01, they even pulled us a decent half of local Glen Spean (NBSS 3) and told us which cat flap to use if we came back to the hotel after midnight. Duncan was right about Scottish cask, there’s more of it than just the GBG.

You’ll have your own views on the seating at the West Highland,

but we had no time to sit down as our tick closed at 1am.

Mallaig was great. 5 pubs, 4 with cask for 660 souls and countless visitors staying overnight before ferries to Muck, Eigg, Uist,

and the Old Forge on Knoydart that’s just been brought back to life.

If I decide to attempt GBG24, I expect I’ll be heading back here.

More Mallaig in a Moment.

6 thoughts on “LOCHABER NO MORE

    1. Actually, you’ve reminded me that I must go back to Mallaig one day, having spent all of half an hour there on my way back from the Outer Hebrides 15 years ago. When my ferry – the first of the day from Skye – arrived from Armadale an hour after the departure of the only train to Fort William that day (if we discount – as I did – the other train that was due to leave eight hours later), I spent a few minutes thinking how I was going to complete my journey.

      Luckily I had my bike with me, so I cycled to Fort William, arriving several hours before the train. One of my favourite cycle rides.

      But I haven’t been to any of the pubs in Mallaig.


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