A tumble and a tipple for Lions

Morpeth Lions and friends at Lilliard Ginnery (Lion President Margaret, second right) and Traquair House Brewery.
Morpeth Lions and friends at Lilliard Ginnery (Lion President Margaret, second right) and Traquair House Brewery.

Morpeth Lions Club

What began as a great day out ended in disaster for Morpeth Lions President Margaret Trewick.

Each year Morpeth Lions Club members enjoy an educational outing, which as well as being sociable, involves re-learning the process of brewing beer.

For the first time, the group of 12 included two lady members and two members’ wives this year.

With this in mind, organising Lion Robin Cooper found a venue where beer is brewed and gin distilled.

The beer element takes place at Born in the Borders near Jedburgh, while the Lilliard Ginnery is in an adjacent building.

Here, the party split in two, with mainly men at the brewery.

The process of brewing was explained by Dave the brewer, and was followed by a tasting session.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party was told how ginnery owner Kate McInnes left a high-flying job in finance in London to pursue an interest in developing her own uniquely flavoured gin, albeit on a small scale.

The process involves the addition of flavours such as angelica, meadowsweet, juniper, elderflower, rosehip, rowan and liquorice root to the ‘raw’ gin that she buys in.

Before being bottled, the spirit is about 80 per cent proof. However, at the bottling plant that the business uses this is brought down to the required 40 per cent.

Trading as Lilliard Gin, the name comes from a local heroine who fought and died at the Battle of Ancrum Moor in 1545.

It is a distilling tradition to give the still a female name, however, at Lilliard they are making new traditions and call their small copper still ‘Donald’.

Following on from the visit, the party headed for Traquair — Scotland’s oldest inhabited house.

Co-incidentally, it too has a brewery. It mainly caters for overseas markets that like strong beers.

The house itself has a history steeped in Jacobite tradition and enjoyed visits from many of Scotland’s kings, as well as being the last house in Scotland where Mary, Queen of Scots slept before being taken to England, where she was subsequently executed.

It was at the end of the house visit that Lion President Margaret had her accident, which resulted in two fractures of her ankle, which was also dislocated.

The local ambulance service came quickly and expertly brought Margaret down a winding staircase from the second floor.

She was then taken to the Borders General Hospital in Melrose, where two of our ladies stayed with her, and with the Lions party following.

Once the Lions ascertained that Margaret would be in hospital overnight at least, the Lions made their way back to Morpeth in the knowledge that she was in good hands.

It had been a good day out, but such a shame that it ended so badly for Margaret.

It should be emphasised that Margaret had very little to drink as she intended driving home from Morpeth!