Hope you are all well,
I have blogged on many occasions this year about the different people I have met on my travels this year, and it would be only fair to say that I have encountered a wide variety of weird, wonderful and interesting people. With the daily tales of woe on evening news, I have a great story this week, one that will hopefully renew your faith in the human spirit (did it ever need renewing?) and tells of great Scottish hospitality…….
At the start of August, the Black Bottle Whisky Sampling team were given the opportunity to sample at the Black Isle Farmers Show, one of the biggest outdoor events in the North of Scotland. Tony and I (my fellow Black Bottle sampler) took the arduous journey that is travelling up the A9 to Inverness to sample at show on the Wednesday night and then all day on the Thursday. On arrival at the site, we carried out the usual process of setting up our stand in preparation for the expect visitors (an expected 12k over the evening and the following day).
During our setup (around 5pm), I received a call from our hotel (one that will remain nameless!) with the unfortunate news that they had double booked our room and they had no alternative accommodation. At this stage I didn’t assume this was going to be much of a problem; Inverness and the surrounding areas have many hotels and B&B’s. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I called every hotel and B&B in a 50 mile radius of Inverness with absolutely no luck: apparently with the Black Isle Show, The Moy Games and the local jazz festival, it’s a busy time of year.
By 8.30pm, I had given up any hope of getting a room (We would have slept top ‘n’ tail we were that desperate!), it looked like we would have to sleep in the front of the van (as the back was full of equipment). Until……..
A local couple (who were purchasing two bottles of Black Bottle Whisky at the time) heard of our plight and explained that they lived on a farm not far away and would be more than delighted to put us up for the night. At first we thought they were joking, but we soon realised that the offer was genuine and with delight, we accepted the offer (we didn’t have much choice).
After the show, we drove along the local windy roads towards a place called Cawder Castle (yes the same one that is in MacBeth) to a farm. We arrived to a reception of a bit of cake and the offer or a dram or a coffee – I’ll leave it to your own intuition which one we took them up on.
After sleeping in individual en suite rooms, we woke to a full breakfast (including eggs from the farm) and a pot of tea. We genuinely couldn’t have got a better service in a 5 star hotel.
I did offer Pat and Sandy money for their great hospitality, however they blankly refused. It is indeed an extremely decent thing to put anyone up for the night your house, but to allow two strangers to stay is beyond the call of duty and if they are reading this, I would once again like to thank them very much.
Every good turn deserves another and hopefully I will be able to return the favour one day,
Speak to you soon,