Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Glenelg Inn

The Glenelg Inn has been through a few changes in its time.

The present establishment, as pictured above (from the east), is the third incarnation of the Glenelg Inn - or Glenelg Hotel as it used to be called - and is, in fact, just the stable block of the two previous incarnations. The first of these is pictured below (from the south west) in a postcard which bears a 1903 postmark:-

This is the building I've marked "Hotel" on the 1875 Ordnance Survey 6 inch scale map below. The present day Inn is the stable block behind it (to the north):-

At some point around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, the hotel was extended to the west as seen in the following picture - the building in the postcard above is the lower wing to the right.

The Glenelg Hotel burnt down in 1947 with the only trace remaining being the floor tiles of the entrance porch which it's still possible to see in the car park of the present day inn - well, you could still see them when I was last there in the early 90s: I hope they've been preserved and if anyone can add a photograph or confirm or deny, please leave a comment.

The present day Glenelg Inn gets rave reviews on Tripadvisor but it was not always so. When Johnson and Boswell passed through Glenelg in 1773, Johnson had this to say about the inn they found there after a particularly trying day's journey crossing the Mam Ratagan on horseback:-

At last we came to our inn weary and peevish, and began to inquire for meat and beds. Of the provisions the negative catalogue was very copious. Here was no meat, no milk, no bread, no eggs, no wine. ... Whisky we might have, and I believe at last they caught a fowl and killed it.

But if the bar supper was a disappointment, the bedroom at the Glenelg was worse:-

We were now to examine our lodging. Out of one of the beds, on which we were to repose, started up at our entrance, a man black as a Cyclops from the forge. Other circumstances of no elegant recital concurred to disgust us. ... Sleep, however, was necessary. Our highlanders [servants] had at last found some hay, with which the inn could not supply them. I ... slept upon it in my riding coat. Mr Boswell being more delicate, laid himself sheets with hay over and under him, and lay in linen like a gentleman.

Boswell's account of the Glenelg Inn was scarcely less uncomplimentary:-

A maid shewed us up stairs into a room damp and dirty, with bare walls, a variety of bad smells, a coarse black greasy fir table, and forms of the same kind ... This inn was furnished with not a single article that we could either eat or drink.

The Glenelg Inn today

1 comment:

  1. Chris Main Glenelg Inn owner and Innkeeper for many years has recently joined twitter as @RestlessNative2

    In addition to his daily Glenelg weather updates, photographs and wit he has some interesting tales to tell, 140 characters at a time. He was once bitten by one of Gavin Maxwell's otters, Edal.