There has been apparently been an ale house here since 1689, and Wordsworth and Coleridge are said to have met here to drink and discuss issues of the day. Originally called The White House, The Mortal Man is said to have earned its name from the locals of a bygone era, who became fond of the ‘Sally Birkett’ rhyme depicted on the sign outside. If you’re not familiar with that rhyme:-
O mortal man that lives by bread,
What is it makes thy nose so red?
Thou silly fool, that look’st so pale,
‘Tis drinking Sally Birkett’s ale.
This ale is often to be found on the pumps here, brewed exclusively for the pub by Hawkshead brewery, although it was not on today. Never mind, there were several others to choose from. As today’s walk involved no driving, we treated ourselves to a couple of drinks each.
First up, a Loughrigg, by Hesket Newmarket Brewery, which has been going for nearly 20 years, and is now a co-operative, owned by around a hundred people with local connections. You’ll often see their beers around in Cumbrian pubs. When walking over from Ambleside, whatever your pint is, it is well earned. A few years ago we witnessed a woman who had done the same walk, downed a shot of malt whisky, and then walked back. This is dangerous – you need more fluid when walking.
A pint is perfect refreshment, and this one was very nice indeed.
Mrs MOFAD always enjoys a visit to the Mortal Man, as they usually have a cider festival on at this time of year. First up, a “Lemon & Lime” from Lilley’s Cider Barn. Like cider with Rose’s lime cordial, or adult Sprite. It’s got a green hue and is very tasty and easy to drink.
On to lunch. Being Mr Predictable (sometimes) I opted for what I had last year – the club sandwich.
Let’s play spot the difference. This year’s offering is on the left.
There are some subtle differences with this year’s version.
- The biggest crime of all – the plate has been abandoned in favour of a roof tile. Stop doing this! We want plates!
- The club sandwich has grown to the more traditional “double decker” style this year – no arguments with that.
- They appear to have stopped toasting their club sandwich. The jury is out on this one but I do prefer toastiness.
Anyway, it was very tasty. And even better when accompanied by another pint, this time an ever-reliable Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, from across the border.
Mrs MOFAD had a Thatchers Heritage, which was a touch astringent, but quite pleasant overall.
Another lovely visit to the Mortal Man. It was very quiet (a couple of other customers had obviously not looked at their calendar, as the availability of tables seemed to confuse them), but lovely sitting in front of the fire.
A lovely pub, well worth including on any walk in the area. See you again next year!