Top ten things to do in Western Scotland

by Travel correspondent, Amos Oddie

Amos Oddie

Each year hundreds of tourists clamber up to Edinburgh Castle, whilst others buzz around the isle of Skye like a wasps around a bin. Many people tell me that Arbroath is the jewel of the North. But did you know that some of the greatest things to see in Western Scotland are right here in the Ochentosh area?

1 Minchie Gardens


Actual gardens may differ

These beautiful gardens, situated on the coast between Ochentosh and Minchie, contain some specimens you might expect to find in the jungles of the Amazon. Towering rainforest trees, bright tropical flowers. How is this possible you may ask? Minchie Gardens are warmed by the Golf stream, a flow of warm water that runs from the Carribean across the Atlantic to Northern Europe. Once it gets here the warm water is trapped by Loch Minchie. Indeed the locals swear that bathing in Loch Minchie is just like relaxing in a warm bath. Open every day except Shrove Tuesday.

2  Pishdribbl


The famous pishdribbl

If history is your passion then a visit to the tiny hamlet of Pishdribbl is a must-do. It was here at Pishdribbl, in 1745,  that the Young Pretender, Bonny Prince Charlie, on his way to claim the throne, stopped to relieve himself. Today the spot is marked only by a small stone near a boggy area. Rated as the number one attraction in Pishdribble on Trip Advisor last year. Local historian, Agnes Giddins runs guided tours of the site (10 pounds payable in advance) daily, except Thursdays


3 The Flinge Experience

The advent of modern materials like carbon fibre and marshmallow has all but wiped out the use of old-fashioned flinge.  It’s hard to image that Western Scotland once produced four thousand tons of flinge each year. In fact, almost all the flinge required by the enormous British Empire was hand-produced by an army of crofter’s in the local area.


Scroggling yarp to make flinge

The Ochentosh area, with its damp and windy conditions is perfect, both for harvesting yarp and for making it into flinge. Indeed so pure was it’s product, it is said the Queen Victoria would only use flinge produced in Ochentosh.  Now you can amaze your friends by visiting the Flinge Experience where you can see flinge being hand-scroggled in the traditional manner, but also take home a small jar of your very  own to rub on at your leisure. The Flinge Experience is open every-day of the year, except obviously Shrove Tuesday, and cost 25 pounds per person. Protective clothing is provided.

4 The Big Haggis

Ever wondered how haggis is made? Or indeed why? The Big Haggis has the answers. You can’t miss it, the giant plastic haggis that stands at the entrance has been an iconic attraction since 1972 when, local entrepreneur, Miles Frequent-Flyer erected it.  You can even make your own haggis, or if the thought of it makes you pale, just buy some from the well-stocked shop. The Big Haggis is open every day except Shrove Tuesday. 4 pounds per person.


Imagine munching this!

5 Ochentosh Tobogan Centre

If winter sports are your thing then make sure the Ochentosh Toboggan Centre is on your bucket list. Open from February 8th right through to February 19th, the centre offers an exciting toboggan experience. After an tension-building tractor ride up the hill, you can choose from a selection of hand-crafted toboggans, put on your helmet, take a big gulp of home-made whisky, and then experience the ride of your life, as you speed back down. Helmets included. Two rides 11 pounds. Whisky extra.

6 The Old Man of Kinmuckle

No trip to Western Scotland would be complete without clambering up Ochentosh’s own mini-mountain, The Old Man of Kinmuckle. Especially as the Old Man  has been enhanced with several tones of gravel last year adding an impressive eighteen feet of extra height.  The views from the top are simply breathtaking! Free.

7 Ochentosh Whisky Tasting Experience

I you love the sniffing the malty aroma of the bottom of a whisky bottle in the morning, then the Ochentosh Whisky Trail is for you. Ted MacDougall has built one the finest whisky tasting centres right in his back garden and stocked it with a variety of the finest examples of the amber fluid.

Getting to Ochentosh

But you say, where is Ochentosh, and how do I get there…..

