It doesn’t take long to complete Rutland‘s Beer Guide contingent – seven pubs is par for the course. This year, as the County turns 18, it does at least get its own page, but I’m not sure the Leicestershire section is losing any classics.
I guess I’ve been to most of Rutland’s 50-odd pubs (virtually all “real”) over the last 25 years, as they’ve tended to all get a crack at the Guide. Four out of the seven are new this year, and the Wetherspoons in Oakham should/could provide another new entry next year.
Only a couple of pubs are worth a long journey (see below), but the quality of beer and food in very consistent, particularly in the villages round The Water. North-West London beyond Highgate could only dream of beer quality this high (Spoons apart).
Although it’s been a bit dreich today (I can use the Scots as I was close to Corby), it stayed dry enough for a 9 miler from Lyddington into the Welland Valley. That village contains some of the most gorgeous sandstone buildings anywhere, English Heritage’s Bede House and a couple of smart looking pubs.
The White Hart is straight out of the Sunday Supplements, but has a good range of seating, fires and a restaurant area clearly delineated. The Nene Valley is, unfortunately, as warm as the welcome – NBSS 2.5. That’s a bit of a theme in Rutland – clinging to the John Major ideal of beer. That and an unshakeable affection for Greene King IPA.
I’m undecided on the labelling for the toilets (clearly they’re not called that here) :-
The walk itself is more stretching than you’d expect, with some good views towards the Ketton Cement Works, and almost no traffic, which is just as well given the state of the footpaths. Lot’s of sheep to stare at.
The two Brewery taps in Oakham are lively enough, but my Rutland pub choice would be the Green Dragon in Ryhall near Stamford. The public bar has a basic village pub feel that was hugely enjoyable, as was the Oakham (NBSS 3.5), when we visited last month. A lot of beer was being sold mid-week too, with a pizza menu firmly in its secondary place.
Rutland is as reliable as ever for pub-diners, and most of the villages seem to be clinging on to their pub; I guess there’s fewer smokers to alienate to start with.