While this blog is essentially a way of reminding Mrs RM where I’ve gone, if rarely where I am, I do feel some obligation to promote the great nation I spend my time travelling, whether Carluke or Cartmel.
So I’ll start by telling you Biggar is beautifully situated, just 17 miles from historic Carluke.
Excitingly, I passed the famed (but closed) Crook Inn and Broughton Brewery to get there, as well as the Crown of Scotland in the impossibly empty lands between A74 and A7, which I may one day explore despite the absence of a GBG entry, ever.
Biggar is only slightly smaller than Moffat, but has much slimmer pickings for the tourist, bar the famed Puppet Theatre, which makes the place sound a bit like a Scottish Thursford. It looks brilliant.
An attractive main street reminded me of Yarm , but was a bit traffic-scarred, the tempting Gasworks Museum was closed (this being Bank Holiday Monday) and the town is only really rescued by another attractively landscaped park.
I headed down a series of little closes in search of the real Biggar, and nearly ended up in someone’s front room.
I’ve no idea why I took a photo of Albion Motors; as I say, slim pickings.
But, two whole pubs in the Beer Guide (both of their real ale outlets, in fact), and neither of them a Wetherspoons (or, even worse, a micro pub).
The Elphinstone with its “Elph Bar” promised a traditional drinking experience, particularly since I remembered to go in the Public rather than the restaurant.
Sometimes all you need are photos;
With the atmosphere of a modernised sports bar in Potters Bar, high tables and wall-to-wall golf, it took a matter of seconds to see it’s GBG selling point.
Three beers from Strathaven and Broughton represented an embarrassment of choice in the region; the latter’s Merlin being as cool and tasteless but adequate as I expected (NBSS 2.5).
No locals, just a visiting extended family having the sort of conversation that would have had Simon slitting his wrists in boredom. A mum dispensing “polite” advice to her daughter on childcare, (“You need to work as a team“), admonishments about excess salt in the diet, and a downward inclination at the end of every line delivered by “Kirsty”, the heroine of the piece.
And on the walls, even more motivational guff like this from Derby County legend Brian Clough. (NB I’ve no idea what the thing in the top left hand corner is, but it’s dead).
The father made a trip to the bar to ask for a straw (probably for his Bud Light), making it seem like a Commando expedition. It was embarrassing, but compelling.
I left when “Kirsty” got the wet wipes out. I think she was about to change her child’s nappy on the table. In the dining room would have been OK, but in the public bar !
On to the Crown, which is apparently the Pub of the Year.
Another modernised dining pub with table service, but at least with pubby traces, and a few professional drinkers with lively dogs at the bar.
An even more ambitious beer range largely overlooked by a packed pub, it could only be Greene King. I tripped over the advertising board advertising a beer festival while avoiding the dog, but there was no sign of more beers in the soggy outside area.
The Raven was just the right side of OK, but hardly a great advert for either cask or Orkney, and I didn’t see another pint poured over lunch.
Greeted with “Will you be having a bite to eat“, I succumbed, and thoroughly enjoyed a hot dog that Stockport’s Bakers Vaults would have been proud of.
So Biggar, bigger is not necessarily better.
Too many beers
Too many beers
Too many beers….