Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oh to be Applecrossed!

"Between the mainland mountain masses and the Island of Skye lies the Applecross Peninsula. Home to just 238 people, and accessed by only two roads, this is a haven from the noise and clutter of modern life. The Gaelic name for the area, ‘a Chomraich’, means ‘The Sanctuary’. Its not the easiest place to get to but you’ll never forget the journey or the time you spend here, however brief. Over the 2053’ road called the Bealach na Ba, if the cloud has lifted, you’ll see the kind of views normally reserved only for sweaty mountaineers. Panoramas to the Outer Hebrides and South to the Kintail mountains will keep you gazing until you need to descend to the village for warmth and sustenance. We could wax lyrical about the fantastic beaches, the calm waters of the Inner Sound and the gentle hills above the crofting townships, the food, the music, the sunsets and more." [From the Applecross Peninsula website.]
Best Pub in Scotland? Some say.

"We would like to remind residents that the Applecross Inn is a lively bar and this does generate some noise, which can be heard in the bedrooms..." [Judith Fish - owner of the Applecross Inn since 1989]

"For my money, this is the best pub in the whole of Scotland. Indeed, were it not for the Slap and Tickle, the whole of the United Kingdom." —Queen Elizabeth II


  1. Doesn't it look beautiful? I'm sure it is, on a good day.

  2. "a lively bar and this does generate some noise, which can be heard in the bedrooms"

    If noise from the pub isn't heard in the bedrooms, I'd say something is wrong.

    Gorgeous views. Even if I'm not Scottish, my heart is in the Highlands.

  3. I wonder if there's a reciprocal warning that the noise from the lively bedrooms might be heard in the bar?

  4. @a - Yes. I love Scotland as much as you. Perhaps not quite as fanatical. Or such a cynic. (Picture a whole row of happy faces here.) :)

    @RB - My sentiments exactly. You can be Scots if you want to be. I'll never tell. They probably had one or two Scottish pirates. You could be a descendent.

    By the way, I learned something in my pub research about drinks. Scotch is always a drink. So I try not to call them Scotch any more. Of course it is also a tape, but...

    btw, you need to be visiting Soubriquet on your trip to Britain, not a. Souby will show you the ropes, take you to pubs. a. will show you pastoral landscapes and take you to museums. 'sides, she's mine already. Heh.

    Thanks for your comment.

    @Soubriquet - Short. Pithy. I like that. Hell, now you've got me thinking maybe this Apple pub place rents the rooms to pub patrons by the hour. What? It could happen. :)

  5. The term 'Scotch' used on the 'Scots' can end up in a visit to our National Health Service establishments, as this is considered not far short of an insult.
    However, around the turn of the century, the late 19th and early 20th century this was not so offensive at all. Old adverts, or 'Punch' cartoons of the time indicate this. Try and see these cartoons as they are worth a look.
    Asking for Whisky (without the 'E')one asks for 'A nip of Black Bottle' although any bartender will happily help any Yank, whatever they call it!

  6. Between you and Keith, my little restless British Isles soul is going to be chomping at the bit to get across the water. That is gorgeous. And I appreciated the etiquette lesson. The Mountain Man is a Scot so we want to take the kids someday. But pre-schoolers on a transcontinental flight sounds like a bad idea of epic proportions so i'll force myself to wait.

  7. @Adullamite - interesting. I have heard Scotch used (in the states) and not in an insulting way. But someone had told me not to use the word. And, of course we've all seen it used in old movies. My favorite Scotsman is Sean Connery (although I think he lives mostly in Connecticut now.) And I have just learned about your misspelling of the word whiskey. Heh. I found that it is minus the "e" in Great Britain and Canada, and with the "e" in the U.S. and Ireland. I think that's right. Not going to look it up again. :) Thanks for your comment.

    pbv, thank you. It is, isn't it?

