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The humble rowan and the Glorious Twelfth

As the end of August approaches, the bountiful summer season starts draws to a close with the last deliveries of Alan’s strawberries and blackcurrants. Without wishing the fine weather away, I can’t help but start to turn my mind to dishes with a slightly more autumnal feel. At this time of year, the hedgerows are starting to groan under the weight of brambles, blackberries, rosehips, elderberries and much more – a forager’s paradise. There have been many firsts for me in 2017, and this month was no exception. The humble rowan berry has come into my life. Though it may sound strange, it genuinely never occurred to me to forage for these little bunches of red and orange berries until suggested by our in-house ‘flower-fairy’ Pauline.

After further research, I’ve learnt that rowan berries feature prominently in nordic cookery. In true Scandi-style, they are pickled and turned into syrups –  a slightly different treatment compared to the rowan berry jelly with which we would more commonly associate the berries here in Cumbria.

NB: Please note that eaten raw these little berries do upset the liver so it is important they are cooked!

Talking of foraging, this month I stumbled across some home-made of Elderberry wine from 2010. At the time the wine was so tart it just got buried at the back of a cupboard…until now. The depth of flavour is somewhat satisfying, and it has mellowed beautifully. I’m looking forward to using this wine as a seasoning to an up-and-coming dish.

With glorious hedgerow delights comes the Glorious Twelfth.  The Glorious twelfth refers to August 12th – the first day of the shooting season in Great Britain. The game act of 1831 ensures the red grouse are left alone through the summer months while the young are still dependant on their mothers. The seasons then lasts until December. These birds generally have a diet consisting of moorland heather, which gives them a rich, distinctly gamey flavour which gradually develops over the course of the season. Our first grouse dish will be appearing on the menu on the 18th August from the upland fells and moors of the Borders. Keep an eye out on social media for updates!

And finally…as I type there’s  a clear blue sky and bright sunshine outside the window but I’m quietly turning my thoughts to colder months considering what the second 1863 Christmas menu will look like…

I found myself longing for a mince pie and some Christmas Cake the other day whilst putting pen to paper over this year’s festive preparations. The challenge I’ve set myself for this year is trying to create and deliver a menu that is suitably Christmas-sy and full of festive flavour, but that has the 1863 ‘twist’ and element of surprise.

Hold that thought and I’ll explain more next time.


‘Tis the Season for Foraging.

As the celebrated Wye Valley asparagus season comes to an end, our sumptuous, local strawberries are soaking up the Lake District sun while the yellow courgettes are bursting into bloom. We’re lucky enough to be supplied in the growing season by local green-fingered couple, Jean and Alan.  They supply us with some of the tastiest strawberries from their allotment two and half miles away in the pretty village of Watermillock.

Picture by Steve Barber
Picture by Steve Barber

As well as strawberries, Jean and Alan have also started to deliver the first of this season’s gooseberries. Both soft fruits are obviously making appearances on our summer menu but myself, Woody and the team are also making time to preserve some now for the less generous winter months.


The start of summer has also seen Team 1863 out foraging the iconic Lake District countryside for elderflower, meadow sweet and Angie’s alpine strawberries. You’ll be able to see the results of our hedgerow adventures over the coming weeks.

And finally a few words about one of my favourite fish of this time of year – herring. Personally I love herring and although it is not as readily available as it once was due to overfishing, I’m delighted that over the next few weeks you will be able to sample our take on soused herring; this traditional Scandinavian delicacy has been given the 1863 treatment with its mild soft flesh complimented by a carefully balanced cooking liquor.


If you’d like to see more of what we do, keep an eye on our kitchen team’s Instagram @1863_kitchen for all the goings on.

Team 1863 goes from strength to strength…

I’m truly delighted to share with you that Niall Frith, part of the kitchen team, has just been named joint winner of the UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year!!!

I’ve worked with Niall for the last three years in which time he has worked his way up the ladder; from KP’ing (Kitchen Porter-ing) his way through college to starting work with 1863 on a part time basis in June 2016, he also worked on the prestigious Culinary Team for Kendal College. We’re all so proud of how far he’s come and are looking forward to him joining Team 1863 full time as Chef de Partie this Summer.

Congratulations Niall!



Supplier Update

At 1863, we are totally committed to working with the very best local and regional suppliers. New partnerships this summer include:

Little Salkeld Watermill are supplying us with the flours we use in the restaurant to produce our artisan breads. The watermill is one of the country’s few working hydra-powered corn mills still producing stoneground flour the traditional way. They mill fully traceable British grains which are naturally lower in gluten than their American counterparts and most importantly, because they stoneground, they are bursting with flavor.

