Monday, August 27, 2007
Tony and I are just back from a two day trip through the tide races of the Grey Dogs, Sound of Luing and Cuan Sound. It was incredibly thirsty work and our palates were dry as a bone by the time we reached sanctuary in one of the flooded slate quarries of the village of Ellenabeich on the Island of Seil. High above us, we spotted what could be an oasis of refreshment.
We scrambled out of our boats, leaving them moored as there was no beach, and made our way up to street level through a nice old lady's back garden (there are easier ways!). We came across not only a pub but The Oyster Brewery Bar which has an attached brewery; no wonder Tony is licking his lips!
The staff did not bat an eye lid as they took an order from two salty sea dogs dripping brine on the floor. We usually ask for Guinness but given that the brewery was next door, we thought it would be churlish not to order a pint of their finest. Our chosen brew was "Grey Dogs strong ale" in celebration of our recent passage through said tidal race. This race is very accurately depicted on the beer tap label.
We supped this delicious brew on the beer terrace which overlooks the Sound of Luing and brooding Scarba (to the north of which lies the Grey Dogs.) At this point I should issue a sea kayaking health warning. Grey Dogs is a highly intoxicating substance which only just avoids classification under the Dangerous Drugs Act. Our delicate constitutions are used to the mild effects of Guinness and I am not surprised that the establishment displays a safety notice about climbing on the balcony. Tony and I had visions of packs, of those driven barking mad by overindulgence, throwing themselves over the edge.
We decided to forego a hair of the dog and limit ourselves to one pint. So after a most enjoyable visit to this fine sea kayaking pub, we made our way very carefully back to the boats.
The water on the approach to the Cuan Sound was particularly rough and Tony and I were glad that we enjoyed our "Grey Dogs strong ale" in such moderation.