The tiny village of Glenuig on the Moidart peninsula on the west coast of Scotland might be just 8 miles off the ‘Road to the Isles’ but it is a million miles away from the tour coaches, selfie sticks and rushing traffic.
This is the real west coast, with rocky inlets, ever-changing light, and far more sheep than people. There isn’t much in Glenuig, a charming porta-cabin village shop, a community satellite (there is no 3g or wifi) and the Glenuig Inn, perched right on the edge of the bay.
Little has changed since the roads and electricity finally reached Glenuig in the 1980s. That is, apart from the Glenuig Inn. Fully refurbished 10 years ago to be an exemplary green business and brought into the 21st century, it now divides opinion. What makes a great traditional Scottish inn? What makes a bar both for the local’s and for those who wish to see Scotland at its best?
Across the country, for every renowned (but charmingly ramshackle) pub with a good ‘craic’ there are plenty more dark and dingy ‘locals’ bars with sticky floors, a solitary tap selling mass-produced lager and four eyes staring at you from the bar when you walk in. One of which is the dog. Scotland has amazing local and small-batch products which its Inn, shops, and hotels should celebrate. Time needs to move on and thankfully there are places like the Glenuig Inn which are trying to do something different.
Inside, the Glenuig Inn is fighting a one pub battle against Co2 and other nasties. Behind the bar, the wines are all organic, the beers and ciders are all Scottish and on hand pump and the soft drinks and snacks, all additive free. There are no keg taps or packets of crisps here. The drinks might be priced as keenly as Edinburgh or Glasgow but when the offerings are as good as this, I believe you get what you pay for.
As for the restaurant, it is fashionable these days to have seasonal, local and sustainable on your menu (as well as dairy, gluten and every other free) but to really go for it, in an area as remote as Glenuig, well that is laudable. The Glenuig Inn has an ever-changing seasonal menu (chalked up on a blackboard) but you might find venison or hot smoked salmon (also served with eggs at breakfast) from the Inn’s own smokery and Lochaber lamb and Kintyre mussels on the menu. My sticky and succulent pork belly main was a highlight of 2017 so far – and great value for such quality cooking.
However, it the Inn’s location on the Sound of Arisaig that really sold it to me it as the perfect Inn. Outside the pub is a beer garden sitting right on the water. Whatever the weather you will find yourself drawn outside from the cosy wood burners in the bar, just to sit for a few minutes watching the bobbing boats, lapping waves and that changing light the west coast does so well… I found the stress of the long drive and over-worked mind just slipping away.
It’s rare to find somewhere with such a perfect mix of traditional and modern Scotland. As we sat at the bar late into the night we discovered that lots of people have come to Glenuig and never leave, I can see why. Haste me back to the west coast, please!
Love, from Scotland x
Good to know:
The Inn prefers personal contact rather than big booking sites, so you can only book directly with The Glenuig Inn
There is a kayak centre and moorings on site.
FYI I was not compensated for this post.