Nook Farm We are also using Borage Honey from Nook Farm in the Scottish Border town of Newcastleton. This will be infused with elderflowers and the result will be used later on in the year to create an elderflower honey ganache for our petit fours.

So there you have it – new suppliers, new season produce, new dishes and of course, new taste experiences here at 1863.

Hope to see you back here over the Summer





A recent addition to the Ullswater Valley food scene is celebrating an astonishing first year of business. 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms in Pooley Bridge opened its doors to guests in May 2016 with a flourish of Victorian-inspired chic and a keen young Head Chef eager to make waves on the Cumbrian food scene.

For over 150 years, 1863 has quite literally been a cornerstone of the village. The property is set in the heart of Pooley Bridge, a short walk from the shores of Ullswater. It was built first as the village blacksmith’s and later became the post office. Now reimagined for the 21st century, 1863 features a bar, bistro and seven elegant bedrooms. A family business, they say they enjoy getting the little things just right, welcoming guests back time and again to share in a slice of Lakeland paradise.

Twelve months on and ‘the proof’ as they say ‘is in the pudding.’ Over 10,000 locals and visitors from as far away as Hong Kong and New Zealand have enjoyed dinner in the Bistro while over 3500 have used 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms as a base for a short break to discover the beautiful Ullswater and Eden Valleys and of course the wider Lake District.

Meanwhile, over in the the Kitchen, the team is almost unrecognisable. One year ago, Head Chef, Phil Corrie was holding the fort on his own. Today, thanks to a lot of hard work and skill, Phil (25) is joined by four other chefs with a combined mean age of 19.6 years! Between them they’ve worked with 21 local, regional and national suppliers to create 104 different dishes plus 46 flavours of ice cream and sorbet.  That equates to over seven menus in 1863’s first year, or put another way, one new dish served every three days!

Head Chef Phil commented:
“To have the chance to be involved in a new business venture right from the off is on most Head Chefs’ bucket lists. I’ve enjoyed every moment of the last year and am so proud of all we’ve achieved together. I’ve particularly enjoyed the opportunity to create innovative, seasonal menus using produce that really is as local as it could be – Jean’s fantastic kitchen garden veg, Henry’s pungent mint and my mum’s raspberries!”

When asked what year two holds, Phil’s not resting on his laurels. The young chef and graduate of Kendal College is focussed on building and expanding 1863 Bistro’s reputation both with customers and critics while pushing and developing his young team on the technical front.

Previously known as Elm House Bed and Breakfast, 1863’s owners, Mark and Anne Vause, moved to the area from Blackburn in 2008 and spent eight years running the award-winning B&B. In November 2015, the entrepreneurial couple had already made the ambitious decision to close to undertake a £300,000 refurbishment project and relaunch in early Summer 2016 as 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms. Despite the dreadful storms of Winter 2015/16 and ensuing challenges, the establishment opened on time and on budget in late May.

Mark commented:
“Quite honestly – it’s been astonishing. You always hope that people are going to like what you’ve created but we’ve just been so taken aback at the support and appetite (!) our customers have for 1863. But perhaps beyond the welcome, the food and the rooms, I think maybe they appreciate that we’re a close knit team, we work hard and are constantly looking to the future and ways to make their visits to us unexpected and even more enjoyable.”

With a brand new summer menu out now, a newly expanded wine list due out in early July, two new luxury suites available from late July plus a series of popular Tasting Evenings throughout the year, there’s no sign that the 1863 pace is going to abate anytime soon.

1863 is open year round; the bar opens at 2pm with a ‘Bite to Eat’ menu, the bistro opens at 6pm daily. Booking is strongly advised for the Bistro. To book a table call 017684 86334.
For further information and the latest menu visit


For further information or images please contact Sam Bunting on
07866 492 891 or at

Notes to the Editor
• INVITE TO JOURNALISTS: If you’d like to come and review our Bistro, please contact Sam on 07866 492 891 to arrange a suitable time
• A selection of images is available here:
• Mark and Anne Vause are available for interview. Please contact Sam on 07866 492 891 or at to arrange a suitable time

Daff Fest 2017

This April Daff Fest returns to the Ullswater Valley for a second year. Enjoy a colourful series of that encourages everyone, both young and old, to delight in daffodils and enjoy spring time just as our local literary greats once did. From guided walks with Lake District National Park Rangers to garden tours, daffodil trails and a spot of theatre – there are plenty of reasons to visit England’s most beautiful lake over the next few weeks.

Click here for more information and all events.


On Fri 7 April, the eve of Ullswater’s second Daff Fest (8 – 30 April 2017), Pooley Bridge Village Hall welcomes local actor and Theatre by the Lake regular, Peter Macqueen (Enlightenment, The Lady of the Lake 2015) with his blooming marvellous one-man show, Old Herbaceous.


