Welcome to the SOLWAY Branch of CAMRA - The Campaign for Real Ale

Friday 7 August 2015 Ale Trail by minibus. Book your place on the minibus.

Our branch area extends from the Scottish border in the north, east to the Cumbria/Northumberland border near Nenthead, down to Penrith, along the A66 to Mungrisedale, before going north through the northern fells to Ireby and out to the Solway coast at Silloth.

In addition the branch supports a sub-branch covering the Dumfiriesshire and Stewarty area. Details of this sub branch can be found on their website Dumfries and Stewartry CAMRA

Solway Branch map

If you live within our area and have an appreciation for Real Ale then you will be more than welcome at any of your meetings or socials. Branch Diary

Existing CAMRA members can access Branch Meeting minutes in the Members' Area, using their CAMRA membership number and the same password that they use to log onto the National CAMRA website.The last branch AGM took place in Carlisle on- Monday 18 May 2015.The Chairman's report and other information can be found here.

Next Branch Monday 24 August 2015 8pm, Branch Meeting in Linton Holme, Carlisle.


The Drovers Rest, Monkhill Solway CAMRA 2015 Pub of the Year and Cumbria Pub of the Year 2015

Congratulations to Bill and Linda Robinson, their daughter, Sarah, and her partner, Sandy Williamson, on winning CumbriaCAMRA 2015 Pub of the Year award - see our Awards page for more details.
The Drovers Rest won our Pub of the Season in Autumn 2014 and SolwayCAMRA 2015 Pub of the Year award and has now won the top award in Cumbria. On 27 June it received the certificate for Cumbria CAMRA Pub of the Year.

The pub has extended it's opening hours and is now open all day, except Monday, when it opens at 4pm. Locally sourced food is available every day except Monday.

The pub name derives from cattle drovers who travelled from Scotland over the rivers Esk and Eden on their way to cattle fairs at Penrith and beyond. The Drovers is the epitome of a community pub. As well as being the local pub, it serves as the village shop selling a range of basic groceries. It's also a collection point for the Carlisle Food Bank.
Prior to the arrival of the Robinson family, the Drovers had been in sad decline for a number of years. Together with Sandy, they have worked extremely hard to develop the business and maintain a vital community asset.
When Sandy at the 2013 Carlisle Beer Festival told us they had three or four guest beers on sale we were sceptical. Pleasingly, how wrong we were! A year after they took over the pub (26 August 2013), they've had an amazing 200+ different real ales from more than 50 breweries on sale (including 20 Cumbrian breweries)!


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Pub of the Season Summer 2015 -The Blacksmiths Arms, Talkin


Solway CAMRA’s Pub of the Season for summer 2015 is the Blacksmith’s Arms at Talkin.The Blacksmith’s is a friendly pub with a reputation for good beer, excellent food and fine accommodation.
The pub was once the local smithy offering refreshments whilst horses were being shod. Sadly, you’ll have to travel further afield for equine attention, since now it offers real ale from local breweries rather than strongarm pursuits. Regular real ales are from Yates in Westnewton, Jennings in Cockermouth and Black Sheep in Masham with a guest beer, usually from a Cumbrian brewery.
The pub has been with the Jackson family for nearly 20 years. It serves the local community and visitors alike as a popular meeting place. The Blacksmith’s attracts guests from far afield to enjoy the delights of the local area as well as the beer and food! When I asked Donald Jackson to what he attributed the continued success of the Blacksmith’s, his reply was, “we are a family run business with a good mixture of customers who enjoy our company, food and real ale”. The Blacksmith’s is one of only three pubs to have won our pub of the season award three times. A fine hat-trick from the Jackson Four!

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Pub of the Season Spring 2015 -The Highland Drove, Great Salkeld


The Highland Drove at Great Salkeld, has been around as a hostelry of one sort or another for about 300 years (once being called, the Highland Piper). As the name implies, it was a stopping point for Scottish drovers taking their beasts to market in the north of England and in particular, Penrith. Over the last sixteen years, Donald and Christine Newton, have worked, lived and been frustrated by planners, whilst restoring a derelict pub to the fine establishment we see today.
The Highland Drove is situated just off the main road through this attractive village. Entering the cosy bar there is a comfortable lounge to the left and a games room to the right. The excellent Kyloes restaurant is upstairs. The pub has been renovated to a high standard with exposed timbers and brickwork, Highland revival-style soft furnishings and brass and copper ornaments.
The real ales on offer at the Drove, are: a changing guest beer, Theakstons Black Bull Bitter and, the pubs house beer, Eden Kyloes Kushie (“kushie” is Cumbrian dialect for cow).
The pub is open from 6-11 on Monday, from 12-2:30 and 6 until late on Tuesday to Friday, 12 to late on Saturday and 12-2.30 and 6-11 on Sunday. We congratulate Donald and Christine, on once again, winning our Pub of the Season award. We will present the award, on the night of April 10th 2015, probably about 10pm.

Cider Pub of the Year 2015 and Pub of the Season - Winter 2015 - The Cumberland Inn, Alston


Congratulations to Helen and Guy Harmer and staff for winning our winter pub of the season award. The Cumberland is no stranger to our branch awards having previously been our branch pub of the year three times (the only pub to win it so many times), branch cider pub of the year three times and pub of the season once. This time, the Cumberland was nominated along with three other pubs. When our branch members’ votes were counted, it was the overwhelming choice.
The Cumberland Inn has been owned and run by Guy and Helen Harmer for 12 years. Their hospitality experience is very varied ranging from 4 star hotels to a pair of 70ft narrow boats!Helen and Guy provide a warm family welcome based on old-fashioned hospitality, home made food, comfortable accommodation and superb real ales and ciders.
The Cumberland’s regular real ale is the superb Yates Bitter from Westnewton, near Aspatria. A wide range of guest real ales is also available. These often come from local breweries such as Mordue, Allendale, High House Farm, Hesket Newmarket and many others. Real ales are kept in excellent condition.
Real ales are listed on the prominent pub notice board that tells customers: the strength of each beer, a brief description of what they taste like and the location of each brewery! Very useful when you encounter a new beer and wonder what it’s like. As well as real ale, the Cumberland also sells real ciders, including Westons Old Rosie and occasional Cumbrian ciders and perry.
The Cumberland is a well-run, friendly inn serving excellent food, real ale and real ciders. It is a worthy winner of our winter award.



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