Monday, 29 May 2017

Fintry and Stirling weekend plus a drink in York 14th - 16th december 2007

This was a weekend trip up to Fintry for a family members wedding to a very nice Scottish man who we got on with very well.
I decided the best way to get to Fintry was to get a train from Nottingham to Stirling and then a taxi from there to Fintry.
The train journey went well and plenty of cans of Guinness Original drunk on the way to Edinburgh on a mid December Friday afternoon,there was no time for a drink in Edinburgh as we had to find the platform for the train to Stirling,this was hard because the platforms at Edinburgh Waverley station seem to be all over the shop,i decided to ask for help as time was short and the nice station chap directed us to the platform for the train to Stirling.
It was pitch black on our early evening train ride to Stirling and i was on my last can of Guinness.
We arrived into Stirling on time and with our cases it was a dash to get into a few pubs before ordering a taxi to Fintry.

Stirling

Barnton Bar
Photo taken by Alan Winfield

The first pub or bar we came across so we were straight in for a drink,whatever it was,it was keg Belhaven Best which was fizzy but we downed a quick pint and a half.
The pub was fairly large and had a large single room with loads of tables and chairs.

We did a short walk uphill and passed No 2 Baker Street a decent looking corner pub and uphill to the next pub.

Claymores
photo taken by Alan Winfield


A very basic pub set in a row of shops.
It was even more basic inside and full with drunken Scottish blokes who seemed to be picking on a bloke for no reason,but we had a drink here,though my wife did not like it at all,the Belhaven Best was at its worst here.

A short walk back downhill and we were in our next pub.

N0 2 Baker Street
Photo taken by Alan Winfield


A decent sized pub and quite smart inside,also packed on our Friday night visit,there were real ales on here,so we were pleased,we had a very nice drink of Inveralmond Ossian which went down a treat,it was standing room only so we stood near the entrance with our cases.

We had to go back to the train station to get a taxi to Fintry and was sad to leave Stirling as there may have been lots more pubs there to do.
The taxi ride took over half an hour and most of it was in complete darkness.
We finally arrived at Fintry castle and into reception to ask where our log cabin was a young person told us go past the trees and up the path,so we trooped off with our cases past thousands of trees and along a road,we passed a lake and then thought we might have gone the wrong way,it was pitch black but we noticed some lights in the distance.
I was by now swearing a lot and my wife laughing at me for doing so,we got to the lorry with the lights on and asked where the cabin was,he had no idea as he was from another country.
By now i was well pissed off trooping cases along a pitch black road with no pavements,the wife now thought it even more funny,i said we will walk back to the castle and will give the young lad a piece of my mind,we were walking back and we then saw some headlights coming towards us at speed,fed up again i said now we have got a *ing car bombing towards us,so we had to go to the side of the road to get out of the way of it,it skidded to a halt just past us and a man got out,i thought what is going on now,he approached us and said he was the owner of the castle and lodges and said sorry for not being taken to our cabin,he gave us a lift back to it and we were so pleased to get in the cabin and get ready for a walk down to the Castle Bar.

Castle Bar
 
Photo taken by Alan Winfield

Saturday morning up and feeling well,i opened the curtains and said to my wife who was still in bed,there's a mountain outside,she thought i was bull shitting her,but then looked for herself and said wow a mountain outside,it may have been a big hill,but it was a mountain to us.
 
We all met up in the Castle Bar which is housed on the left side of Fintry castle,a small and cosy bar that seemed very pubby,it was carpeted and had comfy bench seating and small stools,we had plenty to drink before the wedding and my wife was knocking back the shorts along with the Harvistoune Bitter and Twisted that i was drinking.
The wedding went well and we all retired to the Castle Bar for more drinks,a massive session started and we got talking to a nice couple who were older than us and lived in Derby,it was a shame to leave and walk back up to the lodge to get ready for the night time shindig which was in a larger room to the rear of the castle.

The Lodge
 

We arrived at the night time room with plenty of time and i soon found out there was no real ale in this room,no problem for me as i would do a short walk to the Castle Bar for drinks of Harvistoune Bitter and Twisted.
The procedings started and i was dissapointed that there was no disco,as me and the wife love dancing.
There was a live group who were doing a traditional Scottish Caley,or something similar to that,i declined the first dance with my wife as i had a mardy on,when i saw her dancing with her mam i thought i want some of this,the band had fiddles and all other sorts of instruments and was doing barn dances and the like,all dances involved moving along to dance with another woman,it was great and i took a break to get drinks and the like.
It was a great night and the Nottingham lot outnumbered the Scottish side of the wedding.
Too many drinks were drunk and we were well dissapointed when it all came to an end,i ended up putting my wifes jacket on,so everybody laughed seeing me wearing a jacket with sleeves halfway up my arms.
It was a stagger back to the cabin and i fell into a dry ditch,my wife thought this was really funny and i did.
My wife walking through the woods on Sunday
Me with the mountains in the background
My wife with the mountains in the background
My wife with blurry looking mountains on Saturday dinner


Sunday morning and we both felt very rough,we got a decent breakfast down us and it was the long journey back to Nottingham,another taxi ride to Stirling and i had time to take photos of the pubs we did on the Friday,but no chance of a drink it was too early,the train journey from Stirling to Edinburgh was nice enough and the train ride from Edinburgh to York was really nice as we had good views of the North Sea.
By the time we arrived in York we were well ready for a few drinks,so straight into the station bar.

