3rd March 2020

Mrs RM has been a bit poorly, confined to her sickbed the last two days while I bring her Scottish pancakes, aubergine stir fry and black coffee.

She’ll recover, and was devastated that my trip to sup Bass in Burton yesterday was cancelled. Thank you for your best wishes; I’ll survive.

Just as well I’d packed in so much already this week, with rare visits to Whitworth, the Lakes and the Eden Valley.

I’d set off with four days of clothes, my entire wardrobe, but without a plan.

On a whim, I headed to Scotland; you never know when they’ll close the border.

Rare trip into pages 236-237

Yes, into Dumfries & Galloway, two counties merged in 1977, presumably as part of the SNP cost saving measures and a lucrative sponsorship deal with an Italian fashion brand.

This pic shows the extent of our assault on Page 237 of the Navigator.

Patience, Kirkcudbright, patience

A trip to Springfield/Gretna a decade ago, a night on the Bass in Dumfries, and the odd stop in Moffat and Ecclefechan on the way home from Glasgae, and that’s about it over 25 years of travel.

Even Waterbeach Barry the bloke who fixed my Aygo till recently had seen more of the south-western edge of Scotland than I had.

“It’s lovely” said Barry.

And he’s right. If you love emptiness and forests. And long place names.


Makes the Dark Peak look like central Manchester. Not a soul to disturb my view of Claterringshaws Loch.

Holding back the rush of craft

And here’s the bustling Main Street of St John’s Town of Dalry, which you’ll see from the photo has been a major irritant in my pinking of the GBG;

I gave up halfway with the pinking
Self isolation from pub tickers

The village tourist sign promises much,

Needs a clean

and to be fair it’s a pretty place for a 20 minute wander, with some handsome houses and a great graveyard. The Clare (Suffolk) of the North.

Great Town Hall
Gorgeous parish church
View to the hills

You can’t beat an old bridge leading to nowhere.


I’m always wary of published opening times, but as Duncan said to me, Scottish pubs tend to stick to hours irrespective of custom, and for that I thank them.

Open on the dot

The Clachan is a stunner, cosy and warm and welcoming. With proper seating.

Obligatory fish on wall
Close-up of fish
Those colours

What I hadn’t expected was the exciting beer range;

Flights !

This looks like a destination ale pub, a bit like the Trust in Peebles , and I wondered if there was the custom to support beers that weren’t called “Tennents” round here, but the Lowland was a cool, creamy wonder (NBSS 3.5). The amiable Landlord enjoyed me counting out my £1.85 in 5p pieces.

No-one in for “Haggis and clapshot potato” £6.50 lunch yet.


Proper seating in the restaurant

One chap in the corner reading the Galloway Gazette nursing a pint, one Old Boy sitting at the bar enjoying the whole of Ed Sheeran’s LP, the one I can’t find the symbol for on my keyboard.

Even Ed couldn’t ruin my 20 minutes of quiet contemplation of a little classic.



    1. I was curious too.

      Not many pubs at all. The few I went too weren’t much different from what you’d get in rural and coastal England. Only half a dozen in the Beer Guide, which is pretty much ALL the real ale pubs.

      Dumfries itself has some characterful pubs, Coach and Horses was great and had Bass and Dylan.


      1. The area has some towns that look interesting to me. Whithorn looks really nice. I would guess the area is lightly touristed?


      2. Very lightly touristed when I was there. Most Scots, and English, head into the Trossachs and highlands.

        I thought Whithorn was peaceful but not stunning, a bit like the coast near Dundee.


    1. I’m learning all the time, Martin 🙂

      What struck me about the song was, when the crowd joined in, just how well people used to sing in those days.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I trust Mrs RM will soon be on the mend, especially given the special “convalescent” cuisine you are providing for her. Please wish her a speedy recovery.

    Returning to your post, the Clachan looks lovely, and a nice place for some peaceful contemplation, but I don’t think I could have put up with Ed Sheeran for more than a couple of tracks.

    Liked by 1 person

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