Dutch courage revives the iconic Cat and Fiddle

Karl and Lindsay Bond of Forest Gin

Steve Brown meets the couple who have exciting plans for one of the country’s most famous pubs.

FOR nearly five years, the second highest pub in England, situated at a height of 1,689 feet close to the Derbyshire/Cheshire boundary, has remained an empty and forlorn shell at the side of the A537 road between Macclesfield and Buxton. The Cat and Fiddle has stood alone on this spot since 1813, when a local silk merchant called John Ryle bought the land and built the inn, but it has always since been a struggle for it to survive as a business in this lonely and inhospitable place. The last publican gave up in 2015 but its fortunes are about to be revived by a remarkable business initially set up by a local couple on their kitchen table in Langley, near Macclesfield. Karl and Lindsay Bond now run the successful Forest Gin distillery down in the Wildboarclough valley, from where “the Cat” can be seen perched on the top of the hills to the east. The couple intend to give the old pub a promising new future as their business expands further…