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Mac of Cygnet

2017 Pub Cruise

Featured Posts

Part 1

 

Yes, Part 1. I've decided to take a leaf out of the Nicholson's Guides and split my Pub Cruise into 3 parts this year, so each part will be smaller, but have more detail. The good news is that, unlike the canal guides, it won't cost you twice as much!

In essence, this year's cruise is the same big circle as last year (or will be if I can get down Marple locks) but in the opposite direction and with some large diversions. So I cover some of the same waterways, but have made an effort to visit new pubs, except for some unmissables, or where there was just no choice. Where I visited a pub on my 2014, 2015, and 2016 cruises, I've added my comments from then for comparison.

One thing I've noticed this year is the decrease in the number of 'quiet' pubs, i.e. not playing background music, tellys, etc. I've already had a moan on these forums about this, so I'll not say anything more.

Once again, I must warn pub diners that FOOD IS NOT INCLUDED. I did eat out once this year, for the first time for 3 years,but generally my wants are simple - an excellent pint of real ale and a packet of crisps. In fact my 'price' criterion when scoring is based on these two items together. This year it varied from £2.00 (but in a club) to £5.40 (!! A real rip-off). Occasionally I find pubs with no plain crisps, so in fact carry my own supply. This resulted in an odd incident this year, which I'll describe later.

To remind of my scoring system:

There are 20 points: 10 for beer and 10 for everything else. Up to 5 for beer choice to include one non-national brand or unusual beer type (certain mediocre 'cooking beers' such as Doom Bar and Bombardier are not counted!), and 0 to 5 for quality: 0 and 1 would be sent back - (didn't happen this year) - 2 means wouldn't have another - 3 is acceptable - 4 very good - up to 5 absolutely superb. To make it clear, I'm talking about real ales (cask beers) here. I'm a beer fanatic.

So a score is in three parts: Beer choice+beer quality+everything else. e.g 1+5+7=13 has the same total score as 4+2+7=13, but the first pub has 1 superb beer, but the second 4 rubbish ones. So you can tell quite a bit from the scores as opposed to the comments, some of which may seem a bit downbeat, but often explain why the score isn't higher.

Everything else includes service, staff, clientele, general atmosphere, situation, decor, interesting pictures, special features (eg library!), quirkiness, cleanliness, price, and the presence of live or other music, juke box or fruit machine (all minus) and whether there is a place for drinkers as opposed to diners. And beermats.

I had visited many of these pubs before over the past 30 years, and most were as I remembered, but there were a few disappointments But a few new gems made up for this. You may already know some of these pubs, but remember my conclusions are just a snapshot, as I visited most only once this trip. Although many are canalside, some involve quite a trek - I'm prepared to put in a bit of effort for a promising pub! And occasionally I took buses (and once a train - to access Worksop!) Advance research on whatpub.com was useful, but sometimes there just wasn't any choice.

GBG means the pub is in the latest (2018) Good Beer Guide, but I must say that I wasn't impressed by the beer in some of them (reflected in the scores).

So here we go.
 

Calder & Hebble Navigation

 

SHEPHERD'S REST, Sowerby Bridge (Numerous occasions) 5+5+8=18 My 'home' pub. Great beer, a good welcome (not effusive - this is Yorkshire!) No music! GBG

(2015 - 5+4+8=17 Surprisingly cosmopolitan decor. GBG)

(2016 - 5+5+8=18 Now my pub of choice at my home moorings, since the sad demise of the Puzzle Hall. GBG)

 

RICHARD OASTLER, Brighouse 5+4+8=17 (April 20) One of the better Wetherspoons, with a very fine interior. Former Wesleyan Chapel.

(2015 - 5+5+8=18 Very Good Wetherspoons with magnificent interior. GBG)

(2016 - 5+4+6=15 Wetherspoons. Wetherspoons. Magnificent interior. Understaffed. GBG

 

LEGGERS, Saville Town, Dewsbury (April 21) 5+3+7=15 Great place if they could improve the beer quality. Noisy and a bit scruffy, but interesting decor. GBG

 

Aire & Calder Navigation

 

ROBIN HOOD, Altofts (April 22) 5+4+8=17 A good unpretentious local with efficient staff coping on a very busy Saturday night. GBG

 

KING'S HEAD, Pollington (April23) 3+3+7=13 unremarkable, even uninteresting village pub with unsmiling service. Disappointed, because GBG and:

(2016 - 4+5+8=17 A friendly, quiet, village local)

 

OLD VAULT, Thorne (April 24) 3+3+5=11 Rather bleak, cold and echoey despite the deep leather armchairs. Beer of variable quality (average score given).

