Sunday, 8 May 2011

Stannington, Royal at Dungworth, Plough Low Bradfield, Nags Head Loxley, Anvil pub walk.

Hello fellow imbibers.

I have just spent 4 hours collating all my available pub photographs into individual folders on my computer so as to spend an eternity of soul waining frustration loading them onto my blog. Much as I love my comfy old blog, I do sometimes, indeed quite often, question whether there might not be other blogging sites which allow easier uploading and most pertinently, positioning of pics.

Today, I spent three times as much time uploading and positioning my pics as I did compiling the prose, and yet after all that fannying about, I still managed to lose 2 pics in the ether, without knowing how. Come on Blogger, sort your site out FFS. However, for the present time at least, I am ensconced here now, so any changes will have to wait.

So, after our relaxing bank hol trundle round the less promising sounding parts of Lancashire, I was up early again on the Tuesday to meet Davefromtshop for a walk and some pints along the way.

We met in town and caught the 52 to Crookes to begin our walk. I had as you may have noted, done said trek with Chala a week earlier, and should have known that walking powerhouses myself and DFS were likely to tear up the route in half the time that me and Chala did. And to confirm that concern, we were at the large dam, even having taken a longer route, by 11.00. I di not even know if the Rivelin would be open (let alone have real ale), and it was feasibly a 25minute walk at the most.

We tried simply sitting around, and I had a bite to eat, just to fill in time, but as soon as we set off we realised that this estimate too was optimistic. When we turned up onto Rivelin Valley Road it was only 11.15 and not even the amalgam of dotards wending their tortuously slow way up in the same direction as us could delay us sufficiently.

In the end, out of sheer frustration at how slow we would either have to walk behind them, or wanted to fit in our first stop, we gave up and headed for the Crown and Glove. We arrived at just before 12.00, standing in front of the impressive frontage, unable to escape the "Open all day every day from 12.00 " (unq.) banner hanging on the from railings, when a bloke tending to the drains ( or plants, couldn't see for certain ) said " I don't know what time they'll be open today, landlords gone out and other ones away, no idea what time he's coming back ".

This was not good news. We were two pubs in and two no scores, my trip planning credentials were under serious threat of being decimated. Undeterred we did optimistically hang round until gone 5 past when a lady opened the door to tell us they were closed and would open at 14.00, and before we could pose the obvious question, that she was there only to look after the dogs and the old lady(hopefully applying radically different care techniques to her individual charges). So, mumbling to ourselves, we pressed on for the Peacock.

Now, its funny that i was told quite clearly by a fan of the previous pub that this was a crap pub with rubbish beer. Last time it turned out to be an, albeit asinine, overly formulaic country pub eatery, but with an excellent range of beers, no more expensive than the Crown and perhaps demonstrating a better range, with two dark beers. This time the peacock got extra Brownie points fro being open, and, their cunning plan had obviously paid off, as they were quite busy.

The beer range was the same so Dave sensibly opted for a mild and me the 4.7% Black magic Porter, which is perhaps an unwise starter, as it doesn't pull any punches when it comes to flavours. We stopped only for a brief pint before heading off to investigate a pub we had seen on the other road.

The Rose and Crown, which I believe is also called Minnies, was open, and admirably conserving electricity by having almost no lights on, which was a good idea since the sun was very bright all day. They proudly advertise that they sell Farmers Blonde from nearby Bradfield, as well as a non advertised super regional offering. The Blonde was quite cold and may have been the first of the day, but tasted OK, if unexceptional, and we supped this taking the rather incongruous interior.

Out back is a restaurant and there seemed to be a slow trade in pensioners specials, although it was only 12.40. The bar is quite modern with pale wood, and the alcove seating on the from left where we sat is almost the only traditional sitting arrangement in the front of the pub. The pool table takes up all the space on the right and between us and the bar is a sea of tall bar stools and bar tables. Its light airy and sleek but I don't get what they are aiming for - it looks like a city centre bar in an old pub with a carvery at the back. Very strange, but hey, at least they were open.

We pressed on from here to Dungworth along the road, which involves tackling the behemoth which is the steep hill into Dungworth after you pass the factory - a feat we achieved in decent time, getting us to the Royal Hotel at about 13.20, to find the pub closed, and to have the "helpful" 61 or 62 circular bus drive past us even though its a stop or hail anywhere service and despite being on the wrong side of the road we waved our arms clearly to show we wanted to board.

