Monday 30 May 2016

Beer Trekkin–The Pubs

pub to pub 118

And now it’s time to reflect on the pubs visited, or not visited, or, even avoided on England’s Highest Pubcrawl (still not settled on a proper name for this walk – suggestions welcome as long as it’s not Pub McPubFace).

There were four main target pubs – The Travellers Rest at Flash, The Cat and Fiddle, The Tan Hill Inn and The Kirkstone Pass Inn.

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So we begin at The Travellers Rest at Flash – or, to give it it’s Sunday name “The Knight’s Table at the Traveller’s Rest” This was closed. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, apparently.  Daft name for a pub anyway – so we progressed…  Flash has another pub; The New Inn. This looked more walker friendly but was also closed.

pub to pub 014pub to pub 015

Onwards we went – to The Cat and Fiddle, the second highest pub in England. Closed. And it was blowing a hoolie and chickingit down . By any measure of success, this wasn’t anywhere on whatever scale you measure success. We repaired to Buxton. Buxton has 19 pubs, apparently. The first wouldn;t let us in due to us having a dog. The Eagle let us in, though and it was here that we waited for the bus back to the campsite. God Bless the Eagle. We have started. We have landed. I liked The Eagle.

pub to pub 027

Next came the Devonshire Arms at Peak Forest. They let us in. They sold us beer and apologised that they’d got no food. The locals were friendly. I was going to return for more beer after putting up the tent and eating somethig rehydrated, but I fell asleep. I wasn’t well anyway.

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Onwards we went – to Edale which has two pubs, both of which were open. We went in the Nag’s Head. They let us in, didn’t whinge about the dog. We had beer and pea and ham soup which was all very nice. It was OK if a bit pricey. But it’s Edale, innit? A honey-pot. You have to take their money, innit? It’s expected.

We crossed the thin bit of Kinder and lighted at The Snake Pass Inn. I knew they were friendly here, following the TGO chally reunion back in March. We beered and fed – I had a broccoli bake and it was nice.

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The next pub was miles away….The Great Western at Standedge. This was closed. It looked like a permanent closure. Never mind, there’s another pub just down the road – The Carriagehouse which also has a campsite. Both pub and campsite were heaving with families and a rugby club coachparty. WE sat outside for the beer and didn’t eat there, but some Pennine Wayfarers were eating and the food looked good.

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The White House above Rochdale was the next pub. This has been heavily done-up since I was last here and, again we sat outside with the dog and scoffed beef sandwiches. They used to hate smelly Pennine Wayfarers here many years ago and had insulting poems about hikers on their walls. That was long ago, though..

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Next, after a big gap, during which we passed many pubs in and around Todmorden I found myself in the Cock and Bottle in Skipton for a proper session with an old school pal. Both this pub and it’s sister pub, The Royal Shepherd, declare themselves to be dog and family friendly. Its a good , friendly pub, probably helped that Howard seems to be a local. It seems not to have changed very much since I was last in there in ?1972..

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We rejected The Angel at Hetton due to a sign on the door asking us to remove our boots, waiters in unforms and a general air of being much too far up it’s own bottom. This may be unfair, but first impressions count and, clearly, we were much too poor and scruffy to spend any of our money in there. So we didn’t.

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Pubs in Malham were much too far away from the Gordale Scar campsite, so we had to wait till the next day to visit the King’s Head in Kettlewell. This has been “done-up” too quite recently. We sat outside for thye beers. The shop around the corner provided pies for later.

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There was another hiatus in pub-visiting here, due to a heavy rainstorm at Buckden which saw us seeking early shelter and it was too early for the pub at Cray which we passed somewhat above on a limestone shelf, so the very next hostelry was The Crown in Hawes. This is dog and walker friendly and was one of my favourites. Very welcoming, in fact.

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The plan was to camp at the Green Dragon at Hardraw and eat there. They were surprised by our request to camp but agreed to open up the campsite. And they’d no food at all. It was their first night open after buying the place and they were’nt doing food till the next day. We managed, though. In the bar, there was a tight clique of locals, and my feeling was that they’d rather not have strangers in there. You could talk at them, make a comment or an observation, but there was no response at all. I suppose it’s because I’m a southerner (I come from Earby)

pub to pub 128

pub to pub 130

The Tan Hill Inn was the star of the walk. The place is friendly and welcoming, specially to yer doggies AND had two lasses from Ravenstonedale playing instruments and singing excellent folk music, including “She walked through the fair” which appears on this very blog and which I’ve been obsessed with for weeks now. And beer from Dent Brewery and a cracking Lamb Shank. Dawn suprised me by sneakily getting a room. This turned out to be a smart move since by dusk it was chucking it down outside.  I liked Tan Hill.

The next pub wasn’t till Shap. There are pubs available in Kirkby Stephen, obviously, but we were intent on slicing a lump off the long walk to Shap, so we just shopped and plodded on.

