Sunday 2 January 2022


The BRAPA Board of Directors gathered on Sunday evening for the Annual Strategy Meeting (ASM), to discuss which counties I'll be focussing on mostly during the coming twelve months.  

The bouncers ensured that no riff-raff wandered in off the street .....

"The place needs more ladies"

 ('Get over it Si' I hear you say.  'Never, NEVER, NEVVVERRR' I'd reply).

Keane Lewis Otter sent his apologies (he'd had way too much to drink in Blackpool yesterday and is still recovering) so only Chris the Cow and Reg the Drunken Monkey were available to advise.  Oh dear!

Now I'd like to start by saying that just because these are the 'main' ten counties I'll be concentrating on, it doesn't mean I won't randomly pop up in a Suffolk town, Walsall, North Wales or a Northumbrian coastal place in the coming year.  

I'd considered the 'scatter gun, tick anything' approach, but my brain has to compartmentalise stuff, it's in my DNA, and I'm too old to change now!

So after a Cadbury's Mini Roll which annoyingly had 'Roll on Christmas' written on the wrapper and a cup of M&S breakfast tea that Mummy BRAPA had palmed off on me because she had worries over its strength, it was on with the show. 

The way I'm trying to approach this ticking malarkey is to get counties 'fully greened off' once, then leave them alone for a few years, let new 'white bits' appear, and move on to the next county.  Of course, it doesn't always work out like that, but it gives me order.


When I fully greened North Yorks at Melsonby in April 2017, I vowed to 'leave it alone' for a while so I could focus on new 'un-greened' counties, and wasn't constantly chasing my tail.  

But unlike the likes of Cheshire, Derbyshire and Buckinghamshire, North Yorks is on my doorstep so harder to ignore.  And if you've seen my recent BRAPPING, you'll know I've really been going for it with recent trips to the Dales, Middlesbrough, Harrogate and the like. 

What Makes Me Nervous- Appleton Wiske.  Ugh - terrible opening hours (6pm on a Saturday, I ask you!) + rural location on no bus route (or even close to one) means this is my hardest tick to get done.

What Makes Me Happy - Daddy BRAPA's ongoing commitment to 'local' chauffeuring after I've forced him to stay in Stoke til 8pm for a fifth consecutive Saturday, so that he begins to view driving me to Starbotton as 'a nice gentle break'.  


I thought Herts'd be a piece of piddle after Essex, and it probably is to some extent, but that isn't to say it will come quietly.  The constant struggles getting from York-London due to engineering works hasn't helped, the 'cross-ticking' exercise wasn't exactly kind.  

Flaunden?  Bridens Camp?  They're just making places up now aren't they?  A return visit to Hemel Hempstead to do a 'Spoons?  CAMRA are laughing at me aren't they?  On the plus side, I'm only 5-6 trips from competing it if everything goes according to plan (it won't!) 

What makes me nervous - Ware.  I read that more online porn is watched in Ware than anywhere else in the UK, so it is going to be hard to look people in the eye when I make it to the Crooked Billet.

What makes me happy - BRAPA Person of the Year 2021 Simon Dewhurst, and perhaps also Daddy Dewhurst have kindly volunteered to drive me around another super six. 


The efforts I put into mid and north Hants back in November means I MUST get it fully greened before the 2023 GBG hits us in October.  

Southampton still needs more work, and Portsmouth is the key place.  Another epic BRAPA holiday down there, and I might, just might, be somewhere near completion.  Also, Pompey could well be do-able there and back in the day, IF I can get back to the days where you can get an early train, and a late one back out of Kings Cross without having to pay a stupid amount of money. 

What makes me nervous - Those New Foresty bits West of Southampton look they could potentially be a pain in the bum to get to by public transport, but where there's a will there's a way!

What makes me happy - How much I actually got done during that November week, I really wasn't expecting stuff like Cheriton, Dundridge, Portchester and Botley to get greened - such progress wasn't on the agenda when I arrived in Winchester.


