The Drovers Inn – Argyll and Bute, Scotland - Gastro Obscura

A small girl’s ghost haunts the Highlands. Guests sleeping in room six of the Drovers Inn in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, have reported feeling her icy form drip water onto their bed in the dead of night. Local lore says the child drowned after trying to fish her doll out of the quick-moving nearby river and now wanders in search of her missing toy.

She’s not the only restless soul reportedly spotted at the inn, which has been welcoming wayfarers for 300 years. Among the breathtaking scenery of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the Drovers Inn and its pub make a fine destination for travelers looking for hearty food and local spirits. Today, its location on the West Highland Way makes it a popular spot for long-distance hikers. But the inn was originally a stopover point for the “drovers,” or cattle herders, after which it’s named. Historically, Scottish cattle herders made a yearly trek from the Highlands where their animals grazed to the Lowlands where they took them to market. This pilgrimage over rough, isolated terrain proved the perfect battleground for the cattle-stealing hijinks of Scotland’s warring clans, and ghosts of drovers who met bloody ends in these skirmishes are said to haunt the inn to this day.

Beyond its supernatural visitors, the inn’s most famous guest was Rob Roy MacGregor, a local folk hero known as the Scottish Robin Hood and immortalized in countless stories and poems. Around 1711, an unpaid loan left Rob Roy an outlaw, and his subsequent cattle raiding and support of the Jacobite uprising of 1715 gained him a charge of treason. After two captures and two dramatic escapes, Roy was pardoned by the king. 

Modern-day guests will be greeted by worn antiques, old photos and paintings, and a huge collection of taxidermy, including a stuffed bear, reared in attack position with exposed teeth. Those who are feeling a bit peckish can still dine on haggis, neeps, and tatties at the inn’s pub. A serving of sticky toffee pudding and a nightcap are sure to send guests to bed happy—until, that is, they wake in the middle of the night to the cold drip of an uninvited visitor.

Know Before You Go

The inn features weekly live music and is dog-friendly, both in the pub and rooms. Guests more interested in Hollywood than herding or haunting can still get their historical fix: The inn was featured as a location in the 2012 Halle Berry and Tom Hanks fantasy Cloud Atlas. 

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April 24, 2019

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