Tobar nan Ceann Gang

The blog of a bunch of middle aged men trying to stay youthful…!

Archive for the ‘Laggan’ Category


Laggan / Melgarve Bothy / Drummin Cottage

On the 24th of January 2009 on the eve of the 250th Anniversary of Rabbie Burns, 4 of us set off for the Melgarve Bothy, west of Laggan in the Highland district. Jock, Larkhall, Stuart, Hamilton , John C, Tannochside, & John Mc, Glasgow.

We arrived at the Garva Bridge on the river Spey, snow covered mountains and a snowy road that gave us some problems, 5 attempts to get over the bridge, we kept rolling back on the ice, but we managed it, and then it was a slow run up to the Melgarve Bothy.

We arrived at Melgarve Bothy where we had a good look around, it was dark and cold and needed a good fire going but we were invited to stay at Forbes place (Drummin) where there was a few guys from Gartcosh and Airdrie, we decided to stay at Drummin and quickley got our sleeping bags and beer in and claimed our beds. With whisky, wine, haggis tatties and neeps and songs and poems the scene was set for a weekend to remember,  11 men from the west coast of Scotland sharing stories and having a great time.


General Wade’s Military Road

General Wade’s military road between Fort Augustus and Laggan was built to connect two garrisons and prevent a lengthy walk around the mountains. It was started and completed by 500 soldiers in 1731, and for over one hundred years was the highest public road in Britain before it became declassified and maintenance stopped. It is still a popular route, and only in recent years was the track closed to four by fours, because of damage caused to the road surface. The track is now a national monument, and the only vehicles you will see belong to the local landowners or the electricity board, whose pylons parallel the track over the mountains.

After introductions and getting our self’s settled at Drummin the 4 of us went for a short walk on General Wade’s Military Road, the road was covered in snow so was more hazardous than usual, equipped with camera and light refreshments we made off straight in to a short snow blizzard.

Refreshment time

After a few refreshments and a snowball fight we continued our walk, the snow came a few times and the further we went the deeper the snow got so we decided to turn back and head back to Drummin cottage. Below are a few snaps taken from Corrieyairack Pass.


Drummin Cottage – Burns Supper


We were all back at Drummin Cottage, the cooks were in the kitchen prepairing our Burns Supper while the rest of us sat at the dinning table or in the front room in front of a large open fire stacked with logs and coal and a cold beer in hand.

Before we eventually got to tuck into our lovingly prepared supper, of haggis (freshly captured from the frozen hillsides) “Tatties” and “neeps”, And after our starter of brilliant homemade soup, we were entertained and enthralled by Big Stuarts Rendition of The “Address to a haggis” complete with his tam o shanter atop his head and in authentic Scots dialect, the way the Bard intended.

Afterwards we got stuck right in to our grub and lovely it was , this was my first time eating a haggis and i have to say i have been converted, although it was helped on its way to my stomach with a few nips of glenmorangie and a couple of glasses of vino.

Later on after our desert of saltire decorated empire biscuits ,we had a wee sing song at the fire and in keeping with the spirit of the occasion there was a selection of classic Burns songs, such as A man`s a man for a that , parcel o rogues., a fond kiss, and Scots wha hae.

Group Photo

Address to a Haggis.

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect sconner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!