Alltshellach with HF Holidays

By Jon Lafleur
This item appears on page 16 of the October 2018 issue.

"Beyond expectations" describes my thinking after hiking in Scotland's Glen Coe with HF Holidays (Catalyst House, 720 Centennial Ct., Centennial Park, Elstree, Hertfordshire, England WD6 3SY, U.K.; phone +44 20 8732 1220,, June 2-16, 2018.

It wasn't the hikes, themselves, that surpassed my hopes, as the Highlands, lochs and glens are renowned. It was the wonderful travelers and staff, enjoyable folk dancing, two quiz nights, a comfortable room in the elegant Alltshellach Country House Hotel (formerly the home of the Bishop of Argyll, with the foyer carpeted in plaid), on the shore of Loch Leven, and the outstanding food.

I booked with Teachers' Travel Service (21 St. Clair Ave. East #1003, Toronto, ON, M4T 1L9, Canada; 800/268-7229, and paid £1,570 (about $2,281, or $163 per day), excluding airfare.

I received one discount for early booking and a second discount for taking a 2-week trip. This affordable price covered the long bus ride from Glasgow, a single room with bath (and no single-supplement charge), three generous meals each day, personable guides (for easy, medium and difficult hikes), and buses and boats to the trails.

The welcoming dinner at Alltshellach was extraordinary. There was a tureen of vegetable soup on the table along with nibbles such as feta, cherry tomatoes and smoked mackerel pâté.

The main course was a buffet of beef lasagna, venison casserole, beef stew, fish pie, pork stroganoff, chicken curry, chickpea-and-vegetable curry, and vegetables with teriyaki noodles, all accompanied by various salads.

For dessert, we were offered pro fiteroles (cream puffs), fruit salad, lemon tart, a seasonal crumble, and cheese and biscuits.

For our two weeks at Alltshellach, we were well fed, culminating with a Scottish banquet each Friday. A piper led us to the dining room, and our kilted host proudly explained every course, ending with Drambuie in the foyer.

I raise my glass to managers Andrew and Bridget and their staff. Cheers! And thank you for making my 75th birthday memorable.


Kent, CT