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Monday, 4 June 2012

The 2012 Challenge, Day 13: Tarfside to Fettercairn (8)

The Ramsay Arms Hotel is an impressive building to look at, and it displays the royal arms over the door to commemorate Queen Victoria's visit. However, it also closes between the hours of 4 and 6 in the afternoon ... and they don't think to publicise this fact. So I arrived just after 4, to find it completely deserted and nobody manning reception or answering the bell when I rang. A quick scout around, however, soon located the staff sunning themselves in the beer garden, and we were in business! The young man was happy to show me to my room, and as he is anxious to do a bit of serious walking himself he took a great interest in learning about the Challenge and everything to do with it, and in being shown my gear, what I chose to carry, and why.

Practical demonstrations over, I had a long, luxurious bath and then went for a pre-dinner stroll. By some strange magnetism, my stroll seemed to be drawn inexorably to the distillery ... and to my surprise the visitor centre was still open - although apparently this was only because they were stock-taking. They explained rather apologetically that although they could give me a tasting, they could not sell me anything, because they were outside the hours of their licence. I assured them that a tasting would be just fine, and so they served me with a very enjoyable dram.

Well, once I'd got the chore of whisky tasting out of the way, I returned to the Ramsay Arms for supper - and very good it was too! Indeed, the goat's cheese salad which I had for my starter was quite probably the most excellent goat's cheese dish I have ever eaten. And trust me, I have had a fair few of them!

I made a note that this was a hotel well worth returning to, and retired for the night.

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