The Crask Inn up in the wilds of the far North is an incredible place “character” sums it up. I was up there to have a wee chat after the Assynt MRT team dinner, before the music, dancing and party was in full flow. The Assynt Team is a small team of volunteers dispersed over a huge area. It has about 20 member’s who live in places such as Thurso, Wick, Ullapool, Lochinver, Bettyhill, Scourrie Storr.
This is a huge logistics and training burden but the Team copes for years and still does a great job. 29 managed to sit down to dinner as a partners and a few kids swelled the numbers, with more arriving later. This was all done in a small dinning area but what a night. The meal was outstanding I even did a bit of waiting and clearing, the home-made soup, Venison, salmon and puddings were as good as I have ever tasted, The venison was incredible – no fancy sauces just gravy and fresh veg. What a meal, what a laugh we all had.
During the meal the band arrived from all over accordions , fiddles, etc and then we had to clear the wee dinning area and set up for my chat. More arrived in the wee bar it was very busy. The chat was mainly about the Assynt Anson Crash in 1941 on Ben More Assynt. I also had a few photos of the team area and the great hills and climbs in it. It seemed to go well I think and we had a few stories thrown in. At the end I should some slides of the marvelous area the Assynt Team work in and we shared some great stories. The band had waited patiently and the room was transformed now into a dance area and the party was in full flow. It was the usual wild Highland Dancing , Eightsome Reels and other wild dancing all with a 6 piece band and very limited space incredible.
I was not drinking much as I had to drive back in the morning but we had a sing song later on in the bar. I was shown some great photos of early ascents of Stoer and other great days. The party was still going at 0200 when I sneaked out. It was still pouring, wet and wild as I wandered down to the bothy I was staying in another place of great character. I was the first one back. The party was going to be very late and I sneaked off in the morning to a room of snores, missing the Crasks famous porridge.
It was still dark as I drove back the rain still coming down but what a great night for all. I was so impressed by the Assynt Team, despite all the difficulties they face they overcome them, they have very little money, training due to the distances between team members is incredible. The tradition and make up of the team from all types of people, abilities and professions and it gives you great faith in these days of ever – changing values.
The Assynt Team are a real family and rely on support from the public and the new Police Force to continue the superb job they do. The support they have from their own families should never be forgotten and it was great to see even those “with limited hair” letting it down. Up in the far North the local Teams do a great job with limited publicity and I hope to have a lecture to support them next year. If anyone fancies supplying a venue I will gladly do it. I will even do the waiting at the tables, help lay up and clear up and I am so cheap!
Thanks to all for a great night to the Crask Inn for a great trip down Memory lane, the team hospitality and the great night and the honour of speaking to such good folks.
It is great to see Phil Jones Assynt Team in such good hands, I was very impressed – thanks again.