(2016 - 5+3+6=14 An uninteresting micropub.)

 

PUNCH BOWL, Thorne (April 25) 3+2+5=10 Probably OK as a hotel. No dedicated bar. Beer only just drinkable, so went to:

 

WINDMILL, Thorne (April 25, May 4&5) 4+4+7=15 Two large telly screens, otherwise OK. GBG

(2016 - 2+4+5=11 Giant tellys pumping out awful music. GBG)
 

Chesterfield Canal
 

WHITE HART, West Stockwith (May 7&31) 5+4+7=16 Very noisy after a charity bike ride. Beer much improved. GBG

(2016 - Own brewery, but beer just OK. Now very busy. GBG)

 

RED HART, Misterton. (May 8&26) 3+4+7=14 A pleasant if unremarkable local. Special bright light switched on for me to read by! Lots of English flags. Only 1 beer on second visit.
 

GATE INN, Clarborough (May 9) 2+4+6=12 A dining pub makeover with no corners for a quiet drink. Lots more English flags.

 

HOP POLE, East Retford (May 10) 3+3+5=11 Pretentious dining pub with no crisps, only £2 snacks from jars on the bar. Cheesy decor, but comfortable armchairs and pleasant staff.
 

BREWER'S ARMS, Clayworth (May 11) 0+3+7=10 A big disappointment. Beer choice 0 because only Doombar and Bombardier were on offer. I actually drank a pint of the latter. A great pity, because otherwise a pleasant place, comfortable with a cosy open fire.
 

RWBC CLUBHOUSE, Clayworth (May 17) 1+3+7=11. Welcoming and very cheap. Met 'Cheshire Rose' and 'Postcode' from these forums.
 

CHEQUERS, Ranby (May18) 2+3+6=11 Rather pretentious canalside dining pub with inappropriate quotations on the walls.

 

HEWETT ARMS, Shireoaks (May19) 2+4+7=13 A unique establishment with idiosyncratic owner, if you find it open. Peaceful, in a great situation.

 

STATION, Kiveton Park (May 20) 1+3+4=8 Pleasant service, but driven outside by VERY LOUD music. Only went in because I'd found the PARISH OVEN, Thorpe Salvin, sadly closed.

 

STATION HOTEL, Worksop (May 21) 4+5+7=16 Who'd have thought it? Worksop! Comfortable, with good atmosphere and friendly clientele. GBG

 

BEERHEADZ, Retford (May 22) 5+3+6=14 Over-trendy bar dedicated to beer - pity they can't keep it better. GBG
 

IDLE BREWERY TAP, Retford (May 23) 5+4+5=14 Rather stark, with casual service. CAMRA discount advertised, but not given. GBG Driven out by appalling music to:
 

GALWAY ARMS, Retford (May 23) 3+4+7=14 Warren of little rooms in a traditional pub with an interesting interior but too many telly screens. GBG
 

KING'S ARMS, Clarborough (May 24) 2+5+8=15 Cracking little village local with a good atmosphere and friendly service.

 

BLUE BELL, Gringley-on-the-Hill (May 25) 1+4+5=10 Lease up for sale. Rather neglected, with poor service. Good beer garden.

 

(End of Part 1, heading up the Trent to Torksey)

  • Greenie 1

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Whilst I can understand your disdain for the flavour-free Doombar, what have you got against the quite drinkable Bombardier?

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Just now, Victor Vectis said:

The fact that it is available from one end of the country to the other?

(And that it is boring, malty, hop free gloop?)

I'd disagree with your second point: I have sampled it at home this week and did not get bored.

Your first point is surely an advantage.

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5 minutes ago, Victor Vectis said:

Not if it sits on the bar instead of something produced locally.

I can't agree with that. Landlord Bitter is, unless I am mistaken, brewed in Yorkshire, but I am pleased to find it on draught in Oxfordshire because I like it (in the pub in question it stands alongside Hook Norton bitter which IS a local brew). If you like a particular beer you are surely pleased to be able to get it in various parts of the country, just as you would not wish to have to visit Slough every time you fancied a Mars bar.

Wells, who brew Bombardier, seem to have sold their brewery to Marston's this year but have kept their pubs. I'm not sure how that works. I see that they also have pubs in France, which I must investigate.

