The drive from Isle of Skye to Ballachulish is almost as pretty as the drive from Orkney to Isle of Skye, with fewer one lane roads.  It does have more traffic as it is an easy day trip from Inverness.  Many scenes from movies have been filmed in the area and you can truly get a feel for Scotland along the way.  We stop at the Commando Memorial dedicated to WWII commandos who gave their lives in service to their country. The setting is just beautiful as it sits in a valley where the commandos trained with views of Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Scotland.

Our stop for the night is a local hotel in Ballachulish and we get the usual warning about what to expect and some mention of squeaky steps, “but they are quit safe actually” comment doesn’t reassure us.  We are also warned that the street in front of the hotel is quite busy and several tourists a year get struck by vehicles (some don’t survive), so we shouldn’t cross the street.  The guide looks at Gene and I and said, “You two, stick to the golf course if you are going to walk tonight.”  Since it was raining, Gene and I decide to take the night off and stay in the hotel.

We are told that there is another tour group staying at the hotel and “they are not playing nice,” so our dinner would be delayed by half an hour.  Gene grabs our keys (yes, actual keys on a wooden key chain) and looks hopefully at me saying, “Maybe room 207 is on the second floor?”  No such luck.  It is on the third floor.  .  Gene and I have decided that we keep getting rooms on the third floor because we are the second youngest couple on the tour and we are being punished for eating sausage every day.

This is about the time we hear a horrible noise as our traveling companions head up the stairs in search of their rooms.  As Gene and I join them, I’m getting nervous about the stairs supporting all of us at once.  Even the stairs seem to be nervous as they groan so loudly that you can’t carry on a conversation while ascending.  I would whisper to Gene that I think the stairs are haunted, but I would have to yell to be heard.  Of course we need to conserve your breath because it is going to be a long, steep climb.  Gene and I climb up two flights only to be met with an additional mini flight just outside of our room. We both groan.

I cautiously open our door to see what our room looks like and I am pleasantly surprised.  Of course my standards have been lowered to the point that a basic US motel would seem like a luxury at this point.  Our room is huge, and has a large bathroom, and we have a view.  The bathroom does have a wooden floors, but the shower seems like something from this century. While there aren’t any outlets in the bathroom, there is a blow dryer mounted to the wall in the bedroom hall with a 12x12 inch mirror hung on the wall nearby.  I can make this work!

As we head down to dinner, the stairs groaning loudly, we run across the staff distributing bags on the floor beneath us.  They look up as we go by and I whisper, “shhh” as I go by.  They laugh.  Dinner was quite good, but I thought I would have to sit by myself at a table as I was the only one to order pate.  It was good.  Very good, so everyone else lost.