I'm not quite sure how or why it happened, but Staffs seemed to become my 'northern' (everything's relative, and that isn't a comment on Staffs in-breeding) county of focus in the latter stages of 2021.  

And what a rewarding set of pubs it contains!  One of the strongest I've done so far, if not THE strongest.  Especially if you've got a taste for the Bass and the Plum Porter like I do.  

Looking at how green my map is now, it'd be a real shame if I didn't get it fully green by the end of October.  

What makes me nervous - That little dangly bit not far from Wolverhampton and the like seems to contain some obscure rural stuff.  And an overall worry that I'm leaving the 'harder stuff' like Consall Forge, Meerbrook and Cauldon because it is a bugger unless you are staying overnight.  

What makes me happy - Past experience of this fine pub county tells me I've got more gems to unearth - oh, and three still to do in Burton which always a good place to go and get a result.  


I keep saying it, but this HAS to be the year I finally get it greened in full.  I think I've been 2 or 3 pubs off for the past 2 or 3 GBG's!  That has gone back up to six.  I can't say I wasn't tipped off about Fram Ferment or Spennymoor's new micro as pre-emptives, but I ignored that advice and am now being rightly punished!  Shildon and Beamish, I could never have predicted.  Kip Hill is my own fault for being lazy, but happily. it pairs nicely with Beamish.

What makes me nervous - Red Lion, Cotherstone.  I'm actually getting sick of writing how I promise this will be the year I finally go, but this year I mean it!  Honest guv.  I've stood outside it and had a photo, but I guess I can't count that?  The Red Lionness would.  Oooh, bitchy Si!  Like Appleton Wiske, the only day it opens during the day is a Sunday, which is the one day of the week the bus doesn't run.  Cheers Red Lion.  Keep your locals happy, don't worry about poor BRAPA.  Ooh my sense of entitlement is strong tonight!

What makes me happy - Shildon - one of those towns you hear of but never go to even though you want to cos you imagine everyone has one tooth and wears a vest in winter.  A canteen bar & kitchen with bonkers opening hours that sometimes revolve around breakfast is bound to be an exciting memorable tick. 


Three consecutive summer holidays here 2016-18 staying in the middle or west of this county (and getting it all green with the exception of St Kew Highway and the Isles of Scilly) mean that despite three years away, it is still looking pretty green and the best pub ticker of the lot, Duncan Mackay, even dubbed me the King of Cornwall (or similar!) 

I want to get back on it this summer, not peak summer obviously, but this time, attacking it from a Devonly direction.  Ten mile walk to Morwenstow anyone?  (You're not invited unless you have a car (I'll buy you half a Tribute and a J20) , so don't see that as a genuine invite.  Thanks, love you really).  


What makes me nervous - Cornwall is a RIDICULOUS county to get around on foot / by public transport.  The number of times I've nearly been run over, by car or sheep, accidentally walked 15 miles, or nearly got stranded 10pm in Indian Queens or Nancenoy, I can't tell ya.  Still, I love the challenge.

What makes me happy - Checking in on Twitter at the Finnygook Inn at Crafthole and have people think I'm just making it up now. 


LOOK AT MY MAP COLOURING, JUST LOOK AT IT!  The highlighting represents my mental unravelling when I think about tackling this vast and hugely popular county to a conclusion.

I've neglected it for too long (my last tick was in 2019), and back in 2018, I was actually getting close to completing it, but I've lost 10-15 pubs a year since, and I deserve to as its a county which loves new micros and throwing in the occasional Joseph Holt's only pub.

I'm going to attack it from the west, and have some kind of emotional finale somewhere like Littleborough, Dobcross, Stalybridge or Rochdale, one balmy summer's evening (or that's how I'm picturing it anyway). 

What makes me nervous - That 'under the microscope' feeling when tweeting / blogging anything in that Outer Manchester area.  Fuck up, and you'll be cancelled quicker than a Hull City season pass when the Allam's announce they've decided to stick around for another ten years and the Turkish takeover was all an elaborate hoax. 