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I can't remember if I have made this point before (apologies if I'm repeating myself)

Landlord is a very interesting beer. I can buy it in the pub over the road here in Ryde but I don't bother because it tastes of nothing.

However, when bought in a Timothy Taylor tied house it tastes superb!

I don't have any time for 'it's a beer that doesn't travel well' arguments (how the beer is stored in transit is another thing entirely)

Why this should be puzzled me until I came across cellaring advice for Landlord on TT's website a while back. They recommend that a cask is kept for 5 days after venting, for secondary fermentation to take place, before the beer is served.

Landlord commands a premium price on the free trade. Pubs have limited cellar space so can't afford to have an expensive cask sitting about not earning it's keep for the best part of a week and will serve the beer as soon as it drops bright.

Edited by Victor Vectis

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56 minutes ago, Athy said:

Whilst I can understand your disdain for the flavour-free Doombar, what have you got against the quite drinkable Bombardier?

As I said in my OP, I did in fact drink a pint of Bombardier in the Brewer's Arms, Clayworth, because only it and Doombar were available.  My opinion was not changed.  I envy you your liking for Bombardier - it gives you more choice in pubs which don't really care about cask beer.

1 hour ago, Naughty Cal said:

I'm interested to see what you make of our locals next and if we agree with you :cheers:

Probably not!  Your criteria are quite different from mine, I think, which is fair enough.

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I find many pubs we go to with work sell mainly lager and often Doombar or Bombardier is the only beer available so I have been known to drink a pint or two of them as it has to be better than lager.

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16 minutes ago, Mac of Cygnet said:

As I said in my OP, I did in fact drink a pint of Bombardier in the Brewer's Arms, Clayworth, because only it and Doombar were available.  My opinion was not changed.  I envy you your liking for Bombardier - it gives you more choice in pubs which don't really care about cask beer.

 

Yes, but you mentioned it in the same breath as Dullbar, which I considered unfortunate.

I have seen Bombardier on hand-pump from the cask (what a pleasingly old-fashioned word for a nasty metal drum), and I saw no indication that the pubs in question did not care about draught beer - why else would they have three or four different ones available? - but I drank some recently at home, thus not from the cask. It is not one of my favourites, but if the supermarket or off-licence does not stock Directors', Pedigree any of my other favourites, Bomb. is a useful standby.

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7 minutes ago, Athy said:

< snippitysnip > It is not one of my favourites, but if the supermarket or off-licence does not stock Directors', Pedigree any of my other favourites, Bomb. is a useful standby.

How about Punk IPA, from Brewdog, instead?

£6 for 4 cans from Tesco.

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...but not from my local Tesco's, Vic. In any case it would be far too strong for me; I rarely if ever drink a beer which is 5% alc. or more, and that is 5.6%.

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5 hours ago, Athy said:

...but not from my local Tesco's, Vic. In any case it would be far too strong for me; I rarely if ever drink a beer which is 5% alc. or more, and that is 5.6%.

In which case, Brewdog Dead Pony Club, possibly even more delicious (and cheaper) and 3.8%...

Edited by IanD

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14 minutes ago, IanD said:

In which case, Brewdog Dead Pony Club, possibly even more delicious (and cheaper) and 3.8%...

Must be worth trying, if only for the name!

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4 minutes ago, Athy said:

Must be worth trying, if only for the name!

Not just for the name, it's one of the tastiest session-strength beers around ;-)

(but if you like sweeter malty beers and don't like hops, don't even think about trying it...)

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1 minute ago, IanD said:

Not just for the name, it's one of the tastiest session-strength beers around ;-)

(but if you like sweeter malty beers and don't like hops, don't even think about trying it...)

No, I do like a beer with an "edge", or a bitter bitter if you will: Landlord, Ruddle's County, Black Sheep...

I have not seen these deceased equines for sale in supermarkets though, and certainly not in cans (which is how I usually buy my beer).

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Part 2

(See Post #1 for intro and scoring system. The scores, although brief, reveal at least as much as the comments.)
 

Well, I didn't get down Marple locks (see Post#1), so the Grand Circle is incomplete, but it does mean a more thorough investigation of the pubs of the Macc and Upper Peak Forest in Part 3!

Part 1 left me at Torksey, so:

 

Fossdyke, Witham, and Drains

 

WHITE SWAN, Torksey Lock (June 1 & July 1) 2+4+7=13 Basic friendly no-frills local with lots of customers from the caravan site.

