Last night’s Government Briefing heralded a new dawn for GBG tickers (if there’s any pubs left to tick in 2024) with the announcement of the dual-carriaging of the A66 between Scotch Corner and Penrith.
I reckon that’ll save another 9 minutes off future journeys into western Scotland and the Lakes, which along with the improved A14 should mean I can get to my next Scottish Guide pub before I actually leave home soon.
Sadly, the UK media isn’t interested in good news, and are only interested in the car journeys of this demonised middle manager*;
Yesterday the UK was gripped by conspiracy fever, unable to grasp that the lack of “Dominic Cummings” on Twitter Trends is because they can’t spell “Dominik”, or “Cummins”, or that sticking offensive slogans in your hashtag tends to be counterproductive.
This morning it’s Barnard Castle that’s trending.
I guarantee you that the 99% of the public who have not a clue who Mr Cummings is, bar that portrayal by Cumberbatch on the BBC film, couldn’t place Barnard Castle on a map either. They probably think it’s where BRAPA’s dad lives.
A bit like Clitheroe, or Glossop, or Hay, it’s a little treasure, somewhere to make a 20 mile detour to and waste an afternoon.
Best known for Bowes Museum, whose annual pass remains in my wallet but now seems a bit pointless, but at least I got to see the two-headed calf once.
The castle is just the right side of ruins.
You can see the town in an hour, but if there were any decent cheap B & B options (there aren’t) I’d stay the night and get p****d with Middlesbrough fans in the Proper Pubs like the Three Horseshoes.
You could rustle me up a Chinese takeaway recommendation while you’re at it.
Barnard feels more like affluent Yorkshire (Richmond, Thirsk) than the gritty but pretty Durham to the north.
The holy trinity of town centre shops is still here; antiques, Heron Foods, Fox & Field country sports.
Everytime I go I sense it’s on the cusp of becoming the next Hebden, which is a bit unrealistic for a town the size of Waterbeach.
Last time here the micropub was the star, and you’ll know how hard it is to admit that.
Proper Pub, just small. I got a nod of appreciation when I chose the local Tirril Brown Ale, which was rich and smooth and superb (NBSS 3.5+).
They doubted my story that I’ve travelled up from Cambridge to visit their pub, so I claimed to be a weirdo who likes Bass memorabilia, which doesn’t sound much better.
“Nice to meet ya” they called, as I left. I believe they meant it too. Lovely folk.
The town seems to get a new “solid town local” in the Guide each year or so, and in 2017 it was the turn of the Golden Lion.
I do like town centre Marston pubs; look at that lovely glop of Pedigree.
It was gorgeous (NBSS 3.5), surviving our latest mini heatwave surprisingly well. A small scale food trade, but really this is one for the professional drinkers, who treated me to a political analysis that would have persuaded you to changed your vote, either way (unless you had Lord Buckethead to vote for, of course).
And because I know some of you have gone teetotal over the Lockdown, let me recommend the coffee (and free biscuit) in the Coach & Horses.
But if the coffee is on the turn you can go for Banks’s Amber instead. In fact you probably should.
*There are accountants at the BBC who earn more than Mr Cummings.