Pottering amongst the seeds and cuttings at the back of his ramshackle greenhouse in the garden of a Gloucestershire manor house is Herbert Pinnegar. Now in his twilight years, he’s full of memories and tales of a bygone era. In-between potting up and potting on, he recounts his journey from orphan boy to legendary head gardener ‘Old Herbaceous’ and tells of his friendship with the lady of the house, Mrs Charteris. Sown with seeds of gardening wisdom, this charming one man show is a love story – a humorous portrayal of a single-minded yet gentle man with a passion for plants.


Following sell-out runs at Theatre by the Lake in 2016, this is the first time that Old Herbaceous has come to the Ullswater Valley. It is also the first time the Ullswater Association has branched out to include theatre in the Daff Fest line up. Organisers hope that the combination of a pre-theatre dinner at 1863 followed by a performance of Old Herbacous literally across the road in the Parkin Memorial Hall will prove attractive to both locals and visitors alike. Pre-theatre dinner tickets are limited with just 16 remaining and all expected to sell well in advance of the evening itself.


Heather James, Chair of the Ullswater Association commented:

When we heard about ‘Old Herbaceous’ we just thought it was such a lovely fit for Daff Fest. We’re constantly trying to improve and expand the range of events during Daff Fest and very much hope that this will be the first of many theatre evenings to come.”



6pm: Pre-theatre dinner served at 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms

6.45pm: Doors open / Bar opens

7.30pm: Performance with one interval

Tickets cost £10 for theatre only and £30 for a two-course pre-theatre dinner at 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms in Pooley Bridge opposite the Parkin Memorial Hall.


The evening’s production is presented by the Ullswater Association and sponsored by 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms.  To find out how your business can get involved in 2017 and beyond please contact the Ullswater Association on


To book visit  For full listings of all events taking place as part of Daff Fest 2017, please visit




For further information or images, please contact Sam Bunting
on 07866 492 891 or




Notes to the Editor


  • Peter Macqueen is available for interview. To arrange a suitable time please contact Sam Bunting on 07866 492 891 or at


  • Heather James and Sue Wallace from the Ullswater Association are available for interview. To arrange a suitable time please contact Sam Bunting on 07866 492 891 or at





Iconic lake to come alive with dramatic procession of fire & light

One of England’s most beautiful lakes is to host the new ‘Ullswater Droving’ event on the evening of Wednesday 26 October – complete with a procession of fire, masks and music which will take in a 8 mile sailing through the Lakeland nightscape.

Staged by the award-winning Eden Arts, this colourful new event will get underway with the unique spectacle of Newcastle-based street performers ‘Spark! jumping on board a traditional steamer at Glenridding. The illuminated drummers will combine light, sound and movement as they sail up the lake, arriving at Pooley Bridge just as darkness falls to meet a multitude of masked torch bearers.

As the procession winds its way through the historic village, Spark! will take to the main stage to entertain the crowds, where everyone can gather around the bonfire.

Adrian Lochhead, Director of Eden Arts, says, “We are very excited about this special one-off event to mark the recovery of flood-hit Ullswater. Taking place at half-term, this ‘mini-droving’ is great for all the family and will combine all the elements we love – light, colour, music, dressing up and above, plenty of fun. 


“The sight of the LED lit drummers arriving to a torch-lit procession will definitely be a special moment and it will be the perfect warm-up for Penrith’s main Winter Droving event, which takes place on 12 November.”

Rachel Bell, Group Marketing & Events Manager at Ullswater ‘Steamers’ says, “We are really looking forward to welcoming the new Ullswater Droving, it will be a fantastic display of colour and light and the perfect opportunity for people to come together and celebrate the valley during the half term break.”

The timetable for Wednesday 26 October includes:

  • 4.40pm – Short performance from Spark! Glenridding steamer jetty
  • 4.55pm – Spark! leave Glenridding on board Ullswater Steamers
  • 5.15pm – Torchbearers gather at Pooley Bridge steamer jetty for arrival of Spark!
  • 6.00pm – Torch procession begins, from jetty through Pooley Bridge

Fire torchbearers are being encouraged to wear animal masks or to dress as a drover/shepherd (with flat caps or a touch of tweed).  Register online as a masked torchbearer. Donations of £2 per fire torch are requested.

The Ullswater Droving is a flood recovery event funded by Eden District Council, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership. Thanks to The Lions, Ullswater Steamers, the Ullswater Association and Fellbites Café in Glenridding.



