The White Lion, Ambleside, January 2017

New year, old pub.

We were here just three days ago, winning £10 on the pub quiz. That needed to be spent, so we decided to pop in tonight for dinner. Many pubs scale back their offerings on this day, after the excesses of last night, whilst some pubs stop doing food altogether.

The White Lion go for the scale back option, with a hastily printed A4 piece of paper serving as the menu for the night. We thought we might struggle for a table, with a couple of large reserved tables making the pub look much emptier than it should have. It turned out that both of these parties were over an hour late, and one of the exasperated staff had just about had enough of the tables sitting empty for so long.

Off to the bar to order, and what do I spy when I get there? A beer that’s followed us up the A50 and M6, Sly Fox by Everards Brewery, a golden ale “with a cunning hint of ginger”. It sounded good.

However, this ginger had a cunning plan, which involved escaping from its beery trap, as I couldn’t detect even a tiny hint of ginger in it. A shame, as I like a fiery ginger hit, and it would have worked nicely with my chicken burger:-

The chicken burger was rather overcooked, which is ok from a safety point of view, but made it a bit tough from a “tasty burger” point of view. It was all a bit of a sad sight really, a sign of the reduced service for the night.

It was quick and it was cheap and the White Lion is usually better than this.

Wainwrights’ Inn, Chapel Stile, January 2017

Not to be confused with The Wainwright in Keswick, Wainwrights’ Inn in Chapel Stile is part of the Langdale Estate, which includes the Langdale Hotel, Brimstone Spa and Stove Restaurant and Bar. We were last at the Langdale Hotel way back in June 1999, for the wedding reception of my dad’s cousin Frank & his wife Sheila. Frank has since departed this mortal coil, but as the man who introduced us to many secret parts of Cumbria, he will always be remembered.

Anyway, on to today’s visit. We parked over in Skelwith Bridge, and followed a largely familiar route up to Neaum Crag (site of our first Lakes winter holiday), skirting around Loughrigg Tarn, up to High Close and then down through Walthwaite and into Chapel Stile.

A familiar sight coming next too. Wainwrights’ Inn have also subscribed to the tasting bat/paddle methodology, which allows you to enjoy 3 x 1/3 pint glasses of different beer. We managed to confuse them by requesting Tirril Pennine Pilsner as one of the three beers, but they eventually worked out that it was a proper beer so could be included. That was a light and refreshing pilsner, and it was joined by Derwent Brewery’s Cote Light (easy drinking light ale) and Penning Brewing’s Jingle Bell Rock (pleasant session bitter with standard festive pun name).

Lunch arrived on boards (boo – we want plates!) but was utterly delicious. A warm chicken, bacon & melted cheese baguette, served with a salad garnish and barbecue sauce. We also ordered some chips to share.

A great start to a New Year of eating and drinking. Three new beers to kick off #tryanuary, and a new pub too. Can’t ask for much more, apart from lovely food, which it certainly was. Dog friendly and walker friendly, Wainwrights’ Inn is a jewel in Chapel Stile, and hightly recommended if you are in the area.

I assume that the position of the possessive apostrophe means that the Inn is for all of the 214 Wainwrights rather than just Alfred…