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The world famous Drover's Inn
Drover's Inn (Inverarnan, Scotland)
Member Name: micksheff
Drover's Inn (Inverarnan, Scotland)
Advantages: More like a museum than a pub
Disadvantages: Quite expensive food
I discovered the Drovers Inn quite by chance although if you believe the sign in front of it, it is supposed to be "world famous". We were staying at the Beinglas Farm Campsite at Inverarnan near Loch Lomond and the Drovers Inn was just about a 10 minute walk away.
Everywhere that you go around these parts there seems to be an association with the legendary outlaw Rob Roy and this is one of many such places on the trail. It is of course quite plausible that Rob Roy did seek refuge here. He was from near these parts after all and the building was built in the early 18th century so it would have existed during his lifetime albeit it would have been quite modern then.
During the early eighteenth century this was an inn offering hospitality to the Highland Drovers (hence its name) that drove their cattle down valley towards the markets south of Loch Lomond. It later became a stagecoach inn. It claims to have changed little over the past three centuries but I had my doubts. But even before we had stepped inside I was already impressed. The setting is breathtaking with the dramatic Ben Glass Falls as its backdrop and the smell of burning peat gave it some authenticity. Outside the main entrance an old wooden handcart stood upright to attract the attention of the passing motorist that might be hurtling along the main A82 road in the hope of tempting them into the car park. It was obvious that this place was very old just from the outside with its uneven stones and small off square windows a dead give-away but it was also apparent that it had been altered too. One of the upper windows was now bricked up and a false window had been painted onto the stonework that looked very odd and it was possible to see the different types and shades of stones used on the various extensions and refurbishments. None of this is a criticism by the way. Show me any building of this age that hasn't been changed but its just that line on the advertising blurb that mentions that it's virtually unchanged that sticks in my mend.
Stepping into the building everything is quite dark. The ceilings are very low and looked like they still had their original wooden beams and the smell of the burning peat was much stronger inside but not overpowering. Immediately in front of the doorway there is a small reception and behind that stairs that lead to the accommodation upstairs. I didn't stay here so I can't comment on the rooms but there are several rooms upstairs most of which have their resident ghosts. On the wall of the staircase hung a large oil painting that looked like it would benefit from a good clean.
Immediately to the left of the reception was the main bar which was very busy. To the right there was another room and another one further back but we wouldn't explore these until later. The oddest thing is that right inside the doorway there is a huge stuffed bear. I don't mean a child's teddy bear I'm talking about the real thing a Grizzly Bear or more likely a Brown Bear. Nearby there are a couple of glass cases with stuffed birds in them and sitting on top of one of them was a life like wolf.
We were hungry and we had planned to eat. The bar was very full but we dropped lucky and managed to get a table by the window, which was the last table free. I went to the bar and purchased a couple of pints of lager and then we chose our meal. We both chose the steak and ale pie, which was ordered and paid for at the bar. At nearly £14 each it wasn't particularly cheap but when it came it was delicious and turned out to be well worth the money.
After our meal was finished we decided to give up our table for a family that had been waiting patiently for one to come free. We bought another drink and decided to have a look around. At the rear of the pub we found the toilets and next to them a large room called the Lairds Bothy. All along the corridor there were more exhibits, mainly of more stuffed birds and animals making the place look more like a museum than a pub. There was no bar in the Lairds Bothy but plenty of tables and it was clearly used as an overflow area. This room had a couple of stag's heads mounted on the wall and a large old Grand Piano stood in the corner. The wallpaper looked like it was centuries old and there was a real sense of stepping back in time. Next door there was a similar room called the Poachers Den, which had its own small bar but a private party was occupying that so we didn't get the chance to go in there. At the rear of the building there was an exit to an outdoor terrace which has wonderful views of the Ben Glass Falls.
We enjoyed this place so much that we came back again the following night and I'd certainly visit again if I'm in the area. It is situated right on the route of the West Highland way and is therefore a popular stop off point for those doing that long distance walk.
The Drovers Inn
North Loch Lomond
Summary: A very unusual stagecoach inn near Loch Lomond
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