A group of my friends saw the northern lights at new year at a party that I was invited to but couldn’t attend due to being unwell. So, one of my friends who was at the party and who is a photographer and regular ‘aurora hunter’ knew how gutted I was to have missed it and has been messaging me with updates when it might be visible. So one evening when I already had a date planned he contacted me to say that there were clear skies and a good chance of seeing it. So, I had previously suggested the cinema but I thought I would throw it out there about going to see if we could catch the lights.
We drove up to Loch Lomond to get away from the light from the city and headed for the Drovers which I have driven past many times and heard great things about but not been in to before. It is a pub that has been serving Scottish and international travellers for over 300 years and is on the banks of the loch.
Pulling up in the car park it was frosty and there was snow on the ground and the first thing I noticed was that even with the lights from the car park the stars were absolutely amazing.
The interior of this place is amazing if slightly creepy with all the old paintings and stuffed animals that I spent some time appreciating before we left. The walls in the bar are blackened, I don’t think from paint but rather from 300 years worth of soot from the roaring fire, although maybe I’m wrong. The guy at the bar was really friendly and chatty and generally awesome, although we think we might have scared him off from overhearing some of our work chat (we both do similar work) which may have been quite graphic because he became a little less chatty as the evening went on.
The menu is typical pub grub with a nod towards the touristy nature of the area. I fancied some haggis, neeps and tatties to start but wasn’t sure I was hungry enough for a starter at which point the guy behind the bar said he needed to warn us the steak pie defeated a young woman the night before. I saw this as a challenge. So, in a compromise we ordered the haggis, neeps and tatties to share for a starter (£5.95) and the ” world famous steak and guinness pie” (£11.75). He went for the venison casserole, which I also liked the sound of (£11.95).
First thing to say are that the portion sizes are huge! I’m definitely not one of those people that prefers quantity over quality, but if that’s the sort of person you are you will not be leaving this place hungry and you will have had some tasty grub to match.
The food was hearty and simple but done well, the broccoli looks more overdone in the picture than it actually was. The steak in my pie was perfectly cooked and not at all chewy as was his venison. My only criticism was that the mustard mash was a teeny bit heavy on the mustard.
I was also surprised when I went the loo at how nice and modern the toilets were considering how much the rest of the place makes you feel like you have gone back in time. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and the atmosphere. Therefore I would recommend.
We headed back out in to the night to pull up on the road just away from the lights of the buildings to look for the lights complete with a farewell chat with the bar man who urged us to drive safely on the fresh snow. When we did stop the car I was taken aback by how many more starts you could see in the complete darkness and there was a slight hint of the Milky Way. Amazing! We stood, tucked up in heavy coats, gloves and in my case a hat, for about half an hour. The radio on in the car randomly had 1930’s swing music playing which all in all reinforced the time warp feeling started by the pub. It was freezing which lead to us looking at the sky with his arms around me to keep me warm. With the star gazing it made for one of the most simple but most romantic dates I have ever had. Sadly though, no northern lights. Another time maybe……
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