Unless you’re a GBG ticker or actually live there, I’ll bet you’ve never heard of High Spen, home of my last Tyne & Wear tick for 2019.

Pink marker beats green every times

Tyne & Wear is basically 90% Newcastle and Sunderland, but the micro explosion means you get one newbie in the middle of nowhere each year.

The best I can do to describe High Spen is by saying it’s in the old mining area west of Beamish.

High Spen
Possibly helpful OS map

I told you earlier that this country never fails to astound me, and High Spen (2018 tourists Nil) looked astonishing an hour before the pub opened,


Of course, this is the place where Neighbours was filmed when it got too expensive to produce the programme in Melbourne.


I bought a coronation chicken and Eccles cakes from the bakery. Both were astoundingly good, though the Eccles cakes were baked in St Neots in Cambridgeshire, weirdly.

High Spen’s attractions fall into a compact area along the B6315.

Miners houses
Weird fonts as the vintage store

You never know what to expects in micropubs these days.

I bet you can’t make much of a judgement from this photo, either.

High table hell, or quirky heaven

I was a big fan of Federation beers in the ’90s, so it works for me.

The landlady is welcoming and chatty.

“How are you,my darling ?”

“What beer should I have then ?”

“Well the Olde Potting Shed is made next door, can’t go wrong with that”


And she was right. It may have been homebrew, but it was marvellous homebrew.

Cool, rich, tasty, NBSS 3.5

The landlady had relocated from the real ale hotbed of Glenrothes. I didn’t show her my blog post from the Brewer’s Fayre last year.

She was great, and the other customer, a chatty young lady, took me into her confidence about her sibling issues.

Really, some of these recent micropubs are quite wonderful. Particularly the ones run by women and welcoming folk who don’t drink beer.

Maybe they are the future.



  1. That old ‘Newcastle Brown and Amber Ales’ sign reminds me of having an under age pint bottle of Newcastle Amber Ale in Lichfield’s Kings Head so all these ‘Amber’ beers are nothing new.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. β€œmy last GBG tick for 2019” ?
    How can you take a break from a PERMANENT exploration of places, pubs, people and new music ?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve heard of High Spen. I believe it is a County Durham mining town. I am neither a pub ticker nor, unless someone has kidnapped me without informing me, do I live there. Do I get a bonus point?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most people living in the North East have never heard of the place. People living in the other side of Newcastle have never heard of it. You get your bonus point.


  4. Yipee. The bonus points mean a lot to me. I previously only had -2 bonus points. I just need 20 more now to get to 20.

    Swansea was ace. Top curry house. It was raining.

    Liked by 1 person

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