Cat and Fiddle Inn
|Cat and Fiddle Inn|
|Street address||Buxton New Road, Macclesfield Forest|
|Postal/ZIP Code||SK11 0AR|
|Other information||Re-opening as a distillery 2020|
The Cat and Fiddle Inn is the second-highest public house in England, the Tan Hill Inn being the highest. In 2020, the outlet was sold to a distiller, who intend to open Britain's highest-altitude whisky distillery.
It is in the Peak District National Park, on the A537 road just west of the Derbyshire/Cheshire county boundary, on the western side of Axe Edge Moor, 1,689 feet (515 m) above sea level.
The inn is the last on the 45-mile (72 km) Four Inns Walk, held annually in spring, mainly over the high moorland to the north.
History and closure
The pub was built in 1813. It closed in December 2015, and its future as a public house was uncertain; owners Robinsons Brewery said in 2016 that it was "closed until further notice". In September 2016, a local newspaper reported it would reopen, but no date was subsequently announced.
Re-opening in 2020
On 21 October 2019 Robinsons announced that a "long-term lease" had been taken out on the building by Forest Distillery, who intended to re-open the site in summer 2020 as a destination attraction featuring a distillery, shop and pub. Distillery owner Karl Bond said he bought the pub to store barrels of whisky, according to a BBC article; other reports confirmed that Bond was leasing the property, with ownership retained by Robinson's Brewery. Bond planned to complete extensive renovations and reopen the inn as a pub and distillery in 2020. Crowd funding provided over £50,000 of a sum estimated at over £250,000 for the restoration. Bond said: "it needs a full new environmentally-friendly sewage system and that’s just to get the toilets to flush – it needs a new roof, new floor, new ceiling, new lighting..." Bond said: "We want to have Britain's highest whisky distillery ... but also turn one section into a shop, where you can pick up beer and wines and deli products, or ... you can get a coffee and a pastry".
In the summer of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Distillery opened a take-out bottle shop in a section of the building, selling high-end spirits, wines, beers and coffee. Refurbishment was ongoing, with plans for pre-booked tours later in the month and the charging of the stills to produce single malt English whisky.
Cat and Fiddle Road
The inn gives its name to the Cat and Fiddle Road: a stretch of the A537 road, linking Macclesfield to the west with Buxton to the east, which features many sharp corners. This road became notorious for the high number of accidents, particularly among motorcyclists for whom the road is often regarded as an exhilarating technical challenge; an AA survey in 2003 named it as the most dangerous stretch of road in the United Kingdom.
A 2016 report indicates that between 2007 and 2011, there were 44 serious or fatal crashes on the 7.5-mile (12 km) stretch. Between 2002 and 2006, there were 35. The report states that the safety issue is caused by "severe bends, steep falls from the carriageway and edged by dry-stone walls for almost the entirety of the road". Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership and the Department for Transport arranged for the installation of front- and rear-facing speed cameras in the area. These were confirmed to be in place in December 2019.
Various etymologies are claimed: some believe it is a corruption of le chat fidèle ('the faithful cat'); others (including Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable) that it comes from Caton le Fidèle (a former governor of Calais); a third theory is that it derives from Catherine la Fidèle (Catherine of Aragon).
- "Historic Cat and Fiddle pub on Derbyshire border to reopen after crowdfunding success". Business Live. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
- "Historic pub to be 'Britain's highest whisky distillery'". BBC. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
- "Latitude and longitude of Cat and Fiddle Inn". Latitude. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Roper, Danielle (12 January 2016). "Mystery surrounds closure of England's second highest pub". Macclesfield Express. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
- "Cat and Fiddle Inn". Robinsons Brewery. Archived from the original on 10 August 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- Greer, Stuart (30 September 2016). "The iconic Cat and Fiddle pub to reopen". Macclesfield Express. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
- "The Cat and Fiddle is gaining a weasel". Robinsons Brewery. 21 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
- "Cat & Fiddle update" (blog post). The Goyt Valley. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
- Dodds, Jonathan (21 October 2019). "Whisky distillery planned for historic Peak District inn". Buxton Advertiser. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Jackson, Daisy (2 December 2019). "Derelict Peak District pub to be brought back to life by local gin producer". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- "Save The Cat and Fiddle (and Weasel!)". Crowdfunder. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Jackson, Daisy (5 December 2019). "A distillery has raised over £50,000 to reopen a derelict Peak District pub". Cheshire Live. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- "Road dubbed most dangerous in UK". BBC. 18 September 2003. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- "A537 Road (Cat and Fiddle)". dangerousroads.org. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- "Traffic & Road News". VS Traffic Data Services. 23 August 2019. SPECS (speed camera). Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- "Welcome to the Cat and Fiddle, your local Harvester restaurant". Harvester. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Media related to Cat and Fiddle Inn, Cheshire at Wikimedia Commons