Sunday, 4 September 2011

Callander to Lade Inn: 3rd September 2011

Today I had to juggle between getting to a couple of mini-beer festivals in The Trossachs and watching the Scotland - Czech Republic game (or at least some part of it). So it was an early start to get to Callander, again not the easiest place to get to by public transport from Glasgow.

View Callander, 3rd September 2011 in a larger map
Outward transport was as follows:-
  Train : Glasgow Queen Street to Stirling - Alloa train
  Bus : Stirling to Callander (59, First in Scotland). Had to run for this!

The bus to Callander from Stirling takes an interesting detour through Deanston, really not much more than a distillery, a primary school and a row of houses built for the distillery workers. The riverside setting is stunning and I've always wanted to get off the bus and take a look around, but the distillery tours have to be pre-booked and it's another hour for the next bus so I've never actually done so.

I got off the bus almost at the door of the Waverley Hotel.
It's a nice building - the bar in the lounge is long with 8 hand-pulls, there are a fair number of tables for food and a separate TV lounge next door. It's got a lot of touristy scottish decor, but then (doh!) this is a tourist town. Unfortunately the beer choice during this mini-festival was not too great - it's probably been going downhill since Belhaven/Green King took over a couple of years ago and leased out the place. Previously where there had been, for example An Teallach beers and some printed tasting notes, today there were only 3x Inveralmond, 1x Houston and 4x Belhaven/GK beers - none at all interesting. The soup & sandwich deal is still good value, but I left with a slight sense of disappointment.

The walk to the Lade Inn is only about half an hour (I need to do some longer walks very soon!) and goes through Callander Meadows and the route of an old railway line - complete with 'old' railway signposts.
At the Lade Inn they at least had some decent beers on - their own 3x beers (brewed by TSA - Lade Back, Lade Out, Way Lade) and also TSA Double Espresso, Williams Roisin & Tryst Blathan. It's a busy place this lunchtime, there's a coach party in and the staff are rushed off their feet. Once I've finished my Blathan I head off to the Scottish Real Ale Shop next door where they used to brew their own beers but now have probably the widest selection of bottled beer is Scotland
I always ask when I go into the place if they have anything new available. This time they have some Oban Bay beers (which I don't really fancy - I'll probably be up in Oban in the next few months) and also a couple of Islay beers including an bourbon aged stout - interesting. I also take a chance on the Arran Milestone Reserve although I've heard conflicting reports on this. What the hell - it's my birthday this month. It's not a bad haul, not quite to @cagarvie standards, but enough to seriously weigh my rucksack down
Return transport:-
  Bus : Callander to Stirling (59, First in Scotland)
  Train : Stirling to Glasgow Queen Street - Aberdeen train

I arrived back in Glasgow to just catch Scotland go ahead in their match and then be denied by a pretty dubious penalty. Oh well - at least I have some decent beer to drink.

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