Just back from a busy weekend at the Tarf Hotel.
Officially known as Feith Uaine, its time honoured and better known name comes from its location – by the Tarf – and the bizarre presence of a large and somewhat aged AA Hotel sign fixed to the door.
This weekend was the first of two work parties designed to undertake some major work at the bothy.
I arrived on Friday evening with Kenny Freeman, with dispensation from the estate to drive as far as Forest Lodge. There we were met by Ricky Marshall, who’s the Tarf MO, and Lorne, one of the volunteers, who was driving an estate Land Rover.
We were to get a lift not just up the zigzag track from the Tilt to the upper Tarf, but right to the door of the bothy, a journey in equal parts nerve-wracking, gobsmacking and uncomfortable. The zigzag track gives vertiginous views back down to the Tilt, while the journey along the Tarf, with no track and frequent river crossings showed the improbable terrain a Land Rover can negotiate.
Good fun now and then, but I’m not getting rid of my walking boots.
A dozen or so volunteers were at the bothy for the weekend.
Frequent showers meant unpleasant working conditions for those up on the roof putting in new chimney pots and for those mixing cement and applying it in much-needed repointing for the chimney wall of the end porch.
On the basis of a proven ability to hammer in nails with at least a 50 per cent success rate, I managed to attach myself to Kenny Freeman’s joinery squad and, over a day and a half five of us ripped up the dodgy floors in the two main rooms and relaid them with new tongue and groove flooring. The knees are still suffering, but at least I kept dry!
Other work included two new fireplaces (in the ‘porch’ room at the east end and in the small middle room) courtesy of Neil Findlay with assistance from Davey Knowles.
We were kept fed through it all by Allan and Stan, with Andy multi-tasking by playing guitar and singing in the evenings, boasting a seemingly endless repertoire.
All in all a great weekend in good company, despite the weather. Another work party is planned for next weekend.