FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT DOES ‘LEAC A GHRADAIN’ MEAN?
With thanks to the Torridon Place Names website and its accompanying book, The Place Names of Loch Torridon, the name of the house translates as ‘slab of the graddening’. Graddening was the parching of grain prior to grinding. Wikipedia provides the following description: “Gradan was an expeditious Scottish method of drying grain for the gristmill, by burning the straw … A woman sitting down, took a handful of corn and holding it in her left hand by the stalks, she set fire to the ears, which were at once in a flame. In her right hand she held a stick, which she very dexterously beat the grain out the very instant the husks were quite burnt. By this simple process, corn may be cut down, winnowed, ground, dried, and baked within half an hour.” The graddening stone may be the stone slab where the bench-table sits or perhaps the slab adjacent to the back of the house.
ARE THERE ANY STAIRS?
The house is on one level internally although there are two small steps up to the front door, and up to four steps to other external doors. Please phone if you have any concerns about access.
HOW DOES THE 4G WIFI BROADBAND ALLOWANCE WORK?
Wester Alligin is five miles from the Torridon Exchange so broadband down the wire is extremely slow so we opted for 4G broadband from EE with an external antenna. We include a broadband allowance of 25 Gigabyte in the weekly rental, which is plenty of capacity unless you start downloading/streaming films and videos everyday. We are trialling how to implement this allowance and will email you a screenshot of the current data usage on your arrival and similarly on your departure. Usage above 25 Gigabytes is charged at cost, currently £20 for 20 Gigabyte, which will be deducted from the housekeeping deposit. If you want an update on your usage you can email us at any time during your stay. The EE mast is on the other side of the loch; storms can cause damage and unfortunately loss of service due to such events is out of our control.
HOW GOOD IS THE MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE?
In the house there is generally good coverage for voice calls from all the major networks (and other networks that use those networks) except the 3 network (which has only patchy coverage in the Highlands) . So far we have not had any reason to install a landline. On the local roads and in the hills one tends to go in and out of signal. For 3G/4G coverage we have found only EE provides a data signal in the house. The networks provide maps of their coverage in the area and it’s worth checking for your own provider e.g. for O2 and Vodafone. If you are on the 3 network you can use WiFi calling or it might be worth buying a temporary SIM card from another provider for your trip to this part of Scotland.
ARE THERE GROCERY SHOPS NEARBY?
The Torridon area is well served by shops. In Torridon village, Jo runs the lovely Torridon Stores and Café, offering delicious cakes and lunches as well as a range of groceries, maps and guidebooks, and general items. You can also order a box of groceries for collection (during shop opening hours) on your way through when arriving at Leac a Ghradain.
Shieldaig village is home to a general store and the Loch Torridon Smokehouse, which produces its own hot and cold smoked salmon. Kenneth Morrison operates a mobile butcher shop - call to confirm details of his local stops.
At Kinlochewe there are groceries at the general store (01445 760252), which also operates a Post Office from 9am to 11am most mornings. The friendly Kinlochewe service station stocks a useful basic supply of groceries.
Further afield is the Lochcarron Food Centre, with a good range of food and an upstairs room stocking general household items.
To the north in Gairloch there are a number of shops, both on the main road and up the hill in the centre where you can find a grocery store and Kenneth Morrison the butcher’s. On the main road before turning into the road up to the village centre is the Farm and Garden Store, which is a general household and hardware shop with some fresh produce next door to the GALE visitor centre. On the same strip is McColl’s for groceries.
For larger groups or those staying more than one week there is the option of pre-booking a Tesco.com ‘click and collect’ slot for the van that comes to the Torridon Community Centre.
IS THERE A PETROL STATION IN TORRIDON?
There are petrol stations in Lochcarron (to the south of Torridon), Kinlochewe (to the east) and Gairloch (to the north). Please note there are no petrol stations in Torridon itself or Shieldaig so it’s a good idea to check if you need to fill up before arriving in Torridon.
WHY DON’T WE RENT OUT ALL THE BEDROOMS?
We rent out the whole of the main house but close off the two Annexe bedrooms at the north end of the property. The Annexe is empty during your stay and no one has access to it. We prefer to let the house to groups of up to 4 people as Leac a Ghradain will appeal to guests who are seeking a private and tranquil escape.