On a bitterly cold winter’s day there are few things more comforting than cosying down in a country pub next to a roaring fire and enjoying some good old traditional pub food.
One such pub offering sanctuary from the elements is the Scotsman’s Pack in Hathersage.
The old coach house has been a popular destination for many years and manager Ash Kerr believes that keeping things simple and traditional is one of the secrets of its success.
“Our aim is to serve up good quality pub food,” explains Ash.
“Nothing too fancy, just good traditional pub grub.
“In regards to drinks we focus on real ales and also stock a good quantity of gins – 28 – as well as plenty of rums and of course whiskies.”
The pub gets its name from the Scottish packmen who sold their tweeds in the Hathersage area to local farmers.
Having been a key part of the local community for generations Ash adds that it is vital that the pub continues to play this role.
“Pretty much all our ingredients are locally sourced. “Our owner is good friends with a local butcher and that is where we get our meat and most of our other ingredients are sourced from suppliers in the Hope Valley.
“I think it is very important that we support local businesses.
“We are part of the local community and we try to use local people with maintenance work and things like that.”
The Scotsman’s Pack menu is a seasonal affair, says Ash, and some changes are currently in the works,
“Our food menu is seasonal and our head chef is currently working on our spring menu which should be out in the next few weeks with some fresh new additions.
“I think the secret of our success is really good food and top quality service.
“We always aim to create a nice, friendly environment.
“We are currently focusing on some events for this summer including helping to create a beer festival in Hathersage. Watch this space.”
Before our visit we’d heard good things of the roast dinners served up at the Scotsman’s Pack.
The pub is situated up a narrow country lane just yards from the churchyard which is believed could be the resting place of Robin Hood’s old mucker Little John.
If you are travelling to the pub by car beware that the car park has limited spaces, although there are plenty of places you can park along the lane.
As soon as you step inside this inviting hostelry you get very good vibes.
Many ‘traditional’ pubs have had the heart and soul ripped out of them by huge pub chains but the Scotsman’s doesn’t feel like this at all.
It is authentic and laid back with a decor than can be absolutely described as ‘traditional’.
On the Sunday afternoon we visited the pub was busy with an eclectic clientele of ramblers, locals, families and city slickers like ourselves.
Dog-lovers take note – your pooches are more than welcome at the Scotsman’s Pack and there were a number in attendance during our visit.
As for the food, it can be described as no-nonsense. No pretentious gastropub fare on offer here.
On this particular afternoon the three of us decided to give the starters a miss but this had more to do with our appetites than the dishes on offer.
Starters included salt and pepper fried squid (£6), creamy wild mushroom soup (£5), black pudding fritters (£5) and grilled halloumi with chilli jam (£3.50).
The roast dinners on offer were topside of beef (£12), leg of lamb (£13), pork loin (£11) and vegetarian sausage (£11).
All the roasts come served with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, market vegetables and Hendo gravy.
Tracy and myself went for the beef, while the father-in-law chose the gammon, eggs, chips and peas (£12) from the mains menu.
Although the pub was rather busy the wait for our food was reasonable.
Our roast dinners were decent – with a generous portion of beef – and gammon also got the thumbs up.
Our reason for skipping starters was a tactical one – we wanted to make sure we would have room for pudding.
Among the sweets on offer were Bakewell pudding (£5.50), apple and pear crumble (£5.50), cheese board (£6.50), coffee cake (£5) and sticky toffee pudding (£5.50).
The latter was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned and the other half went for the Bakewell pudding.
Both were very good indeed.
All in, including drinks, the whole lot came in at just under £60 which for three people represents excellent value.
If you’re ever out Hathersage way then the Scotsman’s Pack is well worth a visit.
The Scotsman’s Pack, School Lane, Hathersage. Tel: 01433 650253