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The Old Forge at Inverie in the Rough Bounds of Knoydart is noted as the 'remotest pub in Scotland'. It's on the western seaboard of Scotland. Actually, it's not really a very long boat trip from Mallaig (around seven miles). It's a very scenic voyage. You can also walk in - quite a bit longer over serious ground. There are no driveable roads into Inverie and the Old Forge along the waterfront. But as ever in Scotland, remoteness is a state of mind as much as a physical barrier in such a small country. Oh, and Inverie is a good base for climbing the big hills of Knoydart. Here's one way to climb Ladhar Bheinn.
This is just a moment I'll always remember, one day, some years ago sitting outside the Old Forge pub on a warm July day....
Outside the Old Forge, Inverie, Knoydart. On a wooden picnic table. Outside the pub, overlooking the bay. It's about lunchtime. (Actually, it was 2 o'clock.)
A waitress leaves a bowl of mussels in front of the male customer. Camera gear, binoculars etc clutter the table
He: 'Mmm. Thanks. These look good.'
He proceeds to eat heartily, dipping his bread in the cooking liqueur. Suddenly there is a commotion from the other tables and general noises of 'Ooh. Look. There they are.' Arms are raised, pointing to a disturbance in the calm waters around the yachts moored offshore.
She: 'Wow, that must be a dolphin. Did you see it?'
He. 'These are so good. Hmm. Lovely. What? No. it'll be a harbour porpoise. Pass the bread.'
She. 'Do you want your camera?'
He: 'No, the bread. So fresh - the mussels.'
She: 'Wooh, there they are again. I really think they're dolphins.'
He: 'Really excellent. Better than any city restaurant.'
She: 'Dont you want to photograph them?'
He: 'No, I've eaten half of them already'
She: (patience wearing thin but determined to be tolerant) 'No, I meant the dolphins.'
He: 'What? Oh, I suppose I ought to. But I don't want these to get cold.'
She: (now slightly impatiently but not enough to spoil the mood) 'Just give me the camera then.'
He: 'Sure, help yourself. You'll need the long lens. Hmm. Wonder how they've cooked these? Garlic. Splash of white wine, I suppose.
She: (muffled voice, with eye on viewfinder) 'Will you shut up about the mussels and shout if you see a splash out there.'
He: 'Oh, right-oh. There's one now'.
She: 'Missed it. Wait, think I might have got one. Someone's just said they're common dolphins.'
He: 'Can't see what's common about them when everyone's making such a fuss. Anyway, you can watch dolphins anytime, but mussels like these you don't see everyday. I should have taken a picture of them.'
The dolphins splash and play around for a while, before leaving the bay, slightly miffed that they have played second fiddle to a plateful of bivalves. The couple order coffee and continue to stare at the view.
She: ' I did take a photo of your lunch..okay, it was with my wee camera that doesn't have your fancy settings. Next time I'll try to get the mussels and the dolphins in the pic at the same moment.'
More on dolphins here - the famous bottle nose dolphins of the Moray Firth. It would be unfair to avoid reporting that there were - in this wild and adventurous part of Scotland - the relentless predator sometimes known as the Old Forge Inverie midge Nevertheless, let's not be over-dramatic here.There are ways and means of coping with them.
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Scotland in Three Days