The last few months have been a bit of a revelation in terms of rediscovering my own country.
Given my obsession with visiting every inch of the Navigator map over many years, it may seem unlikely I’d find anything new, but two months ago I hadn’t seen Bowes, or Loftus, or Cardigan. Or High Force waterfall.
Odd that, since my trips to find pubs closed around Barnard Castle and Middleton in Teesdale have become annual events. And I love this bit of Durham.
But despite there being a yo-yo GBG entry on the doorstep (taking your £1.50 entry fee), this was my first visit to our version of Victoria Falls (I’ve had keg Castle beer there).
Not as impressive then as it is after this week’s downpour, I guess, but still a place to contemplate life. Or something.
As ever, it looks betting on the official retiredmartin video.
High Force Hotel is one of the poshest places I’ve come across in the Guide.
Everyone is wearing tweed and a tie, even the girls, and I wonder for a moment if I’ve turned up at a private event and will get kicked out before getting my half.
“Are you one of the Raby staff ?” I was asked.
Duncan would have put on a posh Scottish accent and winged it. I owned that I wasn’t.
Still took my money, but didn’t ask if I was dining.
Only two beers, albeit boths with daft names. The Mithril Silverstone was (unexpectedly) good, a 3.5 sherbert of a beer.
I hid in the middle section of the pub, beautifully designed to recreate a rural Welsh boozer, and ignored the stares.