So, we laboured thirstily on, down Sykehouse Lane and onto New Road at Damflask, not knowing what times the Plough opened, so we walked along the road all the way at a very good pace. Being squashed between the hillside and the trees lining the water the sun wasn't weakened here by anything silly like wind, so it was actually quite hot.

We approached the pub desperate for refreshments, and noted cars in the car park, always a good sign, and blustered sweatily to the bar to order a pint of Derwent Williams Quest for Dave and a Farmers Plough for me, both costing £2.20 a pint. I asked what time they stopped serving, and the answer came - midnight. So, here's a thing, opening does bring you benefits, like customers and everything. Now, its fair to say that by the time we left after 15.00, what with food having finished at 14.30 and the throngs of elderly masticators gone, it was a tad quiet, but it was a welcome lifeline for us, and of course now means we can expect to go drinking there in the day on future walks.

Our next pints, sat in the bright sunshine on picnic tables near the car park, were Hambleton Mane Event and Bradfield Blonde for Dave and me respectively, the Hambleton being atypically sturdy Yorkshire dry bitter ale, and the Blonde being a bit warmer, and therefore markedly better, than at Minnies. We finished on excellent pints of Farmers Pale, a beer which only an hour or so earlier I had bemoaned having not seen for ages.

Soon we were on a more friendly bus ( and all journeys a pound ) back to Stannington to go to the Crown and Glove, now open, and with a few customers in the right hand room. We gad two pints each of the Wentworth Imperial, not my favourite Wentworth offering by a long shot, but apparently the Taylors landlord was not quite ready, and I didn't fancy a Black Sheep, literally or otherwise. Here we also took advantage of them letting u eat our sarnies outside on the benches, whilst quaffing our ales in the sunshine.

From here we walked down Spout Lane towards Rowell Bridge, and picked up a path heading diagonally along the valley side towards the Robin Hood. The path was bit inconstant at times, but we found our way along the steep bank and out onto a lower track that seemed to be much more reliable, and were soon at the Robin Hood, to bask in the joyous realisation that it was closed. Nowhere of course are the opening times displayed (that we could see), but the different boards subtly guided us to the conclusion that they didn't open on Tuesdays at all. How positively quaint !

So, with my having a need to meet, we headed across the valley and up onto the main Loxley Road and down to the Wisewood Inn. Not exactly a first choice destination of the real ale drinker, I did wander in briefly a few weeks ago and found Old Speckled hen and a Greedy King seasonal on offer, and whilst I utilised the facilities Dave ordered us both a half of the weaker and overly ubiquitous beer that is OSH. Into the evening as we were now, the pub was quite busy, and although I may complain about the real ale choice, at least it sells it, and at least it was open, and there is a fantastic view across the valley from the back window. We were out in time to catch the 61 or 62 up to the Nags Head, and sit inside in the right hand room at the end, enjoying the atmosphere, comfortable seats, and inescapably,
the excellent prices. Dave had the Bradfiled Old English Ale and myself more of the Pale, and we had time for a couple of halves of that as well before getting the 19.10 bus to the Royal at Dungworth.

There were two beers on, Cottage Southern Bitter and, what I an only estimate from my notes, was Bradfield Yorkshire Farmers. At this part of the evening the bus frequency changes slightly, which gave us enough time to have a hearty meal of steak and ale pie and chips, and another two pints (1 each), before we jumped on the bus to our final destination, the Anvil on Stannington Road.

Here we both had pints of Farmers Blonde, and were targeted for singing at and caterwauling by a man who was so far gone he made us look sober - a feat which, I now realise, was almost impossible, since we had accidentally put away 12 pints each during our travels. Now, I am not for a minute condoning our actions, not least because at this stage we were both fairly lucid and planning our final stop in town,a plan aborted when we tottered aimlessly off the bus on Snig Hill. However, I have to point out in mitigation that apart from being nice to the sozzled minstrel, much to the undoubted annoyance of long suffering Anvil regulars, we didn't cause any trouble, supported the rural economy, and did a good 11 miles of walking in the process.

So, in conclusion, don't try this at home (drinking 12 pints that is ), but do get out onto public transport and go round some pubs, obviously having meticulously checked that each and every one was open first, and see what the countryside around Sheffield had to offer.

Wee Beefy

No comments:

Post a Comment