My 25 December lunch comprised 3 pints and an (out-of-date) packet of crisps, so the second post from Innerleithen may not be my best.

But this Monday evening was; from the welcome from Pam (who I keep calling Pat) at the Old Town Hall to the mint with the curry.

It’s just a shame the Tweedside was closed so I couldn’t test the Tennents for Tandleman.

But I did get a shot of the green tiling next door that looks awfully familiar;

and the St Ronan’s Hotel turned out to be one of the unexpected highlights of ScotTick21 or whatever I call this.

I mean, it looks VERY basic, doesn’t it ? The sort of place that made the Guide in Gillingham in 2003 with Master Brew on gravity and then the Landlord died in a motorboat accident off Sheerness.

But it was quite, quite wonderful, particularly with the hidden handpump. All the best pubs have a hidden handpump, as if they’re ashamed to serve cask.

I feared the worst, with a row of Stella drinkers at the bar, but for once the Born in the Borders came up trumps (not HIM), the Amber a fruity 3.5. 3.5, in Scotland ! I was so excited I told Duncan, who just assumed I was pissed.

From my vantage point I could take in the majestic sight and sound of a South African tell the locals that Number 39 is the most picked number in the lottery. I think South Africans in pubs are always a good thing.

In Saffron 20 minutes later, having decided that taking salt and pepper chicken from the Chinese takeaway back to my pristine room wasn’t acceptable, I had the company of local curry fans.

Saffron had a menu printed on what looked like cotton,

and a special offer of onion bhajis, East Benghal chicken and naan for £17.95. Which isn’t Bradford cheap but was Bradford quality.

The local chap asked me if he could play his favourite Christmas tune on his phone, and I agreed with home that Christmas doesn’t start till Greg Lake sings “They said there’ll be snow at Christmas“.

And of course he was right.


  1. See, that Born in the Borders Amber is good stuff! I had a quick stop in Innerleithen just to take a few photos last year, but had promised myself a return visit when the pubs were actually open. I shall pop my head around the door of the St Ronans and say “Martin sent me”, upon which they will reply “we’ve stopped doing that real ale – there was no call for it”.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. NBSS 3.5+ beer is widely available in Scotland, at least if you’re in the Marine Hotel, Stonehaven anyway. Not in Shetland, however, although the Thule Bar, Lerwick, as frequented by Elvis Costello, serves a mean pint of Tennent’s Lager (NTLSS 3+)

    Liked by 1 person

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