Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Big lad goes for a walk.......

Hello, here are the details of some White Peak pubs and beer.

Now that its, erm, well winter still I suppose, me and Dave decided to go out for a walk and visit some new pubs, and a couple of old favourites. Luckily, despite three solid months of snow and rain, we picked a day when the sun shone and it felt warm and spring like to go for our yomp.

It’s perhaps diligent to point out that whilst a walk it may have been, the main traverse finished in the afternoon, allowing us to spread our net further. It still made me and Davefromtshop sweat and nearly pass out and so was no doubt good exercise.

We started by catching the latest version of non-integrated public transport, the TM Travel 218 to Bakewell - or Buxton, depending on what you read and who you know. We were going to Bakewell so didn't care, but Buxton bound travellers were less impressed, especially since about 3 buses leave for Buxton or Bakewell at the same time, so it’s crucial you know which to catch. Instead of having a PMT ( yes, that was their catchy name ) coach taking you from Sheffield to Hanley in Stoke straight-through, you now need to catch 3 buses, the first 2 of which almost certainly don't connect.

Anyhoo, I digress, we were in Bakewell on time and set about our walk, heading up to the school and then taking the left hand lane towards Conksbury and turning off to Over Haddon. We walked up a lane that becomes a surfaced track up to an estate near the school, the precipitous steep ascent reminding us that there was exercise ahead, and almost all the first part of it walking uphill.

Once at the school we followed the road and admired the views looking out across the valley and guessing where the path across Haddon fields might have come out. At our first turn in the road requiring a decision, inevitably got it a bit wrong, what with my defiant yet simultaneously stupid anti map crusade being in place. I mistook the road to Over Haddon on our right for an earlier one and carried on downhill expecting to find it.

Seeing time creeping on and knowing the road ( especially if you miss it ) was likely a spot further round, we set off across the fields looking ahead to spot the white of the Lathkil Hotel ahead. Several unlikely seeming sightings followed, and only when a larger path traversed the field in front of us did I look right - to see we were 20 minutes downhill from the Hotel and had gone too far.

Spirits undampend we headed up the path along the side of the dale and were at the Lathkil Hotel for 11.20, a bit later than planned. The Lathkil, as well as having been in the GBG for ever and won countless awards, has the sense to open for morning coffee at some early time, meaning the gar opens at 11.00. We strode into the bar which was drenched in white sunlight to find the fire lit (although we didn’t need it () and 4 real ales.

Me and Dave both had pints of Whim Hartington Bitter and sat down to admire the view and catch our breath. Within a short space of time we were requiring more beer and took the bar staff’s recommendation that we try the Whim Schnee Weiss, which was fantastic.

As we continued slaking and trying not to get too heavily involved in talking shop, the time came for a last one, and although I wanted to try the Storm Brewery Red Mist the wheat beer was too good so we had another pint of that. At this point my primitive limbic brain began to suggest that there was a bus about 13.00 so we should wait for that and go to another pub by bus, but we were determined to drag our considerable forms around on foot at least as far as Monyash.

This unplanned but not surprising long stop at The Lathkil meant I abandoned my careful plan to walk to Youlgreave then Monyash, and instead we opted to walk along the lane along the top of the dale and then follow a path along the side and into the dale into Monyash. We set off at good speed about 12.45 and reached Haddon Grove, where the path takes you dale-wards and the road goes to join the main drag into Monyash.

Following the path through the farm we arrived at the edge of Lathkil dale overlooking a side dale and the sheep track that lay ahead. We followed this precariously until we dropped down onto the head of the side dale, and decided that we should continue our precarious tiptoeing along the top side for a bit longer. Where the path seemed to diverge down into the dale itself it looked somewhat off putting so mindful of the time we headed up a path out of Lathkil, then over a hill and out onto the main road for the last 10 minutes into Monyash.

Dave predicted we would make it to the pub at 14.35, conveniently securing 25 mins for a pint before the bus. I can't let him gloat at how close we came so will instead point out that we arrived at 14.33, making him erm, miles out.

We ordered pints of Bradfield Blonde and Dave went to wash his face in the gents whilst I snapped some rare empty Bulls head photos.

At 15.00 we went outside and saw the bus - which is really a school service - waiting outside, so got on before being whisked away for a brief tour of White Park plateau villages, with a load of admirably well behaved bairns. Having deposited the last ones at Flagg the driver then finished his route and dropped us outside the Duke of York at Pomeroy.

This was a new pub to us both, no doubt passed an endless number of times, an isolated, large roadside Robbie’s house selling Unicorn Bitter. Despite our odd time of arrival there were a few people I, and the sight of someone having their food made us hungry. We knew we had a good hour here so made the most of our time by having a look round, taking pics outside and then ordering what was probably the nicest chip butty I have had in years.

The landlord was friendly and chatty throughout and although the Unicorn was a tad chilly it was in good nick and we ended up at time to leave without realising it. We caught the 42 into Buxton and sought out the Old hall hotel, a second new venue.

This is a large and very old building with stylish 1920's style polished wooden revolving doors at the entrance, and then a brief walk through corridors to the tiny bar at the back, where there are 2 real ales on, and you have to ring the bell for service. The main attraction was the promise of Buxton beer in Buxton, and we weren’t disappointed - the Buxton Spa was on. At £3.00 a pint it might have wanted to be a smidgen stronger and maybe a bit more adventurously flavoured, but the surroundings were nice, and by hotel standards it was a surprise to see two real ales on in what is probably not a renowned stop on the Town's drinking circuit.

After this we headed across the park ( scene of dreadful inebriated confusion in the past ) to another hotel - this time GBG regular Ramsays at the Buckingham Hotel. There were about 6 beers on and we had halves of Deverentino Medusa and Howard Town Ramsays ale. The Deverentino beer was bit limp and lacked flavour , it’s a brewery that seems to promise much but doesn't always deliver, which is a shame because the beer styles are very interesting.

The Howard Town had a bit more bite, and this whetted our appetites for 2 more halves, this time the weaker Howard Town Longdendale Light. Careful to finish with some light still remaining we headed up into the Market Square to check the bus times and found a 66 to Chesterfield in situ.

Naturally the diver was happy for me and Dave to stand half on and half off the bus for 5 minutes unravelling the possibilities of our route, but having learned that there was no longer a 67 to Chesterfield from Tideswell late on we opted to travel all the way to Chesterfield in search of more local beers.

We alighted at Brampton near Morro's and Dave used his somewhat eclectic directional ability to deliver us safe and sound to attractions including a dead end behind some garages, a housing estate, a patch of grass, and a path to some bungalows. Luckily we returned to the main road to find where he had been when he and his friend parked up to visit the Rose and Crown, before leading us up Victoria Street West and round the corner to our destination, 1 minutes walk from where we started.

Still, it was worth the tour, and we compensated with two pints of Impey Dark from Brampton brewery, the tap of which the pub is. So excellent was this beer that I had another whilst Dave tried a Tryst brewery bitter, before we had Brew Co Midnight Stout and then 2 final pints of Impey dark. The helpful bar staff secured us a taxi to the station and we were on the train with time to spare. Just in time on arriving back in Sheff to catch a bus rather than invest in a taxi and arrive home safe and sate and sloshed.

All in all our Oliver reed fitness diet comprised walking about 7 miles but maybe less, and drinking 12 pints, the very best of which by a mile was the Brampton Impey Dark.

It might not be a healthy walk but it was bloody enjoyable.

Wee Beefy.

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