By car:

Ochentosh lies in north-eastern part of western Scotland. Travelling north from Glasgow on the A99 then west on the B3467 towards Slange before turning south to the  . Keep Loch Feartie on your right and if you reach Minchie you’ve gone too far.

By Air: You can fly direct to Minchie International airport. Flights twice a week to and from the Faroe Islands.









Smug Epidemic Hits UK

by Jed Tangent

An epidemic of smug is headed for Scotland with doctors advising people take precautions to protect themselves from this debilitating virus.

smug epidemicThe UK had two million confirmed cases of smug last year. But Smug expert Dr Monty Derringer, 42, says this spring he expects that figure could rise by 25 per cent.

“This year has all the hallmarks of a peak season,” Derringer says. The higher than usual smug activity, according to Doctor Derringer is due to the clement weather.

“Warm days allow smug people to spread the virus,” says Derringer. “Barbecues, cocktail parties, or just a drink in the pub. There’s always a miasma of smugness in the air.”

Vegan cyclists are 90% more likely to suffer from smug

Studies show that certain groups are much more likely to contract smug. Cyclists are one group, also vegans. Vegan cyclists are 90% more likely to suffer from smug than more ordinary people.

“A lot of people don’t take smug seriously,” he says. “The worst thing is that you might have smug for years and not realise it.”

Other at risk groups include; Chelsea supporters, people who do Yoga,  and Ed Sheeran.

Infection control expert at the University of Strathgarry, Professor Sienna Pecan, says it’s difficult to avoid catching smug if you aren’t prepared.

“Smug is transmitted orally and non-orally. The spread of smug from a carrier, can travel up to 25 metres,” she says.

Professor Pecan explains that an infected person could be sitting on the same train as you and be spreading smug without any obvious sign, which is one of the reasons it’s so difficult to control.

“You have to be vigilant,” she says. “Just ignore that man talking about his new Mercedes, as virus particles can get up your nose.”

Doctors are encouraging us to consider our families and work colleagues if we feel the onset smug-like symptoms like superiority or self-importance. Pecan recommends vigilant hand washing, and humbleness therapy.

Man finds bride using mobile phone

by Harry Beast

Minchie man, Ernest Crop, 62, wipes away a tear as he tells the heart-warming tale of how he found the love of his life using just his mobile phone.

“Marrying Consuela is the most fantastic thing that ever happened to me,” says Ernest, sitting next to his wife in the kitchen of their Minchie maisonette. Ernest works as a chartered accountant for a local firm.

“And to find this beautiful woman using a mobile phone was a stroke of genius.”

coupleRaven-haired Consuela, 39, originally from Columbia, blushes as Ernest recounts their story.

“It happened in B&Q last week,” explains Ernest. “I was in the electrical aisle trying to work out the cost benefit of buying  an LED light bulb.”

“I had worked out that although the bulb will last seven years, when you take into account the higher upfront cost, you will only start to recoup that initial investment after four. It was at this point that I noticed Consuela had wandered off into soft furnishings.”

“I sent her a message; ‘Where R U’, using the letters R and U instead of the words ‘Are’ and ‘You’ to save time.”

“A few minutes later I found her next to the garden tools.”

Ernest met Consuela at an accountancy conference in Huddersfield. The couple married in Bogota last September.

Man eats salad in pub

by Amos Oddie

“I was amazed,” said publican Jessie Scraper, from the bar at the Bull and Thistle in Minchie.

“Most of our customers eat the pie or the fish but leave the salad,” explained Jessie. That was the case until last Thursday when an unnamed customer arrived from Glasgow driving a Peugeot.

He even ate the parsley


“He ordered the cod and chips, said Jessie. “But then I noticed he was eating the lettuce and the lemon with the chips. He even ate the sprig of parsley.”

Mr Scraper who has been landlord at the Bull since 1987, has helped to put Minchie on the map, not only with his easy-on-the-pocket family friendly menu, but also with his extensive range of craft whiskies.

The Bull and Thistle,rated as the fourth best pub in Minchie by TripAdvisor, has recently refurbished its toilets.

