Mrs RM is in training for a mammoth walk in Kerry at Easter; the Dublin trip last month will be sufficient training for the pubs.
There’s not much opportunity for exertion in Cambridge; our castle mound stretches to 10 metres, though it compensates by proximity to pubs.
The best the county has to offer is Devils Dyke, a seven mile long earthwork at its best near Burwell, home to the quintessential Greene King village boozer that will never grace the GBG. Perhaps we’ll go in there again one day.
There’s also a frisson of excitement half-way to Newmarket as you spot sheep on either side. A few years ago a large ram standing in the middle of the footpath below attacked me without provocation (Mrs RM did shout Lamb Tikka at it to be fair). I had a bruised lower back for several weeks, a bruised ego for months.
Inevitably by the time we’d reached the A14 flyover we were looking for lunch, which meant a detour to Exning, home of racehorse trainers, three pubs and Pat’s pancakes.
We were just too soon for the pancakes, but the White Horse opened on the dot of noon. As so often the case, there were already a group of locals at the bar.
They were very friendly, parting to allow us to see the bar, and keen to recommend the “proper” beers. With two of them drinking from sparkling Draught Bass glasses, I scoured the bar in vain for the red triangle.
The area bounded by Ely, Cambridge and Newmarket isn’t a treasure trove of pubs, and the White Horse probably wouldn’t be on the radar in, say, Manchester with a range of boring brown bitters like Bombardier, Directors and the Rev James we were recommended.
But luckily the GBG is a measure of quality, not range, and Mrs RM raved about her Rev. As did I (NBSS 3.5). Tomato flavour crisps from Pipers, who really ought to sponsor me.
A landlord who can keep beer, and a very mixed lunchtime crowd who drink it, is a happy combination. There were ten of us in by a quarter past, mostly on the cask. That’s how you keep pubs open weekdays. I hope none of the young lads were planning on driving their racehorses that afternoon(joking).
Mrs RM noted the use of wood, I noted the use of Springsteen (“Brilliant Disguise”, a personal favourite), we both noted the “Blokes” and “Babes” signs on the toilet doors.
No-one seemed surprised when I photographed the wall either.
As cosy and cheery a pub as you could hope for, particularly if the Bass comes back.
You’d have thought the Pipers would have been enough, but we then shared a giant bag of chips from Rumbles takeaway sitting on a park bench. Life gets no better. The less said about the walk back along the verge of the B1103, the better.
Oh, and the outside smoking area at the White Horse is a gem too.