Today’s the day, the Glorious Twelfth, the 12th day of August, the start of UK’s shooting season for grouse, a bird that Girlahead considers meat only for a waif. It’s been legally set since 1831, apart from Northern Ireland which took a little time to catch up (it was not legalised by the Stormont guys and girls until the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) order of 1985). Shooters bemoan the years when 12th August falls on a Sunday as they have to wait until Monday 13th to put the shot in, ready to range the predominantly Scottish moors in pursuit of pretty-small birds
It seems appropriate to talk about a Scottish place, THE ROYAL MARINE HOTEL BRORA, an hour’s drive from Inverness in the North Highlands. The renovated 21-roomer, designed by Edinburgh-based ISA is, well, heavy on eating venues: new concepts include a main restaurant and two bars, which also serve food, so the culinary team – see above – is busy. Highland Coast Hotels, masterminded by Roddy Watt, obviously thinks that the Royal Marine’s guests will be mighty hungry, perhaps after a round of the 18-hole links course at Brora Golf Club, a stone’s throw from the front door.
There’s a good philanthropic gesture about Highland Coast, by the way. A Community Liaison Group works with Brora people. Local building contractors, joiners, suppliers and materials have been used wherever possible. Beds come from Highland BlindCraft Beds, an ethically-run business in Inverness that provide education and employment for the visually impaired in the Highlands and Islands. Other local artisans featured in the newly refurbished hotel include Sutherland-based master potter Fergus Stewart. Sheenagh Harrison, from nearby Tain, has created Highland-inspired seascapes, and there are many atmospheric photographs of the region by Glynn Satterley. Finally, bespoke tartan blankets in all bedrooms are from The Tartan Blanket Company – it’s Hunting Fraser Weathered Tartan in Heritage Rooms and Buchanan Tartan in Deluxe Double Rooms.