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Set well into the northern part of Cumbria, this pub has many delights to tempt the weary walker inside. Not least of which is the brewery out back which makes some of the best beers around.
Hesket can be approached from Kendal in the South or Penrith in the East. Nevertheless, it is still hard to find, but well worth the trip.
The exterior of the pub has two log benches for summer sitting and doubles as the beer garden. Inside, the Old Crown is a rustic country pub with tile floors in both bars, though there is a rug or two in the 'lounge' bar.
Both bars, the 'lounge' to the left on entrance and the 'public' to the right, are small - 15 people making a crowd. However, they are welcoming and cosy in winter with a real fire in the 'lounge' that warms fully. The seating here is round tables and chairs/benches/window seats. Newspapers are available as are leaflets concerning the walks in the surrounding countryside.
The kitchen is also through this room. Food is served both lunch and evenings until 8.30pm and is all home-made. If the pub is not busy you might be able to persuade them to do you a bowl of chips outside these times - ask nicely.
The small bar here is full of hand pumps and a near full selection of Hesket brewery beers: Skiddaw Special, Blencathra Bitter, Doris 90th Birthday Ale, Great Cockup Porter, Catbells Pale Ale. In the summer there is usually a guest ale too.
The 'public' bar has a pool table and a jukebox in it. The room is small and if people are playing pool there is usually little room for anyone else. Toilets are through here too, outside and cold. There are some high stools at the bar and a bench seat at one end with a couple of tables. Some old books lie on a shelf also, though the company and beer will keep you occupied enough.
The brewery is situated out back in a separate building. In March 1998 the Brewery celebrated ten years of brewing by producing a special beer. In acknowledgement of the scepticism occasioned by the announced intention to have a brewery, it was called "Pigs Might Fly". The brewery also makes house beers for a number of Cumbrian pubs. Brewery tours (booked in advance) are on Wednesday evenings and are followed by a meal at the Crown. Tours on other days are by arrangement and are for a minimum of ten.
Access for the disabled is difficult as the pub is narrow and densely packed with tables and chairs. Also the toilets are pretty inaccessible.
There is no accommodation at the pub, but try:
The Old Crown (self-catering), Mr and Mrs Matthews, (016974) 78288;
Denton House (B&B), Hesket Newmarket, Margaret Monkhouse, (016974) 78415;
Mr and Mrs Little (B&B), Bank End Mill, Hesket Newmarket, (016974) 78398;
Mr and Mrs Stobart (B&B), Howbeck Farm, Hesket Newmarket, (016974) 78206;
Lakeland Camping Barn Network, Hudscales [NY 331375] self-catering, Mr and Mrs Cowx, (017687) 72803;
Skiddaw House & Carrock Fell youth hostel, (016974) 78325;
Camping facilities near to the Old Crown pub, (016974) 78288.
The Old Crown is well worth a visit, even if you don't intend to walk anywhere.
DETAILS - THE OLD CROWN ROUND
Distance: approx. 28km/15miles. Ascent: approx. 1729m/5619ft
To complete The Old Crown Round the walker/runner must traverse the summits of Skiddaw, Blencathra, Carrock Fell & Great Cockup in a maximum time of 20hrs. The summits can be done in any order but the walker/runner must start and finish at the same point. It is up to the walker/runner to decide upon the route taken.
Walkers/runners successfully completing the The Old Crown Round are asked to record details of their walk/run in a log book held in the The Old Crown Pub. Certificates will be issued, from The Old Crown Pub to individuals completing the round. There is no charge for the Certificate.
Just spent an evening here (20th July 2004). The "curries" served were recommended. There were 5 of us and we each chose a different one. My "steak" curry was described in the menu as "in a thick rich sauce, with a hint of sweet and sour" - I have to say it was stewing steak dipped in Bisto, it was very dry and there was no sauce whatsoever. The rice was boiled to death and congealed, we actually heard the microwave oven "ping" from the kitchen with the naan bread in (it was as solid as a rock and would have been more use as a priest for despatching trout) and the popadoms were filled with small puddles of fat after being deep-fat-fried. Anybody who describes this "food" as a curry has obviously never had a real curry in their lives. To top it all we were served with a pint each moments after the last-orders bell had rung only to be immediately thrown out after being pestered to drink-up. We all left three quarters of a pint behind! Don't bother ordering a pint once the bell has rung! (Gary - 21/7/04)
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HN's own beers
Mr and Mrs Matthews