Saturday 9 October 2010


There's not a great deal more pleasant than an Autumnal hike, but this is some serious mileage, heading up to the real North - Scotland; Glasgow, Aran and Loch Lomond via the lovely setting of the Lake District, Ambleside, Windermere et al, strolling up hills, taking in scenery, supping nice beer, sounds like a plan to me, a friend of ours, Bill did just that...

Bowness-on-Windermere was base camp for the first half of the week long jaunt. The gaff is saturated with decent pubs, multinational restaurants and tourists snapped away with their cameras – Bowness is also home to The World of Beatrix Potter. After a hearty breakfast at our lodgings Laurel Cottage, originally the villagers' Grammer school, built in 1613 - we set off for the days brisk walk – usually uphill.
One of my other passions in life is real ale, and plenty of it. Two miles outside Bowness is a beer twitchers paradise, the
Water Mill Inn in Ings
. This oasis not only brews its on ale on site, it has up to 16, yes sixteen, hand pumps on the go at any given time. The ales fermented for supping are all in some way named or associated to dogs, but none (which were lovingly served in pint glasses with a line measure on so you got a good inch head) that came my way, were ‘ruff’ at all, I can tell you. The Collie Wobbles, for me, was best of the 8 of their house ales that I sampled that session. A delightful drop, citrus flavours with a dry hoppy/malty after taste – I had the wobbles on too upon leaving several hours later!
Ambleside is a lovely little village steeped in history. A hundred years ago tanning, brewing, milling, smithing and bobbin were the staple trades of town folk, sadly these trades are no more. Today, the town is a haven for ramblers and tourists and Half Men, Half Biscuit Crime Scenes, every other shop is brimming with outdoorsy stuff, shower-proofs, hiking boots & walking sticks. There are an array of sights to see in and surrounding the town too: the foundations of the long gone Galava fort constructed around AD 79 by the Romans – what have the Romans ever done for us? - the most photographed landmark Bridge House, which spans Stock Ghyll and the Old Stamp House where William Wordsworth once earned a crust in 1813.
Apart from several cracking, cobbled back street real-ale houses there is a must see for any footy fans out for a stroll,
The Homes of Football
Inside it's brimming with curious old school football stuff, classic photos of fans, grounds and memorabilia in football from a bygone era – it’s well worth half an hour of your time if you find yourself in that neck of the woods.

The second half of the week was spent in Glasgow, Scotland. I don’t really need to go into real depth about the trips to Loch Lomond & the Isle of Arran, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Only Glasgow can seem a very grim place when the rain is belting it down for fun. But, when the sun has got its hat on, the vibrant city comes to life and with the streets in the centre set out on a grid system like San Francisco, you can quickly get the hang of the 999999 layout. The paving stones were pounded for two days and quite a lot of its heritage was absorbed.
As well has popping in such boozers as, Drum & Monkey, Horse Shoe, Scotia, Pivo Pivo, Blackfriars, Babbity Bowster, West Brewing Company and many, many more, I had the fortune of dinning at, in my humble opinion, the best curry house outside India – the Wee Curry Shop This well hid wee gem of a place, served up the most mouth-watering, bum-burning, curry that I’d encountered and with a pint of Kingfisher to wash the yummy spices the old gut was full to the brim. The bill was easy on the pocket too. Bill R.

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