Thunder in the Glens.

Once a year the various chapters of the Harley Owners clubs of Scotland descend on Aviemore for a weekend. Kilts, bagpipes, leather, sewn on patches, ponytails and big bikers everywhere. The town came to a standstill for half an hour this morning as the ride out took place, literally hundreds of bikes thundering up to Grantown, the smell of burnt petrol and bass boom of exhausts in the air, then back to Aviemore for rock covers and ale. The house is already booked for this week in 2010.

Going on the experience of people who stay here I have a couple of recommendations. A Belgian family came and went to the wildlife hide on Rothiemurchus where they put out food for the badgers and pinemartins and you can see owls, red deer and roe deer. They also went to the Rothiemurchus fishery and have promised me a photo they took of an Osprey taking a trout already hooked by a fisherman.

Both that party and the one here now (and others before) have employed the services of the chef Allan Heaney (One Pot Borrowed). He trained with Raymond Blanc and has been doing a superb job, not only making all the meals but baking bread with the guests in the afternoon and making the kitchen his own. I highly recommend him, he knows the area, the best local suppliers, and the kitchen is a scene of professional serenity when he is in it. He starts at £150 a day, more if he needs extra staff, but between 15 people that’s conspicuously good value, I wouldn’t go on holiday without him.

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