My last Scottish Borders tick, which some of you Dave will remember being unexpectedly closed on the busiest lunchtime of the year so far, causing me to be unexpectedly grumpy.

Most people would never return, but I don’t have that luxury if I’m ever going achieve the prize, so a month later I’m back.

But first of all, I stopped at St Abbs, shown below (top centre) on a rare outing for the Navigator.

Lovely pink pen on Mudgie’s map
Micro-free zone

It’s a lovely spot, with a National Trust car park (£4) that of course ensures a flood of NT-ticking visitors.

A Geordie dad with four toddlers asks me if the cliffs are safe for his children.

As long as they don’t fall down them” seems to satisfy him.  My conscience is clear.

Nearest pub no longer a pub

The skies became increasingly threatening as I headed towards the border, and I just made it into the old school comfort of a small Scottish hotel covered with fishing pictures and candles in bottles.

Spot my pint
Bench seating tick

I was a bit surprised to find the First & Last (pub in Scotland) open, but at the prescribed hour of 4pm there were already two Old Boys at the bar.


Back to my speciality; Old Boys counting out pennies for their pint of Tennents.

Two beers is plenty, as you know

Actually, one of them had the Loch Lomond Harbourmaster, so I took his lead.  Stupendous, as Niall Quinn so famously said.  Cool, rich, complex, a rare NBSS 4 in the Borders. So good I recommended it to the nice man from Ripon who came in, soaking with his suitcase.  Obviously he ignored me.

Finishing the Borders

Apart from bench seating and mobility scooters, the other sure sign of a Proper Pub is a puffer fish hanging from the ceiling.  Here it is.



So, a great way to end the Borders, in a hotel that’s a Proper Pub.  Who’d A Thought It ?



  1. Isn’t that map with all the pink lines the rail network before Beeching ?
    And “National Trust car park (£4)” reminds me how busy that charity has been lately tarmacking loads of fields to maximise car parking revenue.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve heard that the National Trust’s trustees were concerned that most of their members remembered rationing, if not the war, and so set up an expensive Revitalisation Project that concluded visiting lovely old buildings such as the Fleece Inn at Bretforton and tranquil untarmacked countryside remains the pinnacle of a decent day out but that modernisation was needed to attract to their properties hipsters averse to walking, cycling or using public transport.
        More car parks and microwaved meals are therefore examples of the NT embracing change but some ‘dinosaurs’ haven’t renewed their membership and there’s no suggestion yet that such measures have attracted more than half a dozen new members below pensionable age.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. “Lovely pink pen on Mudgie’s map”

    Bit of a large map to comment on, but I will note that Hag Wood is close to Nunlands. And here’s me thinking hags and nuns were somewhat similar. 😉

    “Micro-free zone”

    Pfft. If they found a cave in that outcrop that would surely be a serious consideration for a micro. 🙂

    “Nearest pub no longer a pub”

    That white house in the distance?

    “Spot my pint”

    Ooh! It’s the one beside a candle bottle. Either that or near a fishing photo. 🙂

    “Old Boys counting out pennies for their pint of Tennents.”

    Do you still have pennies over there?

    “Finishing the Borders”

    Great lacing. (thumbs up)

    “So, a great way to end the Borders, ”

    Agreed. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good work – reward for persistence and a tricky county to do. Perhaps a short term contract for Mrs RM in Shetland next would assist. A day would do it.


      1. Yes- picked up latest copy of local mag and there was a few. When are you going? Will take a pic of listing and send it to you. Stornaway Sea Angling Society is one that sounds like a must do (bound to have Bass 😉)


      2. I’ve no immediate plans ! Would need to leave two teenagers alone for a couple of nights and that’s tricky at moment. Aim to take campervan round west coast when both of them at Uni.

        Good joke !

        Liked by 1 person

      3. My heart did sink a little when I read the new outlets on the Western Isles (the Sea Angling Society offers “fishing, live museum and entertainment” as well as cask ale- what more could you possibly want? It has also won the European Sea Angling Championship. Surely a future club of the year…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oops sent too soon. Possible IOM trip involves last remaining pub in 2017 GBG and one new one in 2018 GBG. Works out about £150 a tick for me, though my pal needs plenty. Stupidity.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. If you asked David Halliwell nicely he might be prepared to chauffeur you around the IoM as he did for Simon.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. At last count only two cask outlets on the entire Shetlands. You should try a visit to the Baltasound Hotel just in case it still has cask in summer.

      Orkney might take a bit longer as it has around 22 outlets.

      One Hebridean Brewery bar is one too many. Fairly awful evening in Stornoway about 15 years…..

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Delightful, both the words and the pictures. Love that wall of framed black and white photos– I’d want to spend a fair bit of time studying those, each one seems to tell a story.

    Had a good chuckle at the “pufferfish, always a good sign” bit!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “A Geordie dad with four toddlers asks me if the cliffs are safe for his children.

    “As long as they don’t fall down them” seems to satisfy him. My conscience is clear.”

    You weren’t wearing your Coastguard outfit again were you…?

    I’ve cancelled my National Trust membership as a result of The Other Mudgies comment…

    Some of the finest lacings I’ve seen for a while…

    Liked by 1 person

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