Coopers
Photo taken by Alan Winfield

A typical station bar,but needs must,a few quick drinks while waiting for a train to Derby and then onto Nottingham.
The Davenports bitter was decent enough and kept us going until in Nottingham where we had our last few drinks in Fellows,Morton & Clayton.

This was a great weekend out and a great wedding,the night time due was great and chatting in the Castle Bar was really nice.

To sum up a great weekend drinking,we got lost i fell into a ditch and wore my wifes jacket,what more could you ask for from a weekend out.

Monday, 17 April 2017

West Bromwich Crawl 10th June 1988

This was one on my Regular Friday dinner Pub Crawls as i was working shifts and when on afternoons i only worked a four day week leaving me a free Friday dinner session.
I always caught a bus to Derby then a train to Birmingham,West Bromwich did not have a train station close to the middle, so i caught a bus from the middle of Birmingham which dropped me of on the high street.
This was a completely biased pub crawl as was only doing Banks's and Hansons tied houses,i had already done the Wheatsheaf with the wife while here to watch Nottingham Forest,so no Holdens tied houses to pick up,but plenty of M&B and Ansells tied houses to avoid.
I walked away from the high street to get to my first pub that was open that i wanted to do.

1: Bird in Hand
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
  
A typical looking Black Country pub that had council houses on each side of it.
The pub had two separate rooms with a basic bar and what i presume was a comfortable lounge,i had a drink in the bar.
The pub was a Banks's tied house,there were two real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Banks's Bitter,which was a decent drink.
Sadly this pub has now closed down.

It was a short walk along Phoenix Street i passed a Hansons house that was not yet open,The George and also walked past a M&B house The Swan,i then took a left turn up Black Lake where there would be a couple of pubs to do.

2: New Talbot
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
 
A long fronted pub and also an Hansons tied house,so i was well pleased.
The pub was quite large inside with a few different rooms,i had a drink in a comfortable lounge.
There were two real ales on the bar,i had a half of Hansons Mild,which was a very nice drink,there was also Hansons Bitter on the bar.
A pleasant pub to have a drink in.

I walked further up Black Lake and onto Hill Top and took a left turn down New Street and i was soon outside my next pub.

3: The Globe
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
  
A large estate type pub that i like doing and flats next to it.
Another Hansons tied house,so pleased again as i prefered to do Hansons tied houses over Banks's tied houses.
Once inside the pub had the usual estate pub layout of a large basic bar and a more comfortable lounge,i had a drink in the bar.
There were two real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Hansons Bitter,which went down well,there was also Hansons Mild on the bar.
Sadly The Globe along with the flats next to it have been pulled down.
I am pleased i did the pub and took a photo of it when it looked in good shape.

A short walk back up New Street and onto Hill Top and i was soon in my next pub.

4: Sow & Pigs
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
 
A small stand alone pub and another Hansons tied house,i was on a run of Hansons tied houses which really pleased me.
Once inside the pub had two small rooms either side of the entrance,i had a drink in the small bar room that was very nice.
There were two real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Hansons Mild which was a very nice drink.
A really nice pub to have a drink in and still up and running.

I walked further up Hill Top and took a right turn onto Coles Lane where the next pub was a short walk along it.

5: Gough Arms
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
 
A very large 30s built pub that was an Hansons tied house.
Once inside there were a couple of very large and basic rooms,i had a drink in the bar.
There were two real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Hansons Mild,which was a very nice drink,the other real ale was Hansons Bitter.
This pub is still going strong and now more food orientated than it was when i did it all those years ago.

I had to retrace my steps and back down Black Lake to get to Church Lane which was a turn to the left,a short walk along here and i was in my next pub.

6: Nags Head
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
 
A very austere looking pub but it was an Hansons tied house so i was pleased to do it.
Once inside the pub had two separate rooms with a basic bar and a more comfortable lounge,i had a drink in the bar which was busy.
There were two real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Hansons Mild,which went down very well,the other real ale was Hansons Bitter.
This pub has now sadly closed down.

I walked back along Church Lane and then Swan Lane to get back to Phoenix Street where i had seen a pub i wanted to do but it had not opened.

