Middlesbrough is only a three hour drive from Cambridge. Speaking to folk here you’d think it was a different country or something. It takes two hours to get to Blakeney on the Norfolk coast.
Some members of our family can’t last three hours though, and need a stop on the A1. I wrote last year about the closure of pretty much all roadside pubs between London and Newcastle, and the other dining options are grim.
The Blue Cow at South Witham, close to the garden at Woolsthorpe where Newton saw the apple drop, is our new default A1 stop.
Very definitely a South Lincs rather than Rutland pub, it’s basic and unpretentious. A group of Polish visitors were enjoying cards and trencherman portions of home-cooked food when we tipped up.
We enjoyed the lack of formality, cosy but simple rooms, and some good pies and veggie dishes for £8 each from a non-laminated menu, served at just the right interval to imply home cooking. The chap doing all the work was friendly and funny too.
I vaguely recall staying here in the ’90s when it’s home brew was enough to ensure Beer Guide entries on a regular basis, and you can still stay here at the same price as the A1 Travelodge, which is rare.
The beer is a mix of the well-known (Doom Bar and Black Sheep) and the local (Milestone and a home-brew). Mrs RM reported the Milestone as very good (ten minutes start to finish), but I didn’t let her have a second one. The locals in the two bars were exercising no such restraint.
The roadside pub survives.
This pub is in Grantham CAMRA branch. It’s very hard finding out anything about it on the web, with WhatPub details taken straight from the pub’s website. Just shows the benefit of an active branch with enough time to keep WhatPub up to date.