(2016 - 2+4+7=13 Unassuming, but made very welcome.)

PAVILION, Saxilby (June 2) 2+4+7=13 Cafe-like community building, friendly and relaxed, if not very cosy. A whole library attached! Completely empty after 7PM.

ANGLERS, Saxilby (June 6) 4+4+7=15 Welcoming village pub with good service. Regular poker fiends table. Screen with bus & train times and upcoming beers. GBG

WOODCOCK'S INN, Burton Waters (June 3) 5+3+4=12 Large Marston's dining pub, geared up for throughput, with no proper bar. Beer not expensive, but not very good, either.

PYEWIPE, near Lincoln (June 12) 2+3+6=11 Pleasant enough large eatery with good moorings but little else.

JOINER'S ARMS, Lincoln (June 4) 2+3+6=11 GBG, but I don't know why. In transition, with mediocre beer, so went to:

CARDINAL'S HAT, Lincoln (June 4) 5+5+8=18 Nooks and crannies on several levels. Books, and armchairs to read them in! Cheerful friendly service. GBG

TREATY OF COMMERCE, Lincoln (June 5) 5+4+6=15 Straightforward town pub with good beer range but no special features.

NAG'S HEAD, Bardney (June 13) 1+3+7=11 Typical village pub, larger than it looks. Claims Cask Marque status, but beer nothing special, so went to:

OLD ANGEL, Bardney (June 13) 1+3+7=11 Open plan and rather empty, with comfortable sofas and a large noisy telly.

PACKET INN, Dogdyke (June 14) 1+3+6=10 Could be a great place with more imagination and better beer.

COWBRIDGE INN, Cowbridge, Maud Foster Drain (June 15) 2+4+8=14 Old-fashioned, relaxed and quiet, with interesting street name decor.

MALCOLM ARMS, Anton's Gowt, Frith Bank Drain (June 16) 2+3+6=11 Uninteresting refurbishment, rather dark. Eventually driven out by karaoke.

EAGLE, Boston (June 18 & 26) 5+5+8=18 Dedicated to beer, with lots of hidey-holes, including a book nook. GBG

LITTLE PEACOCK, Boston (June 19) 2+3+6=11 Basic, rather spartan town boozer with nothing special to stay for, so went to:

GOLDEN LION, Boston (June 19) 2+4+6=12 More upmarket and comfortable, but music louder.

MALL, Woodhall Spa (June 27) 2+4+6=12 Rather trendy and expensive Art Deco establishment, but peaceful and relaxing.

KING'S ARMS, Kirkstead Bridge (June 28) 1+4+7=12 Down-to-earth friendly local pub in which to fall asleep.

RIVERSIDE, Southrey (June 29) 2+3+6=11 Basic local in very quiet village. (Across the river, the WHITE HORSE is open or closed according to who you speak to.)

FERRY BOAT, Washingborough (June 30) 1+4+6=11 Food-oriented and rather dark. Not enough seats for non-diners, so went to:

HUNTER'S LEAP, Washingborough (June 30) 2+3+7=12 Obviously the locals' choice, friendly with lots of dogs.

So, all in all, the Fossdyke and Witham area is not well served for beer quality or choice outwith Lincoln and Boston, so on we go to:

 

River Trent

 

FLYING CIRCUS, Newark (July 3) 4+5+8=17 Monty Python reference but other circus themes. Eclectic decor and very beer-oriented.

PRINCE RUPERT, Newark (July 4) 5+5+7=17 Full of interesting things, secluded corners and really good beer. GBG

KNOTS, Farndon Marina (July 5) 2+3+7=12 Pub on a barge. Rather plain, but comfortable and surprisingly cheap. Awful music but free nibbles.

ROSE & CROWN, Farndon (July12) 1+4+5=10 Rather uninteresting village pub with perfunctory service and obtrusive music, so went to:

RIVERSIDE, Farndon (July 12) 2+4+5=11 Food establishment with lots of kids. Difficult to find a table not set for meals.

UNICORN, Gunthorpe (July 13) 4+4+6=14 Large food-oriented pub with good views. Comfortable and pleasant enough, and not expensive.

ROYAL OAK, East Bridgeford (July 14) 5+4+7=16 A good straightforward village pub with a proper bar and no music. But not cheap.

