on February 13, 2013
After our bracing and windy walk from Bolam Lake, we thought we deserved a pint and a sit down before our trip back to Newcastle and our pending New Year's Eve Meal. I instantly liked the busy friendly pub, The Highlander and the barman chatted away to us as if we were locals. In fact, the place felt so comfortable I convinced myself that I had been here before, although on reflection I suspect that's not true. Looking around the bar there were tables of all shapes and sizes to cater to diners, and then some space at the bar for the regulars of the village dropping in for a pint or two. I was particularly drawn to the high backed benches next to the window which was up a step from the bar. I liked the airy space and while it was empty when we arrived it soon filled. Around the top of the wall was a space where all manner of knick knacks had been stored. I usually hate the "obvious" way that pubs do this, but the Highlander just felt like an honest and slightly upmarket country pub that has been around for years. In fact, it dates from around 1700 and still sources its meat, fish and vegetables from local farms and businesses. Towards the back of the pub was a lovely real fire and I almost regretted my impulse to enjoy the last of the natural light by the window. After our man helped us choose a good well kept pint of real ale (they always have a couple of guest beers available), we decided that as our New Years Eve's meal was still some way away we would just have a light bite. Unfortunately the Highlander is very much a three course meal foodie pub so they didn't have anything like sandwiches although the barman said they would be fine just to offer us a starter if there was anything we fancied. To be fair they also had full bookings for the evening meal so I think a starter suited the pub also. The pub specialises in fairly traditional fare; hearty meat dishes and such like. Starters come in at around £5 and most standard mains £10 (with things like tiger prawns at £15 or so), which i didn't feel was a bad price for a good meal. Although they had a busy lunch time session and were preparing for perhaps the busiest evening of the year, staff were friendly and bouncy and out starts soon arrived. I was particularly appreciative of my simple but very tasty and smooth home-made pate, and my fellow diners were also very content with their choices. We actually regretted not having booked within walking distance so we could have sampled the full New Year's Eve menu, which from memory seemed to be a very reasonable £25 a head or so. Summing up we enjoyed our pit stop at the Highlander, and enjoyed our light bite. We will return one of these days to really give the menu a good going over.
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