7: The George
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
 
A smart looking pub with a double bay window frontage.
The pub had a nice smart lounge and a more basic bar.
This was another Hansons tied house with two real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Hansons Bitter,which was a very nice drink,there was also Hansons Mild on the bar.
Another pub to close down,what a shame!

I walked to the end of Phoenix Street and onto Greets Green Road which lead onto Wood Lane,where the my next pub was situated.

8: Oliver Cromwell
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
 
A decent looking white painted pub and yet another Hansons tied house,i was on a roll and well pleased with how the pub crawl was going.
The pub had two separate room with a nice small bar room and a comfortable lounge.
I had a drink of Hansons Mild,which was a very nice drink,the other real ale was Hansons Bitter.
A very pleasant pub that i was pleased to do.
Sadly this pub has been pulled down.

I walked through loads of back streets and finally ended up on Sams Lane where my next pub was.

9: Prince Albert
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
 
A smart looking town pub that was situated at the end of a row of shops.
A Hansons tied house,so i was pleased.
The pub had a smart lounge and a decent bar,i had a drink of Hansons Mild,which went down very well,there was also Hansons Bitter on the bar.
I like doing town pubs like this, the Prince Albert is still open.

I took a left turn off Sams Lane and deep into the back streets of West Bromwich where i would find my next pub.

10: Rising Sun
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
 
A decent looking white painted pub that had housing all around it.
This was a Banks's tied house with two rooms inside,there was a basic bar where i had a drink and a smarter lounge.
There were two real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Banks's Bitter,which was a decent drink,there was also Banks's Mild on the bar.
This pub has now sadly bit the dust.

I took a short walk North through back streets to get to Moor Street where my next pub was.

11: The Leopard
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
  
A basic looking pub,just the sort i like to do,this was another Hansons tied house,so i was well pleased.
Once inside the pub had  a small bar and lounge.
There were two real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Hansons Mild,which was a very nice drink,there was also Hansons Bitter on the bar.
Sadly this pub has been pulled down along with the factory which was next to it and behind the pub.

I was nearing the end of my pub crawl but there was time to do two more pubs just to the North of West Bromwich town centre.
I crossed the High Street and headed North up Hallam Street and Church Vale to a small side street off it.

12: Churchfield Tavern
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
 
A strange looking pub with a large chimney to the front.
Once inside it was fairly small with a couple of rooms,i had a drink in the bar,which was a decent room.
The Churchfield Tavern was an Hansons tied house with two real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Hansons Mild,which was a very nice drink,there was also Hansons Bitter on the bar.
Sadly this another pub to have been pulled down and lost for good.

I was now retracing my steps back to the High Street but still had one more pub to do which was just off Hallam Street.

13: Horse & Jockey
Photo taken by Alan Winfield
 
This pub looked quite impressive as i approached it with being on the apex of two residential streets and other streets off it.
This pub was a Banks's tied house when i did it,there was a small bar to the front and a smart lounge to the rear.
There were two real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Banks's Bitter which was my last drink of the session and also nice,there was also Banks's Mild on the bar.

It was a short walk back to the High Street where i would wait for a bus back to Birmingham for my train back home in time to meet my wife from work.
We would then get ready for a good night out drinking in Nottingham.



 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Maps, Beer Guides, Brewery Guides & pub mapping a street atlas

This is a blog about the maps and guides I use to to help me do pub crawls.

Before the days of the internet and now smart phones people had to use maps to find their way around towns and cities. I still do to this day as I do not have a smart phone, but I do use the internet now to find pub locations to mark off on my A-Z of Bristol or Leeds, as an example. 

I must heap praise on the mapping of pubs on the Pubs Galore site, by far the best for finding most proper pub locations. I always use it to pre-plan most pub crawls by marking off on my maps the location of pubs, or even doing hand drawn maps of smaller towns by copying off the Pubs Galore pub map.

If you're wanting to know how many pubs are in an area, just look at the Pubs Galore map and you will soon find out.

It was much harder back in the '80s and '90s so Pub Guides with maps were the best and listed all pubs. Brewery guides also listed all of their tied houses, which was a big help. You just had to ask, when in a town or city, where there were pubs that appeared in these guides. The worst guides of all were the CAMRA ones that just listed real ale pubs, or even worse, listed only what they deemed to be the best real ale pubs.

Back to maps, by far the best for large conurbations is the A-Z series, and the Red Local maps were also good for separate towns.

The Beer Guides

I have guides to most counties in England but not all. The Wiltshire Pub Guide 1991 listed all pubs in Wiltshire in alphabetical order. Pretty simple but I liked it and it gave me good lists of pubs I wanted to do in Wiltshire towns.


There are some more modern guides which I really like, as they map all pubs in the town or city, even if they are keg only pubs. Here are a couple of good examples which I like using.

