Day 4 of the Hadrian’s Wall Hop, and despite racking up 50 miles and visiting EVERY open pub between Carlisle and Twice Brewed*, I’d yet to achieve a GBG tick.

Meanwhile, in the South of England, BRAPA was amassing nearly as many likes as Guide pubs;

I needed a tick, and QUICK. I had a plan.

Having just arrived in Hexham, head straight back to the station, from whence a bumpy bus at 13:12 would whisk us from to Wark, where we’d spend 80 minutes in the drizzle, 10 minutes in the Battlesteads Hotel (which I’d had to book (BOO !) for 15:00 just for a beer), and then wait under the rusty bus shelter for 100 minutes till the bus returned us to civilisation at 16:51.

Of course, I didn’t give Mrs RM that level of detail.

But then, a stroke of fortune. I checked opening times a third time and opening had moved forward an hour. See, it’s not just micros. The downside was that would mean 160 minutes under a rusty bus shelter, I guess.

Two returns to Wark, please

Eh ?”

Er, Wawk ?” For goodness sake, the bus only stopped in 3 places and none of those sounded like Wark.

Oh, £10.40

“How DO YOU pronounce it then ?”


We were the only people to stay on that long, our other travelling companions leaving at boiled cabbage centre Acomb a mile up the road (they could have walked), and nearly forgot to press the button, which would have seen us whizzed all the way to the scene of my 10,000th tick as the driver wasn’t stopping on request.

At 13:49 we were seen off right outside the Battlesteads, looking as posh as it gets.

Phew. Got the right pub. Who is that scary person in the background ?

The door is open, as it’s a hotel targeting folk who like staring at empty skies. Bit like the Travelodge near Fenstanton then.

We’re early, but we press on into the heart of the bar, like some early 20th century explorers graverobbing a Pharoah’s tomb. I note the unique combinations of chair; pouffe, low back and high back. It may be the highlight of our trip.

A young barman appears and agrees to serve us even though he’s “setting up” (technical term). And (drum roll) he lets us look at the pump clips so we can choose the beer !

Quite how we go for the two that aren’t Jarl I’ll never know, but they’re both superb. Clear, cool and rick. NBSS 3.5/4. The chap used to work the Crown Posada, and knows his beer (I don’t confront him on their dropping of Bass).

Mrs RM can’t open her bag of crisps as “they’re Northumbrian“, an explanation that brooks no argument.

Suddenly, I realise it’s not yet even 14:10 and we’ve finished our pints.

Is it possible we could catch the14:16 that’ll be returning from Bellingham past our nose shortly.

Yes it is, and to Mrs RM intense annoyance I even sneak round the corner to get a pic of the Black and Grey Bulls side-by-side, closed for now.

We stand with comically outstretched arms at the bus stop, half fearing the driver would knock them off.

Going back already !” . I started to explain, but he wasn’t in the least interested. Mind, I pointed out some interesting Roman artefacts to Mrs RM on the journey back, but SHE wasn’t interested either.

*not as impressive as it sounds, but might make a good blog post series if I ever finish it.

6 thoughts on “ALL WARK, NO BULL

  1. I had a similar experience in Belgium when I travelled to a small village south of Brussels to visit my great uncle’s grave in the war cemetery there, catching a train and then a bus from the nearest town. I sat behind the driver and chatted to him in my schoolboy French as I didn’t want to miss the stop. After visiting the cemetery, there wasn’t anything else to do there so I walked back to the bus stop in plenty of time for the hourly return service. Of course it was a circular route and the same driver, who laughed when he opened the doors and saw me, the sole boarding passenger, just as I had been the only person to alight there an hour before.


    1. Yes I guessed that, Adrian. We were sticking to large breakfast, no lunch, large dinner on the trip.

      Actually, food service at Battlesteads didn’t start till 6, oddly, which is why we just booked for a beer earlier.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s