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The Crown at Shap was visited on last year’s Coast to Coast walk and was found to be friendly and nice to dogs. And it hasn’t changed. Somebody brought Lucky a bowl of water and demanded I remove his pack and locals chatted to us and it was all very pleasant. It got even better when we ordered and received a roast lamb dinner each. I’m afraid I shovelled mine down a bit.

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Finally, after leaving Dawn to the crows, I arrived at Kirkstone Pass. I must say that this was a bit of an anti-climax. It was all very friendly and so on, and they accepted Lucky with no problems and I managed to neck three pints of mild before asking about food. They had no food till the next day. I asked about the bunkhouse. It was full.  I used to work in Personnel, y’know. And A&E at one time. I can tell, fairly easily, when somebody’s not beng truthful. I believed the bit about not doing food, but there’s was something else going on about the bunkhouse.

So – the best – in approximate order were:

Tan Hill Tan Hill's website

Crown at Shap Crown Inn's facebook page

Crown at Hawes Crown Hawes website

Devonshire Arms Peak Forestdevonshire arms facebook page

Snake Pass Inn.snake pass inn website

The Cock and Bottle Skiptoncock and bottle website

The worst were the ones not open and the Angel at Hetton.

There’s a rematch for the pubs between Todmorden and Skipton, so this will be updated – probably in July this year.


Saturday 28 May 2016

A Very Long and Hilly English Pubcrawl

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Apparently, I had the idea for this walk back in 2011. Then, forgetting whatever happened in 2011, I had the idea again in 2015.
The idea, should you still be reading this and have not deserted the pieblog for tales of derring-do on the TGO challenge, is to connect on foot the four highest pubs in England.
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England, it seems beats the other UK countries by hundreds of feet in having more pubs at a higher altitude than any of the others, despite the others being more mountainous.
In addition to linking up the four pubs, as many other pubs of altitude, or of consequence to hillwalkers had to be included, and beer or other liquids taken at each one where possible.
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A sensible walk would visit three pubs, of course as a sort of mirror or counter-weight to Three Peaks walks of various types. The problem with this is that two of the highest pubs are quite close together and the other one isn’t and three pubs would fail to include Kirkstone Pass Inn and walking there was an attractive proposition. An alternative pub trek might well continue North from Tan Hill Inn and end at, say, Allendale.
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So, the four altitude pubs in order are:
Tan Hill Inn
Cat and Fiddle Inn
Travellers Rest at Flash
Kirkstone Pass Inn.
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Dawn joined in the jaunt and Lucky The Dog was recruited as a furry hot water bottle. (This only went wrong once when he was sick all over my bumbag, camera and maps at 3:00 am during a stealthy camp near Kirkstone Pass.)
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I’ll be doing three blog posts about this altogether, by which time I expect you’ll be thouroughly sick  apols, don’t mention “sick” – fed up of the whole thing. I hope, though, that others will have a go at this challenge. Indeed, it’s an ideal long walk for anybody with a couple of weeks to spare and who is of a biblious bent. Like wot I am.
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We began at Buxton and caught a bus to Flash. We had light packs and it rained more or less all day. I had developed a cold overnight and the easy route and inconsequential packs hid the fact that I couldn’t really walk very far, and certainly not uphill.
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The next day we covered 14 relatively easy miles to Peak Forest. We got a bit lost. My bolt had been shot. Luckily, Dawn’s bolt wasn’t very happy either, so the next four days where we covered ten or eleven painful miles each day made us at least a day behind. Contours, specially those close together were proving tortuous. I told the wife about it and, as she happened to be in Calderdale and wanted to visit a fabric shop in Embsay,  she met us at Todmorden and took us to Skipton where we regrouped a bit and started again. I took solace with an ex-school pal in the Cock and Bottle.
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Slowly our daily mileage crept up and by careful rejigging of the route we managed to stay on schedule, covering all of 17 miles on one day.
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The rejigging resulted in the final day being split into two. Unfortunately, Dawn couldn’t make the final lurch over the mountains to Kirkstone Pass, so, I abandoned her, in her tent to a grissly and lonely fate and sailed over to Kirkstone Pass with a sudden apparent fitness and in superb, cloudless conditions. I did tell the police where she was and that she’d contact them when she managed to get to a phone. The police thought that this was a good idea. Just before they realised that if Dawn forgot to tell them she was safe, they’d probably have to mount a search….  The local keeper would have eventually found her mouldering bones anyway, though whilst checking his foxholes, which he was doing when we met him.
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And the next day a short walk brought me and LTD to Ambleside.
We’ll have to return to Todmorden to complete the route by walking to Skipton – a distance by a new and improved route of some 31 miles. I will have maps of the “official” route available for anybody who wants them although these won’t show our navigationally challenged wanderings and the couple of easy alternatives we took to save a bit of time.
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I covered 180 miles in 15 days – and, I have to say, that the route is mainly a specially fab one. It goes roughly like this:
pub to pub 157
Travellers Rest at Flash – Cat and Fiddle – Buxton (19 pubs available but The Eagle is dog friendly and is near the bus stop) – Midshires Way – Monsal Train – Limkestone Way/Pennine bridleway to Peak Forest – Limestone Way – Edale via Mam Tor –Ringing Roger – Blackden Moor – Snake Pass Inn – Doctors Gate – Pennine Way to Crowden via Bleaklow - Black Hill – Saddleworth Moor – Standedge –White House Inn – Withens Gate – Lumbutts – Calderdale Way to Todmorden [missing link: Calderdale Way to Sportmans Arms – Widdop – Pennine Way to Stanbury – Bronte Way to Wycoller – Pendle Way to Black Lane Ends – Earby – Elslack –Carleton – Skipton] back on track – Sharp Haw – Hetton – The Weets – Gordale Scar – Malham Moor – Arncliffe Cote – Knipe Scar – Kettlewell – Dales Way to Buckden – Cray – Semer Water – Hawes – Hardraw – Pennine Way to Thwaite – pastures to Keld – Pennine Way to Tan Hill Inn – Ravenseat – CtoC (whichever route is available) to Kirkby Stephen – Lanes and old railway paths to Smardale – CtoC route to Shap – Keld – Swindale – Mosedale – Gatesgarth Pass – Harter Fell – Thornthwaite Beacon – Stony Cove Pike – John Bells Banner – Kirkstone Pass Inn – Ambleside.
pub to pub 163
As this walk is all about pubs, the next blogpost will be about pubs – good, bad, snooty, abandoned , closed…
pub to pub 117

