Skiach services, near Evanton north of Inverness, are something in between a motorway services and a proper truckstop, but it does have a lot going for it for truck drivers heading to the Far North of Scotland along the A9.
In fairness, it is not the best truckstop in the world. But it most certainly isn’t the worst and it is out to cater for car drivers as much as truckers. However with parking for up to 20 artics – and free overnight parking at that, it’s a good, safe place to stop if you are heading away from Inverness to the north.
Inside the café area – which seats about 75, is clean, pleasant but a little sterile, but nevertheless, it’s not dirty.
There are only three main breakfasts on offer. The small breakfast – which comprises sausage, bacon, fried egg, fried bread and tomato – costs £4.25 or you can upgrade for the Big breakfast – which is the same plus has Lorne sausage, mushrooms, tattie scone and beans and that will set you back £6.50.
The Veggie breakfast has two vegetarian sausages accompanied by a fried egg, mushrooms and baked beans and costs £4.50.
If the exact specification of the breakfast not quite what you want, or you simply want more of a certain item, then you can add as you see fit – and each extra item is 85p each – and they include the aforementioned items plus hash browns, potato scones, haggis or black pudding.
There are plenty of lighter options, and scrambled, poached or fried egg on toast is £3.50, the same price as beans or bacon on toast.
For ‘takeaway’ breakfasts – which of course you don’t have to take away – there is a choice of filled rolls – all priced at £2.25 – and you can choose from bacon, sausage, Lorne sausage, black pudding, haggis, fried egg, tattie scone, hash brown or scrambled egg.
Finally, a bowl of porridge will come in at £1.60 while a mug of tea is £1.40 and a mug of coffee is £1.80.
Light meals and burgers
The soup of the day is £3 – look at the specials board to find out what it is. Cheese on toast, a chip buttie, chips and cheese, chips and gravy and chips with curry sauce are all £2.50 while a fish finger sandwich is £2.65.
Baked potatoes are £4.50 and the choice of fillings are cheese, coleslaw, beans, chicken mayo or tuna mayo – and any extra filling is an additional 85p.
Sandwiches – on either white or wholemeal bread – are £3.50, while toasted Paninis or sandwiches are £4.25; the choice of fillings is wide – with the usual classics such as BLT, ham & cheese, beef, coronation chicken, pickle, ham, cheese tuna & cheese, chicken mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise, onion, tuna mayo or tomato.
The site offers a range of basic burger options. They include the crispy chicken burger at £5.50 or a 6oz beef burger at £6.50. You can add a range of toppings at 50p each to these – they are cheese, haggis, bacon or battered onion rings. Sauces are 20p each, and include burger relish, barbeque sauce sweet chilli, spicy Cajun. However chips are extra so a full cheeseburger with a couple of sauces and relishes, plus chips does start to get a bit pricey!
Side orders include toast/bread & butter at £1, a small portion of chips at £1.35, large portion of chips at £1.95, coleslaw is £1.30, onion rings are £1.65 and a side salad is £1.35.
Skiach services does not have the widest range of main meals you’ll ever encounter, but there is enough of a choice to please most palettes.
On offer are battered haddock or scampi at £8.50 and they include chips and peas. Steak pie is £8.25, chicken goujons are £7.95 and macaroni cheese is £7.50 while pie, beans and chips or sausage roll, beans and chips are both £6.25. The simple, but effective, egg and chips is £5.75, while omelettes are £6.50 and salads £7.35
There is also a specials board – on the day of our visit it was roast saddle of venison with roast potatoes and vegetables at £9.50. The site also offers traditional Sunday roasts.
Desserts and drinks
All desserts are priced at £3.25 and include the usual favourites such as sticky toffee pudding, apple pie, bread & butter pudding, jam sponge, chocolate fudge cake, ice cream & fruit as well as Mackie’s luxury ice cream.
The dessert specials on offer on our visit was banana fritters or toffee waffles – both served with cream or custard and priced at £3.25.
Cans of pop or cartons of juice are all £1, while a glass of milk or orange juice is £1.10. Still water is £1 and sparking water costs £1.20. a basic range of alcohol sees cans of beer at £2.35 or 25cl bottles of wine at £3.25
The site is open for fuel 24 hours, while the café is open Mondays-Saturdays from 0700 until 2100 and on Sundays from 0800 to 2000. Skiach services has showers, TV, cashpoint, and free wi-fi.
Overall this a good place to stop if you have a long drive ahead of you to get to the north of Scotland or the islands. It’s not the cheapest place on the planet, but neither is it a rip off and if you are parking for the night, assuming you can get a slot, then it offers good facilities.
4D Industrial Estate, Evanton, Nr Dingwall, Ross-shire, IV16 9XH
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