Regarding the eating habits of the metropolitan patrons and their fondness for salad, the Bull’s landlord simply said, “I suppose I’ll have to go to the Co-op and buy some more.”

Passenger dragged from plane

by Mungo MacIntyre, Cnocvulin Airport

On Thursday morning, airline staff on flight 001 from Cnocvulin airport acted decisively to deal with a difficult passenger.

‘The pilot just dragged him out of the cabin, it was shocking,’ said Noah McVeigh (49) of Minch Island.
“He wouldn’t leave the plane,” explained pilot Guillermo Corden

“There’s a tight schedule. We have to get from North Minch over to West Minch and back before lunch.”


Mr Corden, who has been chief pilot and engineer with local airline Gadfly for six months, learnt to fly in Indonesia.

The unnamed passenger had apparently dozed off during the twelve minute flight between the mainland and North Minch and had to be prodded several times before exiting the plane.

This incident could not have come at a worse time for Cnocvulin airport, which is waiting to hear if its application to be renamed Cnocvulin International is to be approved by aviation authorities. Weekly flights to the Faroe Islands commenced last year

Carrier Armada Confusion

by Mungo MacIntyre

The confusion, last week,  about the direction of a US Carrier group is explained by this   transcript of intercept between White House and the US Navy.


Transcript of satphone intercept: 1430 UTC MANILLA station 04152017


POTUS:  This is President XXXXX. I need you to steam your boats over to North Korea in a frightening way.

CARRIER GROUP:  What? Really sir? We’re not even going in that direction.

POTUS:  Where are you now?

CARRIER GROUP:  Just past XXXXXXXX. Headed for Australia for an exercise

POTUS: Is Australia far from Korea?

CARRIER GROUP: Quite a long way sir, yes.

POTUS: …..Look the Aussies won’t mind. Their prime minister, Turnbuckle, is a sucker. Can you do Korea now? It’s bigly important. Spicer’s going to pop an artery if CNN bully him again. Bad!

CARRIER GROUP: The Aussies will be mad sir. They’ve put on a barbecue and everything.

POTUS: …….OK, here’s the plan; pop in on the Aussies. Say hi. Eat a few prawns. But get away as soon as you can. Make something up — I do it all the time. Then steam all the boats, the big one and all the little ones, back to Korea as fast as you can.


POTUS: Have some jets take off like Top Gun. And, do me a favour, put the submarines on top of the water where everyone can see them.

CARRIER GROUP: If you’re sure?

POTUS:  Yeah I’m sure. Oh and… (INAUDIBLE)


POTUS: …. The guys here are saying; make sure its North Korea you threaten and not South Korea. You guys know they’re different countries right?

CARRIER GROUP: Yep we know that, sir

POTUS: OK we have to be careful to get the right country. People are picky about that sort of thing. Also….


POTUS: Can you drop into to the grocer’s and get a loaf of bread on the way back

Trump takes over local golf course

by Mungo MacIntyre

“Its a much needed boost,” says mini-golf manager Vance Loft, speaking from the ticket booth of the Ochentosh Crazy Golf centre.

News that the esteemed Trump organisation is to pump millions of dollars into redeveloping the centre as a ‘luxury golfing experience’ is rapidly spreading through town. “To be honest we need investment,” says Loft. “String and chewing gum is all that’s holding the windmill on the seventh hole together.”

mini golfA five-star hotel, sauna, and conference centre are all being considered, according to manager Loft, who says negotiations with the Trump organisation are at an advanced stage.

Parish councillor, Anna Nettle (56) says council will do whatever it takes to seal the deal with the American property tycoon and president. “We’ll even offer Mr Trump the keys to the town. They’re mostly ceremonial, but he’ll get free parking in the Pay and Display and the right to kiss Miss Ochentosh at the Annual Fete.”

When asked, the Trump organisation said they were unable to confirm or deny the plans, but local golfer, Rae Boundy, 37, playing a round this morning with her daughter Tilly, 6, agreed: ‘It’s going to be a yuuuge success!’