Home > Beer > Cumbria Way Pubs: Coniston-Elterwater, The Britannia Inn, Coniston Britannia Inn Special Edition and No 9 Barley Wine

Cumbria Way Pubs: Coniston-Elterwater, The Britannia Inn, Coniston Britannia Inn Special Edition and No 9 Barley Wine

Day two of our Cumbria Way walk started with a filling breakfast at the Black Bull in Coniston: thick bacon and poached eggs for me; an almost Germanic cold ham and cheese platter for Kate, before we started the walk up and out of Coniston in the rain. The first few miles of the walk were mostly gently ascending through pleasant farmland and woodland, with some spectacular views of cloudy fells beside and ahead of us. Despite the showers, the walk up to Tarn Hows was a very pleasing introduction to an area with some of the most striking views in the Lake District.

Unfortunately, at that point, Kate’s knee started to cause her a lot of pain. However, using two walking poles she valiantly struggled through the rest of the walk on access roads and through woodland to Skelwith Bridge. The walk from there along Elterwater (from the Norse for “swan lake”) was thankfully relatively easy and flat, so we decided to end the day in Elterwater village, rather than continue on for the last three or so miles to Dungeon Ghyll.

This meant that we were able to end the day’s walk in the Britannia Inn, an excellent coaching inn in the beautiful village of Elterwater. Three quarters of the residences in the quiet village are holiday cottages, but the Britannia Inn is a real pub and one of the best places to drink in the Lake District.

Unlike some other pubs, it continues to serve a small selection of warm food to hungry walkers and tourists between lunch and dinner service. We enjoyed a decadent basket of chips with melting mature cheddar, along with a couple of pints of Coniston Brewery’s Britannia Inn Special Edition Ale. The helpful description on the pump described it as Coniston’s take on a beer with the profile of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, and so it is: a solid, satisfying, robustly-hopped English best bitter.

After enjoying that and waiting for our lift, I decided to have a half of Coniston No. 9 Barley Wine, which I’d had in bottle the night before at the Black Bull, but which the Britannia Inn had on cask. It was even better from a handpull, adding to the existing smoothness, balance and warm drinkability of the strong beer that I’d enjoyed in the bottled version. The barman came out for a chat to see if I was enjoying it.

The Britannia Inn is one of those warm, well-stocked, happy pubs that you could cope with being stranded in for hours (or even days) if the weather happened to turn. Just so long as the beer, and cheesy chips, didn’t run out.

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  1. Ed
    September 19, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I’m a big fan of the Brit, great beers and food. It can be difficult to get a seat though.

    • September 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Yep, even on a wet weekday afternoon it was ticking over nicely.

  2. September 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Sounds like a lovely trip Nick, especially with cask No9 YUM!!

    • September 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Yes, more cask barley wine please. Winter’s coming, after all.

  3. Ian Bradley
    September 19, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Thanks Nick , the Brit is a great pub , beer and food is always on top form , so glad you got the chance to taste one of the very last casks of No.9 cheers again Ian.

    • September 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Thanks Ian. I was really impressed by Coniston beers during the walk. It’s a shame we don’t get more on cask in Leeds, especially the Infinity IPA and No. 9. I guess you’ll be doing a bigger batch of No. 9 next time round?

  4. September 24, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Glad to see the Britannia Inn still doing the business. I visited in 2007 researching a pub walk for BEER magazine (then still in its old tabloid form) and wrote: ‘Overlooking the village green you’ll find the outstanding Britannia Inn, formerly a 16th century farmhouse and cobbler’s shop but a pub for two centuries. Local beers from Jennings, Coniston and various guests are complemented by single malts, wines and good food with some items available all day – “in case walkers don’t make it by the end of lunchtime”, the friendly barman said.’ These pieces make me want to go walking in Cumbria again even if it is chucking it down!

    • September 24, 2012 at 8:27 am

      That’s great. It’s so nice to have a place that makes you feel welcome just at a time when you really need it.

  1. September 24, 2012 at 8:24 am

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