I thought I was pretty bloody clever finding a 'Calderbridge solution', one of my trickier remaining Cumbrian ticks. So on a sunny Friday morning, I once more took the train from Carlisle along that alluring west coast line, this time as far as Sellafield.
Famous of course for its nuclear power plant and many jokes when I was at secondary school about Homer Simpson and glowing bright green like a Stabilo highlighter (other colours are available, but all are WRONG).
Yes, I thought I'd found a myriad of minor roads, navigating my way through Sellafield to the Calderbridge pub .....
I arrive in Sellafield, take a big gulp of life giving radioactive air, and set off walking .....
But what even the usually reliable Google Maps fails to tell me, is that you need to walk THROUGH the power station. There's plenty of blokes with staff passes going through turnstiles, but sadly the general public are not allowed in. I consider mugging one and changing into his clothes, but cameras were watching.
In fact, I've never seen so many 'danger' and 'warning' signs in one location, and I've been to Elland Road.
I consider the long way around, but although the road looks pretty minor on a map, it resembles a busy A road/motorway with no pavement. Where the traffic is coming from or going to, I have no idea, but it is relentless and terrifying.
Being pluckier than a George Formby ukulele, I keep exploring and find a farm path running parallel to the road. I hurdle one fence, but when I reach the locked gate of a farmers field, I decide I'm going to have to give this tick up as a bad job. A real shame, but Daddy BRAPA says he might drive me during the World Cup winter break, just as well, as I cannot see any solution on foot.
Luckily, a delayed train heading south is imminent, so I hop aboard and jump off a couple of stops down at Ravenglass, just as I'd done on the previous day.
The pub is facing out onto the Irish sea, a very scenic setting. Very still. A woman licks an ice cream. A man fiddles with a bike chain. An oystercatcher looks at me judgily. A cormorant gives Colin evils.
Like all brilliant pubs, it is impossible to describe that winning formula that made the Inn at Ravenglass (2317 / 3880) such a memorable tick. It had no carpet, no upholstered benches, there wasn't a pub cat or a stained glass partition leading to a snug. It was quite plain and modern, but it was quite brilliant. An introductory chat with the barmaid about beer pronunciation put me in a good frame of mind. I wanted an 'Iti' by Hawkshead. "Is it eye-tie .... am I even allowed to say 'eye-tie' in 2022?" I ask. She doesn't know, the other ale is Jarl, and that can be Jarl or Yarl, she says. I've got no inclination to sit outside despite the majestic views. I could probably see my old BRAPA mate North Sea Irish Dave from here if I squint and hold a mirror up to the sun. I've talked a lot this year about piped music destroying a pub atmosphere, but here we had that rare occurrence of piped music enhancing a place. Celtic jigs and reels and gentle folk anthems felt so appropriate, and I accidentally found myself nursing my pint and mentally drifting off to Cork or Stornoway. The peace was broken by three Brummie beer bores, the worst type of beer bore, who beersplained Burton and Bass to our patient hostess. One had a second home in Seascale that he never lives in, but he wouldn't class it as a second home, AND he sounded like that baddie off Line of Duty. My cue to go, and I still can't quite understand what was so magical about this place.
Just like yesterday evening in the afore mentioned Seascale, the Ravenglass station platforms heading north and south were separated by a confusing underpass walk, and I nearly ended up in the La'al Ratty pub by mistake which no doubt will make the GBG next year.
I took the train north and I had a question for the ticket man .... "is Corkickle a request stop because if so, I want to request it". He tells me it used to be, but has grown in popularity so isn't any more.
Must be all those tickers walking the 15 minutes to the neighbouring village of Hensingham.
But where was the pub? Blowed if I could spot it. I found an Old Dean Windass smoking outside, propped against a shopmobility scooter by an open door. Promising.
"Is this the Globe?" I ask. "The Globe?" he replies. "Yes, the Globe" I confirm. "Oh aye" he says, he points, and there is an etched inner door confirming. "Thanks" I say. "The Globe" he says. "Yes, the Globe" I reply.
I'm not entirely surprised to find a rumbustious tight little sweat box of a main bar at the Globe, Hensingham (2318 / 3881). I get my elbows in between two scrawny old gents in the Old Dean Windass mould, just scrawnier. "Got 'otter hannit?" says one. "Eh?" says the landlord. "You deaf or summat?" says the local. Oh, 'hotter', thought he was talking about my ex-mascot! A second man accuses a bloke with a shadowy face of giving him duff racing tips. He then whispers something to me I cannot understand, he nudges my arm, laughs, giving me an ear full of nicotine coloured phlegm. You didn't get this in 2020/21, gawd bless the return of standing at the bar. Sanitised pubs? Knew it'd never catch on. Table service is for the weak. The landlord gives me a pint of a 'new' beer called Trail Hound, the Caffreys was tempting however, a staple of my 1997-2001 era, you don't see it much now. A couple more blokes says "alreet" as I take my beer around the corner and nestle (hide) between fruit machine, gents loos and pool trophies ..... 'Whitehaven & District Super Pool Winter League Divison 3 Winners 2009-10 .... you'll never sing that'. A couple of kids crash through the doors, followed by a stressed Mum. Quite why kids in 2022 have got 80's mullets I'm not sure, gearing up for tonight's Neighbours finale? Tribute to Scott, Shane and Mike? Or is Hensingham stuck in the eighties? I can only speculate.
|Still more impressive than the Carabao Cup|
At the bus stop, I'm facing a hair salon called 'Clipso' and pull out my phone to take a photo to send to my work colleague hairdresser who uses our banking system Calypso, when the bus hurtles around the corner and I drop my phone in the road and nearly headbutt the bus.
|Mauled by the panthers ....|
|I never saw this man again so possibly a ghost|
|There's a Mrs Double Pink Gin in my pint|