Steam Packet could be country pub of the year

Steam Packet Inn
Steam Packet Inn

A family run hotel and restaurant in the southern Machars is hoping to win enough public votes to win the accolade of being named the UK’s finest country pub.

The Steam Packet Inn, which sits right on the harbour of the beautiful and historic Isle of Whithorn, has been shortlisted in the 2014/15 BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards for the title of Rural Pub of The Year. It is the only Scottish finalist in the category and is up against nine other finalists from locations all over the UK including Glamorgan, Cumbria, Merseyside and Surrey.

Owned by the Scoular family for 35 years, The Steam Packet Inn is renowned for its warm, friendly atmosphere, excellent service and fantastic food and drink. Throughout the seasons it uses local Scottish produce and unsurprisingly - in view of its location – it specialises in fresh seafood, taking advantage of its quayside location and the catch of local fishing boats. ‘The Packet’ also has a great reputation for its award-winning real ales and varied wine menu. Its public bar, with solid fuel stove and stone walls hung with pictures of the village and maritime events, is very popular with visitors as well as the local community. The establishment also has a second bar as well as a conservatory and elegant dining room.

Alistair Scoular, proprietor of The Steam Packet Inn, said: “We are very flattered to have been chosen as a finalist for this prestigious award. Being shortlisted for Rural Pub of The Year is a wonderful recognition of the hard work and enthusiasm of all of the team here.”

VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said: “It’s great that The Steam Packet Inn has been nominated for this high-profile award. It is both well-loved by the local community and an extremely popular destination for visitors to the area so I do hope that as many people as possible either from our region or from further afield will support this local venue by taking a few minutes to vote for it to be named Rural Pub of The Year.”

The deadline for votes for Rural Pub of The Year and the other 11 categories in the important nationwide awards scheme, which is now in its fourth year, is 31 January. Members of the public can register their votes via the BBC Countryfile Magazine website at http://www.countryfile.com/article/garden-year-201415 ,by emailing awards@countryfile.com or by post to BBC Countryfile Magazine, Tower House, Bristol, BS1 3BN. The winners will be announced in the April issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine.