WARNING : Contains yet more of me wittering on about THAT day.

10th September 2022. A momentous day that your grandchildren will surely be taught about alongside 13/05/12, 04/07/20 , 00/00/00 and 22/12/64. The day Retired Martin completed the Good Beer Guide.

In 1966, England won the World Cup. A year later the Scots became the new World Champions at Wembley;

Half a century later another famed Scotsman became the first person in history to complete a current GBG, prompting a range of marmalade to be named in his honour.

As I stood on the dock at Tingwall that morning waiting for the ferry to Rousay, I felt the weight of the nation, or at least the considerable weight of the half dozen other Guide completists, on my shoulders.

Look ! You can see the Taversoe from the dock*.

35 minutes across the water lies the madman the final piece in a 28 year jigsaw, and Mrs RM had made sure nothing could go wrong.

TWICE she had phoned the Taversoe that week to ask “Will you be open on Saturday“, after dire warnings that Scottish winter starts on 1 September and they only open for haggis shooting parties.

Twice wasn’t enough; I phoned myself and made a table reservation for lunch (shoot me now), surely the landlady wouldn’t be closed now we’d booked.

I only knew one other person who’d made the perilous journeys to Rousay and he spoke of strikes, random cancelations for storms and the absolute necessity of having a booking.

I did have a booking, but checked it thrice.

10:30 passed. There was no-one around, no sign of a boat.

Then a German turned up, and parked at the head of the queue after getting annoyed with a sailing boat hogging his lane.

Ten minutes later, the Germans realised with some dismay that we were all reversing on to our vessel and he’d be LAST on, and force to park at a 45 degree angle. I’d never have managed that manoeuvre in the campervan.

On Rousay I took the extraordinary decision to do a circuit of the island, rather than heading straight to the Taversoe for their promised 11am opening (it actually opened at noon).

A half hour round trip, pausing to feign interest in the Wasbister cemetery,

and the Midhowe Broch.

I had time to visit the burial chamber, but Mrs RM was adamant I wasn’t straining an ankle running down that hill as I approached the finish line.

Five minutes later at the Taversoe I became an emotional wreck, initially forgetting to take a photo of the actual pub** and completely mucking up an attempt to show my fellow GBG tickers the pub by pointing the camera at my knees.

Never mind. You know how this ends, but here’s another photo from the Taversoe’s walls.

And here’s the view from the window. Had worse.

I was reminiscing about this moment with Simon on Saturday. To be honest was glad there were no cameras, no-one expecting me, just happy that Mrs RM was there, and that our ferry didn’t end up looking like the ships scuttled in Scapa Flow.

The line of shipwrecks viewed from the causeway (the Churchill Barriers) as we headed home was, perhaps, the most memorable sight of all.

*Not really, it’s the secret micro on Gairsay.

** Here’s some lovely photos from John…


  1. A fantastic place to finish your magnificent achievement. Your auditors report that, over the duration of your mission, you consumed 4.213 pints of Doom Bar and destroyed 628 pot plants. It’s not compulsory to do the next edition(s), it just feels like it. PS Sarah Brightman said her ferry was cancelled so she missed you by a couple of hours.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m still cross-checking 2022 to 2023, Duncan, as there’s so many pubs with changed names and GBG addresses. But it looks like I’d need 400+ pubs to repeat the completion, which is more than you. That suggests quite a few pubs have returned to the Guide after a long absence.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Quite a few have come back after many years, which is good, but we are seeing much higher numbers of closures than ever before. In fact more closures than I’ve managed ticks so far.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You’d know more than I would, but the number of closures seemed lower last GBG than before. Perhaps that’s because I was focused on the fate of the 576 I did, rather than the whole book.

        Quite a few closures this year are brewery taps and small pubs started in the last 2 years, aren’t they ?

        Liked by 1 person

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