Another delay in posts, I know! But a friend of mine and I were traveling in Scotland for two weeks, hiking the West Highland Way, and I just couldn’t post from the trail. And last week was jet-lag recovery so cut me some slack (ahem, mom).
The trip was amazing, once we actually got there. We departed the day the volcano in Iceland errupted, and since we were flying Icelandair, our flights were canceled. This resulted in an unanticipated stay in Toronto for a day where we ate the best chocolate and gelatto ever (Well, for me. I’ve never been to Italy so that opinion is subject to change.) If you ever find yourself delayed in Toronto, head down to the Distillery District and go to Soma Chocolatemaker for some tasty treats.
Best chocolate ever. Soma chocolate maker, Toronto
Anyway, when we finally did get to cross the pond over to London, our flight to Scotland was canceled because the ash from the volcano had drifted over our destination. Thankfully, (mostly) reliable train transportation exists in the U.K. so we took a train to Glasgow, found a hotel, and then the next morning took a train to Balloch and bus to Balmaha so we could get caught up on the trail. Of course, the train to Balloch was canceled but by day 3 (or was it 4?) of our vacation, and still not at our actual destination, this didn’t really phase us.
Just let us get to the trail!!
After a brief encounter with what we can only assume was a crazy Scottish woman who insisted that we were deaf since we couldn’t understand anything she said, we really did finally get on the trail. And we walked and walked and walked. And though we were delayed in getting there, it was worth the wait.
Not a bad view, right? I must also share these pictures of “wildlife” I took for my parents. Sheep for my mom, the knitter, and beef for my dad the beef farmer.
I should note that we were not standing in a cow pasture when we took the picture of the beef. Rather, they were on the trail. My friend calmly stated, “Alyssa, I grew up in Chicago and this is scaring the crap out of me.” To which I replied, “I grew up on a farm. Our beef do not have horns like that. This scares the crap out of me!” But we had nothing to worry about. Apparently these beef are used to hikers and ignored us as we gingerly walked on by.
Shortly after passing the beefers, I thought to myself that it would be really nice to have some delicious food that night after hiking. Most of the food we had since arriving was sort of blah. Turns out my wish was granted when we arrived at the Bridge of Orchy hotel. The only eating establishment in the town, the Bridge of Orchy served up some very tasty treats. Upon the advice of a group of Scottish hikers we met on the trail, we were daring enough to try the Crisp Haggis and Chicken Money Bags which were quite tasty. We were not yet willing to commit to the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, though (that’s haggis, turnips and potatoes if you don’t speak Scottish). All in due time.
After such a satisfying meal, we hit the trail the next day only to be pelted by hail. You wouldn’t believe it for some of the pics I took that day, but the weather was horrendous (make sure you roll the ‘r’ as much as possible when you read that. Think Sean Connery times 10). It took a lot of energy just to stay on the trail and not be blown off the side of the mountain. Good thing we had that haggis in our bellies to weigh us down.
Between Bridge of Orchy and Kingshouse, Scotland
Despite the beautiful pictures we took that day, it was the last day of our hike. The weather forecast wasn’t in our favor for the remainder of our hike, so we cut our losses and left the trail alive and well. We embarked on a new adventure – eating haggis, neeps and tatties anywhere it’s served.
Haggis, neeps and tatties are good. Haggis on nachos are also decent. (Yes, you read that right. Haggis + nachos.) But one should not eat too much haggis. It will make your belly hurt.
Which brings me to today’s recipe. If you find that you’ve eaten too much haggis, or too much of anything for that matter, I recommend eating some bran muffins. Activa yogurt? Bah! Fiber One bars? Double bah! Just bake up these bran muffins and I promise all will be right in your tummy. I found this recipe a few months ago and have been meaning to share it with you for ages, but alas, just as I had to wait to finally arrive at the West Highland Way, you too needed to wait for this recipe. But I promise, in both cases, the wait is worthwhile!
Bran Muffins (from Susan at Farmgirl Fare. I love the name of her blog. And all of her recipes.)
2 c. wheat bran
1 c. oat bran
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. yogurt
2/3 c. milk
1/3 c. molasses
1/3 c. honey
1/3 c. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. frozen fruit (I usually use cranberries, but see Farmgirl Fare for other delicious options).
Heat oven to 375o. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a bowl. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined. Add fruit to batter. Scoop into greased muffin tin. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.