STILL on the great West Scotland Wander of a fortnight ago, I pause to congratulate Duncan on his excellent driving and commentary on the lesser-known Rural Killie Pub Krawl.

With limited underground stations or landing spaces for private jets, pubbing in North Ayrshire is a challenge.

You can see the success of my late August raid on Burns country.


Many of Burns’s poems describe his own ticking travails. See: “Up In The Morning Early”, which describes his failed attempt to reach the Cambuslang Spoons for 9am.

Duncan, of course, is supreme when it comes to an early start.  Either to tick micros in Goole, watch his beloved Reading, seen here employing typical Championship 1-10-0 tactics away at Hull,


or hunting down rare brews from what he calls “Britain’s most misunderstood traditional brewer“.


All from his underground hermetically sealed home near Carluke.

The ticking community understands the importance of sharing driving duties when we go to less developed parts of the UK like West Wales, Huntingdonshire, and North London, and we even have our official song of praise for the DES.

“Sing Blue Silver” we sing, six pubs to the wind.

Historic GBG route

Anyway, back to Wednesday lunchtime in rural Scotland, and a busy “pub”.

“It’s a bit posh”

Johnny Souter’s is in National Trust territory, and is basically a restaurant with a couple of high tables for drinkers to enjoy the homebrew.  At £2.45 a half. It was the 5p that hurt. I was even given a receipt.

The only excitement (unless you count Billy Joel’s “Still Rock & Roll to me” ) comes from hearing retired gentlefolk making complex ice cream orders.  Not Sam Smiths, then.

Posh diner
Frothy head

In its defence, a beer vigorously pulled through before serving, and tasty once over the over chilling.  NBSS 3, and I wasn’t inclined to be generous.

Best not to complain, as these death masks of earlier tickers shows.

That’ll teach you to ask for a taster

A journey through mining villages and wild heather followed, leading to another beatiful looking pub in Kirkmichael.

Love that green

Duncan popped in for a comfort stop, I bought and tipped a half of Kelburn (NBSS 1.5), and decided a Mars Bar would be a good idea.  No time to deep fry it though.

And so to Sorn.

More eponymous pubs
Rare Tennents/charity box mash-up

Duncan’s lunch recommendation, and one of his best ideas on a day of good ideas.

Curried chicken goujons and an OK half of Corncrake in a village pub with a really cheery barmaid.


But again no lunchtime trade except us.

Never mind, Kilmarnock awaited.  They know how to drink there, surely ?


8 thoughts on “THE CHAUFFEUR

  1. “With limited underground stations” suggests a similarity to Staffordshire.
    I remember many years ago form filling for a pub guide, some variant of the GBG, and one of the spaces needing filling in was “Nearest underground station” so I diligently put “Chesham” for my branch’s pubs but that wasn’t included.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I walked past the HS2 works and the demolished Bree Louise last night, on the way to the Exmouth Arms.

      I was tempted to ask the guard if he’d divert the track to High Offley if I slipped him a tenner.


      1. But with the Fradley Spur HS2 will get you from Euston to Stafford in 53 minutes.
        The time saved will mean not only two Stafford GBG ticks but also Wadworths in the Anchor and a curry in the Morris Man.

        Liked by 1 person

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