It was a beautiful journey north to Aviemore - and spring was in the air when we arrived -
We went round half of the trade show - and then went for lunch in the Hotel restaurant. It was lovely. They have a carvery section and we had a beautiful roast gammon with vegetables (couldn't manage a sweet!)
Aviemore Centre - quite different now, with a beautiful hotel and conference centre, plus shop and very good restaurant. This is in contrast to days of old when we went to the Aviemore Trade Show, which was held in marquees in the Aviemore Centre Car Park, towards the end of October.
The atmosphere at the old show was fantastic - partly because the marquees would be severely challenged by the wind and rain; we always expected the exhibits to be blown off the stands. In those days, the old Ice Rink at Aviemore was also used for exhibition stands; carpets were laid on top of the ice, stands were erected - and the trade visitors crowded in. There was one year when the ice started to melt - and it was very soggy underfoot.
This year's show is small by comparison with former times - I think there were approximately 130 exhibitors. We did do some buying, but mainly from suppliers with whom we already had relationships. So, in a way it was a little disappointing. However, from our point of view, the show concentrates on Scottish suppliers (slightly politically incorrect
) - and we've always tried to support local craftsmen and women. For overseas trade buyers, they would still recognise many of the companies who they met 20 years ago - and I'm sure they would love the very friendly atmosphere .... oh, and the scenery!
On the way home, we stopped at Pitlochry. We parked at the car park at Pitlochry Theatre and then had a walk, crossing at the Dam and walking to towards the town centre. We had a fantastic meal at the Old Armoury Restaurant - we were in time for their pre-theatre menu which is lovely.
This is the restaurant's cat - well trained, sitting outside the bar window, watching every move.
Sandy had chicken breast stuffed with haggis - he said it was delicious. I had fish and chips (haddock) - and it was fantastic. Then Sandy asked for a fresh fruit salad - it was made up for him specially;
I chose the Fruit Brulee - creme brulee with some berries in the dish - it was rich and tasty.
We then walked round the town and walked back across the suspension bridge - passing some lovely shops, bed & breakfast businesses, hotels - and, much to our surprise, a couple of vintage cars.
We drove home on quiet roads, enjoying a beautiful sunset. When we got home, we both agreed that it felt as if we had been away for days, rather than having a quick trip north.