As I’m sure I’ve said before, it’s not that far to Yorkshire from Cambridge.  You can go county-to-county in 70 minutes, faster when they get round to bulldozing Elkesley. If there’s anyone reading this in the beer desert of  Elkesley I apologise; but 20 years of slowing to 50mph in order to “admire” your village drains the soul.

Folk in Cambridge don’t believe you can be in Durham in 3 hours, not much more than the slog up the A10 to Cromer on a bad day.

GBG pubs in east Durham seem to fall into four categories;

  • Micropubs (e.g.Green Hops in Billingham)
  • Wetherspoons  (e.g. Peterlee)
  • Unfussy dining pubs
  • Hartlepool’s very individual offer of basic boozers

Easington Village’s Half Moon is firmly in the 3rd camp, in a similarly unfussy part of the Colliery Coast, which I’ll admit doesn’t sound quite as compelling as the Lake District.


But I really rate the coastline up here, some gorgeous rocks turning to beaches on the stretch from Hartlepool to Roker.

The Half Moon is at the top of a pleasant hill that gives you views out to sea.  Notice the blue skies that you get up here all the time.  Sadly, the only visitors are indoors, buying Ben Sherman & Bench two miles up the A19 at the outlet centre.

There’s little to say about the Half Moon, and it’s not very often I say that. The Sunday lunch (£6.95) operation was in full swing, but I can’t even pretend there was condiment and cutlery drama.

Everyone was sensible and polite, unfortunately.  This is the only reliable outlet for real ale from Peterlee to the Spoons and Marstons at Seaham, and a choice of Doom Bar or Landlord isn’t going to draw out coachloads of CAMRA troublemakers from Newcastle and Hartlepool.


The Tim Taylors was good enough (NBSS 3), but in a year’s time I won’t remember coming here.

The little train (Tom will know the model number) up to Sunderland is always a delight, and enables the quickest route in and out of a Premiership ground anywhere.  Compare and contrast with the shambles at Stratford.

I was only here four months ago, but Sunderland always offers up new delights, including a rare sunny day to illuminate town centre treasures like these;


I’m moderating my intake due to revised Government guidelines, but I’d have loved to bring you a detailed review on the GBG pre-emptive below.  Perhaps Si can comment on its Real Ale Emporium status.

Josephs, I believe

I’ll spare any Sunderland supporters my take on the match, as they’re great fans, but their team made Aleks Kolarov look like the new Beckenbauer, which is some achievement. One of the finest individual performances of the season. Not that you’d know it reading the BBC report.

From Level 3 of the Stadium of Light to the station in 15 minutes, which could only mean a quick pint of Maxim in the William Jamieson.  There’s better looking pubs but you can always rely on a pint of Double Maxim in Spoons post-match (NBSS 3.5), and of course not using your Spoons vouchers up is a serious offence. 

What a head that is.


Please stay up Sunderland, you’re still a classic away trip.


  1. Actually your dynamic* CAMRA Durham troublemakers are having their branch meeting at the Half Moon on Tuesday. I’ve never been but will look forward to an NBSS 3 or above Landlord!


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