Garmoran Square

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Jul, 2013

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Understandably The Bahamas or somewhere else exotic would be everyone's first choice if they did win the Lottery, but during the initial headspin of it all and while you have a few days to fill before flights are booked and Camelot checks your ticket is a winner, GARMORAN SQUARE, near Acharale Ardnamurchan is THE clear your head, peace of mind oasis to get your mind and life back on track. My friend Margaret and I, were like two excited children going on a wee adventure, so excited and over the top suitcases( we initially had a backpack!!! In hindsight we were initially right) We class everything as an adventure nowadays, makes us seem more important and adventurous probably than we really are, but hey who is to know. There are four beautiful Lodges, set amongst some of Scotland's beautiful countryside, and yes there is beautiful countryside in many parts of this lovely country we share, but Garmoran Square is the luxury set amongst it. We cannot speak highly enough about the welcome we received from Susan MacDonald even though we arrived early, she stopped in her tracks and showed us not just our Lodge, but all the Lodges, and believe you mean there is something to suit everyone, from the traditional intimate Lodge for 2-4 people to the larger Lodges for around 8 people, choice of traditional and contemporary. Susan and her husband live beside the Square and as she says is there as often or as little as you like. Sometimes when you visit places you try to think of everything to pack, which becomes tedious, and you always forget something or decide ( or hope) it will not be needed or be there, then during your stay it becomes like a "search warrant" rummaging for that specific thing you DID NOT bring. NOT in this Lodge you just kept coming across items in the Lodge that you would eventually either need, us, or find use for, no matter what occasion you chose to use this facility for!!! Well done Susan ( it had to be a woman who thought of everything) We stayed in Tioram Lodge, Faultless, breathtaking and the weather suited the barbecue that was available for our use, looking out on to wild dear only a few metres from our Patio, with Ben Resipode as the backdrop. We rested the first day and took in the views along with our Toffee Vodka that we saved for this occasion, it was a first for the Toffee Vodka for both of us, and a first for Garmoran, but we knew then and there it would not be a last, for both. The following day visited Tioram Castle, you cannot enter but the views surrounding this area of Dorlin are spectacular, we found a little private beach, and apparently the man who owns Virgin airways has relatives not far from this point, so we were really starting to fit in with this Lottery lifestyle. A few hours later we decided to eat out, and being townies, expected everywhere to be open at all hours, we visited the hotel in Acharacle just after 8p.m. ready to blow the diets, but they had just stopped serving, very kindly the barman without hesitation had a wee word with the chef and before long we were stuffed. It was greatly appreciated. We walked back to Garmoran over the Steil Bridge and back to our Lottery winners view, glass of wine in hand we soon convinced each other we had won more than a few days away. Following day we drove up to Mallaig, (around an hour) unable to resist some therapy we nipped into a few of the shops and then caught the Ferry to Skye. We were greeted on the island by "whiskey Mary" a sort of busker who knew only two words , which we assume was her favourite tipple and her own name, we picked up the song quickly and sang it for days afterwards. We did feel a bit sorry for her as apparently in the clearest of voices she shouted that she had only made £1.60 from the tourists, she was a one off. We then visited Grumpy Tams, which if we are to be honest was a bit misleading, as he was the cheeriest man you could meet. We pointed this out as we had expected a less than friendly welcoming when we entered the shop, he agreed and then told us to get the heck out of his shop (which made us all laugh) His main product was beautiful scenic portraits which he took himself and then enhanced the colours, creating almost 3D visions of beauty. A visit up to the Garden Centre is a must and we won't spoil the surprises. Unfortunately we left the car at Mallaig and then the weather changed quickly, had w known we would have got on the bus, like all the other people who were trying to avoid " whiskey Mary, or was it whackey Mary" We caught the Ferry back and so as not to waste an early start, we drove into Fort William, for some more therapy, which was brilliant, many bargains and lots of "unique" items. Like the QUARTER OF A MILLION pound whiskey, we did not buy any but only because they had none in stock. An absolute must for a meal is "Cafe Mango" in Fort William, one word DEVINE. Once again returned home with bells full to take in the splendour and opulence of GARMORAN SQUARE, the deer where still were we left them, although after a couple of glasses of wine, we were still debating if Ben Resipode was now a volcano, as it seemed to be moving slightly, hiccup. Last day and we were now venturing to the ARDNAMUCHAN LIGHTHOUSE which first shone around 1849, it took three years to build. This is the most western most point, spectacular views en route from Acharacle and breathtaking once you arrive, we had not anticipated the journey and got there after closing, but you can actually go inside if you check the times ( which we did) and give plenty of time for sightseeing on route ( which we did not, a few stopovers) Glenborrodale Castle being one of them ( we sort of gate crashed a guided train tour group who had booked) and funnily enough met up with them again at the Lighthouse. The other place which cannot go without a mention ( and again we sort of invited ourselves in) was Glenmore Cottage Red Roof (Camusfearna) here was a home restored with such skill and love for his craft by David, possibly for his wife Elaine. they very kindly let us in to view their magnificent home with out if this world views. David kindly gave us a tour and filled us in in how he has built his life into this wonderful piece of paradise, along with the seating area to sit and enjoy. We were so grateful. We returned home and Margaret cooked us both a lovely meal, she was actually chef for the whole weekend I was on bottle opener and dishwasher duties, which had been agreed beforehand, we had to get the important things set our beforehand so as not to waste the adventure. We cannot thank Susan and Kenneth MacDonald for investing in this Home from Home without the hassle paradise, for the thought that has gone into making each Lodge unique and personable to its guests. The list of praise is endless and we fear we cannot do it justice, it has to be experienced to be felt. We felt relaxed, happy and wanting more. EVERYONE should have a GARMORAN SQUARE moment, it's not like finding a needle in a haystack, it's more like finding a Haystack of Needles, there's a point to everything, nothing is missing, except YOU.


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