I know how some of you only live to see maps of Beer Guide counties covered in pink (rather than green), so here’s Northumberland.

And here’s what my rather battered GBG looks like with two/three/four/? weeks till GBG20 arrives in pristine condition.

One careful owner…

Elsdon is in the remotest bit of the county, making Rothbury look like a thriving metropolis. Which it is, compared to Bellingham, where you’ll remember I celebrated my 10,000th GBG tick in 2017.

Watch out for sheep

My first ever trip to the Simonside hills. Wiki tells me;

In Northumbrian folklore, malicious dwarves, often called duergar, are said to attack walkers in the hills or lead them astray, especially at night.

I think we all know where the “Simon” in Simonside comes from.

You had to be there

If you’re a malicious dwarf here your pub choices are a bit limited, but include those marvellous places in Bellingham and Greenhaugh.

Plenty of choice on the A68

Rambling a bit now, because I can’t tell you masses about Elsdon.

Oh, it has a massive village green.


I believe there’s a bigger one in Car Colston, go and check for yourself.

No cars, no people, no pub tickers desperate for a wee, no sign of the Bird in Bush and no WiFi.

This deserted building will surely be a micropub (or a BRAPA toilet) by the time of my next visit.

Wild flowers

I heard laughter and song and followed that crumbling path to a house with an open door, but it was just a birthday party (and not my birthday).

Then a mile away across the village green I saw the giant Opening Times sign.

Gosh, that’s unusually clear
Still looks closed though

A couple came out, so I walked in. It’s very much “Rescued village allrounder” rather than “Unspoilt basic boozer” or “Northumbrian destination pashmina gastro“.

Which is fine.

“My Name Is Dodo” still unexplained

The pub was closed for a while, a few years back, and now offers this remote village a range of banter, beer and (charity) boxes, so I’m not saying a word against it.

Charity boxes a good sign

But that beer was homebrew (OK) and the banter unintelligible.

It really needed a drunk 40 year old pub ticker from York to come in and trip over the darts mat on the way to the Gents, if I’m honest.



    1. Locals weren’t odd, perhaps disappointingly. It’s a long while since anyone stared when I came in. In fact I don’t seem to have taken any notes, presumably following the cricket.

      We need more gibbets.


  1. Is BRAPA going to update his GBG goal and add taking a wee on every train station in Great Britain? They will have to update that news feature done on him a while back…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My, how American road trips have changed since I first hitch-hiked as an innocent 18-year-old from New York to LA via a month picking tobacco in Canada.
    I had a rucksack, a tent, a paper map and a Union Jack. In those days most Americans had never met a Brit in real life and that flag draped over a rucksack got me dozens of rides.
    WW2 vets and fans of British TV and movies went out of their way to help, buying me hot meals and even paying for accommodation having taken pity on this mad Limey kid thumbing his way across their country.
    Except for those bastard Mormons in Salt Lake City who left me frying on a desert road for five hours before a travelling salesman from Houston took pity.
    There was no music to keep me company as the Sony Walkman ( kids & BRAPA – ask your parents ) hadn’t been invented.
    Neither had the internet or mobile phones.
    Once a week I’d shovel quarters into a phone box to let my parents know I hadn’t been abducted by the Interstate Strangler.
    I was thinking about this yesterday as we barreled along the Pacific Coast Highway heading past Big Sur going north in a huge SUV, our progress charted by Sat Nav, music on a 1,000 song memory stick, live WhatsApping with the kids and noting the total absence of hitchhikers.
    Not a single one in two days so far.It’s probably illegal anyway.
    Other things haven’t changed.
    Yanks are the most friendly and accommodating people.
    And they still love the Brits.
    Once they’ve figured out you’re not Australian.
    The barman at the 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall pub in Santa Cruz just north of Monterey last night loved English ale.
    ” You gotta try this new draft I’ve got in ”
    It was Old Speckled Hen on nitro.
    Terrible, obvs, but being a Brit I was too polite to disappoint him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. P P-T,
      I did quite a bit of hitch hiking in the 1970s but in Britain – such as up to Blackpool and Yorkshire and down to Penzance and Colchester.
      I would have given hitch hikers lifts after starting driving in 1992 but there aren’t any.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do see a few what I think are called “platers”, drivers needing a lift back after delivering a vehicle.

        The logistics of offering or asking for a lift are much more difficult these days, and of course you might inadvertently find yourself giving a lift to BRAPA.


      2. I last gave a hitcher a lift in 2006 or then abouts.

        I was approached at a filling station on the North Circ, by a sparky young woman in leathers. She must have thought that I looked harmless enough, I suppose. “Take it easy” she said when I dropped her off. I have done ever since.

        You don’t see thumbers though.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Seems like a lovely little village– looking at your photos, I can almost smell the fresh air.

    There can’t be anyone who gets more use out of each year’s GBG than a pub ticker. You and Simon’s copies look as if you’ve been using them for 10 years rather than just one.

    Was really hoping that “GENTLEMEN” photo would be captioned “Take Polaroids.” ๐Ÿ˜‰


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