Dating back to the mid 1700s, The Highland Drove has, under a variety of names, always been a hostelry providing food, drinks and shelter. As the name implies its earliest customers were the Scottish drovers walking cattle from the Highlands to markets in the north of England.
Over the years the inn has been subject to name changes such as The Highland Drover, The Highland Drove Hotel and The Highland Piper, all of which reflected the historical association with the cattle drives. This association has been strengthened by naming the restaurant Kyloes after the cattle that were driven across the narrow channels of water between the islands and mainland which were called Kyles.
In 1998 a dilapidated Highland Drove was facing the ignominy of being turned into three houses when it was bought by local couple Donald and Christine Newton who, with their son Paul, were determined to turn its fortunes around.
In the ensuing years the Highland Drove has gained a deserved reputation as an exceptional â€œlocalâ€ with well kept beers, an excellent wine cellar and good choice of â€œdramsâ€ and for serving some of the most innovative food in the area. The original â€œrestaurantâ€ was a cosy, cluster of tables in what is now the games room and the first floor Kyloes restaurant had to be built to accommodate growing demand opening in November 2001.
The quality of the food served in Kyloes has received some of the highest accolades possible. These included the Les Routiers Northern Dining Pub of the Year (2004/05), Cumbria Dining Pub of the Year (2005/06), a main list pub in the Good Pub Guide, the Michelin Pub Gide and others.
Recognition of the well kept cellar has resulted in the Highland Drove being CAMRAâ€™s Solway Branch Real Ale Pub of the Year in 2006 and 2007 and runner up in 2008.
Ultimately the Highland Drove is a Real Country Pub which guarantees a warm, friendly welcome, roaring log fires in the winter, great banter and, for the more energetic, darts, pool and dominos.
So, almost 300 years after the spirits of the exhausted drovers were lifted at the site of the Highland Drove, the inn remains true to the traditional values of providing good food, drinks, shelter and a place of companionship against whatever ills the world throws at us.