Notes to Editors:

For media enquiries including images and interviews, please contact: Heather Sewell, 07795 487003 /


Eden Arts is a charitable arts organisation (charity no. 1139215) based in the Eden District, Cumbria, and funded by Eden District Council, Arts Council England and The Big Lottery. Eden Arts promotes, invents, dreams and cooks up all sorts of creative projects from commissions to participatory to gigs and cinema.

Chef Phil’s Gooseberry Jam

If you’ve enjoyed a meal with us recently, you may have tried Chef Phil’s gooseberry jam. These blackcurrant-like berries are in abundance at this time of year and thanks to our local, domestic gardeners who supply us with the fruits of their labour, Phil has to get creative to make sure he uses all the produce that comes his way.

So gooseberry jam has been making a regular appearance on the menu over the last few weeks, alongside his delicious chicken liver pate. But you could enjoy it at home with a slice of mature cheddar cheese.

Anyway, we thought you might like the recipe – enjoy!


1kg Dessert Gooseberries
1kg Caster Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
50ml Damson Gin
  1. First, sterilise your jars by washing thoroughly in very hot soapy water. Rinse in very hot water then put on a baking sheet in a 140C/fan 120C/gas 1 oven until completely dry.
  2. Put 2 or 3 small saucers in the freezer (these will be used to test the setting later on)
  3. Place the gooseberries, lemon juice, sugar and 50ml damson gin in a large wide pan. Bring to a  simmer for 15 minutes until the fruit is very soft and pulpy.
  4. Stir over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the jam doesn’t catch. The jam will start to turn a deep-red hue as it cooks.
  5. Spoon a little jam onto a chilled saucer, leave to cool then run your finger through it. If it’s ready it will wrinkle up. If this doesn’t happen boil for another 5 minutes then keep testing and boiling until it does.
  6. Do a final skim on the finished jam then pour into the sterilised jars and seal. Store in a cool dark place – the jam will be good for up to 6 months. Keep in the fridge once opened
Tip: Dessert gooseberries are sweeter than the traditional green gooseberry and have a high pectin content, so there is no need for preserving sugar for this recipe

The Ullswater Way opens

From Waterfalls to Wainwright – there’s a new way to explore Ullswater

Communities and businesses around the Lake District’s Ullswater Valley are celebrating the launch of a brand new walking route – the Ullswater Way – around what many believe to be England’s most beautiful lake. The new, 20-mile walking route connects the spectacular scenery along the shores of Ullswater with the picturesque villages and attractions, meaning visitors can enjoy even more of this special corner of the Lake District.

Eric Robson Opens the New Ullswater Way
Eric Robson Opens the New Ullswater Way

Following the floods in December, people in the Ullswater area of the Lake District have been working hard to get reconnected and let people know how they are ‘open for business’. This has been particularly important in areas like Glenridding and Pooley Bridge where the flood damage made headline news across the country.
The creation of a promoted circular route around Ullswater has long been an ambition of the community, so the opportunity was seized and a partnership project was put into action between local people and Lake District National Park, the National Trust, the Ullswater Association, Eden District Council, Ullswater Steamers, and See More Cumbria with additional funding from the Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust.

Suzy Hankin, Area Ranger for the Lake District National Park, said: “The Ullswater Way is a fantastic example of people working in partnership on a project that will hopefully give the local economy a much needed boost. Ullswater remains a popular corner of the Lake District, yet people tend to explore it in pockets rather than connecting their journey. The community around Ullswater wanted to encourage visitors to enjoy the valley’s iconic scenery on foot, but to also utilise links to the public transport network, and hopefully give people a reason to stay for longer.

Walking the Ullswater Way at Gowbarrow Copyright Val Corbett
“Although there were already existing walking routes in the area, there wasn’t a fully connected route around the lake. So we have been working with local people, businesses and landowners to improve access, including a new 2.5km public right of way, and the installation of new waymarkers, fingerposts and gates to make it easier for people to navigate on the ground.”
The Ullswater Way crosses sections of open fell and farm land, offering visitors stunning views, as well as the path Wainwright described as ‘the most beautiful and rewarding walk in Lakeland’. The route also includes a new section of footpath near Maiden Castle, once the site of an Iron Age Hill fort it now offers spectacular views of the Ullswater Valley, as well as views to the Pennines to the East and Blencathra to the west.

Ullswater Way
New Ullswater way-marker

Jim Walker, from Ullswater Steamers, and Chair of the working group said: “Ullswater is famous for its stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains – from kayaking to climbing Helvellyn and from the spectacular waterfalls at Aira Force to simply enjoying the local hospitality. The Ullswater Way now means long distance walkers can now walk round the full 20 mile route, and those who want to explore at a more leisurely pace can break up the journey by including a trip on the historic Ullswater Steamers or open top bus.”