The travel needed for new GBG ticks continues to rise. This weekend we’re taking the campervan into Kent (two hours) for three Thanet ticks (guess what those are), then another two hours westward into Worcestershire, where avoiding the Cheltenham Festival crowd is the priority.
Occasionally you need to stay closer to home. Which means the occasional foray into the dullands (Springsteen reference, probably) of rural Cambridgeshire. I do it so you don’t have to etc etc. The art today might give a clue as to the state of my beloved Millennium Edition Philip Navigator.
The landscape round Conington is changing, literally, as the groundworks for the new A14 kick off, as I mentioned in Fenstanton last month.
Those groundworks for the new A14 are rather more thrilling than the walks between the posh villages of Conington and Elsworth, but Mrs RM knows the 5 miles walked = 1 pint earned equation as well as anyone. It’s just her miles are shorter than mine.
By far the highlight of the walk was Mrs RM’s scramble down the side of Elsworth Reservoir (invisible on the map) which would have earned me £50 from Beadle’s About in 1999 if I’d been quicker on the record button.
Elsworth has a couple of gastro-pubs that would have made a good stop, if pubs did the decent thing and opened before noon, but we timed the walk back along the usual Cambridgeshire potholed lane to coincide with the opening of the White Swan. Just as well for the sake of Mrs RM’s “comfort needs“. Obviously Mr RM can resolve his “comfort needs” by going behind a hedge and alarming baby lambs.
Here’s a picture of some baby lambs making an unusually early appearance in Spring;
No lamb cutlets on the menu at the White Swan , which has been in and out of the Guide over the last decade before escaping Greene King control and becoming a regular.
In fact, no food at all on Tuesdays, which made the busy front bar a bit of a welcome surprise. The barman was quick to warn us of the lack of grub before pouring the Adnams, though of course when you have Pipers what other sustenance do you need ? Cambridge Services is 2 minutes away, unless you’re walking, when it’s not.
Only 150 folk in this dormitory village, and ten of them drinking on a Tuesday lunchtime is a decent ratio.
This is a classic all-rounder run by a local, with a touch of the mighty Queen’s Head at Newton about it, which is a high compliment.
Among several merits, all-day opening and gravity dispense figure highly on my list of pub ideals. You can see from the photo above that you can still get a decent head without a sparkler.
The White Swan isn’t the first pub from round here to escape Greene King and then seem dominated by Adnams, but Mrs RM’s standard Bitter was as cool and tasty as I’ve had outside of Newton or the Castle Inn (NBSS 3.5).
Some interesting seating here. A few regulars were lined along the bar on low bar stools when we arrived in that way that can put off visitors, but the trad seating is clearly more comfortable.
Mrs Retired Martin wishes to acknowledge the restorative powers of Pipers Chorizo crisps. Shame the tomato ones were temporarily out-of-stock.