Tuesday 31 October 2017

BRAPA - October Review / November Preview (2017)

The Obelisk, Herefordshire (I don't know why, it just is)

Good evening weary travellers,

Only two months left of the pub ticking calendar year, where has it gone?

39 pubs visited in the month (plus one pre-emptive and one 'bonus' pub) sounds like a great success, sure it was THREE times than number of pubs I visited last year, and also eclipsed the pathetic October average of 19.

Having said that, there were missed opportunities (the Morgan in Great Malvern, Sunday lunchtime ticking in Central London) and with the kind of dedication I showed in September, I should have been more around the 45 mark.  Never mind.  I currently am on 1135 pubs, so the aim by 11:59pm on New Year's Eve has to be 1200 which looks fitting in a way.

If I can stay disciplined on the 'six' a weekend theme (not always strictly possible) and 1.5 pubs per midweek, plus the odd little 'bonus', it should be achievable.  Though sadly no more time off work before January.

I visited some incredible pubs, had some amazing experiences, and met some great folk on my travels over the last month, so choosing a "top three" was very difficult so here are 5, in no particular order .....

1. Plasterers Arms, Norwich
2. Farmers Arms, Birtsmorton
3. Shepherds Arms, Whaley Bridge
4. Wyche Inn, Upper Wyche
5. Pump Room Micropub, Halifax

Enjoying a pint of Hook Norton in Birtsmorton.
I guess I'll have to start thinking about the "worst pub experience" of the year, so here are three we'll put in the hat for the 'year end' awards (I should've done this all year to be honest):

1. Tilted Wig, Warwick
2. Derehams Inn, Loudwater
3. Hope, Richmond

Even this pic couldn't inspire the Hope at Richmond to greatness.
So what have we planned for November?  My aim is going to be 35 as I know December can a complex month as people like to invite me on their "yearly pub outing", and by that, I mean to pubs I've already been to, which can be frustrating, plus people block the bar, don't observe pub etiquette and wear silly jumpers but that's another blog!

It all starts with one of final remaining West Yorkshire ticks, before a trip to Sheffield to take on Championship leaders (at time of writing) Sheff Utd, with all their passing and movement and Chris Wilder and Billy Sharp and blah blah blah.  Pubs before AND after is the order of the day to numb the pain, as I look to knock off my remaining 5 in Sheffield, one of which I've tried THREE times to get to but to no avail!  4th time lucky?

I then look to finish West Yorkshire and we have a special guest BRAPster from work joining me for that, then a bonus trip to help Martin Taylor get a pub tick done, before Sat 11th sees Dad join me on the second of our mystery train trips.  But where will I take him this time?  Clue,  not Warwick.

I'm then going to see what of North Yorkshire is achievable on a Tuesday night before starting on the South Yorkshire massive.  Places like Harrogate, Hensall and even Northallerton look do-able.  Skipton may have to wait til June for reasons I won't go into here, Acaster Malbis is so close by it is painful, but buses just don't run late enough.

Sat 18th comes with a nice little bonus trip to London the day before, a "work trip" but I'm going with a bloke from Rotherham so no doubt a bit of Stones and Wards will be drunk in Smithfield and Cannon Street on the Fri evening, well I can hope!  I'm actually staying over in Milton Keynes (yes, I did just say that) basing myself there for joys like Woughton on the Green which Martin so enjoyed, Newport Pagnall and Stoke Hammond also on the agenda.

And Sat 25th sees me back on the Cheshire trail.  Like Bucks, it is slow progress limping towards the finishing line as I keep wandering into other counties (North Wales, Derbyshire on my last 2 visits).  This time Barthomley is the tricky pub required, but I may be able to combine it with a bit of Crewe or Congleton or the like, which now need return visits since the 2018 GBG.

And if I need a cheeky bonus Fri or Sun to help me get towards that 35 target in that final week or two of the month, then so be it.

Happy pubbing all, and rest your livers on your days off (but not tonight obviously).



  1. 39 sounds good, 10 a week for the next 10 years will get you around the 70% mark, assuming all those micropubs drop out.

    What an exciting November. Hope it doesn't snow or anything and disrupt your plans.

    Good choices for best/worst pubs. The No Hope hard to beat.

  2. I think honourable mention should go to the Rose & Crown in Allgreave mainly for the taxi driver. 😎


  3. This one?
    Come to Kent some time - we have really good CAMRA pubs!

  4. Barthomley will be much easier to combine with Crewe than with Congleton. However it does mean that you will have to go to Crewe, which is a depressing experience...even the Spoons is closing in January.

  5. By coincidence the reserved are away at Crewe on the 25th so I will be in the area.

    Barthomley has no bus but the First Potteries service 3 from Crewe to Hanley serves nearby Oakhanger.

    Hensall could be a good one to save for when you have an enforced 17:00 finish as the only train from White Shite leaves at 17:16. It is not obvious so may be questioned, but your season is valid via Pontefract, thus a Pontefract Stns - Hensall cheap day return would suffice for £6.00. Otherwise a L**ds - Hensall cheap day return is £9.60. Note that both of these have no evening peak restriction.

    When the 16:17 from L**ds is reinstated in December, I reckon Acaster Malbis would be just achievable if you walk back to either Copmanthorpe or Bishopthorpe. Or you could swim to Naburn.