(Adjective – indicating completion of Buckinghamshire Good Beer Guide entries)

Following the Good Beer Guide, rather than the advice of a mate as to the best pubs, certainly takes you on some lesser travelled roads.

GBG17 provides a rare excuse to visit the unknown land between Milton Keynes and Northampton. No, not Newport Pagnell, that’s the exciting bit.


It’s a land of (Grand Union) canals and (Salcey) forests, certainly, but very few new Beer Guide pubs.

My first stop however, was another  reminder of the perils of sloppy GBG ticking.  Blisworth is an attractive canal-side village, with the promise of a 10.30 opening at the Walnut Tree at the end of a drizzly walk along the Union.

I was ten yards from the door when I realised I’d been here not 18 months ago, but had failed to update my GBG spreadsheet. As I retraced my steps I noticed the calling card of the man who’s actually done the whole Beer Guide.

Mrs RM and I agree about a lot, but mostly we agree that canal holidays are a bad idea given my famed lack of patience (Sorry Peter).

But walking along canal paths has its merits, and the Grand Union seems to have acquired a fair few Beer Guide pubs recently.  Perhaps a consequence of old codgers like me and Mrs RM parking our campervans in places like Cosgrove, propping up beer turnover and quality out of season. And as we know, old folks are always drawn inexorably to water.

There’s a nice tunnel under the canal to the pub, but no tunnel art (apart from the unwanted liquid kind).


The Barley Mow is another impressive looking Everards pub (Tiger NBSS 3.5, beautifully presented), where they call you “Sir” but don’t ask if you’re dining.  The sole conversation seemed to be about Marmite.

That’s a thumbs-up for Northamptonshire, but a couple of miles north-east you slip into Milton Keynes territory, which is nice.

The Cock is one of those 4pm openers which is packed with locals by 4.10, all drinking Fosters, Bud and Guinness at the bar.  Everyone knew each other, and was catching up on each others tea arrangements. It’s a little bit of Feltham moved brick-by-brick to North Bucks. The windows (top) are their own, though.

What was the beer like ?  It was hard to get through to the bar to find out, but I eventually decided on the GK IPA as the most likely (sorry Wagtail).  It was very decent (NBSS 3), but I suspect the quality of the real ale won’t be switching many drinkers here off the Fosters, and why should it?  Good to see the local CAMRA picking pubs on quality rather than the number of pumps.


This was my last Beer Guide pub for Bucks, and one of my county favourites for its community spirit, decent beer and Chinese takeaway opposite.  I have simple tastes.

19 thoughts on “ALL BUCKED UP

      1. Very impressed! Just been to Fort William Spoons and one at Foyers (one I missed from last year). Very remote. 9 hours 300 miles and 1 pint and in heavy snow up there. Tough job this work

        Liked by 1 person

      2. With regards to “Nessie” (couldn’t reply to that particular post) I saw Nessie once after spending a lazy afternoon at Urquhart Castle back in 1980 drinking a few bottles of Old Peculier. 🙂


      3. No mocking intended. Old Peculier tasted pretty strong to me back then. Of course, that was before the craft explosion of DIPAs, Baltic Stouts and whatnot (in my part of Canada the “average” IPA is at least 6% ABV).


        Liked by 1 person

  1. Really like the shot of the canal. I am curious if many counties have a truly distinct character? I would have assumed this was a more general regional thing. If yes, is it a lot or a handful that you would characterize this way?


    1. Most counties have very different characteristics e.g. Cheshire ranges from the architectural marvels of Stockport to the grim realism of Chester, but you’d probably know you were in Rutland wherever you were !


  2. Do i take it Martin that you do not revisit GBG pubs each year,so for each county you have done GBG pubs over the years,you do not go in ones that have been in it for ages again,like the Star in Belgravia.
    Also interested how many GBG listed pubs you have been in,and do you list the crap ones on another spread sheet like Jaz Yorks or are they lost in the mists of time.
    I am now heading for over 12200 different pubs visited over the years,i never count a pub again if it changes name or is turned into a Wetherspoons or the like.


    1. I’ve done a lot less than you Alan !; 9,700 GBG pubs over the year (and bout 4,000 of the current Guide). I don’t list the ones that aren’t in the Guide, I probably should as Jaz Yorks is bound to get in there eventually (joke)

      Like Simon, I prefer pints, and 10 or so a week is my limit (I share pints with my wife when she comes with me).

      I will revisit pubs if I’m staying in a town and thought it was really good or bad (to see if I was unfair !). I’d go in the Bell regularly when I visited Nottingham, but it’s not what it was, sadly.


      1. Thats a really good amount of pubs done Martin,you may have done more than me if you count all keg only pubs and none beer guide pubs,you must have done a good amount of Cambridge’s pub stock for a start.
        Regarding The Bell,my guess is you miss the smoke in the back room when they have Jazz sessions on.


  3. I’m not sure whether you need patience to enjoy the canals, just an appreciation of a slower pace of life – maybe they’re the same thing.
    When our boat was moored down south we were regular (once a year) visitors to the Barley Mow, but our last visit was in 2001! I don’t recall it being an Everards pub back then (to be honest I don’t recall much about back then…unless I’ve got a photo!)


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