Cafe owner hangs up her apron
IF I WERE asked what has been the most popular place in Morvern over the past 25 years, I would bet my last pound the snack bar on the old pier at the entrance to Loch Aline, would be high on the list.
Indeed, it might be said no visit to Morvern is complete without sampling the culinary delights of the legendary Lochaline snack bar and being warmly welcomed by its owner Jean Robinson, or ‘Jean’, as she is affectionately known.
But don’t delay as Jean has decided to switch off her oven, hang up her apron and retire, leaving others to follow in the business.
Like all professional caterers, Jean never discusses her customers but it is no secret she has fed and watered most locals and many famous personalities.
The chairman of Ogilvy and Mather International - a giant American advertising agency - Jock Elliot and his wife Ely, who bought and donated the island of Staffa to the National Trust for Scotland, were regular callers before their untimely death a few years ago.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, celebrity chef, television personality and real food campaigner, Jon Snow, Channel 4 news presenter, Charles Lawson, the Irish actor best known for playing Jim MacDonald in Coronation Street, have all eaten there.
So too have bin-men, holiday-makers, truckers, lairds, artists, ferry staff, policemen, estate factors, divers, bikers - hairy and otherwise - yachtsmen, bus parties and miners.
Jean’s home-baking and locally-sourced fresh venison burgers are a popular first- choice followed by her calorific ‘barge specials’, renamed by a well-known journalist a few years ago as ‘heart attacks in a bun’.
If that were the sum total of Jean’s daily life there would be little more to say, but her interest in the community is such that there is a problem in knowing how many of them can be mentioned here.
For almost a quarter of a century Jean has been the area’s unofficial and unpaid voluntary tourist information officer, agony-aunt, trip-advisor, pier mistress and litter gatherer.
Above all she has been the front counter and a terrific ambassador for Morvern. Lang may her lum reek and her garden flourish in her well- deserved retirement.
RETIRING: Jean Robinson
of Lochaline snack bar