And so, after a night at my regular Durham bolthole in Le Street, on to my final tick in that wonderful county.


I’m obliged to tell you that the best beer is to be found in the Station House in Durham, but frankly I don’t recall any cask calamities this year.

And the Baa bar was the best of the newbies.


The best of my readers will remember that a year ago Mrs RM and I stopped in Edmundbyers for gastro burgers (fewer calories) at the very lovely Punch Bowl, which lasted about 6 months in the GBG after our visit.

Back then I noticed the Baa in the former YHA, and could have done it there and then and saved myself this return trip.

NOT a YHA says WhatPub. Who is right ?

But Mrs RM would have had the benefit of the pint, and as I noted last year she was already “tipsy” and encouraging me to take photos of zebras by then.

Well,well. What a corker. Ignore the bouncers.

Turned to stone after asking for craft

I expected the sort of hipster hostel place you get in the Lakes, full of beardies and Brass Castle.


This had old walls, Old Boys and old favourites.

One beer is plenty

That’s what I like to see, one beer on” I said, a little too conspicuously.

We normally have another one on” said a quite brilliant but wary Landlord.

Cullercoats Polly Donkin, my research tells me. Wonderful, I say. Perfect temperature, rich, thick, complex. Beer of the month (NBSS 4).


No-one else was drinking it, of course.

The lads at the bar were engaged in a range of unfathomable conversations;

“Bob’s sister married Colm’s brother” . “Aye”

“There were cameras everywhere, but I were just borrowing them” .”Oh”

“He managed the fertiliser land docks in Dar Es Salaam” . “Eh ?”

Rather different to the bants in the Punch Bowl, to be frank.

Dar es Salaam’s first mention in a Durham GBG pub this year

Wonderful, though I felt a little left out perched in the corner.

“He’ll **** us up that Boris Becker”

“You mean Boris Johnson !”

I saw my chance.

“I’ll take Becker over Johnson as PM any day”

I didn’t hang around to gauge the response.


    1. “Former Youth Hostel Association building and now independent hostel” says WhatPub but although the YHA have sold the building it is still a Youth hostel as well as now being in the independent Hostel network – and that’s the same as Borth where I stayed last week and quite a few others.


  1. “Bob’s sister married Colm’s brother” . “Aye”

    A fairly common theme in the wilder parts of Durham where family trees often resemble venn diagrams…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That earthenware bottle of William Ross & Co must be no later than 1926 when they were taken over by Deuchars. I didn’t know that they had a very similar trademark to the big brewery we know and love in Wolverhampton.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww, shucks. We’ve got Polly Donkin on at the moment, as it happens, one of the very best dark beers available locally I reckon. Perhaps an odd choice if you’re only going to have one beer on, mind…

    I’ve not actually been in Baa, but next time I’m passing I’ll make sure to do so now it has the RM seal of approval! Also don’t forget to put your NBSS scores in!

    Liked by 1 person

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