Saturday, 16 November 2013

Off the beaten track

Here we are in November and still there are mild days when it is easy to work up a sweat walking the dog. The weather forecasters promise a dip in temperatures by next week. It will be interesting to see if they are right.  I have all my cold weather gear lined up and ready to go.

Last night we went for a meal with friends and visited High House Farm Brewery near Matfen. A microbrewery started up there in 2001 and we visited the brewery and did the tour in October. Here's the link:

It is well off the beaten track, though only half a mile as the crow flies from the Roman Wall. I wonder how many walkers would benefit from a refreshing pint if only they knew it was there? We drove the last couple of miles on single track roads between high hedges, and all around was darkness. Would it be open? Had they forgotten our booking? We were almost on the place before we saw a light beaming through the blackness. We got out of the car and almost got blown away - the buildings sit high on the ridge, very much exposed to the weather.

Inside it was warm and welcoming though we were the only party expected that night. Wooden floors and stone walls, cowhide throws over the leather sofas, wooden stairs that creaked alarmingly on every tread. That's old buildings for you. Evidently it is a very popular wedding venue - they're booked solid for next year. I ordered haddock fishcakes with rocket salad and Lemon and Thyme risotto to follow. All very tasty and I for one shall return. I think some might prefer a busier, buzzier place, but I didn't mind our party being the only four people there. Matfen Hall Chapter Library, which we visited in October when David and Helen were with us, was vast, ornate and a little daunting when we were the only guests with at least half a dozen waiters in attendance, but this room was a nice size. I wonder why it is that we keep selecting places where we are the only diners? Can it be that people in general don't eat out as much as they once did? Perhaps the recession means there's not enough spare cash around.

The picture is one I took on our two day break not so long ago. It is Kilmartin, in Argyll. Famous for its prehistoric cairns, chambers and other remains. If prehistory interests you, then here's a link to get you started:

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