Booking is strongly advised, even if just going for a drink” says What Pub of the Allanton Inn, in the eponymous one street just outside Duns in the vast wilderness of the eastern Scottish Borders.

So I phoned ahead, and asked if they could squeeze me in for a half, preferably next to a plant pot, at 2.30.

They could.

Really lovely people, though I expect a request to turn off the Michael Buble would have been met with resistance.

Very Christmassy, and you know how keen I am on Christmas.

Time for our horticultural expert to “name that flower”.

I could have tipped the Born in the Borders Blonde (adequate but uninspiring NBSS 2.5) in the vase, I guess. But I was already getting stares from two primary school children on the table opposite who had never seen a man drinking beer before.

I think that’s called passive drinking and is shortly to be banned in Iceland.

So I left it, pretending to visit the loo I needed anyway.

The highlight is the little homage to Jim Clark, and the mirror that compares your height to celebrities. I’m clearly shrinking in my old age as I’m now shorter than Cameron Diaz. Say nothing, Scott.

I’d happily pay £1.90 to visit pubs with little collections of tat, wash my hands in 20th century wash basins, and be stared at toddlers.

Such a shame I have to drink slow selling homewbrew to get my tick too.


  1. A few observations. Booking strongly advised for a practically empty pub. Is there any connection between the late Jim Clark, and the local area? Grandstand seats at Brands for just 20/-, and finally how did the Allanton Inn make it into the GBG?

    I know you dislike the whole thing Martin, but have a great Christmas, all the same!


    1. I suspect that the pub is busier outside the latest Covid fear stories, and is quite a destination pub. Jim Clark was a farmer in Duns just up the road; I visited his museum the other year.

      Almost any pub selling cask gets in the GBG. NBSS 2.5 isn’t bad compared to a lot of Lincolnshire !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We have a GBG pub in our Branch the Running Steam, near Aldershot run by the lovely Carolyn and she’s open all day and a visits on the cards today.
    Think you had one of your beers of the month there once GK mild. HAPPY CHRISTMAS not that you need it 😀.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry to hear your beer wasn’t up to much. I had Born in the Borders Amber at the Bridge in Peebles in September (pretty good), and Borderlands (no relation) Esk Blonde at the Douglas Hotel in Langholm earlier the same month, which was fantastic – but my judgment may have been influenced by the total lack of any real ale in the other Langholm pubs.

    I can’t imagine walking out and leaving a beer that was 2.5 NBSS – have I misunderstood the scoring system (yet again) or is turning your back on a beer and leaving it for a couple of toddlers supposed to be some sort of accolade? Asking for a friend (with toddlers).


    1. I was hoping the toddlers would drink it and chase after me demanding to join CAMRA immediately.

      Mrs RM worked in the Borders for 6 months in 2018 and the Born in the Borders varied by pub; it could be every good where the pump was ticking over.


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