Saturday, 16 April 2016

Scottish Independent Brewers gather at Clachaig

If a gathering of lions is referred to as a pride, and a group of baboons is a flange, what then do you think is the collective noun when a collective of Scottish Independent Brewers all find themselves in the same bar?

It would have been handy to know on Thursday (14th April), as that is exactly what happened at Clachaig Inn as a dozen of Scotland’s brewers came together for an informal gathering in Glencoe.  Organised by Clachaig, the idea was to bring together businesses who face very similar issues, but who rarely get to meet and chat.

There was plenty of time to share ideas and talk about the more serious aspects of the business. Unsurprisingly, there was even more time for more frivalous issues, as you might expect from a networking evening with the central theme (and refreshment) being beer.

The main feature of the evening was a blind taste test, with each of the brewers invited to provide one of their brews. Marks were awarded for each beer, with points awarded for appearance, aroma and taste. With the scores totted up, the award for the best beer of the evening was given to The Hector, a smooth sweet stout from An Teallach Ale Co. A special prize (not that special!) was awarded to Carlo from Black Wolf Brewery who was the only one to correctly identify his own beer!

Clachaig director, Guy Daynes, also ensured that there was a special wild card played in the blind tasting, by including his own elderberry stout. It didn’t come last is about all we can say about it!

Everyone was also invited to bring along a few presentation pack samples of their products for a raffle. A fair pile was gathered and with it being a steady night in the bars in midweek April, the chances of winning a prize were high! £210 was raised for Glencoe Mountain Rescue.

The Clachaig kitchen excelled once again with a smorgasbord of tasters from the menu, whilst the Loch Leven session musicians added to the atmosphere with their repertoire of toe tapping tunes.

All told the Clachaig Brewers' Gathering was a resounding success. Naturally, everyone was quite glad to have solved all the problems of the industry solved in one short evening (amazing what tasting a dozen beers can do for you). However, the real success of the evening was simply in bringing everyone together so that for one evening in the year at least there was an opportunity to simply meet up and chat.

An excellent evening and by all accounts one that we’ll have to repeat again.

We look forward to an interesting summer of ales, stouts, lagers and ciders…

Businesses represented included:

Cairngorm Brewery

The Isle of Skye Brewing Co

The Orkney Brewery

Loch Lomond Brewery

Loch Ness Brewery

River Leven Ales

The Cromarty Brewing Co

Black Wolf Brewery

Thistly Cross Cider

Harvistoun Brewery

Williams Brothers Brewing Co

An Teallach Ale Co (Last minute apologies sent)

Also present were

Gordon and Macphail – Whisky Merchants

Letterfinlay Foods

Total Beverage Solutions – Coffee Merchants

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Snow, Sunshine & Giant Wooly Mammoths - The story of Febfest 2016

There's something just a bit special about winter in Glencoe although we did have to survive storms Henry, Imogen & Jake before the weather finally settled down.

Storms, what storms?
We managed to un-batten the hatches just in time for our winter festival Febfest and whilst we were busy stocking up the whisky shelves some folk were out on the slopes or riding their bikes, lucky devils.
Cracking view
Ice, Ice baby!

With all this snow around it was no surprise that our Winter Safety Lecture series that ran throughout the month was well supported. Over the four weeks we welcomed over 300 folk to the lectures.
Opening night
These four evenings, delivered by qualified mountain guides, are a chance to refresh and learn about the skills and planning required before heading out into the mountains.
Top tips from the best

Having done this for some 31 years we felt it was time for a change of venue and with plenty room to spread out and roaring fires to add atmosphere the Boots bar was the obvious choice.

Room with a view
We never tire of looking for new cask and craft ales and this year we added 4 cask ciders and over 30 Scottish gins to our range.
is it your round?
We are extremely proud of our food and top marks to the kitchen brigade for producing an interesting and varied selection for the specials board as well as our revamped menu. Well done lads

local produce.......from New York?
Throughout the month our staff were busy selling tickets to anything that moved for our Big Winter Raffle. We had a shed load of prizes including 100 baby mammoths accompanied by their dad.

What do you mean 'it's too warm'
Stacks of beer, cider, whisky, Mammut holdalls, accommodation, gear, food and activity vouchers along with t-shirts galore were all up for grabs.

Sorry, Pool table out of action for a bit
So where did you get all the prizes?, who won what?, how much did you raise? Good questions.
Many thanks to our sponsor Mammut who, as well as throwing lots of goodies at us, also dig deep into their pockets to pay for the lecture series. But we couldn't do it without the support of our suppliers and local businesses who get right behind our fundraising efforts.

So a big 'Thank You' in no particular order to:

Mammut UK
Rich Pyne
Glencoe Independent Hostel
Letterfinlay Specialist Foods
Ice Factor
Cairngorm Brewery
Isle Of Skye Brewery
Thistly Cross Cider
Anteallach Brewery
Orkney Brewery
Gordon & Macphail
Alex Roddie - Epic author
Karl from Glencoe Photographic for taking the snaps
Kristin, Will & Liam for assisting with the draw

Special thanks to the lecturers:
Andy Nelson
Davy Gunn
Andy Spink
Rich Pyne

We are still counting the pennies but we have raised over £1000 so far.

And now for the Winners!
Mammut Goodie bag

Well done Ryan

'I'm gonna look cool in this hoodie'

Just what Sergio needed 'another t-shirt'

'I can't believe my luck' says J

Rich Pyne with his latest victim, eh!,client Jim

No favouritism here then Will, party at yours?

Jeff now has a better shirt for under his fleece

Looks like Stuart will be staying local next time

All proceeds from our fundraising efforts throughout February will go to Mountain Safety Initiatives

Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team in action

Thanks to all our customers and guests for parting with their hard earned cash and we look forward to doing it all again next year. 

