At the weekend I drove Mrs RM up to her office near Melrose.

Route to Melrose.PNG

I dare say this is the equivalent of the journey Russ makes to buy milk, and is certainly less than some people’s daily commute from Kettering to Cambridge along the A14.

I drove the stretch to lovely Chester-Le-Street Mrs RM kindly took over after that, maximising my new GBG ticks.  And Mrs RM’s driving isn’t as bad as you might think.

Perhaps with spare time she can knit a tapestry illustrating our journey and the various pub stops, loaning it to Scotland in exchange for £44 worth of deep-fried haggis.

What made Northallerton such an essential stop was the knowledge that BRAPA had been there the evening before.  In fact, if Simon wasn’t so litigious I’d be on his blog nicking photos like this;

Actually, that one is from the Pumpkin Café at York Station, probably a Si pre-emptive as CAMRA continue to relax the rules on “What is Real Ale” to include Tennents.

This is a solid blue-rinse town, generally resting on its laurels by virtue of being better than Thirsk, which hasn’t been that hard.  It even has a Betty’s Tea Shop, but then again there’ll no doubt be a Betty’s in Goole eventually as the venerable chain becomes the next Harry Ramsden.

Saturday afternoon sees the High Street bustling with a top street market selling parkins at a third of Betty’s prices, and socks.

Mrs RM popped in the venerable Barkers Department Store to buy gloves.  She’s a southern softie.


The pubs are all strung out along or just off the High Street, which helps Mrs RM’s feet.

Northallerton WhatPub.PNG
Northallerton fun town

As with Skipton, there’s plenty of attractive looking stone-built pubs serving the lunchtime shoppers, some of them overdoing the A-boards a bit.

Too many signs

More pubs than chain restaurants too, always the sign of a proper town.

Despite being hungry, we started at the Little Tanner, hidden down a scary alleyway. Because I like scary alleyways.

Weird fonts
The Tanner down there somewhere

Very much your archetypal micro-cum-bottle shop, the Tanner gave a characteristically cheery Yorkshire welcome that avoided the “Welcome to my little pub” routine (that was on the piano), and gave Mrs RM time to digest the beer and crisp menu.

Welcome to the Little Tanner

I diverted Mrs RM’s gaze away from the colourful display of strong beers.

The clock struck 2

A choice of 3 local beers suits me, so I bought Mrs RM the middle one, an appropriately named “Under the Thumb” by Three Brothers. “Mmm, that’s good” said Mrs RM.  A sip confirmed her judgement. NBSS 3.5.

Under the Thumb being poured for Mrs RM

Proper seating, improvised beermats, Piper’s marvellous crisps, the Rolling Stones, Led Zep and Dylan.  Perhaps a micro even our American readers could enjoy, then.

Pipers.  Unidentified flavour.

Some good non-beery domestic chat at the bar nearly prompted me to ask whether anyone had been traumatised by Simon’s visit the night before, but I didn’t want to re-open old wounds.

On an unrelated note, I can confirm the toilets were spotless.

On the way out, we met the bloke below.  He was looking for Brian.

Brian ?

Do ya know Brian ?”

Have you seen Brian ?”

Having established this wasn’t a Monty Python reference, we confirmed we hadn’t.

Round the corner to the Oddfellows

You can see from the clock that this was a flying visit.  We needed lunch. (tbc)







      1. Unfortunately Dry January has elevated me to a higher level of consciousness and understanding so I will treat that poke with a blunt stick with the contempt it deserves.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I like the the micro down the alleyway, though I suspect having doors at the front it is more like a corridor and not half as scary as you say (except for the Brian seeker of course – did you mis-hear him – he might have said BRAPA)).

    I’m just trying to understand the operational planning of a serious pub blogger…

    Are all the previous posts this week a record of your journey back from Melrose?
    Or have you just done a round Britain route which will get you back to Melrose for the weekend trip home?
    If not how will Mrs RM get home? Does that require another trip (on a different pub ticking route?
    Is toilet break planning as difficult as it sounds for pub bloggers?

    So many questions…
    I feel so inadequate stuck in my hermitage….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Planning !

      I’ve got posts on the stops in Durham and Melrose on the way up. I did a quick post when I stopped in that Durham family pub for a half on the way back, as I knew you’d all like the fluffy toy. Generally posts are sequential, but about a week behind, which is why I’m doing 2 a day at moment !

      Mrs RM got the train to Edinburgh and flew home yesterday.

      Toilet break planning is an art form 😉

      Brian/BRAPA – could be !

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Cask, Pipers and Dylan do make it attractive to us. Although, the first two being very important, it would depend on the pub itself. I am still contemplating on how I feel about that wall of bottles.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Only 27 but did walk 38 miles. 26 in London and 1 in Walton on Thames. I don’t know if you have done the latter (Weir) buts it’s 2.3 miles from the station. I expected a really upmarket pub as it’s on the Thames but it’s a bit scruffy, not in a bad way.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. 38 miles!! I can see I’m going to have to push the ‘just taking the dog out for a walk’ excuse to the absolute limit! Not sure the dog will be too keen either.

        I can see pub blogging becoming an olympic sport 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  3. “Perhaps a micro even our American readers could enjoy, then” –Interesting! Seems I’m not the only Yank to have my doubts about whether these micropubs can deliver the goods in terms of a pub experience. Actually, I’m coming around to the idea of them a bit, after reading the micropub chapter in Boak & Bailey’s book. A thriving, customer-filled micro is no doubt more of a pleasure to be in than a sad, empty traditional pub, no matter how nice the interior is.

    I’m an absolute sucker for narrow alleyways like that. Can’t bear to pass one by without going in to see what’s down there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really doubt that you, or Dick or Dave or Russ, would enjoy these micro pubs, I think North Americans rate the architectural side of our pubs so highly (which is why Sam Smiths are so revered).

      There really is no definitive answer to what makes a pub great. Even the best pubs could be a bit soulless if you’re the only customer, which is why it’s so interesting .that Duncan and Simon and I pretty much agree on pubs even though we visit at different times.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suspect it comes down to us North Americans having a slight prejudice against any place that looks so modern that we’ve already seen the same sort of thing right here in our own hometowns. It’s those 19th century pubs with exposed beams and old stone fireplaces and so forth that get me thinking, “Wow, must be magical just to step inside that place.”

        But with no customers, and a grumpy person behind the bar, not all that magical, I have no doubt!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agree with Mark we have enough “modern” shi…um, stuff, over here. But in a pinch a micro would certainly get a thumbs up if it met the beer bloggers union approval. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I wonder if Beermat, Duncan, Simon, Mudgie and Richard and me would have similar views on the same micro. The one I went to in Bolton (Bunbury’s) would really have split opinion with crying toddlers, domestic drama and bottle shop feel. I loved it (review to follow).


  4. “I dare say this is the equivalent of the journey Russ makes to buy milk,”

    You have me slightly confused with the plethora of family on my darling wife’s side. Some of them do indeed have to drive seven hours to see a dentist, or even a bank for some of them. As for groceries, unless it’s a small corner store then it’s back in the car for that seven hour ride.

    But then, it’s what you’re used to I guess. I know for hockey tournaments some of her relatives think nothing of doing that seven hour drive each way for a weekend. That’s pushing a bit for me. 😉


    Liked by 1 person

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