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

20 October Ale Trail by 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

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

Next Branch Meeting 8pm, 23 Oct 2017 Woodrow Wilson, Carlisle


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 26 June 2017.

The Drovers Rest, Monkhill Solway CAMRA 2015, 2016 and 2017 Pub of the Year, Cumbria Pub of the Year 2015,2016 and 2017, West Pennines Pub of the Year 2015 & 2017 and CAMRA Super Regional Pub of the Year, National finalist 2015.

Congratulations to Bill and Linda Robinson, their daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Sandy Williamson, on winning CAMRA Super Regional 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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City Pub of the Year 2017 -The Kings Head, Carlisle


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Pub of the Season Autumn 2017 -Beehive Inn, Carlisle

Congratulations to Mick and Christine Wheatley and their hard working team at the Beehive on winning the branch’s Pub of the Season Autumn 2017 award. Mick and Christine took over The Beehive in 1999 and have been through many changes of ownership – from Scottish & Newcastle, through John Barras Inns, Spirit group, Punch Taverns to the current owners, Greene King. During this time, they have seen the pub go from strength to strength. A popular and busy community local, the pub has darts, pool and dominoes teams, along with two Sunday league football teams and live music usually once a month. Being located opposite Carlisle United’s Brunton Park stadium, the pub is exceptionally popular pre and post home matches. When Mick and Christine took over, the Beehive sold one cask ale; Theakston Best Bitter. It now boasts five handpumps and they are able to choose any cask ales they like from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) listing, to complement the Greene King range of beers. Cumbrian breweries feature regularly, such as Carlisle Brewing Company, Eden and Keswick and whenever Hawkshead Brewery’s excellent Windermere Pale Ale is on sale, it flies out! The Beehive opens at 11.30 Monday to Saturday and Midday on Sunday, with traditional pub food, from an extensive menu, alongside daily specials, served until 9pm, every day.


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Pub of the Season Summer 2017 -Stone Inn, Hayton

Beautifully built of local stone, the pub stands in the centre of the village and is the hub of the community. The Stone Inn has a darts teams, a chess club, a leek club and they open their doors to a Post Office from 12.30 to 13.30 on Mondays and Thursdays. Johnny Tranter purchased the Stone in late 1983 and it has remained in the family since. Jane Thompson and Charlotte Noble are the general managers and Karen McLean leads the culinary team. Our congratulations go to all at the Stone Inn on becoming Solway CAMRA Summer Pub of the Season 2017.


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Pub of the Season Spring 2017 -Fetherston Arms Kirkoswald

This fine pub stands opposite the old cobbled square at the centre of the Kirkoswald village. The building dates from 1836, when it was built for the Fetherston-Haugh family who still own the building today. Retaining many original features, the “Fethers” only became a pub after the closure of the nearby Black Bull, whose sign can be seen in the street. As a listed building, renovation has been done carefully. The ground floor has been opened up and sensitively modernised in order retain the original atmosphere.It’s about seven years since brothers, Alan and Michael Collinson, took over the “Fethers”. During this time the pub has been a regular in the Good Beer Guide and won our 2014 Pub of the Year award. On the bar, Theakston Best Bitter is the permanent beer together with three changing guest beers from breweries such as Allendale, Cross Bay and Kirkby Lonsdale. The real cider is Westons Family Reserve. Cellar man, Thom Clayton, keeps all very well. The pub has two darts teams and two pool teams, both playing in the local leagues. The “Fethers” also sponsors the Kirkoswald village football team; showing their commitment to the local community. The “Fethers” organises an annual beer (and cider) festival, which this year will be on the 6th, 7th and 8th of July; make a note in your diary! All the above add up to making the “Fethers” a superb, well run, pub. Many congratulations to Alan, Michael, and staff, on becoming our 2017 Spring Pub of the Season


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Pub of the Season Winter 2017 -Spinners Arms, Cummersdale

Congratulations to Alain and Alison Davis on winning our pub of the season award for a third time. The Spinners is a popular community pub situated at the centre of Cummersdale village, on the outskirts of Carlisle. It is close to the Cumbria Way footpath and national cycle route 7 which both run alongside the River Caldew. The Spinners is the brewery tap for Carlisle Brewing Company, established in 2013 at the rear of the pub. Due to increased demand, beers are now brewed at separate premises in Carlisle. Three Carlisle Brewing real ales and the full range of bottled beers are on sale at the Spinners. Plans are in place to increase the number of hand pumps from three to five. There is regular live music, with Irish and folk music sessions every first and third Wednesday


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Pub of the Season Autumn 2016 -Royal, Penrith

Royal, Penrith The Royal, situated in the centre of Penrith, opposite the Town Hall, is a very busy pub always giving a warm and friendly welcome.It has been an ever-popular place and was taken over by Lenny and Julie in February 2015. Since then they have dded another real ale pump and now there are always three ales on tap from breweries all over the UK. As a result of this, they sell about nine barrels a week which has seen an increase in the number of real ale drinkers.

This is the first time for a while that a Penrith Pub has won the ‘Pub of the Season’ and it’s a worthy winner.


