Friday, 16 May 2008

Open Mic night.. Wed 28th May

In 2007 In the Grog we launched our open mic nights. These are free form evenings and hosted by Ian Stretch MacFadyen. Open Mic means that we allow customers to have a go at performing in The Grog and Gruel to amuse the customers and their friends. Obviously This takes a brave man to control and "Stretch" was happy to take the challenge. Stretch has a lot of experience in various styles of music and drives all the way from Edinburgh in order to MC what has been described as "more ‘voices in their heads’ than ‘stars in their eyes’"

Over the past year we have seen it all. From beat boxing Welshmen to German poetry with a lot of other craziness on the way. I was very surprised by just how many folk were interested in having a go. I had to stop our own barman Nick from performing his spoken word version of Cher’s "if I could turn back time"

Our next open mic night is only a few weeks away. On Wednesday 28th of May and We’d love you to be a part of it. We are open to most kind of performers. All we ask is to be entertained. Is it time to dust off that old banjo in the cupboard?? Try to remember how to finger Greensleeves on the recorder??

In June as part of our Beer festival, and a year on from our first open mic night, we will host our annual final with a prize of £50 for the winner. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges including Stretch and our very own Simon Cowel.. Neil The manager.

Nights Well Worth a Visit.

Mid Summer Beer Festival

Plans for the Mid-Summer Beer Festival are coming along nicely. Our new flier pretty much says it all for now, so why not have a quick browse.

Meanwhile, we're busy speaking to breweries, adding beer to sausage recipes and trying to think of some really good questions for the quiz. In fact, why is 7 Giraffes called 7 Giraffes?

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Friends Of Nevis

Nothing quite like a great pint after a hard day trekking up and down Ben Nevis!

Well, happy as we are to Britain's highest mountain on our doorstep it does tend to get a bit of a hammering every year. So here's your chance to join the Friends of Nevis and help to support and manage Ben Nevis and the surrounding Nevis area.

The Nevis Partnership have recently established the Friends of Nevis web site - so why not take a peek just now.

This precious and unique environment includes mountains, wild land, glen and river Nevis and a range of visitor facilities such as a visitor centre and numerous low and higher level walks.

Ben Nevis and its surroundings mean a great deal to a large number of people from all over the world. Protecting the area, whilst making it accessible and pleasurable to visit, is a real challenge and Friends of Nevis can help through subscribing, donating or contributing time and resources on a range of practical projects such as path maintenance, wildlife monitoring, fundraising etc.

Photo courtesy of Friends of Nevis

And when next at The Grog & Gruel, you can throw your loose change into our bar top collection boxes, or perhaps buy a branded 'Friends of Nevis' trolley token.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Mountain Bike World Cup

Not long now till the Mountain Bike World Cup comes back to Fort William. Expect to see lots of lycra clad types wondering round a forest near you over the weekend of the 6th - 8th June. As ever, the full programme and lots of info is on the web site at

Having caught the 4X (That's four cross to you non bikers) last year I can thoroughly recommend it. Great atmosphere and as its in the (Friday) evening you don't need to spend all day. Having said that, the Cross Country on Saturday and the Downhill on Sunday are also crackin' events. Its all highly recommended, even for non bikers.

Naturally, The Grog & Gruel will be welcoming all biker types. We've ordered some more Fat Tyre Ale which was a huge hit at the World Championships last year. And we may yet have some more of the exclusive Peaty Malt, our very special homage to the man himself.

And finally, a picture of someone mountain biking...

Friday, 2 May 2008

Blowing stuff up!

So, let loose in Fort William with a couple of sticks of Acme Dynamite what would you choose? No, on second thoughts don't answer that one. Instead, watch this short piece courtesy of YouTube which shows the former power house at the old Paper Mill meeting its maker.

The site at Corpach is being cleared, allowing the expansion of the neighbouring BSW Sawmill. After the demolition on Monday, and having been up high on Nevis Range on Wednesday, I have to say that there's something very odd about the view towards the Corpach narrows now. Something's definitely missing!

Cafes and cakes

Nothing quite like a bracing bit of exercise amidst some spectacular scenery to work up an appetite for a cracking cup of coffee and a gooey cake. But where to find such delights? Here's a quick plug for a new web site to help you on your way.

Check out Cafe Days to help find a cafe. Its not perfect. Cozy Knits at Strontian isn't even listed! But anything that helps track down caffeine and calories has to be worth a mention in my book. And if you can't be bothered with that, just work up a thirst and pop along to The Grog & Gruel for a coffee or a pint and a plate of Nachos!

(And yes, the picture is in France. But surprisingly enough I haven't got any photos of me eating cake at Crafts & Things and it does get the Ben & Jerry's and fresh air message across I think.)