Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Mountain, Gairloch

We're on the west coast again, this time in Poolewe, where M is the weekend doc and I've tagged along because I can. This part of the west coast is magnificent; hilly and lush, surrounded by jagged hills and a calm sea. Gairloch, the village above, is a charming place with one of the best cafe/bookshops in the Highlands, called The Mountain. It wouldn't be out of place in Seattle or Portland, with its cluttered walls covered in license plates, posters from the 1980s, and framed newspaper articles of climbers. Dream-catchers and beads and chimes hang from the ceiling. The tables and chairs are made of thick, chunky wood. The food is organic and homemade; even the milk is from Highland farmers. The cafe looks onto the sea, and serves the most delicious scones. Their cheese and herb scone is a meal in itself. I crave these; I'd probably make special trips to Gairloch for these scones if I had a car.
The cafe is fantastic, but even better is Hillbillies Bookstore in the front section of the cafe. Its eclectic hodgepodge of books cover everything from rock climbing to gourmet cooking to Zen mastery to self-help guides. They also stock Booker winners, teenage and kid-lit, gift books, and obscure titles from tiny publishers all over the English-speaking world. It's easy to spend an hour browsing, taking in the hundreds of stories and the colorful cover art.
I love bookshops like this, where I can drown in books I've never thought of reading, in topics I never knew existed. Places like this make the magic of books even more fascinating.

Gairloch and Poolewe are the kinds of places where people speak Gaelic as a first language and drive two hours to the nearest supermarket. The land and the sea are in control. The wind is fierce. And the backdrop is breathtaking.

1 comment:

Jesse and James said...

Is there an international school in Gairloch. I would love to eat scones and drink coffee there. sigh. Love the new blog look!