Tag Archives: hotel

What if the water leaving St Clair Lagoon Dam was not the source of the Derwent?

 

Different people hold views about the start and finish of places and the same is true for the Derwent River.  So, just in case, someone should say to me that the River’s source is at the weir where water flows from the Derwent Basin into St Clair Lagoon, or the source is where the water flows from the body of Lake St Clair into the Derwent Basin, I walked to both other locations to be sure I had arrived at ‘the source’.

From St Clair Lagoon Dam I returned to the Pumphouse Point road and continued towards Lake St Clair and the Hotel.  Trees flanked the walk.

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And I passed unwalkable wetlands.

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Suddenly one corner of spectacular Lake St Clair stretched before me, and I could see the outlier of the Pumphouse Point Hotel sitting crisply on the Lake, roughly marking the entrance of water to the Derwent Basin.

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As I walked towards the Point I fell in love with Mount Olympus standing high in all its grandeur. Zeus would be pleased.

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Gradually I closed in on the Point so that the white box appeared as a building.

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The entrance to the Hotel seemed barred to me.

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However to the right of the entrance a sign indicated a walking track would take me to the Weir at the southern end of the Derwent Basin.

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Again, anglers have been remembered.

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Joining the masses

After two days more or less being by myself, arriving at an increasingly busy pub initially assaulted my senses.  All that people activity. All the chatter. All the laughter. I needed time and the right state of mind to ease into this happy pub scene at Gretna Green Hotel. I found a comfortable armchair in another small room, sent off text messages and phoned friends. I sorted myself out and generally arrived at a state where I was ready to be social.

Once I fronted the bar, my friend Brad thoughtfully relocated my pack to a secure room, and I settled into meeting the locals. I chose to drink a red wine so he opened a bottle for me – this is a pub where wine wasn’t the drink of choice.  Around 6pm they suggested I order a meal. A while later I ate dinner alone, by choice, in the dining room with its vases of false sunflowers. I needed to clear my head and regain my equilibrium.

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One of the publicans, Colleen, stopped by to introduce herself and have a chat. Meanwhile hotel regulars ate their meals at the bar or took them outside – a typical Friday night practice apparently. My meal was an excellent freshly cooked plate of fish and chips accompanied by a fresh garden salad.  This was the sort of place where I felt comfortable to return my empty plate directly into the kitchen, a move which allowed me to thank the cook.

Back out in the bar and over the next few hours, I learnt more about the area and its personalities. Tim, a barman, was leaving Tassie and with the night off work, he was getting free beers from the endless stream of locals who came to say farewell. By the time I left he was still standing, able to hold down some sort of chat, but rather glassy eyed. A woman was celebrating her birthday.  So Friday night at the Gretna Green Hotel was party time.  All brilliantly aided and abetted by publican Colleen, whose manner was light and jokey, yet clever and appropriate. She kept everyone feeling good about themselves, and lined up the drinks as new arrivals came through the door.  I was very impressed with how she managed the patrons as they became more inebriated. She was very professional yet made people feel warmly welcome.  These days so many pubs have lost their customers, yet Gretna Green Hotel is thriving. I firmly believe it was Brad, Rick and Colleen behind the bar which makes this Hotel so successful.

As the night progressed, the bar people made sure everyone knew I was waiting to catch the Tassie Link bus. As the departure time of 9.30 pm came closer, Colleen instructed all the drinkers outside to run and stop the bus if it came through early. Regardless, I was on time ready to flag down the bus when I waited on the roadside in the dark, with barking dogs bidding me farewell.

I loved my time at the Gretna Green Hotel. The time passed quickly and I was so pleased that people were friendly and welcoming to me despite my being an outsider.  A local would never have lined up a bottle of water, cup of tea and a red wine on the bar!

Gretna Green Hotel advert

Arriving at the Gretna Green Hotel

Earlier research indicated that a general store operated on the western side of the Gretna Green Hotel so I padded up the Lyell Highway, past the drinking establishment and its drinkers resting on their vehicles outside, and stood in front of the glass fronted shop. The dust was settled. The space was empty. Clearly no-one had been inside for a long time.

I turned and plodded down to the pub, giving the chatty locals something to take their minds off their beers, and entered a small historic building with many small rooms leading off each other.

Gretna Green Hotel

Strangely, I forgot to take a photograph when I first looked at the hotel.  This image comes from the internet – please note accommodation is no longer offered. I have just discovered the pub has its own Facebook site with more photos.  Hmm. I must write a review for them.