: Whisky and Pheasant
17th & Tuesday 18th July 2017
in December, some very kind BOOTboy
friends presented me with a voucher for two people to
visit the Lakes Distillery near Bassenthwaite for a
tour, a tasting and afternoon tea.
Christmas, a very kind hubby presented his wife with
a voucher for two people to stay at the Pheasant Inn
near Bassenthwaite for dinner, bed and breakfast.
11:30 on Monday 16th July, it was just a normal day
except that Margaret hadn't gone to play bridge as she
was having hearing problems.
12:30 a completely different sort of day presented itself.
In the last hour, we had booked for the Whisky
tour, for the afternoon tea at the distillery and for
the night at the Pheasant. All we had to do was
pack a bag and jump in the car.
was with some trepidation that I parked the car at the
distillery. Would I be in a fit enough state to
drive to the Pheasant afterwards? Had we managed
to set off early we might have managed to check-in and
leave the car to walk to the distillery but we just
hadn't got quite enough time.
Lakes Distillery is a very impressive set-up. Much
better than the proposition in Staveley that some of
us had been asked to consider backing several years
ago. Incidentally, I think Staveley is a much better
venue for the brewery so all has worked out for the
National Park authorities had insisted that the derelict
farm buildings be restored to their original condition
externally and Lakes Distillery has performed a magnificent
job in ensuring that this is the case.
the reception area / shop is extremely well refurbished
in a clean modern style. The tour first takes
you into a small room where you are given a short talk,
and shown a superb video that takes you flying down
the full length of the River Derwent from Sprinkling
Tarn to the sea at Workington. Then there is a
hologram of an 18th century bootlegger telling his tale
following which it is off to the vats.
don't pretend that I took in all the technicalities
of the various stages of manufacture but it ended up
with three large copper vats. Two for whisky and
one for gin or vodka.
suspect it is the fashion for gin that has transformed
the economics of developing a new distillery. Production
time to selling bottles is about a month compared with
7 years or more for a decent single malt whisky.
the tour we had a fun tasting session followed by afternoon
tea, sat outside.
produced in very modern facilities, the food presentation
was a throwback to the 1950s with its three tier stand
of scones, sandwiches and fancy cakes. Delicious.
all this we needed a walk. We crossed the bridge
and followed a footpath as far as the Buckdale Lonning
where turned right, passing zebras and other exotic
animals with Skiddaw as their backdrop.
Armathwaite Hall we turned right, down towards the lake
and on to the car. It was a lovely early evening.
at the Pheasant, we were too stuffed to indulge too
heartily at dinner. Instead we indulged at breakfast.
It proved to be a very friendly, comfortable and
welcoming Inn. A happy place to stay.
two featured a stroll along part of the Allerdale Ramble-
a rare section where you can actually get down to the
lake where I reverted to childhood by skimming.
continued on to St Bega's romantically set church by
the lake then up to Mire House.
the café we only wanted a light snack and were
rather overwhelmed by the quantities put before us.
The car was reached via a pleasant undulating
path through the woods alongside the road.
final target was Hutton in the Forest- a stately home
with gardens allegedly worth a visit. They were
but so was the drive which took us along the edge of
the Skiddaw range then through several nice old villages.
was nearly 4 p.m. when we entered the gardens and there
were only two other people there. One was an artiste
and the other the gardener. We were a bit in between
seasons so probably didn't see the garden at its best
but it was still very impressive.
a trip! To think that 30 hours earlier we had
no idea we were going away!
20th July 2017
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