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Christmas Day Santa Swim

What better way to work up an appetite for all that roast turkey and Christmas pud than to start Christmas Day with a quick swim in Loch Leven?

Okay, so it's perhaps not everyone's cup of tea. But 9 hardy souls did just that at the inaugral Ballachulish Santa Swim on Christmas Morning. 

Taking a quick break from tearing open the presents, and pausing before getting stuck into the mince pies, the cheap brandy and the Queen's Speech, swimmers met at the Isles of Glencoe in Ballachulish.

The water was a balmy 5.6 degrees. Big respect to those testing the water without the aid of a wet suit! No doubt they went home to warm their chestnuts by the open fire.

A handful of locals can be found taking to the loch on a regular basis, mostly around Ballachulish and occasionally near Kinlochleven. If you fancy joining them look them up on their Facebook group.

Or maybe get yourself an entry for the Glencoe Open Water Swim in August. At least the water should be a little bit warmer by then!

Hot chocolate all round

Friday, 11 December 2015

Clachaig Winter Mountain Safety Lectures 2016

Dates for the 2016 series of the Clachaig Winter Mountain Safety Lectures have now been confirmed. Running on Tuesday nights throughout. February, the lectures are presented by local mountain professionals and look at various aspects of planning your day out in relation to staying as safe as possible.

Thanks to the sponsorship by Mammut UK, the lectures are Free Entry. Starting at 8pm the lectures move to the Boots Bar for a new venue this year.

Read more about the history of the series on the GlencoeScotland web site here. You'll also find full details of each lecture on the What's On listings for February.

Make a note in your diary, tell your friends,... If you'd like some posters in jpg or pdf format get in touch with us at Clachaig and provide an email address.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Reasons to be cheerful - Febfest 2015

Skiing in 'the' Buff
February is one of our favourite months here at Clachaig. The winter helps, of course, sub-zero temperatures bring hardy axe wielding climbers, fresh snow brings boarders & skiers and our winter beer festival brings just about everyone else. This year it would be fair to say that we experienced a mixture of weather conditions from crisp blue skies to wet and windy days with temperatures high enough to dine alfresco, albeit in your thermals.

Thanks for the award CAMRA
For those in the know Febfest is so much more than just a beer festival, although we never miss an opportunity to fill our cellar with award winning beers.

Pie and a pint anyone?
During the four week celebrations we host regular live music sessions along with Quiz nights
Whisky/Gin/Vodka Tasting Masterclasses, Weekly Prize Raffles and Winter Mountain Safety Lectures. Add some tasty accommodation deals, excellent grub and the largest range of cask and craft ales this side of the Pennines to the mix and it’s easy to see why this time of the year is so popular.

go on, have another dram
The weekly raffle

Whisky & good company. What else do you need?
This year our Winter Mountain Safety Lecture Series celebrated it’s 30th anniversary and with numbers topping the 100 mark on two of the four nights it looks like it could roll on for another 30 years. By our reckoning over 350 folk attended the series.
Eyes down for a full house
Airbag demo
Mammut shop @ Clachaig
Once again we were joined by Nevisport who set up a Mammut stall in our residents lounge to allow for leisurely browsing during the lecture break. Many thanks to all who attended and in particular the lecturers Mike Pescod, David ‘Heavy’ Whalley, Richard Bentley and Davy Gunn who educated, enlightened and entertained those present. 

The Big Winter Raffle is now very much a part of our Febfest celebrations here at Clachaig and this year the swag fund was the largest to date with some 40 individual prizes
Mammut's contribution to our prize fund
We are very grateful to Mammut who continue to sponsor the Clachaig Winter Mountain Safety Lecture series and also dig deep into their pockets to provide some great prizes.
Huge thanks also to the many local businesses and accommodation providers that have also chipped in and made it all possible.

Thank you, in no particular order, to:


Trail Magazine

Glencoe Mountain Resort

Letterfinlay Foods (Fort William)

Glencoe Independent Hostel

Gordon and Macphail (whisky merchants)

Kinlochlaich Garden Centre

Clachaig Inn

Vertical Descents

Claymore Filling Station

NTS Glencoe

Thistly Cross Cider

Lewis Hamilton (The Band)

Edencoille B and B

Ice Factor Kinlochleven

Craiglinnhe House

Nevisport (Fort William)

Sea Xplorer

Tomatin Distillery

Cairngorm Brewery

Perception Chocolates

Sinclair Brewery
Loch Ness Brewery

Wallaces Express
Glencoe Photography

So, how much did we raise?
Total raised this year £2,335.78
And where does the money go?  

The money is split 50/50 between Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team and the Transceiver Park at Glencoe Mountain.
Always ready when called upon
Training Park Glencoe Mountain
But we couldn’t raise all this money without our guests and customers who year after year part with the contents of their wallets at every turn, so your generosity is noted, and very gratefully accepted. 
Thank you for your support. 
Want to see some happy prize winners?
You'll never get lost with this Transceiver (or that shirt)
Ready for the trip
another winner roped in
No more camping for me, I'm upgrading
Fashion icon
nothing beats your neighbour winning a bottle of whisky
some great tunes from Lewis Hamilton
should have gone to specsavers
Rucksack stuffed with goodies - thanks Trail Magazine
Well that's about it for another year folks. Big shout out and high fives all round to our hard working staff, who spent the whole of February selling raffle tickets to anything that moved. Not least of whom is our Alfie who sold countless tickets and is crowned this year’s King of the Raffle who was joined by his Queen, Erin, on the final night.
drummers eye view

remind me how to lower this mic?
And finally, a very special thank you to our mistress of ceremonies, Shauna. 
A job well done. 
See you again next year.