My favourite cuppa stop on the A9 .....
is not where you may think. Not for me the cashmere laden towers of The House of Bruar or the lure of the M&S food hall at the Perth roundabout. Nope. My favourite stop is always the Ballinluig Motor Grill. Conveniently located about an hour and a half from home, it's always been the perfect stop.
It's been a favourite since the kids were small and it warms my heart to see that the Captain Rumbletums kids menu is still on parade. It's welcoming, has a vast menu of good old British comfort food, it's amazingly quick and there's free refills on tea and coffee. You don't have to walk miles from the car park to find a cup of very overpriced coffee, the staff are friendly and efficient and it's extremely good value.
My only wee gripe is the Dyson Hand dryers in the toilets only because I have a totally it's irrational phobia. Some people have spiders. I have Dyson Hand dryers and the sucker thing they put in your mouth at the dentist. Life's not easy sometimes.
And then there's something very special about the tea. I don't whether it's the big metal teapot or the fresh Highland water but the tea truly is the best. I commented on this phenomenon to one of the smiley ladies. "Everyone says that" came the reply, but she didn't have an answer.
So as is the family tradition, I've started my holidays sitting on one of the small tables, in amongst the truckers because I'm on my own, happy with my usual haddock and chips, a sachet of tartare sauce and a mug of Balinluig tea. It's busy, but as usual there's an air of fried food contentment and motor grill camaraderie that is unique to travelling Brits.
Michelin star it isn't, but if I had to make a choice, Ballinluig would get my vote any day.