I realise, as some of you may also, that I have written a number of posts about a triumvirate of Staffordshire boozers. Well, I say Staffordshire, only the Quiet Woman and Packhorse are in Derbyshire, just. Anyhoo, whilst I realise this may indicate repetition, I like to provide details of these trips which always, apart from last time, include the Royal Cottage. Mainly, if nothing else, because no other bloggers write about this pub.
On Saturday Wee Fatha picked me up and drove me through, and I quote him "unexpectedly busy" tea time traffic to Wee Keefy's. From here, we drove out via Rivelin to Bamford then up through Tideswell and Millers Dale over to join the A53, and down to Upper Hulme. We had booked in for food at Ye Olde Rock Inn, a 7 week early birthday celebration for me and a 3 week late one for WK.
There were three real ales on at Ye Old Rock, Bombardier, Wainwrights and Wincle Rambler. Two and a half pints of the latter were ordered and enjoyed. We sat on the right near the fire and enjoyed sizeable portions of food -WK had lamb chops, WF a mixed grill and myself a rare 12oz steak with chips, peas and veg. To be fair, the food was lovely. Not that we wanted to sit staring at the plates we had it on for 35 minutes afterwards. Me and WK had tp and one more pints, whilst WF managed to eke his half out.
Up the A53 next and thankfully we got to visit the Royal Cottage. There was a customer already in when we arrived, which was a surprise, and we asked Cliffe why he hadn't opened back in February - he couldn't remember, but it didn't matter. We were just glad he was OK. Alas, after Keith had asked, it turned out Jessie was not, she had been put down in December. It felt bad asking Cliffe because he was obviously still missing her.
We supped bottles of Newky brown, Old Speckled Hen and J20 for Fatha, and then more regulars arrived, including a guy we had seen at Ken's last year. We talked to the guy near us whilst he and the other bloke and Cliffe discussed local history. With the exception of the I'm alright Jack politics discussed by the others, this was a fascinating conversation to listen n on.
Being stuffed from the meal meant we drank slower, but me and WK had a bottle of Manns each then shared a bottle, whilst WF had another J20. Once more, this was a lovely visit to a pub which reminds, or at least suggests, how pubs used to be.
Arriving at Earl Sterndale at 22.59 the Quiet Woman seemed dark. Leaving the car to the chimes of the church bell, we found the pub closed. I know that bank holiday weekends are funny in terms of predicting numbers of customers, but this did seem a little strange.
Over to Hurdlow next and the Royal Oak was lit up and looked busy inside. However, on leaving the car and walking towards the pub the landlord told us he was now closed - although, when we asked, he did let us use the loos and recommended visiting our final stop.
Further up the road is Monyash and the Bulls Head. Four real ales to choose from, including Farmers Blonde, Hartington Bitter and Church End What the Fox Hat. WK had a pint of that and me the Hartington, with WF on a half of the same. In the end we stayed until gone 00.15 in the busy pub, listening in on the banter and chatting to a group from Woodhouse. The Bulls Head may not have the charm of the Quiet Woman or Royal Cottage but it opens late and serves a decent range of real ales.
So, not all 3 classic Staffordshire moorlands area pubs were tried. but this was once again a classic night out in excellent rural pubs. Will simply have to try again soon and get to see Ken.