FEATURE COUNTRY PUB GUIDE
drive away. is also worth a look. as is Castle Campbell (01259 742408). known locally as Castle Doom. but don‘t let that put you off. Try a pint of the Harviestoun Montrose 80/-. brewed locally in Dollar. just up the road (lager £1.50 per pint). and if you‘re hungry after all that sight-seeing. try the sumptuous four-course set dinner (£17.95) cooked by the capable hands of chef. David Burns. a former Young Chef of the Year. Highly recommended is the mushroom and Madeira soup. and roasted Scottish pigeon breast. A children's menu is also available. and there‘s a play area for the kids too. A surprising number of visitors pop in after looking round the Dougie Donnelly-advertised furniture warehouse. Sterling. in Tillicoultry.
I Horsemill Inn Denny. Stirlingshire (on A872. halfa mile from Denny on the road to Falkirk). 01324 822241. Sun—Thurs
l lam—3pm. 5.30pm—midnight; Fri and Sat 11am—3pm. 5.30pm—1am. Last orders for food 2.30pm/9pm; drink Sun—Thurs midnight. Fri and Sat lam.
Just to show you don‘t have to drive for hours to find a piece of countryside. the Horsemill Inn is set in farmland in the central belt. only a few miles from Falkirk. Under new ownership since February. the converted farmhouse is lined with stone and offers facilities ranging from a pool table and beer garden to a children’s play area — giving it a diverse range of customers. Traditional bar food is reasonably priced with steak pie and scampi at around £4 each. and a pint of lager will set you back about £1.60. Carron Valley. with its glen and forest. offers great walks. and close by. Falkirk has a good range of sh0ps and the excellent Mariner Leisure Centre (01324 622083).
I latte Ion Kilmahog. by Callander (on A821 one mile from Callander). 01877 330152. Sun—Thurs noon—11pm. Fri and
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Tormaukln a.|t.a. hlll ot the mountaln hare
Sat noon—midnight. Last orders for food 2.30pm/9.15pm; drink Sun—Thurs llptn. Fri and Sat midnight.
This unusual building has a bit of a history. It was built in 1936 by a Mr Maclaurin for-his two sisters to run as a tearoom. lts four gable ends now house a bar with an extension dining area and an a la carte restaurant (named after the Maclaurin family). The bar serves a selection of real ales including Greenmantle and Black Douglas (lager £1.60) but the range changes slightly every month or so. to let customers sample new brews. The chefs pride themselves on their use of local produce. and popular dishes include game casserole (£6.35) and poached salmon with dill butter (£8.35). Callander. home of a million woollen mills. is only half a mile away. and Loch Katrine and Loch Achray both have lovely forest walks and picnic areas.
I Sheriffmuir Inn Sheriffmuir. Stirlingshire. 01786 823285. Mon—Fri
l 1.30am—2.30pm. 5.30—1 1pm; Sat 11.30am-l 1pm; Sun noon—11pm. Last orders for food Mon—Fri 2.30pm/9pm. Sat and Sun 9pm; drink 10.40pm.
The wild heather-coated moorland of Sheriffmuir has changed little since the battle which took place there in 1715. Incredibly. the Sheriffmuir lnn opened six months before the battle and the country- style pub has been popular with thirsty Bridge Of Allan and Dunblane residents for just as long. Readers might remember childhood visits to the Inn to see Hercules the Bear. but its main attractions now are good quality food and a fine selection of real ales. with a change to the selection every week (lager £1.60). Meals range from traditional steak pie to nacho chicken. both £5.95. Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle are close by and attractions in Crieff. a bit funher north. include tours of Glenturret Distillery (01764 656565) and pottery and paperweight factories at the Crieff Visitors Centre (01764 654014).
I The Shlp Inn The Toft. Elie. Fife (on A195). 01333 330246. Mon—Fri noon-midnight; Sun 12.30—11pm. Last orders for food Mon-Sat 2pm/9pm; Sun 2.30pm/9pm; drink 11.45pm.
A classic little pub full of character. which overlooks the harbour at one end of Elie bay. In good weather you can sit outside on benches by the harbour wall and sink a few pints while watching the windsurfers and dinghy sailors out on the water. When it's cold or wet. head inside to warm yourself at the open fire in the snug. low- ceilinged front bar. offering the likes of Theakston's and Belhaven on draught (lager £1.80 per pint). Bar meals on offer include avocado stronsey (pan-fried with smoked salmon and cream) at £5.25. or seafood crépes (£5.50). Whenever possible. the pub’s barbecue is lit out front. There are good walks along the Fife Coastal Path in both directions. St
Monance is about three miles through the dunes and Shell Bay is to the east. or you can head across the beach and attempt the scramble around under the cliffs to the west (there are rusty old chains to help you over the difficult bits). Boats cart be hired from Elie and Earlsferry Sailing Club (01333 330018) or. if you fancy a shot at windsurﬁng try the F.1ie Windsurﬁng School (01333 330962). The pub cricket team plays on the beach in summer. and in July and August. the beer garden. covered with a marquee. features guestjazz bands. A Jazz and Beer Festival runs from 3-11 August.
