Yet another pub that isn’t in the GBG for you, just to show not ALL my trips are to dull tickers venues approved by the CAMRAs (joke, joke, don’t kick me off the GBG21 priority list).
James has been back from Sheffield, waiting to go back to Sheffield, for 3 months now. His mates in Waterbeach seem to consider a walk to the nearest post box a dangerous venture in 2020, never mind the sort of holiday you and I would have been contemplating at 21.
On Tuesday he finally agreed to come for a walk, “as long as it’s somewhere different“.
I just got in the car and drove, without a clue.
Oooh, Epping. Even better, Epping Forest.
Free parking within the M25, my sorta town.
No maps, no WiFi, no GBG pubs, and a recent unsolved murder which hung heavy in the air as we realised we were the only folk not at the Visitor Centre cafe.
What’s not to like ?
Even a scary dog with a passive aggressive owner.
X DO NOT CALL BY NAME
Grief, where are we ? (Essex ?).
Eventually I got enough signal to upload (download ?) a bit of OS, and realised we were on the edge of posh Loughton.
At least two regulars on Pub Twitter have asked me about Loughton, a perfectly pleasant Essex/London suburb close to Birds of a Feather and Grange Hill Land, but which has barely grazed the Guide. Ever.
Apart from that huge spread of green (the Forest really is vast) I recognised the Owl, a pub run by one of the giants of the campaign to help pubs through Covid,
Least I could do was stick a few quid in the Owl’s coffers on a quiet Thursday, I thought.
We loved the walks, the getting lost, the springy ground, the rude looking tree stumps, the signs to places you’ve never heard of.
We arrived at the Fox just after 1, to a full car park and the vast garden heaving with life. There must have been 80 people, gentlefolk and mums and toddlers, on a Thursday in September.
They must all be here for the McMullen AK Mild, I assumed, though the signage looked a little shy.
And the chap in the queue for bargain pub grub actually was, on a first visit from Dallas (as in 1pm) for 40 years.
A rare treat the AK, last seen in that odd McMullens pub near Leicester Square.
A superbly run pub coping with all that Covid throws at it. Well done Adam.
I think we may have been the only visitors who walked an hour to get there, though.