The new owners of the Drovers Rest have only had a week to get to grips with the place as they launch into service as the new landlord and landlady of the Monkhill pub at Burgh-By-Sands.

Tom McMaster and Beki Bowles have taken over the pub having come from the Middle Ruddings in Braithwaite.

They will get assistance from Rachel Stevenson, who also works behind the bar at the Drovers Rest.

The lovely old pub was once part of the Carlisle State Management Scheme and, after a period of closure, was re-opened in 2013, by the couple’s good friends Sandy and Sarah, and Bill and Linda.

The pair might be new to Monkhill, but they are not new to the industry. They turned around the Middle Ruddings country pub in Braithwaite, near Keswick into an award winning real ale pub.

Tom said: “After turning the pub from a derelict building to one of the best beer pubs in the area and the country - winning 14 awards from CAMRA, including National Pub of the the Year finalist in 2015 - we formed a close friendship over our mutual passion for all things beer with the owners of the Drovers Rest and this year we were honoured that they felt we were they best people to take the helm as they moved to pastures new.”

The pub serves food which is all locally sourced and made from scratch in their kitchen.

Starters range from cured, cold-smoked Scotch egg, with homemade apple chutney, to smoked pigeon breast with braised red cabbage, chestnuts, candied bacon and a damson sauce.

Main courses include local goat curry, with traditional rice and peas and a Caribbean dumpling and cod fillet cooked with rosemary and garlic and served with fondant potatoes, burnt butter and pancetta.

Tom said that one to watch out for on the menu and coming soon are his “beer-inspired sausages, all homemade and hot-smoked in our smoker.”

Each sausage is created to pair with a style of beer- or a cider, and are served three ways; 1/4 sausage glazed and sliced with homemade dips; 1/2 sausage in a bun with relish, pickles and sauces; or the ‘big dog’ a whole sausage served with slaw and chips.

Though he said he did have issues with his sausage filler. He said: “It was shipped all the way from the Netherlands for us to discover it was actually a VacPac machine they had sent us - not very useful for our Dog House project, but let us know if you need anything packing!!”

They said they have had a great first week and look forward to many more.

Tom said: “The locals are lovely and we’ve had wonderful support so we’re hoping there will be lots of memories to come!”

Once it is safe to do so they are planning to hold beer tasting nights, beer and sausage nights and local music evenings.

They added: “We’re really looking forward to being a part of the community and integrating ourselves with community-based events too!”

The aspect they enjoy most about running a pub is: “Our job is talking to people; we get paid to talk! And you meet some really wonderful people that you end up considering close friends.”

Tom’s advice for a hangover cure: “I’ve never had one personally but Beki says it’s avoiding me until her head stops banging.”