VICTORIA, Beeston (July 15) 5+5+8=18 Fantastic retro beer-oriented palace with 16 real ales. No under 18s! GBG

LOCK KEEPER'S REST, Sawley Locks (July 16 & 28) 4+5+7=16 Tiny, interesting micropub with excellent friendly service and good atmosphere but uncomfortable trendy seating and limited opening hours (closed Sunday PM until Wednesday inclusive).

OLD CROWN, Cavendish Bridge (July 29) 5+4+8= 15 Just beyond the Trent upper navigation limit. Full of interest but hard to find. Railway memorabilia and hundreds of hanging jugs. Real choice - 2 kinds of plain crisps!


 

River Soar

ROSE & CROWN, Zouch (July 17) 1+3+6=10 A disappointment, probably in transition, under managers with casual service. Great situation - could be so good.

SOAR BRIDGE, Barrow (July 18) 5+4+6=15 Large comfortable pub with restaurant out of the way at the back.

NAVIGATION, Barrow (July 19) 3+3+5=11 Waterside, but not much else. Rather bleak, with poor service, so went to:

BOAT HOUSE, Barrow (July 19) 2+4+7=13 Rambling pub with friendly, helpful staff. Music,but quiet corners and a few books.

SWAN, Mountsorrel (July 24) 4+4+7=15 GBG Straightforward non-trendy local's pub with lots of dogs and a book exchange, but poor smoke control, so went to:

WATERSIDE, Mountsorrel (July 24) 4+4+6=14 Rather pretentious and VERY expensive - pint + crisps = £5.50 (!!!) A rip-off trading on its lockside situation.

HARROW, Thurmaston (July 25) 2+4+7=13 Suburban local with sleep-inducing armchairs. Refreshingly inexpensive after last night.

HORSE & TRUMPET, Sileby (July 26) 5+4+8=17 A civilised traditional pub with several little rooms, not taken up by food. Excellent mild available.

WHITE HART, Loughborough (July 27) 5+5+6=16 GBG Rather dark town pub with excellent beer, good garden out the back, but retreated from awful music, and went to:

NEEDLE & PIN, Loughborough (July 27) 4+4+6=14 Tiny, cramped micropub with with an interesting beer selection and very good range of bottled beers. GBG

RED LION, Kegworth (July 31) 5+4+8=17 A proper pub, given over to beer and conversation. Small plain rooms with no gimmicks. Cheap(ish). Visited by bus from Shardlow as I'd looked at the weather forecast, and in fact the Soar went into flood soon after I got off the river.

 

And off the river it is, in fact all rivers for this year, unexpectedly. Part 3 sees Cygnet and myself and Rita the dog at Shardlow, soon to visit the best pub of the year!

Edited by Mac of Cygnet
Formatting

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39 minutes ago, Dave Payne said:

I wish i could go cruising, drinking and eating, scoring pubs....

What a life.

You'll get there Dave, just got to keep practicing the beer tasting skills and wait for your pension.

Alternatively win enough on the lottery to see you right for the rest of your days. :P

  • Greenie 1

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We clearly score our pubs very differently!

Can't agree with your review on the Anglers in Saxilby at all. It is one of the most unwelcoming pubs we have ever been in! Thankfully the Sun In has now reopened in Saxilby and it is very much the best pub in the village now.

Its a shame you didn't visit harbour Lights in Burton Waters as well as The Woodcocks. I think this would have been more up your street with regards the drink on offer.

In our opinion you have missed out some of the better pubs in Lincoln. Widow Cullens Well is a good one as are the Rogue Saint and the Electric Bar.

Oh and you missed the Brittania in Boston.

The Packet Inn has really gone downhill in recent years. We very rarely go in now as it has got so bad. A shame because it used to be really good and serve nice home cooked food.

The White Horse at Dunsten is open again but the landlord is a bit of a knob so I can't see it staying open for that long. We go in the Riverside at the opposite side of the river instead, which you seem to have missed out. A very unassuming place but very friendly and the food is nice.

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2 hours ago, Naughty Cal said:

We clearly score our pubs very differently!

Can't agree with your review on the Anglers in Saxilby at all. It is one of the most unwelcoming pubs we have ever been in! Thankfully the Sun In has now reopened in Saxilby and it is very much the best pub in the village now.

Its a shame you didn't visit harbour Lights in Burton Waters as well as The Woodcocks. I think this would have been more up your street with regards the drink on offer.

In our opinion you have missed out some of the better pubs in Lincoln. Widow Cullens Well is a good one as are the Rogue Saint and the Electric Bar.