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Pub of the Season Summer 2016 -The Pheasant, Cumwhitton

Situated in the beautiful Eden Valley, this lovely sandstone inn dates back to 1810. It does, however, have a 17th Century farm cottage incorporated in the building. Inside there are original beams, two period fireplaces and a stone flagged floor. The collection of over a hundred Pub Jugs is well worth seeing. There is an original Auctioneers poster for the site of the pub. You are always assured of a warm welcome from owners Sara and Norman Drogomirecki and Chris Marshall. The Pheasant is at the centre of the local community with fortnightly quizzes, darts teams and a domino team. The inn has many accolades including two Pub of the Year awards from Solway CAMRA. It is Locale and Cask Marque accredited and has series of Trip Advisor Certificates of Excellence including one for this year. The Pheasant Inn is closed on Monday and Tuesday, opens 6-11pm Wednesday to Saturday and 1 to 10.30pm on Sunday. Food is served from 6-8pm and 1-3pm (on Sunday). The inn also organises an annual beer festival the first weekend in May. The Pheasant Inn is a worthy winner of our Pub of the Season award. Congratulations to staff and owners Sara, Norman and Chris.


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Pub of the Season Spring 2016 -The Old Crown, Hesket Newmarket

For real ale enthusiasts, the Old Crown became a place to visit back in 1988 when the then owners Jim and Liz Fearnley started selling beer brewed by Jim in a barn at the back of the pub.Twenty-eight years later, you can still often meet workers from what is now Hesket Newmarket Brewery, as well as locals and visitors. The Old Crown is still very much “the brewery tap” and showcases up to six Hesket Newmarket ales at any one time. All the beers have been brewed in the barn behind the pub. It remains a thriving business that is literally at the heart of the community. Many visitors to the Old Crown are fascinated by the quirkiness of the place. Some visit especially to see first-hand what a community owned pub is like and to see if they might be able to do something similar in their own local. Recent CAMRA research confirms what shareholders in the Old Crown already knew, our pub is the centre of village life and remains vital to the community; its unique ownership structure has enabled it to survive and thrive. Pubs strengthen a community by being a forum for discussing local issues, creating friendships and establishing connections. The shareholdersof The Old Crown co-operative see themselves as helping to maintain the pub, while tenants are encouraged to act as custodians whose task is to nurture ou prize possession and take it forward in a spirit of co-operation, sensitivity and dialogue. Solway branch members have selected the Old Crown (a former branch pub of the year) as our pub of the season for spring 2016. The award was presented on Saturday, 21 May 2016 at a dinner to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the branch.


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Pub of the Season Winter 2016 -The Plough Inn, Wreay

The Plough Inn was taken over by Jane Kirby and Alex Foster in May 2014. Since then, they have developed it into a thriving pub renowned for its food. The pub is a family venture, with Jane’s son working in the kitchen and her daughter, sometimes helping out in the pub. Although with a baby on the way, Jane’s daughter will find her time being needed elsewhere! This tastefully modernised pub dates back to 1786 and sits at the heart of this picturesque village, just five miles south of Carlisle. Alex has worked hard to keep the bar and the real ales in fine order, an achievement that has been recognised with a place in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2016. Real ales are usually locally sourced with Hawkshead beers a regular favourite. Other beers from within Cumbria and occasionally further afield have been stocked. CAMRA members receive a 30p discount on a pint of real ale. Food at the Plough is sourced locally where possible and a unique specials board adds to the culinary experience. The pub show-cases an eclectic mix of “Theme Nights”, bringing the tastes of Britain and the world to the pub.Special dietary needs are also catered for. Meals are served on Tuesday evening and then lunch times and evenings on Wednesday to Sunday. Afternoon teas are also available but please remember these have to be booked in advance. Monday evening is typically quiz night held in aid of local charities. The pub also organises various other charity nights and has raised about £7,000 so far for good causes. Congratulations to all at the Plough.


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Pub of the Season Autumn 2015 -The ,Moo Bar, Carlisle

Solway CAMRA’s Pub of the Season is the Moo Bar on Devonshire Street in Carlisle. The Moo is one of a growing number of bars on this street offering real ale in what was once a real ale desert. Opened in November 2014 in what were once solicitors’ offices, the Moo offers a wide range of changing real ales through 18 handpumps! In fact, the Moo Bar in Carlisle is said to have one of the biggest selections of real ales in Britain. Some achievement for the great Border City! Not only is the Moo Bar developing a well deserved reputation for the range and quality of its real ales; it is rapidly developing as a venue for music and other events. Monday being the regular music night and, on a Thursday, music alternates with a fortnightly quiz in the Udder Room. A window in the floor, where you can watch the activity taking place in the beer cellar provides other amusement!
But why the unusual name? I asked Nigel Tarn founder and sole director of the Moo Bar chain. He told me, “Moo Bar was founded on King Street in Penrith in 2012 by converting a previous cattle house into a cask ale and world beer bar. After selling almost 1500 casks in the first year we got on with searching for the next place to house a Moo Bar. After failing to find the ideal site in both Keswick and Kendal, a site at Devonshire Street in the heart of Carlisle was secured.”
Please join us for the award presentation at 2:30pm on Saturday, 14 November.


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


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