Tell them about the haggis cigars” said no-one ever. So I’ll tell you about the haggis cigars in an otherwise unremarkable pub in the Lothians, (something to do with Marillion, I think).

You CAN’T actually smoke them, and smoking is wrong, but hunting haggi is fine, apparently.

It was so unremarkable a GBG pub I won’t name it, as I might have killed their pot plants on the way out.

I will name the Navaar House Hotel in Penicuik, the Malverns of the North.

Quaint little small hotel, rooms over £100 a night (campervan : free) which is par for the course in 2022, and a scary note in the GBG App that the bar doesn’t open till 3pm but staff will bring a beer through.

I’ve heard that before.

Can I have a half of real ale please. ANY real ale.” Thankfully I don’t need to do the international sign of the handpump here.

But the Jarl (pronounced “Jarol” here) is crisp enough (NBSS 3). I get the “Jarol” after I’m offered a choice of that or “Jack Something” which turns out to be off.

I join two gentlefolk sharing a bottle of Prosecco in the self-styled bistro. “Sit anywhere you like. NOT IN FRONT OF THE FIRE !” for the traditional small hotel lunch, two courses for £16.50 (Scottish money),

and am relieved to turn the menu over and find haggis cake with chutney and steak pie; exactly what I wanted in my last Lothians tick.

Yes, it’s very 1980s, but so is the soundtrack (The Kinks “Waterloo Sunset” and “The Great Pretender” by The Platters*).

I’d been eyeing up the seats in front of the fire I wasn’t allowed to sit in, and in due course a grandmother robed in three layers of warm clothing arrived with family and began to discuss modernity (mainly mobile phones). Heartwarming.

Everyone was on half portions, apart from your hero, because half portions are like tasters.

No, it’s not a REAL pie, more a stew. But it was a HUGE and tasty portion served by cheery staff and I vote it my favourite bistro in Scotland for 2022/23.

And here’s the tick;

There’s some great pubs there, and they don’t all use autovacs.

*Find me a link between those two and win a haggis cigar of your choice.


  1. The link between The Kinks “Waterloo Sunset” and “The Great Pretender” by The Platters is that neither of them were recorded in the 1980s.

    Please tell me I’m wrong – as a vegan I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near haggis cigars. And if I’m right can I also decline the alternative prize of the leftover bottom half of a bottle of Doom Bar too.


    Liked by 2 people

      1. I got a perfectly good answer to the question. Just because it’s not the answer you were thinking of doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Not that I’m complaining – I still don’t want to go anywhere near those haggis cigars.


  2. I was going to say what SH said, so … both songs reached No1 in the Dutch “Single Top 100” chart.

    It’s an answer, but I bet it’s not “the quiz answer”.

    Liked by 1 person

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