Oh and you missed the Brittania in Boston.

The Packet Inn has really gone downhill in recent years. We very rarely go in now as it has got so bad. A shame because it used to be really good and serve nice home cooked food.

The White Horse at Dunsten is open again but the landlord is a bit of a knob so I can't see it staying open for that long. We go in the Riverside at the opposite side of the river instead, which you seem to have missed out. A very unassuming place but very friendly and the food is nice.

I did say we would have different criteria!  Good news about the Sun in Saxilby - there was no sign of activity when I was there. Of course I missed out quite a few pubs in Boston and Lincoln - I was only 2-3 days in each!  But I didn't miss out the Riverside at Southrey, if you look again.

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Part 3

(See Post #1 for intro and scoring system. The scores, although brief, reveal at least as much as the comments.)

Back on the canals, and just in time, too, as the Soar went into flood. I love rivers, but it's sometimes nice to relax and not think about rainfall and catchment areas!

 

Trent & Mersey Canal

CLOCK WAREHOUSE, Shardlow (July 30) 4+3+6=13 Large,corporate (Marston's) pub but comfortable, good service and not expensive.

NAVIGATION, Shardlow (Aug 7) 4+4+6=14 Light, airy and plain. Odd collection of furniture, including piano. Pleasant service, but rather expensive, so went to:

MALT SHOVEL, Shardlow (Aug 7) 2+4+8=14 Quiet side room with inlaid game tables (chess, Scrabble, Monopoly, backgammon, ludo, Clue). Much better value.

BRUNSWICK, Derby (Aug 8) 5+5+9=19 By bus from Shardlow to the door, 24/7! Superb brewpub, 16 beers, most brewed on the premises. Several rooms, with red leather benches like the House of Lords. No music, just quiet happy conversation (I think - not all was in English). Dedicated to beer, not food. Very good value. GBG A highlight of the 2017 Pub Cruise.

WHITE HART, Aston-on-Trent (Aug 9) 3+3+6=12 Pleasant enough village local. Cheap, but not much of interest and rather dark. Odd pervasive smell, so went to:

MALT, Aston-onTrent (Aug 9) 4+3+6=13 Attractive interior, but more upmarket and expensive, with unsmiling bored service.

COOPER'S ARMS, Weston-on-Trent (Aug 10) 4+3+7=14 Large manor house, really impressive inside and out, with lake. Good but impersonal service.

BUBBLE INN, Stenson (Aug 11) 3+4+6=13 Converted barn, trendy 30 years ago. Comfortable lounge area, with cheerful service, but not cheap.

COOPER'S TAVERN, Burton-on-Trent (Aug 12) 5+5+8=18 Lovely warren of little rooms in a traditional brewery tap (10 beers), full of interesting memorabilia, but empty on a Saturday lunchtime.

BOOT, Repton (Aug 12) 5+4+7=16 Rather stark and dark modern makeover. Slow service. On Boot Hill, leading to the burial ground! GBG

BARTON TURNS (formerly VINE), Barton Turns. (Aug 13) 2+3+6=11 Basic Marston's pub backing onto busy main road. Undistinguished. GBG, but can't imagine why.

CROWN, Alrewas (Aug 13) 3+4+6=13 Rambling local with several small rooms, but couldn't escape the awful music in any of them.

SWAN, Fradley (Aug 14) 5+4+7=16 This much-loved pub has had a rather bare makeover, with much clutter removed, and new furniture. Beer still good, though not now in GBG.

(2014 - 5+5+9=19 Justly famous and keeping a very high standard. GBG)

(2016 - 5+5+8=18 New management not changed much, fortunately. GBG)

CLIFFORD ARMS, Great Haywood (Aug 15) 5+4+7=16 Now the only pub in the village. Excellent welcome in large, pleasantly shabby bar.

(2014 - 3+4+8=15 A large, pleasant busy bar.)

BOREHOLE, Stone (Aug 16 & 22) 5+4+8=17 Good range of beers mostly from own brewery close by (Lymestone). Former office in industrial estate. Homely, with oddments of furniture and fittings and piano. GBG

DUKE William, Burslem (Aug 23) 5+4+6=15 GBG Beautiful traditional interior, but obtrusive music and sl-o-o-o-w service, so went across the square to:

JOHNY'S (sic) BAR, Burslem (Aug 23) 4+5+8=17 Tiny, friendly and interesting. No crisps, but given free bowl of Pringles from barman's own supply. I could hardly refuse!

