In over 300 miles of walking I went in a few pubs, had a few beers and visited a few breweries. I always had the opportunity to drink regional independent beers often from the county where the pub was located. And I was fed and billeted from Co Durham to Hertfordshire in some fine establishments.
Best Pub: The New Inn at Peggs Green, Leicestershire – a place that offered a friendly welcome, excellent beers and that elusive ‘atmosphere’. (I’ve excluded the pub perfections at the beginning and the end as it didn’t seem quite right and I didn’t want to be responsible for a duel on the A1 hosted by the Earl of Strathmore.)
Best Brewers: Yorkshire Dales, Askrigg; Wharfedale, Ilkley; Burton Bridge, Burton; Parish, Burrough on the Hill – all true lovers of their craft (in the proper sense) and pioneers in the micro-brewery world. Rob, Stewart, Geoff, Bruce and Baz couldn’t have been more welcoming to someone interrupting their busy lives.
Best Beer: Howgate, Yorkshire Dales – I’d never have expected to choose a light blonde beer before the trip. But it just goes to show there’s a beer for every occasion. In this case the first pint of the night, in The Crown at Askrigg, was refreshing with just the right level of bitterness.
Best Pie: King’s Arms, Askrigg – a steak pie filled to the brim with the finest ingredients.
Best B&B: The Old School House, Bolnhurst – invaded by my travelling circus of walkers, wives and a car recovery vehicle, they offered calmness, generosity and a fine breakfast to send me on my way with a spring in my step.
Best Food: The Plough, Bolnhurst – very much a pub restaurant but excellent food, good beer and very relaxed.
Best Tea Shop: The Bulwick Village Shop, Bulwick – a grand place to sit in the sun in a lovely village. And the pub next door looked good as well.
Best Footpath Signposting: Leicestershire – whether on the Leicestershire Round or on minor paths.
Thanks all for a memorable trip.