I retired early so I could get out of a mainly office-based job and enjoy fresh air and exercise. Some of that exercise is taken walking from train stations to pubs and back again. I tend to regard a 5 mile round trip to a pub as an ideal – 5 brisk miles is about 90 minutes which is worth about 1,000 calories.
I’m therefore always a bit surprised to read in local CAMRA magazines about pub crawls (aka staggers or trails) which seem to involve little actual crawling. I know beer drinkers are often portrayed as unfit individuals, but this stereotype isn’t helped when groups take taxis a mile or less up the road. The phrase “working up a thirst” can’t really be applied to a 200 metre amble across town.
A recent local example of this is in the guide to the excellent pubs in the Mitcham’s Corner/Chesterton area of Cambridge, which puts on an annual celebration of the area and the community facilities on offer. The local CAMRA branch does an excellent job in promoting pubs which would otherwise be unheralded. The author tells us about a cycle route around 7 pubs in a straight line, and suggests walkers might catch a bus to the last pub given the distance. I applaud the encouragement to use public transport, but even a short hop costs the price of a half, and seemed a bit unnecessary.
To test this level of exertion that might need public transport, I’ve just walked (with shopping) from west to east (Carpenters to Haymakers) stopping at each pub to take a photo. It took me 22 minutes, even with the long delays at pedestrian crossings we’re used to in Cambridge. The walk from the Old Spring to Haymakers took 6. This part of Cambridge is well served, a walk between 7 pubs in the north (Arbury) or East (Cherry Hinton) would take at least an hour.
Keep fit – keep walking.