Back from Wark (I think it’s still Friday), via the wonderful looking pubs of Acomb and Humshaugh, where Mrs RM had kindly acted as my DES 3 years ago when she did a stint working up the A68 in Scottish Borders Council.

Being a kindly person, I let her have an hour recovering in the Station Inn (A) munching the shortbreads while I explored Hexham (C – the pub).

I was interested to see what the Trailblazer guide (modelled here by Baa Baa) to the Wall recommended here.

Seen worse. The Spoons, the Proper Pub, and the Gastro. Simon HATED Heart of Northumberland, and I hadn’t liked it much either in 2018, so I booked a table for dinner to give it a second chance. I’m all heart (of Northumberland)

I reckon I’d been to Hexham (pop. 11,830 souls) half a dozen times before, often for endless refills of Pike Place at the Starbucks just off the A69, and never quite got it. It regularly wins polls on Mumsnet called “The Best Place You Could Tolerable Live If You Were Forced To Go NORTH“.

It has colourful buildings,

a famous abbey,

Photo : Tim Rogers

a Caffe Nero, and Englebert LPs for a quid.

For a town of less than 12,000 it’s got quite a lively shopping area and 14 What Pub entries, but none of the ones I’d been to had ever seemed particularly pubby.

After a flat white in Nero’s I went in search of Proper Pub (by the by, that’s the wrong way to do it if you’re minimising loo trips).

Then I stumbled on this one.

Golly. Why had no-one told me about the Grapes, taunting me with its Portsmouth style tiling and etched windows.

What Pub threatened a Cullercoats handpump, but it was worth a look, as Craft Union pubs have become a bastion of proper beer.

And inside, winking at me, was a solitary Doom Bar badge.

Sadly, the pub was “rammed”, as the media would have it, so I can’t give you the NBSS score or the banter you crave.

But keep reading…


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