Geocaches - 0
Walk Inspiration - Country Walking Sept 2004, Walk 15
Pub - Ye Olde Crown, Waterhouses, Pedigree
We've done this before. The kids (22 year old, 18 year old) want to go to Alton Towers. We can drop them off for a day of thrills and spills and we can head out into some fine walking country.
Last time we did this, it was the honey pots of Dove Dale and the Manifold Valley. Today, its the wilds of the lesser visited Staffordshire Peak District.
Before heading out, I had completed my research and tweeted that today would be Geocaching 0, Pubs 2. Cannot remember the last walk that didn't have some tupperware to find. In the end, even my tweet was wildly optimistic.
People don't place caches around here because its so inaccessible. In a walk in a National Park, you don't really expect to be faced by poor signage, broken bridges, totally overgrown paths that require detours, killer dogs and frisky cows. I've been to the peak district before and did expect squeeze stiles that could entrap primary school kids.
There were some decent views once we got going, but in the main, this walk will be filed under "challenging".
|Early views on the way out of Onecote|
|Upper Elskstone, before the paths disappeared|
|The better part of the Peak District to Walk|
|The Big Squeeze|
|Coming back into Onecote|
What initially appealed about the walk was the way that it linked the villages of Onecote, Butterton and Grindon. This should have meant refreshment stops. Butterton is the first village that we hit, guided in by the Church Spire. I checked, they have a pub. I checked and the pub was not closed down. I looked at their website and it said that opening hours were 7-11. On a Saturday. Surely they are opening early for breakfast? I consulted Whatpub.com and they said they were open from midday. I emailed the pub. They failed to reply.
On a midday arrival, a little old lady preparing free tea and coffees at the church informs us that if we are waiting for the pub to open, we would be there until the evening. She told us that in 2 hours time we could have a biscuit from her Church group. Unfortunately, despite a Ford to splash around in, its impossible to wait for 2 hours in Butterton. Even on the promise of free Garibaldis.
|Guided in by the Church Spire|
|Shabby Chic or just plain Shabby?|
|Not the date Built - Closer to the Opening Hours|
|Can a ford provide 120 minutes of entertainment?|
Pretty place but seriously lacking in public amenities. We move on, to Grindon. This has the "Big Blue Cup of Joy" on the OS Map but pre-walk research shows no watering holes. On the ground, its impossible to tell which building could have been the pub. Maybe the cartographer just got slap happy with his symbols.
Like Butterton, we are guided in by the church steeple.
|The Church at Grinton|
As there is no evidence of any free biscuits here, we complete the final two miles back to Onecote. We know we are safe here, we parked in the pub car park. 2:20pm may be too late for food, but I have visions of a smorgasbord of my favourite pints, all lined up waiting for selection.
I try the door. Its bolted.
The small print reveals that they are open on a Saturday 12pm to 2pm.
This might be the first time I swear in a blog. We have driven 75 miles and gone back 30 years to when pubs closed for the afternoon.
|Look at what I could have won|
I walk into the bar of this C17th Pub and am greeted by two fine examples of the lesser spotted Mamils (Middle Aged Men in Lycra). One has a half and a whisky on the go, the other a large white wine. They insist that I try the Pedigree - claiming it to be the finest beer in the land. If that's the case, why aren't they drinking it I inquire?
Turns out they've had four already. And their camel packs when they headed out on the bike ride were full of Scrumpy.
A wobble back up the road is anticipated.
Last time I had Pedigree, I sent it back. It smelt terribly of eggs. Not wanting to upset my new friends, I try it here.
It was a decent pint and the day is saved.
|This is what an open pub looks like|
|Abandon all hope ye who enters|
|Endorsed by Mamils|