Fife Stories and Tips

Hillwalking up Fionn Bhienn

A Munro Photo, Fife, Scotland

I have climbed my first Munro, Fionn Bhienn. Yay! Alan's father was doing his last (there are 284 of them in Scotland), and so he invited Alan and I to climb it along with him and the 8-Mile High Mountaineering Club. On a sorry note, all the middle-aged men beat me to the top, as did an 84-year-old!!! At the top of the hill, we all drank whisky and Cava to celebrate.

However, the real excitement of the trip turned out to be at the Aultguish Inn -- the landlord is a complete nutter! The night we arrived, Alan’s parents fell out with him within minutes about having the dog along with us (apparently, in spite of his inn being very dog friendly as per the website, it is actually only dog friendly in two of the many rooms). Then, while we're eating dinner, the guy asks me if we're the Rannoch Mountaineering Club. . . well, no. It turns out he double booked the entire place.

Then, when one of the Rannoch guys arrives and is looking around the car park, the guy decides he's too close to the private area. The landlord accuses the poor guy of trespassing, the guy says he's got a booking, the landlord tells him to piss off, and the guys says to give him back his deposit. Next thing you know, the landlord is pushing the guy, who ends up calling the police, threatening to charge the landlord with assault!!!

The next night, after the hillwalking, we're in the pub having dinner/drinks and get told we are being too loud -- before 9pm! Then one guy who is singing away gets told he's cut off, and if the rest of us want to continue to drink we have to move to the function room. Which we start to do, when Alan’s mum has an argument with the guy and we all get thrown out of the pub! So, the party had to continue in the rooms of the bunkhouse, but apparently this club comes well prepared, as they had a ton of booze.

Munro bagging is a big thing in Scotland, and I must say while I like a bit of hiking, the Scottish tendency to hike only up inclines is a bit tiring.

The guy sent a letter to the Mountaineering Council of Scotland claiming that we caused damage to the bunkhouse (total lie) and were irresponsibly getting drunk on the hill and putting the lives of volunteer rescue services at risk. He actually likened us to drunk drivers in his letter, which is funny 'cause only a small amount of alcohol was consumed at the top of the hill, we had been at another pub before returning to the Aultguish, and obviously there were enough sober people to drive who hadn't had anything. In fact, I had all of one drink and a sip of whisky in the entire evening. So I got kicked out of a pub sober!!!

The council sent a letter to the 8-Mile High Club saying that they need to answer these charges because the landlord claims we put the name of the council in disrepute. His words, I kid you not.

Alan managed to track down the other club that had a problem with him on the Internet, so they were contacted and got involved. And a teacher at the school Alan’s dad works at had had a separate run in with the guy. It all worked out in the end and the landlord has since sold the pub. Presumably it’s safe to stay there again!

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