A NEW guide that chronicles the stories and legends attached to some of Scotland’s best known pubs has been published.
From haunted bars to Robert Burns’ favourite watering holes, the guide shows that pubs are not just places to meet and down a pint.
Scotland’s Pubs And Bars – A Story To Tell has the potted history of 120 pubs across the country, from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles to Argyll and the Scottish Borders.
Available online or as a phone app and delivered in partnership with the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, VisitScotland, Diageo and Tennent Caledonian Breweries, it is researched and written by Clare McLeod, of arts and museums promoter Intermezzo.
“This guide shows the variety of pubs across Scotland and will appeal to a wide audience, ranging from sports fans to Scottish history enthusiasts, visitors and native pub goers,” said McLeod.
“Our pubs with great histories should be cherished for the role they have played and continue to play in the life of our towns and cities.
Among the pubs mentioned is The Globe Inn, Dumfries, where Robert Burns spent many nights and took a shine to the landlady’s niece. The room and chair Burns occupied are still in use today and six verses of his work can be seen inscribed on his bedroom window.
Am Politician (The Politician), Eriskay, the Outer Hebrides, is named after the SS Politician, which sank in 1941 en-route to Jamaica off Eriskay and South Uist. All the crew were rescued and the islanders helped themselves to some of the 40,000 cases of Scotch whisky before winter weather broke up the ship. The story inspired the novel and film Whisky Galore.
Edinburgh’s White Hart Inn in the Grassmarket played host to a number of patrons including Robert Burns and his lover Nancy Macklebone, as well as notorious body snatchers Burke and Hare. The infamous pair enticed several of their fellow drinkers back to their nearby lodgings only to murder them and sell their corpses.
The Bankfoot Inn in Perthshire is featured as being home to spirits and not just alcoholic ones. With a history dating back to the times of the Jacobites, ghostly residents include the ‘old wifey’ and the ‘wee girl’.
A pub in Orkney, the Belsair, is included as it was once the island’s telephone exchange and is named after Bella Sinclair, the first woman telephone operator in the UK.
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow booked its place in the modern music hall of fame after Oasis were famously signed there in 1993, while the Stein Inn, Waternish, the Isle of Skye, played host to another singer, Donovan.
The Cairndow Stagecoach Inn in Argyll is a 17th century inn that has had many famous visitors, including Dorothy Wordsworth, Queen Victoria and the poet John Keats, who etched a poem into the glass of one of the windows.
The Clachaig Inn, Glencoe, Argyll, is featured because it has been a haven for climbers and travellers for more than 300 years. The Clachaig is also a popular destination for families visiting the scene of Hagrid’s Hut from the Harry Potter movies.
Finally the Scotia Bar, Glasgow, reputed to be the city’s oldest pub dating back to the 18th century, is a haunt of musicians, actors, poets and political groups, and has been visited by musicians from Pentangle, Van Morrison’s band, as well as Billy Connolly and Gerry Rafferty.