The Vale of Belvoir is the small but posh bit between Grantham, Melton Mowbray and Bingham, and so a bit of the 3 dullest East Midlands counties. It’s relatively hilly, at least where the castle is perched, but would appear very flat to anyone north of Belper.
There’s been a Beer Guide pub in virtually all the villages in the Vale over the years, almost implying a sort of informal rotation, and they’ve all been pretty good. The Marquis of Granby was a National Pub of the Year finalist a decade ago and is still a wonderful drinkers pub.
Our walk was a very easy sounding 10 mile round trip between two new pubs, with Mrs RM getting to drink while I have a week off.
I can’t say it was a great success. We started at Stathern, one of the best villages in the Vale, planning to walk to Harby for lunch. Due to logistical issues, we were famished before we started and ate at the Red Lion in Stathern, a “dining” pub.
Very pretty, all tables set for eating apart from the odd seats near the fire (above), and formal by our standards. Excellent fish and chips and a burger were £26, which compares with Brunning & Price. Mrs RM thought the house beer, I’m guessing from Grainstore, was “OK”.
Round the corner the Plough, another recent Guide entry, was offering pie and chips at bargain prices, to a very different clientele.
The 3 miles to the Nag’s Head was pleasant, but along a surprisingly busy road made necessary by the sodden state of the footpaths. A long line of cows were enjoying a more picturesque plod over a railway bridge (a result of Beeching) which reminded me of a scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Harby was a more workaday village, except for the attractive church with drunken gravestones, and the striking pub itself. It seemed much more of an all-rounder, just as well being the only pub in the village.
I left Mrs RM with a pint of Boondoggle in a pleasant seated area next to the fire while I fetched the car, and got back an hour later just as she finished it (“Good”). A pub for CAMROT members.
The rain then descended, giving us a dreary view of the castle on the way back down to the A1. We both agreed to save Grantham for a special treat.
Belvoir is a reliable place for a decent pint and meal, but not a patch on Melton Mowbray, which needs an urgent revisit.