Monday, 17 March 2014

A lovely Scottish weekend

What a lovely weekend I've just had! I spent it in a tiny little place called the Isle of Whithorn (no longer an island) in Dumfries and Galloway in South West Scotland. I count myself really lucky to live in Northumberland - Scotland is so close that it's just a short hop across the border to enjoy a bit of Scottish hospitality now and then. The Isle is a beautiful unspoilt harbour village with some spectacular views of the rugged coastline, which in great Scottish tradition, is peppered with the odd ruined castle or chapel. It's the ideal spot for a beautiful, if windy, clifftop walk.

Isle of Whithorn

For me, the perfect end to any long walk is a stop-off at the local pub for some refreshment and to rest my tired legs and the Isle of Whithorn's only pub/hotel/restaurant is The Steampacket Inn. It's got a great spot right on the harbour and, as well as a wide selection of real ales, wines and soft drinks, it serves lunches and dinner so it was the obvious place for us to eat on Saturday evening. 
A view across the harbour

When we arrived, the lounge and restaurant were both very busy with what seemed to be a mix of both tourists and locals (a good sign) and, as we hadn't made a reservation, we wondered whether a table would be available. We were lucky this time but as this is the only eatery in the village, a reservation would have been a good idea! 

The dinner menu offered a range of typical pub food options including fish and chips, Aberdeen Angus burger and chicken curry and there was also a specials menu which included venison sausages and a choice of locally landed fish. Deciding to skip starters we went straight for mains and we were glad we had! My hubby, who had ordered fish and chips, was served the largest fried fillet of cod we had ever seen! 

I felt that I should have some of the local fish - we were right next to the harbour after all so it seemed like a no-brainer but I was too tempted by the venison sausages and mash instead. This was a much more manageable portion but substantial nonetheless with 3 sausages and a nice dollop of tasty mash. The food was good quality, homemade and very reasonably priced at £10.95 each for our main courses. 

Venison Sausages and Mash

One of the biggest fried fish fillets I've seen!
To accompany our meals my hubby chose one of the wide selection of real ales on offer from the Kelburn Brewery in Glasgow and I had a glass of one of the red wines available - I'm not a beer drinker so was pleased to see a good choice of red and white wines with a 'Wine of the Month' displayed on a blackboard behind the bar.

I was able to squeeze in a pud afterwards and the menu offered a small selection of deserts, cheese and biscuits and a choice of local ice cream from the Galloway Creamery. I went for Sticky Toffee Pudding with custard (only £3.95) - again it was a very large portion and very good - and I managed to eat the lot!

Sticky Toffee Pudding with custard
We left the Steampacket Inn feeling that the food had been hearty, tasty and excellent value for money. Being the only hostelry for miles around, and therefore having a captive audience, there is the opportunity to offer expensive, substandard food but that is certainly not the case here. 

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