Monday, January 10, 2011

Pretty Plockton (or) Now I'm a sk8r boi

We caught the train across to Plockton this weekend just gone. Some of you may recognise Plockton as 'Loch Dubh' from the Hamish Macbeth TV series. Let me tell you, and I know you will, that this place is simply gorgeous.

A single line of cottages face the harbour - their subtle colours painting a very pretty picture. I was chastised for almost completely depleting the camera's batteries within an hour of arrival. It was one of those weekends where you wished you could record every blinking view, whether that be on the train journey across stunning landscapes, of the beauty of Plockton and its surrounding walks, or of the local characters - who were charming hosts.

'Angry Arras' Roddie (left) and James '26'
A couple of local lads even invited me to play darts with them. One of them even let me win.

Check out the weathered ol' dart board.

Aiming for the lipstick was like driving in the fog. The proprietor apologised, saying he had a new board waiting to be delivered or something, but I wouldn't change this for the world. What's the point in giving up your home board advantage? Oh, they also had one of these little beauties:

A brilliant little machine you use to count down your score. The club could use a few of these. Speaking of the club, Plockton also contributes to my expanding series of Scottish bowls clubs. This may provide enough fodder for a future blog post, so here's Plockton's to set the scene and get us started.

There was even more snow and ice covering it on day 2.

We stayed at the Plockton Inn, which was marvellous. Truth be told we likely would have stayed at the Plockton Hotel had it not been closed for holidays, but we remain delighted with our choice of the Plockton Inn. The staff were friendly and the atmosphere was lovely. The food was also top notch. I tried Skate for the first time. No, April Lavigne was not playing over the speakers (Simon and Garfunkle were, but that's another story), but the locally caught (and, the menu assures, underated) fish was intriguing and delicious. If you're the kind of person who struggles to negotiate a fish and bones and the rest, try skate. It's fish eating for beginners 1.01. Check it out:

It looks like the wing of an aeroplane. Those are capers dotted across it. Now, all you have to do is scrape or peel the flesh from the thick part of the wing down. Ingenious.

You can see in the foreground how easily the meat lifts from the frame of bone until... are left with the remaining 'flat' of bone. Flip it over and do the same to the other side. Magic. And really, very tasty - with a texture similar to swordfish, only stringier (in a good way).

The only kinda downer or weirdness of the weekend was Crappy Castle, oh I mean Duncraig Castle. It looks thoroughly majestic across the harbour from Plockton, however the slippery when wet walk rewards you with a feeling of 'meh'. There is a prefabricated college dormitory type structure attached to the right which just looks wrong. The whole place appeared to be closed for renovations. Let's hope the first renovation is to demolish this tacked-on wing. Added to that disappointment, half of the estate is marked 'PRIVATE - NO ADMITTANCE', so there is no chance of getting around to the front of the Castle (if you can still call it that) to get a view from the harbour. Damnit!

We also failed to visit the town closest to the castle. A town called Craig. Now wasn't that a shocking bit of itinerary fail?

I assure you, dear readers, that the stories are building, the experiences are building up, and that I promise to update you all again shortly.



Terry said...

Sheena's handwriting is definitely better than yours, Craig, and the view was splendid... I'd like to have seen your "comedy slips" (which aren't funny when it's you doing them)... now email me your postal address so I can send you a Melbourne postcard to remind you of days now long past.

Tones said...

So you've gone to Scotland so you can hang out at bowls clubs to play darts?

Talk about a seachange.

QB said...

No itinerary fail there - was unnecessary - you are a town unto yourself ;)