Beer to bost your bonce

Day 15 of the Strathmore Challenge and it was Woodhouse Eaves to Burrough on the Hill. Little in the way of pubs en route but a possible brewery at the end.

The Leicestershire Round footpath was going to be companion for most of the day and so it was across fields, over the Grand Central steam railwayline and round Swithland Reservoir next to the massive quarry to the south of Quorn. Past the Butter Market in Mountsorrel and then along the River Soar Navigation. This was to be a classic central Midlands stroll.

I abandondoned the Round in favour of a road under the A46 imagining an old folks walking group attempting a 50m sprint across the A46 using the official route. Past the restored buildings at Rearsby Mill it was field paths all the way to Gaddesby. Sign to a pub, the Cheney Arms. Pint of Everard’s Original and quick nosebag of one of those stupid mini-baguettes.

All fine but it was the chainey pub in all but name. Landlady looked sniffily at me as went through the lounge, boots in hand, and I felt like an extra in the Cornetto Trilogy. One of those pubs where they were following some regional manager guidance to the letter and reading the Morning Ad’s latest ideas but little in the way of that elusive ‘atmosphere’.

On to Ashby Folville and chance for some sheep nuzzling. Not some strange sexual practice but that moment when instead of running off as usual, one of the sheep wanders over to get scratched. My countryman friend Robert insists that they’re the ones that were hand-reared. Godd fun nevertheless.

I finally leave the Round and head to Burrough arriving just as my father in law pulls in to pick me up. The excellent Grant’s Free House just about closing but I manage to find Baz at the adjacent Parish Brewery. Another beer hero and reputedly the 2nd earliest micro-brewery behind BBB. He pours me a pint of Bitter from the cask outside. I’m still amazed as to how much is produced in these tiny spaces by essentially one man bands. Not the ‘awesomemeness’ of the latest kids on the block but good people who live by their craft.

We chat about how much the beer scene has improved since FIL joined CAMRA at the beginning and how I’ve drunk only regional independents beers all the way down through England. Baz passes a bottle of 12% Boncebuster for us to take home and we head off to my Uppingham billet.

A couple of pints at the Crown in the evening. Chat with the locals, York Pale Ale and Titanic Stout a solid finish to the evening. Sheep nuzzling and boncebusting – a fine combination.

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