Monday, October 14, 2019

MENU's UK Adventure 7. From Mallaig via Oban to Rhu, Glasgow and south to England

The next stage of our expedition was to Rhu (also known as Helensburgh on the Clyde), one of Scotland's top 10 seaside resorts. We were to travel via Oban at the express instruction and advice from several people both in SA and in the UK who said "we must NOT miss it". So we didn't

Oban is a small seaside resort with a perfect horseshoe bay, which grew up around the distillery
and was made famous by Sir Walter Scott in his poem The Lord of the Isles 
Our task and we did decide to accept it, was to locate the Green Shack, which lurks on the dockside at the Ferry Terminal, and have some lunch there. Parking is a bit of a problem but we found some behind the ferry port and walked into town. And it was a Chinese tourist who directed us; he was also rushing there 
We had imagined a restaurant looking slightly louche, but no - it actually is a green shack containing only cooking equipment, cooks and huge amounts of seafood. The tables are these sawn slices of tree trunk upon which you place your takeaway and usually stand as there is not much space to sit. And it is probably the most popular place in Oban. Why? 
You look at the menu on the wall, stand in a queue, get your spouse to hunt for a space on the 'table' while you place your order and wait for it. And yes, it was raining lightly.. This is Scotland; it is green and lush and it rains
As you can see, the seats are fairly non functional, unless you are 2.5 metres tall
And while they don't have a loo (the railway station does) they do have a very necessary hand wash facility with multilingual instructions 
Now, how to choose and what choices there are; these are just a few.  Give up with the translating of Pounds back into your own currency, just look at the plates coming out of the kitchen. Very cheap coffee and tea for the UK too. Should have had the crab sandwich, the price doubled down south in Cornwall
Piles of fresh oysters just waiting to be shucked 
Extraordinarily good fresh plump mussels
Crab and Lobster
Lynne had been longing for a good crab. We never see these in the Cape
Pa and son tuck in, Mum had gone shopping instead
Our order was, of course, the famous Seafood Platter for two at £32.50. A complete steal. On top, two superbly sweet seared scallops in garlic butter; beneath, a lobster, hot smoked salmon, crab claws, peeled prawns, calamari, cockles, langoustine and more mussels than we could finish. Served with bread and butter, a tartar sauce, a sweet chilli sauce, lemon and Tabasco. You eat with your fingers or a mussel shell and get wonderfully involved. It was scrumptious. GO TO OBAN!, if you go to Scotland. Do not miss this. There are other places to eat seafood there, but none as good and as generous as this. Only one thing was missing: a glass of Chenin blanc would have been enjoyed!
Watching a young gull celebrating his flying skills after lunch
The gulls were about hoping for anything dropped, but they didn’t bother us. We saw lots of young Herring Gulls
John went to see the Oban Distillery while Lynne did some shopping. 
Had a look inside at what was on offer. One can nose the whiskies free of charge. With this long drive, no tasting
Ouch! Prices of whisky in Scotland are very scary for South Africans. R1850 per bottle
We don’t have the nearly 50% duty the Scots have and so can buy it for much less here
Fishing boats in the harbour alongside the Green Shack, waiting to go out to get more
John spotted this lovely Labrador in the harbour; they love water. He swam from one side of the small bay to the other
The ferry and the hill behind. It must be a lovely place to live. Well, in the summer....
Off to the Isles
Our AirBnB accommodation in Rhu. Our friendly and helpful landlord was the local fire chief and we invited him to come and visit Cape Town in our summer fire season. With global warming and the recent serious forest fires in Europe, the Scottish fire service is getting training on how to deal with forest fires now; they do have many forests. Our apartment was the two windows in front of the cars. To get here, you pass the famous Gareloch Naval base
This is very close to Glasgow, perhaps half an hour's drive and Glaswegians come here to relax
Lynne had heard many happy stories of family holidays in this region
Loch Lomond is just over the hill and a very short drive away. We went, we saw, we went home. It was wet
OK it did stop for a while and we could just see the other side. We sat and ate our lunch in the car
Balloch Castle is on the other side of the loch; we thought, if we get a sunny day .....
But we didn’t, so after two nights in Rhu we were off to visit Glasgow, Lynne's mother and her family's home town
Sadly, no family is left there anymore
What to do in Glasgow on a sunny day? Visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
It is in one of the many spectacular Victorian public buildings in Glasgow, which has many art galleries
There is a large eclectic collection in this Museum. Here is an early hill climb car with two engines. Behind it an exhibition of fashion through the ages
It is a really magnificent building with such power and presence
There is a huge pipe organ at the end of the main hall. Entry is free and they depend on donations
Queuing for a welcome cup of tea; museums always make one thirsty
The Café is famous because Rennie McIntosh designed it
and you can still see some of the  original chairs, walls, panels and other embellishments in the Museum 
Lots of quirky exhibits
including a Spitfire, hung over Elephants and a Giraffe
and sadly, just as we headed upstairs to see some very famous paintings, we were told the museum was closing. Time goes so fast when you are having fun
so we headed off to our AirBnB apartment for the night. Third story, the balcony to the right
Comfortable lounge, well equipped kitchen
and a nice bedroom. But sadly no hot water at all. We were just there for the night before heading off to England for our next stop in the Lake District
But that is a story for next week…
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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