A Borders Beer Break  via the partially reopened Waverley line.

I’ll defer to Tom Irvin for the definitive view on the merits of the Borders Railway, but it could do with a buffet car and a stop between Stow and Gorebridge, perhaps to explore Toddle Ferry at Hoppringle.

I know how much our American readers enjoy historical documents, so here’s our itinerary.  Puts the Dead Sea Scrolls in their place, heh ?


On the way Charles and I debated whether we could and should break our journey on the way on the way back.  A look at the WhatPub entry for the George in Melrose suggested that;

Opening times have recently become a bit erratic”   Thanks for that, then.

Two calls to the George just after lunchtime went to answerphone, so we thought we’d head there first, in case erratic meant “until the lunchtime diner leaves“.

You’ll have noticed that the end of the line isn’t Melrose, but Tweedbank, a village somehow claimed by Galashiels despite being the Melrose side of the river.


The half-hour walk along the Southern Uplands Way gives you some classic views, and a chain bridge offering a choice between a £2 fine or imprisonment,


before you weave into town past the only thing I associate with Melrose.


As I understand it, the Melrose Sevens is a “rugger” tournament for chaps who’ve paid a minimum of £7,000 guineas a term for their private education.  One for the bucket list.

Melrose High Street looked quiet, though it turned out the upmarket little cafes and bistros at the Market Square were packed with gentlefolk. Just one (non-residential) pub, apparently, and very publike it looked too.


A further call to the George at 2pm had drawn a blank, so we approached a distinctly unprepossessing small hotel expecting the worst.


It’s the sort of family-run “unchanging hotel with faded grandeur” that’s the mainstay of Scottish rural tourism, and a fair few GBG entries, and not without a certain charm.

It was empty though, so even the Beer Guide sticker didn’t reassure as we noseyed around, contemplating a Pubmeister-style “help yourself” approach.  Charles knows his way round a handpump, apparently.


But then, just like Mr Benn’s shopkeeper, (if he was a she and from Poland), the pleasant barmaid appeared with effusive apologies for an unstaffed bar.  A decent beer range included some Campervan bottles, but you can’t tick a GBG pub with bottled beer.

Rare picture of Charles’s hand

The Allendale was particularly good, cool and tasty considering lack of turnover (NBSS 3.5). I suspect an evening visit would have seen it in an even better light, and any pub with a SpongeBob on the bar is OK with me.

We’d have been too late for lunch here, but picked up macaroni cheese and scotch pies, and Ecclefechan tart from Alex Dalgetty, a sort of Betty’s in the Borders.

We scoffed them in ten minutes at the top of the High Street, and life was perfect.

It didn’t last.

12 thoughts on “MUNCHING IN MELROSE

      1. I hope i am not being too intrusive in asking why a Wetherspoons looks scary or terrifying Martin.
        I have never had any doubts about going into any Wetherspoons and think most look decent enough from the outside,i know i am a bit different to most drinkers as i go out of my way to do *hit Hole pubs that not many people would venture into,but i do get a buzz out of doing those types of pubs and have took my wife in loads a few years back when her knees were better,it did not bother her when we did all pubs on the Ordsall estate in Salford in the 80s.
        Do you think this pub looks scary the Iron Duke in Hulme Manchester,it was very busy with rastas and i was the only white person in the pub,i thought it did and could not wait to go in see what it was like inside.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I put a link to this on Twitter so people could enjoy your review.

        The problem with the Galashiels Spoons is that you couldn’t see into it but you could see who was going in and out. I’m not saying we were scared, it just didn’t feel welcoming (and my mate’s Scottish). I bet I have to go back when it gets in the Beer Guide.


    1. Oh they will be, Dave, along with Simon’s green pen, Tom’s railway timetable and Alan’s Derby County rosette. We’ll set up an underground museum in Maidenhead.


      1. The scum rosette comment was below the belt Martin,but i bet you thought it was funny when typing it,i can not think of a comment to counter that,so you win that one.
        It is great to Sponge Bob Square Pants on the bar,when he was popular i got my wife the video of all the episodes we both really enjoyed watching them,lots more to it than just a kids programme if you know what i mean.

        Liked by 1 person

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