Kingfisher Fish and Chips, Keswick, January 2018

We do love a bit of classic fish’n’chips. In Keswick, you are spoilt for choice, with three to choose from. This year we opted for The Kingfisher, as they are top of the Tripadvisor pops.

It was a good choice. Look at that lovely big lump of cod. Freshly cooked to order, and really nice. Juicy flakes of fish, crisp batter and lovely chips. And enormous portions. Mrs MOFAD opted for scampi as usual (no chance of a Yorkshire fishcake in Cumbria).

Cracking fish’n’chips and we’ll be back when we’re next in town.

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Rheged Centre, Redhills, Cumbria, January 2018

When is Tebay services not Tebay services? When it’s the Rheged Centre, which is operated by the same people and looks almost identical in many ways.

Rheged is one of the largest visitor attractions ever to open in Cumbria, an all weather, all year round visitor centre that is situated in Britain’s largest grass covered building. It has a six storey high cinema screen, the biggest 3D cinema screen in the northwest. There are a selection of cafes offering fresh food with a distinct Cumbrian flavour made using the best local ingredients, including lamb and beef from Rheged’s farm. There are 9 individual shops within Rheged who aim to include the best of the region, its activities, crafts people and food producers, and offer a varied collection of gift ideas both from Cumbria and further afield.

Rheged was one of the kingdoms of the Hen Ogledd (“Old North”), the Brittonic-speaking region of northern England and southern Scotland, during the post-Roman era and early middle ages. It is recorded in several poetic and bardic sources, although its borders are not described in any of them. Some modern scholars have suggested that it included Cumbria and possibly extended into Lancashire and Scotland. Its inhabitants spoke Cumbric, a Brittonic dialect closely related to Old Welsh. There’s your history lesson.

Today we were here because the pub was shut and the weather was awful. We took a detour from where our walk had finished because we knew that Rheged would be open and serving warm food. We needed warm food.

We got warm food.

Mrs MOFAD had a tasty soup du jour and I had an interesting interpretation of a steak sandwich. It should really be served on a big chunk of bloomer, this kind of wrap thing is not what I call a steak sandwich. The steak was good, the lambs lettuce was welcome (much better than sad iceberg). The pre-crumbled stilton was also a bit strange. A decent lunch, with some odd bits. It was warm and warmed us up.

We then went wandering off around the shops and bought some more local produce (beer) to take home.

The Rheged Centre is not convenient for any walks in the area, but it is very handy if you are nearby with your car and there’s no pub…

Troutbeck Inn, Troutbeck, January 2018

You may already have spotted on social media that I am taking part in #tryanuary 2018 (read more on my blog post). A big part of this is supporting local pubs during January, which can be a tricky month as many people over indulge in December and then stay away in January.

We had been out walking this morning, ticking off Wainwright number 90 in our list, Great Mell Fell. Not the most pleasant of days due to low cloud and drizzle, so we were looking forward to warming up in the pub with some hot food and maybe a pint.

However, when we got there, the front door was locked and there was nobody about. Cars in the car park, lights on, but nobody (apparently) home. This makes it rather hard to support a local pub, so we headed off up the A66 to the Rheged Centre, which was absolutely packed, but crucially open and serving food.