Posted by: Ian | October 24, 2012

JOGLE accommodation

Between John O’Groats and Land’s End I made ten overnight stops. I found my B&B’s, guest houses and hotels at short notice, booking them around a week before I set off, on pannier.cc and tripadvisor. At each one I had a comfortable bed; a hot, acceptable shower; a hearty meal in the evening, either at the place itself or nearby; and a full cooked breakfast. At most of them I could dry wet clothes. The only factor that mattered much to me that was very variable was the quality of available phone and internet connectivity.

Here’s some facts and an assessment of each place:

1. Tongue. The Bothy B&B.

This was a lovely place. The only downside was that dinner at Tongue Hotel was uninspiring. To be fair, the owners had recommended the other pub in Tongue but I felt inappropriately attired. (This was before I’d come to realise that sartorial standards can be far more relaxed than I often assume.)

This is my 3= choice.

2. Drumnadrochit. Greenlea B&B.

This was another good B&B with decent food at Fiddlers just along the road. On the down side, to get O2 phone coverage I had to leave the house and stand in the rain.

3. Connel Ferry, near Oban. Falls of Lora Hotel.

I wrote about this on my post the following day. I had my worst room, smallest breakfast and the second worst drying facilities here but I’d return for the charm of the place. It was also very convenient to be able to have dinner in the hotel.

4. Largs. Glendarroch B&B.

The room was on the cosy side but all was fine. I wouldn’t go back though because if I ever re-JOGLE I’ll avoid Largs.

5. Dumfries. Hamilton House.

Everything about this guesthouse was ideal. The only fault I can find is that the Italian restaurant up the road (which I’d also recommend) would be a bit far to get to in the rain given only one set of evening clothes. Having said that, the owner did lend me a brolly against the light drizzle and also offered to drive me there.

This is my 1= choice.

6. Shap. King’s Arms.

I also wrote a little about this Inn on my Day 6 post. Everything was fine, the owner couldn’t have been friendlier and I had a very nice pork shank in the bar for dinner. But it lacked charm and if I return to Shap I’ll try somewhere else.

7. Haydock. The Holiday Inn.

I may be wrong but it seems that one of the challenges of JOGLE is how least painfully to traverse the wide concrete belt around Merseyside. I couldn’t, in my short planning window, find an acceptable-looking B&B or guesthouse anywhere for miles and miles around. With the Holiday Inn you know exactly what you’re going to get. I can overlook the sterility more easily than the at-cost wifi and the lack of radiators in the room (a trouser press is not a real alternative for drying wet bike gear). However, I have little confidence that I would find a better alternative within a wide radius, even if I had much more time.

8. Bishop’s Castle. The Poppy House.

This was also generally fine. Bishop’s Castle, sweet though it is, has no phone network coverage other than Orange for miles around, I’m told – certainly I had to travel far to get an O2 signal. This meant that the unusable weakness of the promised wifi signal in the room was more inconvenient than it otherwise would have been. (I had to sit on the stairs to get connected.) Even so, I’d be very happy to stay here again.

9. Mark, Shropshire. Burnt House Farm.

This was another ideal B&B. There was a mix-up over the booking that I’ll concede was 50% my fault but once this was resolved (luckily they had a free room) there was nothing else to fault. As at Hamilton House, The White Horse was perhaps a little further to walk to dinner than you’d like if you needed to do it in hammering rain but the food there again hit the spot.

This is my other 1= choice.

10. Postbridge. Lydgate House Hotel.

This hotel provided the most picturesque of all my stays. The room was small but otherwise the only disappointment was that I couldn’t get a cooked breakfast before 8:00. Instead, I was given a packed lunch that I ate as breakfast in my room. Tea and scones on arrival were very welcome. Dinner was at the East Dart Hotel, 500 yards away from the hotel.

This is my other 3= choice.

For context, here’s where I slept the night before The Bothy in Tongue:

Inverness Sleeper

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