At the start of the month, I was in the Lake district with a group of University friends for our yearly meetup/reunion. Being November, it probably wasn’t the best time weather-wise to head up to Cumbria, but we had a massive cottage to stay in, plenty of food and drink, and ten years’ worth of in-jokes to rely on for entertainment.
After a great night catching up, and a big breakfast on Saturday morning, we turned our attention to the day ahead. It was raining what can only be described as Cumbrian rain. You would have forgiven us for firing up the log burner at the cottage and opening a few bottles, but we were committed to going for a bit of a hike. We laced up our walking boots and dressed in varying levels of waterproof clothing and headed out into the sideways rain and hilariously strong wind. I’m a big dude and there were a few occasions where I was blown about.
Soaked within seconds of stepping outside, we ended up walking for a good few miles through some interesting terrain and pathways that more closely resembled shallow streams. A couple of hours into our walk and we decided it was about time to find the local pub.
We arrived at the Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater looking like we had crawled out of the nearest lake. While most of the group went inside to find a table near the open fire, I tried to pour the water out of my shoes, but to no avail. Sensing failure, I pulled off my not-so-waterproof jacket and went to find the others.
Five minutes later, I was feeling extremely content, despite the small body of water in each of my shoes and my layers of clothing varying from sodden to soaking. The main reason for this was the pint of Cumbrian Legendary Ales award winning Loweswater Gold, sitting in front of me. As I gulped down this pint of smooth golden ale, equal parts bitter and malty, in the company of some of my very favourite people, I thought to myself that there was no other beer that I’d want to be drinking in that moment. Needless to say, a few more pints were consumed before we headed out into the darkness and rain, singing Kate Bush songs as we trekked back to our cottage by torch light.
In the context of a country pub with an open fire, on a ridiculously rainy day, there’s something almost indescribably special about enjoying a few pints of local, well-kept cask ale in the company of friends. Especially when you’ve nearly drowned in the rain.
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