I Tormaukin Hotel Glendevon. beside Dollar (on the A91 east of Stirling). ()1259 781252. Mon—Sat llam—l 1pm: Sun 12.30~l lptn. Last orders for food 2pm/9.30pm; drink 10.45pm.
Meaning 'hill of the mountain hare'. Tormaukin attracts a lot of walkers front the surrounding ()chil Hills. and there are also good walks along the nearby River Devon. Castle Campbell and Dollar Glen are also worth a visit. The hotel is a traditional. whitewashed country inn. built in 1720. with stone walls. beamed ceilings. and open fires to make the place cosy. Harviestoun is the local brew (£1.95). while a pint of lager is £1.90. There's a good range of bar meals. but it's the a la carte menu that's really special. Traditional Scottish food is carefully prepared (medallions of lillet steak in whisky sauce £12.50) attd there's a three- course set meal (£20) featuring the likes of venison. salmon and hare. Tortnaukin offers popular music evenings in the winter months. playing jazz or holding ceilidhs. There are also ten rooms for traditional 8&8 (£49 double rootn).
I The Fenwick Hotel Ayr Road. Fenwick. near Kilmarnock (on the A77). 01560 600478. Bar hours Mon-Sat Ham—midnight; Sun 12.30pm—midnight. Last orders for food 9.30pm; drink
Originally a fartn. The Fenwick Hotel now plays host to regulars. wedding and coach parties. Besides the bar. there are two restaurants — one brasserie-style and the other with an a la carte menu — and several function suites. The bar serves a selection of cask ales; expect to pay £1.60 for a pint of lager. A bar menu features traditional Scottish produce: daily specials include grilled halibut. lobster and wood pigeon (average price £5). A children‘s menu is also available. The hotel has a games room with a pool table and pinball machine; if the weather is good. head outside to the beer garden. Dean Castle Country Park is one and a half miles away. and the surrounding area is scattered with golf courses. The hotel is also situated on the Burns Heritage Trail.
I Fox And Hounds Main Street. Houston. Renfrewshire (on the B790 east of Glasgow). 01505 612448. Sun—Thurs
l lam—midnight; Fri ll—lam; Sat
1 lam-11.45pm. Last orders for food 6pm (bar)/|0pm (restaurant); drink 1 1.45pm. Originally built in 1777 as a coaching inn. the Fox And Hounds now has a strong hunting theme. Boasting original beams. gleaming horse brasses and old hurtling scenes among the decorations. this village pub was also redecorated a couple of years ago with painted wall murals based on century-old maps of the area. In the two downstairs bars you can take your pick from the impressive range of guest beers. which changes daily (lager £ 1.70 per pint). There's a good selection of bar food. served noon—6pm. but for something more substantial try the upstairs restaurant. open until 10pm. where there‘s a strong emphasis on Scottish produce. Steaks and fresh fish are popular. with a satisfying home-made steak pie with Guinness for £8. Children are welcome until 8pm in the back lounge. There are pleasant walks in the area. and The Weavers Cottage. complete with working loom. is in Kilbarchan. two miles away.
I 0111 Rome Farmhouse Gatehead. by Kilmarnock. 01563 850265. Closed Mon; Tue—Sun noon—2.30pm. 6—1 1pm. Last orders for food l.4()pm/8.45pm; drink 10.50pm.
This is a classic pub built in 1759. with wooden rafters. a log fire and walls lined with a collection of unusual plates. The pub is set back off the road so its large open lawns and colourful flowerbeds provide plenty of safe space for children to run about. while parents can relax in the informal bar. Lager is £1.70 and the food menu offers a vegetarian selection as well as traditional favourites like steak pie (£5.25) and chicken curry (£4.95). The west coast is not far. with the seaside town of Troon and its litre golfcourse only ﬁve miles away.
I The Paraffin Lamp I Beith Road. Lugton (near Kilmarnock. on the main Glasgow to Irvine road). 01505 850510. Mon—Sat 1 lam—l 1pm; Sun noon—11pm. Last orders for food 10pm: drink 10.45pm.
The Paraffin Lamp is in the heart of the country: points of interest in nearby lrvine (20—25 minutes‘ drive) include a maritime museum and the Magnum Sports Centre. A pint of lager costs around £1.60; the pub also serves a range of real ales. Bar meals include scampi. steak and kidney pie and a range of baltis (average price £5). Toys are provided to keep children entertained; there is also a play area outside complete with bouncy castle. and a paved patio with picnic benches for summer weather. A popular stop-off point. the pub is well established with locals and visitors alike.
Old Home Fannhouso Hotel: over two centlrles oltl