The M54/A5/A458 is my friend at the moment. Four trips into Montgomeryshire this Summer as I make inroads into Wales and it’s holding up well, despite the best efforts of V Festival and escapee sheep.
A quick detour to finish off southern Shropshire (sorry, Salop) provided a good comparison with Wales. The Red Lion in Longden Common is very much on the edge of the Shropshire Hills rather than in the hear of them. The sights are pleasant (especially if you come from the Fens) but inessential. Stiperstones and Bridges feel a world away.
A walk to the end of the lane and back was a bit like walking in Huntingdonshire, well-signposted but with not much to signpost. The two disused shafts, and the Long Mynd itself, remained tantalisingly out of view.
But the pub itself was pleasant in a good way, just managing to avoid looking like a restaurant. A friendly management team as well, that might just feature in Simon’s end-of-year BRAPA awards if he ever gets here.
For about the 90th time in the last 100 pub visits, I was the only (and first) customer, and I hope they got busier later on Sunday, as their opening hours are limited.
They brew their own beer, and the Shropshire Brewing Golden Arrow was a very decent pale ale with a bit of body to it (NBSS 3). Homebrew also meant a competitive £1.45 a half, but I doubt you’re going to be cycling here from Shrewsbury for cheap beer.
Just over the Mid Wales/Powys/Montgomeryshire border you get Welsh cakes in the petrol station, proper hills and even more annoying opening hours.
I’d failed to get into the Criggion’s Lord Rodney in July due to the pub calling time on weekday lunchtime opening.
No such problem for Mr Everitt last week, even with an injured parent (that family seems to have a lot of leg injuries, doesn’t it ?). I don’t think he warmed up for it with a scramble up to Admiral Rodney’s Pillar though. It’s a great walk up but the descent was terrifyingly steep.
The sheep weren’t very photogenic. The pub was, but I think Simon got the killer shot. It was doing great business with gentle folk, fully booked for a traditional Sunday lunch, though seemingly able to fit in takers for “basket meals”. It’s 30 years since I had a basket meal.
The chap in front of me had a Battlefield Gold, so I followed his lead. It was nicely cool (NBSS 3), but again I wished I’d gone for the Salopian.
The Beer Garden is idiosyncratic, but the views are superlative.