Getting Ducked; or country pubs are a top 10 fave

My coffee house update crusade didn’t go much of anywhere, I’m afraid. But that didn’t stop me from getting all my ducks in a row, so to speak, about my Drunken Duck Inn review.

To recap, we’d finished our big walk through the farmland and fells just east of Keswick and Derwentwater, and decided to keep heading south through Grassmere and Ambleside to the country pub (with rooms) named after some actual drunken ducks.

From the website:

This unofficial title dates back to Victorian years when a landlady of the Inn found her ducks lying stretched out in the road and concluded that they were dead.
Thriftily she began to pluck and prepare them for dinner. The ducks however, were “quick” and not dead. Down in the cellar a barrel had slipped its hoops and beer had gradually drained from the floor into the duck’s customary feeding ditch. Thereupon the ducks made all too good use of their unexpected opportunity, with the result that when they came to they found themselves plucked and halfway to the oven.
According to local legend, the landlady, full of remorse for the rough treatment, provided the de-feathered birds with knitted waistcoats of Hawkshead yarn until their feathers grew back again.

The legend and reviews of this foodie pub in the forest reeled us in, and we’d thought maybe we could get ourselves into one of their last minute rooms for the following night.

But first, local pints, sandwiches, pan fried mackerel and a respite from the wind.


The pub is lovely. Beautiful decorated. The choice of local draughts is enticing, Barngates Brewery being brewed literally next door. The Cracker Ale was just that. The weather, although dry, was just chilly enough that sitting by the open fire made one want to sit back and take up residence for the rest of the afternoon. But we needed to find a place to live the following night – and we had our mind set on here.

We popped into the next building which house reservations, and were not exactly wowed by the customer service. We asked about the next night, and the night after that. Two nights. And the bookings clerk barely looked at us, shook her head and said they didn’t have one room available for both nights, we’d have to switch rooms halfway through and the second night would end up being really expensive. Besides her sour disposition, it narked me that here we were, about to walk out the door, a possible room that could be booked by us eager and slightly lagered afternoon visitors, and she didn’t even bother to see if there was something she could do, double check in the computer maybe? Perhaps there was someone else they could upgrade so we could get a better rate for our last minute booking?

Nope. Couldn’t be bothered.

So we walked, and then drove, back to the Lodore Falls Hotel looking forward to our final three course meal before checking out in the morning, and slightly stressed that we didn’t have our next lovely Lake District destination set in stone.

Drunken Duck failed, however it wasn’t a complete waste, as DH was reading Yelp reviews and someone said “don’t stay here, stay at the Masons Arms“.

A quick look at the website and tariffs and we were hooked. It doesn’t overlook a lake, but a valley instead. Nothing but green and rural, and in a different part of the park altogether.

We were on our way to Strawberry Bank.

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