What makes me happy - Bumping into a few of the legendary GMR based #PubMen and #Pubwomen (oops, I mean errrm #PubPeople) who make up such a big section of #PubTwitter. 


In a similar vein to GMR, expect I've been too lazy to ever make a concerted effort to 'get Lancs done', it has suddenly occurred to me what a vast, varied, rewarding pub county it is.  The people are cracking folk too, the ale often kept in top condition, and my fab trip yesterday to Blackpool only crystallised in my mind the need to really push for Lancs in 2022.

I'm even thinking it could be a nice little venture for myself and Daddy BRAPA to save us from all those painstaking London days if the trains continue to misbehave.

Makes me nervous
- That map looks greener than it should because of that huge swathe of Lancs with zero GBG pubs in it!

Makes me happy - There's a lot of towns on that map I've ticked the majority, or half the pubs in, and I just need the odd one to green it up.  Preston, Chorley and Blackburn are good examples of this.  So in that sense, maybe the map doesn't look as green as it should!


My ability to get into Herefordshire in 2022 is dependent on how well my Hants and Herts progress goes.  Get them both fully greened up by say, summer time, I might be able to have a cheeky mini-break to Herefordshire, which let us face it, isn't chock full of pubs like some counties. 

I'd say at this point, it is more in hope than expectation that I get a fully greened Herefordshire by the time the 2023 GBG comes around.

I've also done two out of three in Hereford if it helps!

Makes me nervous - Just seeing how spaced out everything is.  The GBG tends to suggest the majority are on bus routes, but I'm definitely thinking it isn't a 'six pubs a day' type of county.  Still, if these are the type of pubs the stay in the Guide year after year, even 3-4 ticks a day could be very rewarding.

Makes me happy - I've been told by two different, and knowledgeable sources re public transport, that in a bid to generate income to the county, Hereford council are encouraging folk in by offering free bus tickets and putting more services on during 2022.  If true, then I really do need to make a concerted effort to here! 


As part of BRAPA's birthday celebrations each year (5th April if you want to send a card) , I go to a 'past county' completed, to fill in some of the gaps that have appeared since.  In 2019, we went back to Bedfordshire to mark our 5th anniversary.  In 2020, nothing happened.  In 2021, nothing happened.  Sorry, this is all getting a bit 'The Day Today'.  (I'd say 'no one died', but they did).

But in 2022, Covid Permitting, we'll celebrate BRAPA's 8th birthday with an 'emotional' return to Berkshire. a county I first fully greened in early 2017.

Makes me nervous - More frustrated really, every year when I begin the cross-ticking, Berkshire is always the second county I look at of course, and I feel immediately demoralised by all the gaps that've popped up in the intervening years.  Time to rectify that!

Makes me happy - Berkshire was the place that helped me appreciate the power of social media (well, Twitter and Twitter alone) as a way of 'networking' (puke!) and building up a bit of a following.  Sir Quinno taking me out around Reading was a great night, some valuable pre-emptives too.  And to the West, Tim Thomas met me in Newbury and later drove me around a couple of tricky ones.  Would be lovely to meet these two #PubMen once more, as the blue touch paper on BRAPA was really lit the time I completed Berkshire.

So there we have it, the ten counties I'll be mostly trying to green up during 2022.  

Bit of a different blog from normal so hope it wasn't too sterile and self indulgent.   I enjoyed it anyway.  Big question now for you before bed "is a Bank Holiday Monday at the beginning of Jan the hardest day in the year to find a pub open?"  I may see you (not literally) in a pub tomorrow in one of these ten counties.




  1. Love that detail. And you'll love Consall Forge and Appleton Wiske. You can borrow our one man tent for those.

  2. Good stuff Si, wishing you a productive 2022! Let me know when you're coming up to Durham, still happy to chauffeur for a day if you can't make the buses work as well as Martin ;-)

  3. Morning Simon if you get over to Greater Manchester, South Lancashire give us a shout I'd happily do some chauffeuring cheers & all the best.