    Janet - Thank you for stopping by. I hope your visit to those beautiful islands (without which there could simply be no English Channel) comes soon. I just know you will enjoy it.

    I have a friend named Grumpus who also keeps a large Scot around the house. I must introduce you. :) In the meantime, visit her blog.

  8. Scotch: To put an end to. To eradicate. Primarily used as "to scotch a rumour". Scutch is a kind of chisel, or sometimes a hammer, with multiple teeth, used for dressing and levelling stone.
    In England we use both the terms 'Whisky', and 'Whiskey'.
    The former is the real thing, made in Scotland from malted barley, aged a minimum of seven years in oaken casks, usually ones which have previously held sherry, madeira, port, or even brandy....
    The whisky is racked in these in a bond warehouse, locked away in darkness for years.
    Seven years is the minimum allowed for a producer to call the liquid "whisky", however, often maturation is over a longer period, ten, twelve, sixteen... or more years.
    During this period, the whisky interacts with the oak cask, with the essences of port, sherry, madeira etc, its colour developes, the complexity of its aroma, mmm
    I'm thinking back to previous Scotland trips, visits to distilleries, usually ending in a sampling session.
    The bond warehouses have a scent...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
    Oh! sorry, got carried away there.
    Subdivisions of whisky abound. My own preferences tend to the whiskies of the western isles, though Highland Park, from the Orkneys scores high too. I do like single malts, but blended varieties too can have their charms.
    Whiskeys are those drinks made in Ireland, Canada, the U.S.A, and others. Rye whiskey? no thank you.
    Japanese Suntory? No thank you.
    Whilst I was living in Finland, the state booze conglomerate, which, I kid you not, goes by the name of Alko, brewed its own "whiskey", The television news team took some to scotland and offered drinker in bars a free taster. the most polite, and sfw comment was "It's interesting.... but what is it?".

    A warning. If you go into a pub or bar, and ask for "a whisky" you will get a lacklustre fluid, which would be better used for dissolving the varnish on tabletops.
    You are unlikely to enjoy it.
    The cheap default whisky, often found in a dispensing 'optic', is alright for mixing with other drinks, but if you really want a whisky to taste, savour, inhale, enjoy, look for the bottles higher up on the shelves at the back of the bar.
    I think I deserve a sip or two of Laphroaig, now...
    This is a ten year single malt, bottled straight from the cask, no blending or diluting done. Cask strength is, according to the bottle, 57.3% alcohol by volume. To unlock the full flavour, it requires water.. two volumes of water to one of whisky, is what the distillery recommends.
    No. Not ice. Ice is an abomination. It numbs the palate. Well, okay, if you're drinking really nasty whiskey, it might be a mercy to have a numbed palate.
    But with a bottle of highland or island subtlety, then as cold as a cold river, or the sea off Islay, that's cold enough.

  9. Soubriquet, I've said it before and I'll say it again: you spend far too much time in the pub.

    Kidding. You are already our official authority on all things pub - not just whisky and lesser drinks, but on food as well.

    Thank you. That was interesting. And I am getting that you do not accept that whiskey vs whiskey is not simply spelling semantics of various countries, but an actual different product? Still beg to differ. But what do I know.

    Thanks again.

    Soubriqet - Okay forget what I said about spellings and actual products. I defer to you. Especially since a. apparently agrees with you, based on her previous comments. I surrender.

    So just scotch that. :)

  10. When I was growing up, we often had our summer (ha ha) holidays in Applecross. Lots of rain in that part of the world. The road over was very tortuous of our car and we often had to stop to fill it up with water. We would stay at a friends house with no running water and no electricity. Lots of fun things to do however.

  11. Hello Colin. It does look very rugged in the pictures I've seen, especially that winding road. But ever so beautiful once you've managed to get there, no?

  12. i go to applecross almost every year and me and my family are good friends with judith fish. i have relatives that live there and have stayed in many of the cottages. i will hopefully be goin up again some time this year! posted by emily.



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