Tidworth 19 mile loop for pub dismay (and joy)   7 comments

2015-09-12 Tidworth loop map


This run merits its own write-up but there will still be a monthly synopsis.  I’m running behind on pub write-ups, too, so some of these will turn up in a week or so.


Boot Shipton Bellinger website hours


I called ahead on Thursday because I’ve been screwed by inaccurate websites before and I knew I could change my route if one or another 11 o’clock opening pubs no longer opened at 11. But, I got lucky with the Boot in Shipton Bellinger, only 4½ miles from my 10:45 am start in Tidworth:

“Hi, I’m stopping by Saturday. What time do you open?”
“Eleven for drinks, twelve for food.” Great, just like on the website!  It’s good to call ahead.

The mist was thick, the skies threatening to make it a proper rain, and there was a nip in the gusts of wind but I was already thinking about a nice stout or porter to make it worthwhile. Then, they stuck the Boot in:

Boot Shipton Bellinger closed

Of course, this will have no effect on the eventual review of this pub…besides, it is entirely my fault as I should have specified that “I’m stopping by Saturday” meant THIS Saturday and not some random one in the distant future.  No worries, I was running a bit behind and the Crown, a few miles away, was already supposed to be open:

Crown Cholderton website hours

So it was no surprise that the door was bolted as I jogged up at 11:59.  I wandered to the back to see if there was an entrance off the car park and, finding none, stopped in front to consult my map for the next stop.  Then, the door opened.  “It’s 12 o’clock, then?” I asked.  “Yes, we open at 12.”  Assholes.

CAMRA website hours for Shire Horse Grateley


I’m typing this with a badly swollen right pinky finger which I dislocated (then quickly popped back into place) after tripping over a vine on one of the trails leading away from the Crown.  So, I do 86 miles a couple weeks ago largely at night with 5 successful pub stops (and a bottle) and on uneven surfaces without incident.  Nine miles into this one I’ve done myself serious damage and all I had to show for it was a pint around sullen and rude attendants.  This day just gets better and better, I thought.

Shire Horse Grateley sign


I was actually looking forward to the next place, the Shire Horse, as it is a railway pub and situated on the edge of Palestine (Hampshire).  Or, should I say it was a railway pub as this unkempt garden with the playground stuff I saw at Dismaland was the only thing resembling a pub.  Through a window on the former bar I could see debris that used to be bar-like but the bartender at the Plough, a mile and a half later, confirmed the place has been closed for ages.

Shire Horse Grateley Dismaland

Spot the difference: at the Shire Horse and…


...and Dismaland

…and Dismaland

I am constantly correcting the CAMRA site for this sort of mistake which is fair enough as I’m probably the first person to use it for opening times or permanent closures, but you would think the local branches would take an interest.

The next two pubs actually were open (and one, the Welcome Stranger in Kimpton, was absolutely spectacular…watch for this pub write-up as we were entertained by a bagpiper and I snagged some video) and the run finished without further incident and with enough time (just) to grab a bit of cod as I rolled back into Tidworth.  19.4 miles on the day, longest since the Ridgeway.



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