no-one laugh but I had my "final" birthday celebration yesterday, 3 weeks after the date. An unavoidable log jam of engagements made a Monday after work nosh up a no go til yesterday, and thank goodness we waited. We were off to Little Hayfield in stunning sunshine.
The scenery was fantastic and the views clear over Moscar and the Snake Pass, and coming into Glossop we took a canny Wee Fatha short cut up a winding near single track road to come out at the top of what I think is a hill called Chunnel. The views over the Sett valley were astounding and we were soon at the pub getting beers and perusing the menu. There's a reduced menu on Mondays, but I think that's a great idea - I'd much rather they had a choice of say only 6 dishes because trade is slow than not bother, or throw food away. Me and Wee Fatha both had the pork in stilton sauce with mash and veg and Wee Keefy a rather hot chilli con carne. Prices are around the £10.00-11.00 mark.
There's only two handpumps at the Lantern Pike these days. I'm sure there used to be three but is a good few years since my last visit. The choice was Tim Taylors Landlord or Castle Rock Harvest Pale. I used to rate this beer but whether because of a changing palate and beer styles or because its wide availability means it suffers from indifferent cellar care, its become a bit of a Brother Rabbit. An ineffably disappointing "must we" of a slake.
For whatever reason, surely something to do with being well kept, it tasted rather nice. So much so that I had three pints of it with my meal. Wee Fatha then invited a debate on which other pub we should visit en route home. After much wrangling the Navigation at Buxworth came out on top.
We parked up in a much needed breeze and in front of a watery yellow horizon topped with white hemmed clouds, and popped in the Navigation to find a selection of five beers. Three of the four guests were from Abbeydale! Indeed the fourth had also been Abbeydale. Wee Fatha went for a half of sand storm which really wasn't to my liking at all when I tried it but me and Wee Keefy's pints of Philosophy were spot on. The Navigation is in a lovely setting and a decent stop off for a thirsty walker en route to say, another pub...
I mention that because Wee Fatha had "gone mad" and decided we could squeeze in the Old Hall at nearby Whitehough. We took the industrial estate road out of Chinley and soon arrived at the pub, with swifts sitting on telegraph wires surveying the comings and goings in the car park. On the bar inside a couple of beers had finished but I spotted a Buxton American Rye IPA so was in no doubt what I was having. Until that also ran out. I ended up with a rather tasty pint of Happy Valley Small and Mighty a bitter 3.8% pale beer, whereas Wee Keefy had the Blackjack First Deal (my suggestion) and Wee Fatha a rather troubling malty Cheshire Brewhouse Engine Vein.
We didn't have time to linger as we fancied a trip to the Cheshire Cheese at Hope but found it closed so plumped to go in another Old Hall, this one being in Hope. My first ever visit and a surprising range of five or six real ales. All were large regional offerings apart from one guest - Wood Street Yellowood IPA. I gamely tried a taste and it was in good condition but at the risk of incurring the wrath of 1870 recipe archivists, it surely can't be an IPA if its packed full of heavy malt that smothers any suggestion of hop?
Either way I left Wee Fatha to try that whilst I failed to note down or remember mine and Wee keefy's choices, but am sure mine was pale and was well kept. A nice surprise visit on a short but enjoyable tour of High Peak hostelries.