Asked where my favourite part of the world was, I once replied “Powys“. Clearly misheard as the French capital, much embarrassment ensued.
Over time I’ve discovered the competing delights of Franconia, Ghent, Cleethorpes and Havana, but the area resignedly called “Mid-Wales” in the Beer Guide is still a Top 10 destination.
Right on Offa’s Dyke, I walked a bit of Hergest Ridge (a better album than Tubular Bells, folks). It looks nothing like Mike Oldfield’s photo.
The highlight of the area is Hergest Croft Gardens, but the rhododendrons are gone for this year, so I headed over the border to Old Radnor and the Harp.
The views aren’t bad here, either.
My meticulous records (and a dribble of pink on the Navigator) suggest a failed attempt to tick the Harp more than a decade ago, so I was delighted to see some signs of life at this remote Marches wonder.
The Harp does a fine balancing act of looking like a proper boozer for the handful of locals, rather than a gastropub. Looking at this, you could be in Bishops Castle.
A “Hobson’s Choice” (nearly), the Landlord called it. Not that long ago their Mild was willing the Champion Beer of Britain, now I never see it. But the Spire was immaculate (NBSS 4), clearly properly pulled through before opening time.
We chatted about nosey people (him and me), the Harp’s history and the rise of Robinsons cider. I don’t think he’d met Mike Oldfield in 1974.
I thought I was going to be the only custom, but at 12.15 groups of well-to-do gentlefolk started to appear, as if from the Lords pavilion. For a change, they knew exactly what to do in a pub.
I guess that’s what you’d expect in a pub with outdoor toilets.
Next stop, a hike up to see the famed “Water-break-it’s-neck Waterfall“, or” drizzle” as it is at the end of a dryish July. Still, scenery for London to die for.
And a sense of satisfaction that I didn’t break my own neck on the descent back down the mountain. A celebratory half was called for.
The Hundred House in Hundred House was clearly built especially to confuse BRAPA when he gets here in 2037, as he’ll surely end up in the pub of the same name in Bleddfa. If the chap below with the cloth cap isn’t in situ, you’re in the wrong pub, Si.
A curate’s egg, this. Very quiet, a couple of regulars and a couple of visitors, eating their toasties in silence (an instance where piped music would have helped).
And the beer range wouldn’t tempt you to stride out from Builth.
But the (just-pulled) Doom Bar was cool and chewy, whatever that means(NBSS 3.5), and the owners as cheery and welcoming as anywhere in England.
And that public bar looks just about perfect to me.