It was on the glorious road through Glencoe that we continued a rather hazy tradition prevalent amongst motor-homers – a brief, friendly acknowledging wave of camaraderie as we pass one another in opposite directions. On this particular occasion, however, we inadvertently also locked antlers with our opposite number since, as we passed, either one, other or both of us must have drifted too close to the centre line, so in tandem with our cheery greeting, there was a god-awful split-second crash and our exterior driving mirror deteriorated into a glazed mosaic of shattered reflections while the hefty housing flapped limp and broken in the gale-force headwind hanging like a shattered limb.
Bugger! Lacking anywhere to effectively stop and being momentarily rear-view blinded, it was impossible to see if and how the other driver had reacted – or if it was safe to stop – so we just ploughed on, at least as far as the next available layby, into which we pulled to inspect the damage. By this stage, our backwards view was already obscured by yet more breath-taking scenery, and we were probably already over a mile apart. With little option but to assume a knock-for-knock neutrality – and barely able to stand upright in the storm-force strength of a chilling easterly wind on this otherwise bright and beautiful spring day, we managed to mummify the broken armature and carapace with swathes of insulating tape. The fragmented mirror was stuck back into its housing so as to retain a degree of rear-view vision, despite this now having the effect of peering through a vibrating stained-glass window, and we resumed the journey.
The Bridge of Orchy Hotel eventually presented itself as a nerve-calming pit-stop, where we decided to treat ourselves to a light lunch. Sadly, given the Hotel’s imposing location as the gateway to Glencoe and to some of the most uplifting, awe-inspiring scenery Scotland has to offer, its menu choice was far from uplifting nor inspiring of any awe. The gastronomically challenged offer of Cheese & Tomato Sandwich (note Capitalisation, and allegedly on a choice of bread) languished amongst other unimaginative choices. Yes, OK, served with chips for a tenner, but really? Even the ubiquitous Cock-a-leekie soup, a sighting of haggis or a sniff of locally smoked salmon would have lifted the mood a little. Well done then, Bridge of Orchy Hotel – what a disappointingly unimaginative appetiser to the tastes of the Highlands for any dining tourists headed north.