Golf Hotel refurb is a blast from the past

Waterloo veteran is honoured in his former Fife inn

The lounge

IT’S a long haul from the fields of Waterloo to the East Neuk of Fife, but the two areas have closer ties than readers might think.

It was in the Fife village of Crail that John Dickson, formerly a sergeant major in the Scots Greys and a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo, settled for a time, serving as landlord at local hostelry, the Golf Inn (now the Golf Hotel).

More than two centuries later the current owner, Graham Guthrie, has paid tribute to the former landlord by dedicating the venue’s small lounge to the Battle of Waterloo – and sergeant major Dickson in particular.

John Dickson (copyright National Museums of Scotland)

The newly-refurbished lounge now features prominent artwork depicting the famous battle, as well as a complete timeline of landlords from 1721 to the present day.

Speaking to SLTN, Guthrie, who has owned the hotel for 29 years, said he had no idea of the building’s famous former operator until a local approached him with a collection of documents and articles detailing Dickson’s life and career.

“The absolute bravery of the Scottish regiments at Waterloo is humbling,” said Guthrie.

“He (Dickson) would just be the perfect landlord, I would think, and a great storyteller.

“I’m very proud of him. He was here 18 years, brought up four children.”

The refurbishment of the small lounge was just the beginning of a project that went on to include several other parts of the building. In total, the project cost around £40,000.

Guthrie said: “Following that we also refurbished my main dining room, taking away carpets and putting in wooden flooring.

“And not content with that, I’ve done my five bedrooms as well.

“This old lady has had a makeover.”

While the new-look interiors have proved popular with customers, not everything has been such a success.

Included with the historical documents was the recipe for a drink created by the Waterloo veteran, and called Mother Duff’s Punch.

It combines brandy with strong red wine and, although it was a favourite of the 19th century clientele, it’s yet to prove as popular with 21st century customers.

“It certainly lets you know it’s there,” said Guthrie.