HOLY INADEQUATE, Etruria (Sept 7) 5+5+8=18 Proper old-fashioned pub with several rooms, all for drinkers. Closed weekday lunchtimes. GBG

(2015 - 5+4+9=18 Folkies banished to the back shop. Yay!)


 

Caldon Canal

HOLLYBUSH, Denford (Aug 24&25) 4+4+7=15 Not quite as good as it used to be. Bar skittles and other games now replaced by food and families. Famous tug'o'war team seems defunct. But no music! Good value

WHEEL, Longsdon (Aug 25) 1+3?+2=6 This requires some explanation. No plain crisps, so said, as usual: "Good job I have my own supply then!" Barman: "Yes, well you can eat them outside then." A short lively discussion resulted in me telling him where to put his beer and stalking out. So the 3? for beer quality is a charitable guess. This has never happened before or since.

BLACK LION, Cheddleton (Aug 26) 4+3+7=14 Church very handy, and vice-versa, for this attractive comfortable village pub. (The RED LION appeared to have recently closed.)

RAILWAY, Froghall (Aug 27) 2+3+6=11 Friendly, but rather spartan during refurbishment. More ciders than beers.

BLACK LION, Consall Forge. (Aug 27) 4+4+7=15 Welcoming and friendly despite the aftermath of the Bank Holiday crowds. Good atmosphere after they had gone. CAMRA discount offered as soon as they saw me! GBG

ROEBUCK, Leek (Aug 28) 5+5+8=18 Very old half-timbered pub full of interest, taken over and well refurbished by Titanic 6 years ago. Several rooms on 2 levels. My first pub food in 3 years! Peace on a Bank Holiday and genuine friendly service. GBG

BOAT, Basford Bridge (Aug 28) 1+3+6=10 Very ordinary canalside pub suffering from Bank Holiday hangover.

BLACK HORSE, Endon (Aug 29) 2+4+7=13 I described this 17 years ago, in another Caldon pub report, as a "seventies retro barn". Extensively refurbished in 2005, it will soon become a "noughties retro barn". But a good welcome - I liked it despite myself!

TRAVELLER'S REST, Stanley (Aug 29) 5+4+8=17 Extremely comfortable pub/restaurant worth the slog up the hill. No children in the bar area! Almost fell asleep in large leather armchair.

ROSE & CROWN, Stanley Moor (Aug 30) 3+4+5=12 Every table set for meals. Sat outside.

SPORTSMAN, Stockton Brook (Sept 5) 3+4+8=15 Cracking wee local's local with good atmosphere and friendly service. Bar skittles. Taproom & snug. Closed weekday lunchtimes (opens 2PM!)

FOAMING QUART, Norton Green (Sept 6) 3+4+6=13 Not very interesting pub spoiled by over-loud music and large telly screens (but very cheap).


 

Macclesfield Canal

BARLEY HOPS, Congleton (Sept 8) 3+5+8=16 Lively micropub with good atmosphere and lots of unusual bottled beers (at a price!). A bit of a trek from Congleton wharf. GBG

RAILWAY, High Town, Congleton (Sept 9) 5+4+5=14 Rather anodyne refurb of this surprisingly large food-oriented pub (but places to sit for a pint).

HOLLY BUSH, Bollington (Sept 10) 4+3+6=13 Interesting refurbishment with several small rooms. Shelf of books on Hegel, Kant, Plato and other philosophers didn't quite fit with the general ambience. But cheap!

SAMUEL OLDKNOW, Marple (Sept 11, Oct 19) 5+4+7=16 Rather cramped micropub (more seating downstairs, but dreary). Self service dog bar (water & biscuits). Lights dimmed at 8PM, but turned up again to let me read! GBG

ROYAL OAK, High Lane (Sept 12) 3+3+7=13 Cheerful, bright and comfortable on a dreich night, but telly overkill. GBG, surprisingly.

HORSE SHOE, High Lane (Sept 13) 2+3+6=11 Run-of-the-mill GSM* pub lacking imagination.

NAVIGATION, Marple (Sept 22) 4+3+5=12 Ordinary GSM* town pub with nothing special except the very good floral display, so went to:

RING'O'BELLS, Marple (Sept 22) 3+3+7=13 A more welcoming GSM* pub. Good service, with little rooms to hide in and a handy gun hanging from the ceiling. Quiet on a Friday night - not what it was?

