I love to go for a swim and a very late lunch at the Holly Tree on a particularly wild and wild-swept day after a bracing, and possibly wet, walk. They serve food all day no there’s no hurry, although getting into the warm could be an imperative for some….
The Holy Tree inn is a former railway station on the Oban-Ballachulish line, which ran until 1966. The hotel incorporates the station building, built in the 1890’s: the hotel lounge is the old waiting room, complete with ticket booth, and with mackintosh style metal work along the corridors. It has been sympathetically restored and extended and the new bar and restaurant has floor to ceiling windows and a west facing deck where sunset drinks are a complete must
The views are intoxicating: an unboken vista across loch Linnhe to Garbh Beinn and the mountains of Ardgour. The substantial pier which was used to load slate from the Ballachulish quarries, now has picnic benches and, if wind and weather allows, affords incredible views up and down Loch Linnhe: the Corran ferry to the north and the Ardsheal peninsular to the south.
They have a good menu, great fish and chips and a child menu with very generous portions. I send the kids out to play on the rocky shore while reclining in the leather sofas for coffee.
The swimming pool is small but perfectly formed, with a stunning full length window looking out on Garbh Beinn and the loch. Once you are in the water you can’t see the view but you can float along while watching clouds skudding across the sky. There’s floats and balls for kids and a jet stream to swim into for the determined. it’s the perfect size for a family but if others are there ensure that you stagger the times you will be getting changed or things could get awkward.
They provide towels for free and even have swimming cossies if you need one.
There’s also a little sauna by the side of the pool and lovely hot showers that stay on without you constantly having to keep your hand on a button.
The Holly Tree Hotel, Kentallen 01631 740292 · hollytreehotel.co.uk