Matchgirl and I are not cut out for a life of luxury. Fortunately, that's unlikely to be a problem unless her lucky lottery numbers come up.
After a weekend of fine food and wine, gracious accommodation and great scenery, we returned to The Rural Retreat exhausted, and happy to embrace the simple life once more. Kinloch Lodge on Skye was as good as we remembered.
For the record, my first night menu was:
Slightly Spicy Pea Soup
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Roast Mallaig Monkfish, Moray Pork Belly and Cheeks, Caramelised Passion Fruit Jus
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Steamed Organic Skye Salmon, Caramelised Banana
* * *
Wild Isle of Mull Duck, Cauliflower Purée, Wilted Leaf Spinach, Black Isle Roast Potatoes, Caramelised Orange Sauce
* * *
Orange Crème, Warm Dark Chocolate Sauce, White Chocolate and Cranberry Fudge
The gastronomic endurance tests were not the only reason we were there. We also enjoyed a run around the island in Mr Ford, who was not impressed by the state of the roads after such a frosty winter. One pothole too many seems to have left him with a creak that wasn't there before. But the views of Hebridean loch and snow-capped mountain were worth the effort.
Loch Dunvegan and the Cuillins from south of Colbost
I took few photos. The problem with Highland and island scenery is that, like the Yorkshire Dales, wherever you stop to snap there always seems to be something better around the next corner, or behind you, or it seems impossible to do justice to what you're seeing.
Those who capture magical Highland vistas usually do so by climbing a mountain in the middle of the night so they can photograph the landscape as the sun is rising. That's too much hard work, so I settled for a few daytime snaps.
Bess also relished her weekend away. When we arrived at Just Cats to collect her we found her peeping out from the indoor cat tent that was one of the features of her room and looking most contented. I suspect that something similar will find a place in the Retreat before very long.