Banchory, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, has long been a holiday “toon”, but has grown out of all recognition since we bairns went on day trips from Aberdeen with our grandparents before Beeching cuts took the trains away from Royal Deeside.
During the oil boom in the north-east, the town blossomed and at one point boasted the largest primary school in Europe with the greatest number of native languages spoken.
That would probably have pleased, the town’s founder, St Ternan, a Pict who converted to Christianity and toured Europe before starting up a college (Banchor = place of learning) where he taught religion mixed with the latest farming techniques about 1,500 years ago. Many of the students became illustrious bishops or saints, still celebrated locally. http://www.visitbanchory.com/heritage/st-ternan/
Today, Banchory is a vibrant and interesting place for visiting and dining out. The town has its own wee museum and a group of enthusiasts have restored a small part of the old railway line on the outskirts, so you can still experience travel on what must have been one of the bonniest routes of the past. Two National Trust castles, Crathes and Drum, are also within a few miles’ reach.
One of the more recent additions to the plethora of eateries is Rock Salt and Sole in the High Street, a chippie with a small restaurant attached. Fish comes from the small Mearns village of Gourdon, which is also well worth a visit if you are travelling the coast south of Stonehaven.
There is a very good offer for over 60s, consisting of standard haddock or cod, chips, peas (mushy if you like), bread and butter and a pot of tea for £9.50 all in. With the main dishes coming at £9.95 (haddock) and £10.95 (cod), the total saving can be up to £4.20.
There is an additional lunchtime offer for seniors when the regular “lite bite” option of small haddock and chips with a pot of tea (normally £6.50) is offered at £1 off between 1pm and 3.30pm.
I’ve qualified for the Over 60s option since the restaurant opened and I’m usually accompanied by a 50+ who has to pay full whack, so I’m silently smug that my golden age brings this benefit and usually share my bread and butter, but draw a line at that. Whippersnappers can buy their own cups of tea.