Real Ale in Derby


Derby CAMRA seem to do these City guides every five years or so, and this is the latest one from 2016. The whole of the city is mapped with pubs marked off by numbers. I cannot fault the guide as it lists all pubs if real ale or keg only. I wish Nottingham CAMRA would do something similar - the last proper CAMRA guide to Nottinghamshire was way back in in the '80s.

Another good fairly recent guide I picked up was the CAMRA Oxford Witney & Abingdon Pub Guide:


A very smart publication with nice mapping of all pubs in the guide, with keg only pubs also mapped. I quite like this guide and used it when going a pub crawl round Witney.


Brewery Guides


I have lots of brewery guides, many of closed breweries and several still open breweries. If they were a good brewery guide, which most were, they listed every tied house they had at the time of publication. This helped me find out where the tied houses were as I have always tried to do independent brewery tied houses over any other type of pub.


North Country Breweries Pub Guide



A guide to all North Country tied houses that lists pubs by areas of Hull and then counties. I picked this guide up for 75p from the Castle Barge in Newark which was a North Country tied house back in 1983.

Home Ales - A Pub Guide 


Home Ales brewery of Nottingham did a good guide of their large tied estate of over 400 pubs in the mid '80s. It listed all pubs with Nottingham at the start, then going onto Nottinghamshire and all other counties they had pubs in. I did not complete this guide but was not far from doing it when the brewery was closed down by S&N.


The Hoppers' Handbook - A Guide to the Harvey Pubs



A nice brewery guide listing all Harveys tied houses and all having a photo. It is a shame that I have not done that many Harveys tied houses.


Innwards - A Guide to Wards Country



A very nice guide to all Wards tied house of Sheffield. There were photos of most pubs and a map of the ones in Sheffield. This was another '80s brewery guide.


Map of Wards pubs in Sheffield



Maps

This section is about the maps I use and how I mark them off so that I know roughly where I have been. But the first maps shown listed every pub in the county map they were in, and what brewery was running the pub at the time. The maps were called Better Pubs of each county they were in.

Better Pubs Map of Kent


These maps were folded like a normal map but listed every pub in the county and and what brewery was running them. When it was opened out you could see the shape of the county.

North East Kent


South East Kent


Index


Better Pubs Map of Cambridgeshire



I have tied to get more of these maps as I only have Kent, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Better Pubs did these maps for all of the South of England but not London. I picked these up in the mid to late '80s and would love to get more of them.


Street Maps that show where pubs are located




My wife treated me to a pub crawl in Cardiff but I had no map of it. I then found a map called Streetezee which mapped all of the Cardiff area, but on a closer look it also had a tankard where there was a pub,. When I did my pub crawl round Cardiff in the '90s all tankards were therefore where I did pubs.

I was quick to order more of these maps which were only in the West side of the country.

Cardiff Central & Canton


A-Z Maps

Birmingham


I never really used this map for pub crawling round Birmingham as I do not like the city that much, but it was a big help when going round the Black Country.

Cosely


Manchester


I have worn out Manchester A-Zs due to the amount of pubs I have done in the area.

Beswick,Openshaw & Clayton


All of these areas done on foot with a bus sometimes caught out or back, but never both ways.

Ashton-under-Lyne, Dukinfied & Guide Bridge


I think I pretty much did all of this area and did not know where Dukinfield was.

Manchester City Centre & parts of Salford


I had at one point done every proper pub in the middle of Manchester and most bars.

Oldham


I made a massive effort to do every pub in Oldham and finally did 156 in the town. I wonder how many are left now.


Local Red Books

These street maps are always handy if doing a pub crawl in a town or smaller city. I have loads of these types of street maps along with the larger A-Z maps.



Norwich



A map I have used many times on my pub crawls round Norwich though I've only done 88 pubs in the city.


Weymouth & Dorchester



Very handy while on holiday in Weymouth, but I have not had a drink in Dorchester yet.


My mapping of how many pubs I've done in in towns, cities and villages



I picked this road atlas for a couple of pounds from one of those cheap book shops. It took me a while to work out how to get the number of pubs done in each town and village onto the maps without writing on it, and I also had the problem of updating towns and cities where I was doing lots of pubs.

Then I came up with putting small stickers in it with the number of pubs I had done on it. My wife liked the look of it and when I showed my brother he really liked it.

So here is how it looks:

The towns north of Manchester, Skipton & Blackburn


Leeds, Bradford & West Yorkshire towns


Greater Manchester & area


Stoke-on-Trent


Nottingham & Derby


Lincoln & Newark


Hull & York



I am able to take stickers off to update to map. I think it looks really good, but then I did it so others may think different!


I've only shown a small selection here, and they are all old-school of ways of finding pubs to do when on a pub crawl. I know which way I would prefer to plan pub crawls - by looking at a map, rather than looking at a smart phone and hoping it is giving me the right directions.

So there you have it, a few of my pub guides and maps.