(2014 - 4+4+8=16 Not a Robinson's fan, but quality good in an interesting pub)

WINDMILL, Whiteley Green (Sept 23) 5+3+6=14 Selfconciously trendy, uncosy open-plan pub with pretentious beer-tasting notes but mediocre beer.

COTTON TREE, Bollington (Sept 24) 4+4+9=17 Proper old-fashioned pub - no food, cash only. Little interesting rooms with books and games. Brilliant piano singalong of old(ish) favourites suspended my anti-music principles. Nice dogs.

VALE, Bollington (Sept 24) 5+5+7=17 Beer brewed across the road, and travels well. A bit echoey and rather dark. Can be very busy. GBG

(2015 - 5+5+7=17 Own brewery. Rather dark. Easily the oldest customer. GBG)

DOG & PARTRIDGE, Bollington (Oct 4) 2+4+7=14 Basic GSM* pub with the addition of a vivarium (bearded dragon lizard) and small but eclectic bookshelf.

SPINNER'S ARMS, Bollington (Oct 5) 2+3+5=10 Yet another GSM* pub. 4 rooms, all with large telly.

BEER TRADERS, Marple (Oct 7) 4+4+4=12 Rather bare hipsters' hangout micropub, often crowded despite awful loud music and slow service. Left before Saturday night disco - my wellies didn't really cut it. GBG

RAILWAY Rose Hill, Marple (Oct 8) 4+4+6=14 Comfotable but rather dark large GSM* pub handy for the station.

HATTER'S ARMS, Marple (Oct 19) 3+2+7=12 Another GSM* pub, quite pleasant with little rooms. Used to be in GBG, but no longer, for good reason.

(2015 - 4+4+7=15 Refurbished and improved local bar. Robinson's, of course. )

*GSM - Great Stockport Monopoly, i.e. Robinson's. You can't escape them round here.


 

Peak Forest Canal

NORFOLK ARMS, Marple Bridge (Sept21) 5+3+8=16 Rather scruffy home-from-home with rocking chair, pallet-burning fire and handy dictionary. GBG, but beer inconsistent.

MALT DISLEY, Disley (Sept 19) 5+4+7=16 Micropub showing some flair. Books & games. Related to the SAMUEL OLDKNOW, Marple (Sept11, Oct 19) so also has a dog bar.

WHITE LION, Disley (Sept 20) 5+4+6=15 Large, eerily empty pub with big beer choice but no customers. Regularly activated over-loud jukebox interrupts the crossword. GBG

SPORTSMAN, Strines (Oct 6 & 9) Great views, but drinkers now banished to small bare back bar. Good service - lights turned up to let me read. GBG

(2014 - 4+5+8=17 Great views from light, airy bar. GBG)

BEEHIVE, New Mills (Oct 20) 3+3+6=12 Another disappointing GBG entry, with beer of variable quality. Bar like a corridor, with over-trendy seating elsewhere. GBG

GOYT INN, Whaley Bridge (Oct 21) 4+4+9=17 Lovely little homely old-fashioned pub with lots of interesting corners and good friendly service. No music! Just a buzz of contented conversation.

NAVIGATION, Bugsworth (Oct 22) 5+4+7=16 Really intrusive music drags down a classic pub in a terrific situation.

(2014 - 5+4+8=17 Great situation and pleasant atmosphere. GBG)

SOLDIER DICK, Furness Vale (Oct 23) 3+4+7=14 A good roadside inn with welcoming service and an intriguing name. Quiet music, but escapable in various odd corners.

SHEPHERD'S ARMS, Whaley Bridge (Oct 26) 3+4+7=14 Disappointing choice of beer and tiny bar (but bigger lounge) GBG

WHITE HART, Whaley Bridge (Oct 27) 4+4+7=15 Good atmosphere with several cosy little rooms with good lighting. Escapable music.

Are you still there? I make that 121 pubs visited this year in the course of the 2017 cruise, although you sort of lose count after a while.

By now, of course, I should be tucked up in my home mooring at Sowerby Bridge, but because of the Marple Locks closure here am I wandering like a lost soul on the upper reaches of the Macclesfield and Peak Forest until December, when I have a winter mooring booked for 3 months. So it's entirely possible I may find one or two more pubs........ In which case this will become A Trilogy in Four Parts (Hitchhiker reference there!) or perhaps I'll just add an Addendum Bibendum.

Until then........

  • Greenie 1

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