Obviously the number of pubs is largely incidental; completing the Beer Guide is all about finishing counties, then countries.  I only realised I was close to the 10k when I finally updated my GBG spreadsheet last week.

Excitingly, this minor landmark was in a place I’d never been before, that I’d always assumed was a hamlet a few miles off the A68 as it heads into the Scottish borders. That means I get to draw new pink lines on my trusty millennium Philip Navigator.  Big win.


Charles is a man of the world, coming from Dereham via Bathgate, and racked his brain for nuggets about Bellingham.

It rings a bell. Does it have a power station ?”

Not obviously.

That’s Billingham !”

The hamlet turned out to be a beautiful, bustling village with an improbable number of pubs, always a good sign.  We counted four, WhatPub shows three.  Five points if you can work out what’s happened to the Black Bull’s entry.


Charles was weighing up the merits of a walk along the Pennine way, having registered those four pubs, Chinese takeaway* and New Horizons gift shop.

Top graveyard too. I’d just started to read the 17th century headstones when Charles reminded me we were here to tick pubs.


A bit of a Beer Guide desert round here (bar the one five miles away), so it was important the Cheviot Hotel was open.

Not only open, but apparently almost never closed.

You know immediately when you’re in a gem, this one a cosy, unfussy place welcoming to all.  Only the presence of a large table of children playing cards (probably rummy) limited my photo taking.

There were nearly as many dogs, all of the well-behaved variety, as befits one of the cheeriest Sunday afternoon sessions for many years.

Charles debated beers with the jovial landlord.  He may even have asked for a sample; I disassociate myself from that crime against humanity.

And the beer was nectar. The Wylam Jakehead IPA perhaps the beer of the year.


Rather a shame, then, that I was driving, and had only a sip to make that judgement.  But, in truth, a smell was enough.  No doubt if I do ever complete the Beer Guide Mr Everitt will deem this cheating, but pubs are as much about rummy, flat caps, cross-breeds and hot nuts as beer.  The nuts were the pub snack of the decade.

What’s that at the front ?

Plenty of modern touches made this a very Mrs RM place (she was organising hustings back in Cambridge).

The “pis de résistance was, of course, the loos.


I now have enough toilet art material for three blogs, which I will leak (ha !) out over the next year. This is but a sample;


I could have stayed in there all day, but of course there are laws about that kind of thing.

I told the Landlord this was my 10,000th pub and he gave the only possible response;

This weekend ?”

A sort of classic, and not just for sentimental reasons.

* No curry house, but I bet they deliver from Hexham

14 thoughts on “GBG PUB No. 10,000 – A BELLINGHAM BEAUTY

  1. Congratulations on your 10,000th GBG pub- a triumph of dedication, perseverance and accurate recording. A good one too. Assume you headed a bit further north to another gem after that (guess that blog is in pending tray).


      1. Not as many as that – done 16,200 in total but haven’t got a system as good as yours that divides up GBG and non GBG entries without manually aggregating my annual counts. A quick look suggests just over 3k non GBG though some have come in since. Really struggling now – need 49 in 2017 GBG and just one in 2026 GBG (which wasn’t open when I went months ago). No visits to England planned until second half of June so stalled on those numbers. Still, it was a highly productive April and early May.


  2. 10K – Impressive! Well done.

    In no particular order: Off the beaten track Northumberland is a fantastic place, I’m surprised you didn’t venture to Once Brewed and The Twice Brewed Inn, just down the road from Belligham! We’re going up there in a couple of weeks so I might be tempted to veer off the Great North Road and have a look at this place.

    I’m guessing the problem with The Black Bull was either customers walking straight out into the road or alternatively customers (or possibly non customers) attempting to drive their vehicles straight into the pub?

    Keep on blogging mate, you are an inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done Martin in doing 10000 GBG pubs,that is quite a feat.
    I may have done a few GBG pubs over the years but probably done more Estate pubs and keg only pubs than GBG ones.
    I have always been interested in this pre emptive ticking,does this mean you could go into Legs in Ilkeston tomorrow and have hopefully a half of Doom Bar,then when it finally gets into the GBG in 2020 it then counts as a GBG pub done,or do you have to revisit it once in the GBG to say you have done it.


    1. Not only have you done more pubs, Alan, you’ve probably had more fun in those estate pubs !

      On pre-emptive pubs, it does mean that, but I’d only really go in a pub if someone told me I ought to. I just walked past that Draycott Tap and thought I ought to.


      1. yes i have in most estate pubs done,though i have done some really bad ones that nobody in their right mind would go in unless you lived on the estate they were on,the Highwoods in Mexborough visited 6th July 2013 was really bad, i have never tried to do a link before so i hope it as worked.

        I went to Guildford and Godmalding yesterday a birthday present from my wife a great day out and no estate pubs found which did not surprise me.


      2. The link works fine Alan. Some of those South Yorks estate pubs were good, but killed off by smoking ban (I’ve never smoked, but the ban did alienate the smokers).


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