The Old Inn

12 months ago Annie and I struck lucky. With her house sold and the prospect of us being homeless within 3 weeks we decided to just ‘go for it’ and follow a dream. I guess I’d reached crunch point in my life – were dreams only ever going to remain just that? …You can wait an eternity for a dream to materialise without working hard to make it happen.

We spent 2 weekends driving along the coast between Inveraray, Lochgilphead, Oban and Fort William looking for somewhere to rent.  Looking for a stop-gap to give us time to find out where we really wanted to settle.

It’s not easy. A lot of property on the West Coast of Scotland is let as holiday homes as landlords can make a lot more return on their investment than letting to a residential tenant. We got lucky, and if you’re spiritual (maybe I am?) you’d say ‘the universe’ was playing us a better hand. We were offered and took on a 12 months tenancy of “The Old Inn” near Appin.  Breathing space…


I’ve lived my entire life in the Midlands; sitting in daily traffic jams, getting frustrated and suffocated with ‘the rat race’, seemingly always on the verge of saying “F*ck it” and disappearing off, AWOL, on a long road trip. Of course for >20 years conformity and a sense of responsibility kept me sitting in line, waiting for the traffic lights to change.

I swapped the concrete jungle for a view of Castle Stalker. Every morning we’d wake up, excited like kids, and looking out from the bedroom window across the Firth of Lorn and pinching ourselves we’d say to each other, “It’s still there”.

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We’ve become more attuned to wildlife. Appreciating the birds that visited throughout the year, and Doris (the deer) and Bambi who visited our garden most days. Being so close to the sea meant the boats got used a lot. Some weeks last Summer saw us kayaking 5 nights out of 7. Just being ‘in’ the mountains has left me more at ease, without the once deep-seated need to run to the top of them as fast as possible. I can pick and choose my days…

Of course life has it’s ups and downs. The pain of an on-going divorce lingered in my thoughts and even though you can escape from city life there is always something to stress you out, no matter how idyllic life may seem. We survived the wettest Summer in Scotland for a long time, three hurricanes through Winter too. Annie survived (luckily) nearly taking her foot off with a lawn mower. On the plus side, she landed a new job in an area of work that she loves. We’ve started to make some new great friends and though there are still hurdles to jump, life feels good.

At the back of our mind was that “The Old Inn” was a stepping stone. Eventually it’s proposed to be a museum for the castle with the barns being run as a pub. Although we moved out a few weeks ago, this week our tenancy has now ‘officially’ finished and we’re glad to have been a part of it’s history.

For us a new chapter has started in an equally magical location; making our home permanent in Glencoe. Munros keeping guard over us and with 5 nights kayaking again last week the dream continues…


About Andy Harpur

Interests : The Scottish Highlands, The Pennine Alps, The Milky Way, Abbot Ale, Mountaineering, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Canoeing, Sea Kayaking, Astronomy, Guitar, Penny Whistle. I live and breath for the outdoor lifestyle. New places, new faces, new adventures....
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4 Responses to The Old Inn

  1. Ian says:

    Hi Andy, best wishes for the next part of the adventure!

    Kind Regards


  2. RennyRambles says:

    ‘m still waiting for the traffic lights to change, so enjoyed reading The Old Inn – great post Andy!

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