I'm led to believe that simpletons like you prefer to see pictures than have too many words to read, so for a special treat, here are 25 pictures which help reflect the fantastic first year of pub ticking (in chronological order). Oh hang on, and a lot of words too - sorry!
25. FIRST BRAPA PUB! (The Mitre Tavern, Brighton - 15th Feb 2014).
A combination of my excitement to "get started" and Hull City's messed up fixture schedule opened the door to two "pre-season BRAPA trips" before the official April start. This first outing was a trip to stormy Brighton, full of gales and flooding, where I'd already bought match tickets not expecting the FA Cup game would be moved to a Monday night. Therefore, this became the first (if unofficial) BRAPA outing, and this was the first pub. I ordered a Harvey's "Kiss", the landlord went to change the barrel for me, and the locals slagged him off whilst he was down there. Poor chap. I sat in a corner facing the toilets like a dunce, people glared at me, I read a tourist info leaflet on getting to a place called Devil's Dyke and made a mental note for a future trip down here. Welcome to BRAPA.
24. LEGS THE CAT (Charlotte Despard, Archway, London 8th March 2014).
23. FIRST OFFICIAL BRAPA TICK (Albion, Ampthill, Beds, 5th April 2014).
22. COMPLETING THE FIRST PAGE (Three Cups, Bedford, 6th April 2014).
21. BIRTHDAY BRAPA (Angel, Manchester, 6th May 2014).
20. WEST YORKS MIDWEEK CHALLENGE (Regent, Chapel Allerton, 29th April 2014).
It wasn't long into BRAPA life when a rational voice in my head said "why travel the length and breadth of the country when you have loads of undiscovered pubs on your doorstep?".
And from then, on most Tuesday's after work, I would discover West Yorkshire's hidden gems. Having had a successful 'walk' to Holbeck in week one, I took a bus to Chapel Allerton in week two and this was the pick of my pubs, and number 400 as it happened. Everyone seemed to know & like this pub, from my Dad to Kamal at work, famous for years, friendly, old, comfy, tonnes of character and I'd obviously got the best seat because people kept asking when I was leaving. Errr I think that was the reason anyway!
19. SHANKLIN TO SANDOWN (a coastal walk in the Isle of Wight, 16th May 2014).
18. CHESTER (City Centre, Sat 24th May 2014).
Despite the small matter of Barcelona less than 2 days away, BRAPA never sleeps and I'd been itching at a pub day in the well regarded ancient city of Chester for many years. It all started very "A-Z" as I explored cathedral, gardens, city walls etc etc but still managed to overdo it on the pubs, 8 was a bit ridiculous and I learnt lessons that day as I fell asleep in the Cross Keys and was almost too wasted to enjoy to superb Brewery Tap. But you live and learn and certainly the earlier pubs in the day walking along the canal etc was a superb day.
17. IMPROMPTU, SPONTANEOUS BRAPPING (Fenton Flyer, Church Fenton, 1st June 2014).
It is fair to say that BRAPA and my life in general is all about careful planning in advance, so what a refreshing change (just back from Barca and ready to get back into my routine) to jump on a train, and after a pleasing trip to Barkston Ash, I found (with huge effort!) this well thought of pub. Friendly to a tee, no Spanish language barrier, and with the weather absolutely glorious, I sat out in the beer garden (well, car park) and errm planned my summer BRAPA Saturday's over a pint of some Rudgate Tour De Yorkshire themed ale. I even bumped into Debs from work on my walk back to the train station.
16. GHOST STORY OF THE YEAR (Nag's Head, Shrewsbury, 28th June 2014).
15. ESCAPING "LE TOUR" (Aldbrough St John, North Yorks, 5th July 2014)
It also was one of the best days out of the year. This pub was by no means a classic (a bit cliquey and horsey) but it encapsulated the spirit of BRAPA.
Arriving a bit early off the bus (despite already having had a pint in Darlo), I explored the huge village green and even sat by a stream to have a sausage roll, at which point I was jumped on by a dog called Molly.
The pub was soon open and the day could recommence. Manfield, Aycliffe Village and the Quakerhouse in Darlington were all great experiences and I could almost forget a load of cyclists were racing around like mad men.
14. SIXTEEN AGAIN! (Corner Pin, Doncaster, 19th July 2014)
Torrential rain and scary thunderstorms made for a memorable day in itself, but the main moment came back in Donny having successfully negotiated two pubs just outside the town. I'd heard the locals in this hostelry were strange but to be ID'd at 35 was quite a thrill (not happy at the time!), especially when I asked an old local his views and he said "as soon as you came in, I said "16", tops!" Well, Ben soon arrived to join me and Tom (neither were ID'd) and a lovely pint of "female friendly stout" (hmmm) plus a nice chat with another chap who recommended the new Doncaster Brewery Tap meant I left a lot happier than when I sat down!
13. AND THE 500 IS UP IN STYLE .... (New Inn, Appletreewick, 2nd August 2014).
The best BRAPA moment of the year was getting the 500th tick for the first time (I did drop back below it when the new guide came out in Sept and had to re-achieve the 500 in Bradley in November!). But on what proved to be one of those classic days out, I bumped into Alex from work and some friends and after they bought into the BRAPA challenge at the Craven Arms down the road, they gave me a guard of honour, round of applause and bought me a pint in this wonderful pub anyway. We even got to sit outside overlooking picturesque surroundings.
12. PUNK ROCK BRAPA .... (Layton Rakes, Blackpool, 9th August 2014).
11. CRAZY CAMBRIDGE ..... (St Radegund, Cambridge, 6/9/14).
10. MORSE, LEWIS, UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE : Oxford (Oxford City Centre, 13/9/14)
9. MOST POPULAR BLOG : South Shields / Newcastle (Stag's Head, South Shields 19/9/14)
8. BAD LUCK DAY : Whitby, Grosmont and beyond (Board Inn, Whiby 4/10/14)
7. IT REALLY IS A RED SHED! (Wakefield Labour Club, 14/10/14)
6. AN AUDIENCE WITH SI (Bridge, Wennington, 1/11/14)
5. HALLOWE'EN HORROR SHOW (Horse & Farrier, Bentham, 1/11/14)
4. PUB OF THE YEAR (Jacobs Beer House, Bradford, 4/11/14).
3. CAS VEGAS (Glass Blower, Castleford, 26/11/14)
2. MACC-TASTIC (Wharf, Macclesfield 6/12/14)
1. CHRISTMAS OUTING (One Eyed Rat, Ripon, 20/12/14)