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A few weeks ago I was up in Scotland for a few days to explore the beautiful Wester Ross region. While I was there, I stayed at the Kinlochewe Hotel and discovered that it’s the perfect place to base yourself for a few days of adventuring.
A Place for Walkers and Munro Baggers
As the name suggests, the Kinlochewe Hotel is in the pretty village of Kinlochewe and sits in the shadow of some pretty incredible mountains. Close to the Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve and within easy reach of the Torridon Hills, the Kinlochewe Hotel is perfectly placed for those who want to spend a few days out walking in this stunning landscape. And with Loch Maree nearby – a loch often referred to as one of the most picturesque in Scotland – it’s easy to see why people return to this area again and again.
The hotel is geared toward walkers and has a rich history when it comes to those who love to explore the mountains. Hugh Munro himself stayed in the hotel back in 1899 and 1900 and now, over 100 years later this hotel has become a favourite amongst those looking to tick the nearby Munros off their peak-bagging list. And if you have no clue what I mean by that, let me explain. Hugh Munro is now a legendary mountaineer and his explorations of the Scottish mountain led to all of the mountains over 3000 ft being collectively known as the ‘Munros’. Nowadays, a popular pastime amongst hikers and mountaineers is to tick off the list of Munros by reaching the summits of each. And seeing as there are a grand total of 282 of those mountains, this is an impressive achievement for those that complete the list.
The hotel is well geared for walkers and there are some thoughtful touches. As well as the normal hotel accommodation (which we’ll talk about in just a minute), there is also a bunkhouse attached to the hotel, offering budget accommodation for walkers and climbers. This houses up to 12 guests and there is a kitchen facility within, as well as showers and a drying room. Inside the hotel, there are some great touches, such as the ‘Heading for the Hills’ form which you can complete each morning, informing the hotel staff where you are heading, which route you are taking and what time you are expected back – a form that could be life-saving if something were to go wrong during your adventures. And you can even order a packed lunch from the hotel, so you will be well-fuelled for your treks into the mountains.
The hotel has a range of rooms available. Double, single and twin rooms, as you’d expect. Most of the rooms are ensuite or have a private bathroom, but there are also a couple of economy rooms with shared bathrooms too. I stayed in a double room with an ensuite bathroom and have no complaints whatsoever about the nights’ sleep that I got. Maybe it was the long days of walking in the mountains that wore me out, or maybe it was going to bed with a belly full of great food that put me to sleep, but either way, I slept for a full 11 hours on my first night in the hotel. It’s pretty rare that that happens.
Food and Drink
If you’re spending your days walking up steep hills and mountains, you will be burning a fair amount of calories in the process. So a good meal when you get back is a must. Fortunately, the Kinlochewe Hotel has a great restaurant that serves simple, seasonal meals using local produce. I stayed at the hotel for two nights. On the first evening, I had lamb with potatoes and seasonal veg. It was great, the lamb was cooked to perfection and I had no complaints.
But it was the meal that I had on the second evening that sticks in my memory. I’d spent the day in the mountains, attempting to reach the summits of two Munros in the Beinn Eighe range. Unfortunately, I’d had to turn back before the summits due to poor weather and visibility. So when I arrived back at the hotel I was freezing cold, soaked to the skin and a little bit frustrated with the change of plan. After a hot shower, I headed down to the restaurant for dinner and chose the locally sourced venison casserole. I’m not sure that I’ve ever had a meal that has worked so well in helping me recover from a soggy day in the hills. It was absolutely delicious and was everything a tired hiker needs. Writing this now, I’m almost tempted to drive the 10+ hour drive back to Scotland for another bowl.
If you’ve had a hot meal after a long day of adventuring, you probably want something to wash it down with. The Kinlochewe Hotel has a very impressive collection of around 130 different whiskies from all over Scotland, and an impressive selection of Scottish gins too. The friendly staff will happily talk you through the choices too, and make recommendations based on your tastes and preferences. For me, I was happy with a couple of pints of local ale as I don’t really like whisky. Although a wise man once told me that I do like whisky, I just haven’t found the right one yet – so maybe I’ll sample a few on my next visit.
Breakfast was great too. There were several choices, including traditional Scottish porridge, but I opted for full Scottish breakfast on both mornings and it set me up for a long day of walking.
Things to Do Nearby
I’ve written a whole post on things to do in Weste Ross, you can read that by clicking the link below. But rest assured that there is plenty to do here. From walking and climbing to cycling and kayaking, this is definitely an area for the adventurous.
Kinlochewe is a popular spot, particularly through the summer months. This part of Wester Ross is also popular amongst those travelling the North Coast 500 route, so booking early is recommended. You can book directly with Kinlochewe Hotel below…