Sunday 8 May 2016

Beer Trekkin–All Ready To Go

pre beer trekkin 001

This is it, men. Over the hill.

I spent almost the whole day today packing a rucksack and searching for lost things to put in the rucksack.

Very attentive readers may remember that me and LTD and Dawn are intending to attempt to walk between the highest several (four main ones and some others) public houses in England.

pre beer trekkin 004

Thus, we have train tickets for Buxton. leaving late morning tomorrow.

On Tuesday we’ll be catching the X15 Stoke-on-Trent bus which will take all of 13 minutes to get to Flash where the walk begins at the Travellers Rest.

We’ll have light packs tomorrow and stay for a second night in Buxton.

And then the challenge begins. (Not the TGO challenge which starts roughly – very roughly – on Friday and good luck to everybody I know who are setting off for the coast on that day ) The plan is then to walk to Tan Hill Inn, drink some beer (just me, Dawn doesn’t and LTD isn’t old enough)

And then we will try to walk to Kirkstone Pass Inn via Shap.

The planned route is 319 kilometres in 15 days.  We may knock a bit off this.

We may fail.

We may get a lock-in. We live in hope.

Actually, we live in Crook….

nomapwalk 026

Friday 6 May 2016

Monday 2 May 2016

Doing The Dodd

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No folks, this is not a new dance, it’s a 614 metre high Nuttall/Hewitt/Sim with a 31 metre drop.
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The Dodd is a lump. A flat-topped boggy lump at that. It is, in fact, typically Pennine. It’s only redeeming features are it’s fine views of the Lake District, surrounding Pennines, The Cheviots and bits of Scotland. The views up here are Big in a Very Large kind of way.
And it’s curlews, skylarks, meadow pipits, snipe, grouse (I suppose…) and the long and gentle ridge heading due North towards a sparkling green glen.
And the bogs, if you like boggy bits.
And the industrial archaeology.
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This was a Wednesday Walkers Walking On Saturdays Group walk lead by Lucky The Dog with me as deputy. LTD, of course, has been here before. There was a previous WSWG walk on this very hill in the summer of 2014; LTD’s first long walk, in fact. I’m not certain if he remembered it.
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12 other WSWG peeps turned up, plus Bailey the Dog and we started in hopeful sunshine, then in unhopeful sleety rain which was happily and hopefully just a brief wetting. Any further showers seem to have just missed us, although it seems that the surrounding hills were enjoying some fairly beefy ones.
There was snow too, remaining from a snowy and unpleasant week of weather which had me hiding indoors with lots of hot coffee. And toast. And preventing me getting to Nenthead for a reccy.
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The snow was starting to thaw in the sun, just still deep enough to disguise the really deep boggy bits from unwary boots and,  after bagging the top, we sailed down the ridge to a square fold where, inside, it was quite warm in the sunshine for the scoffing of lunches. This is not a sheepfold, though. It’s square and the map announces a disused mine near the site of it. My suspicion is that it’s a fold for ponies, used to remove ore from the mine. There’s other square folds in other places…
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We returned via the Miner’s Rest, Carrshields and Coalcleugh – a tussocky trip where we failed to acheive the signpost at the bridleways junction in favour of a contouring route which saved a bit of climbing and was no rougher than the proper route.
At Nenthead, Brian was found attempting to fix the window on his car. He joined us in the Miners Arms determined to delegate the engineering to his son, who was on his way…
The walk is about 12 miles and 1800 feet of up, with some bogs and tussocks. Bits of it are quite fab, though…
the dodd wswg