A walk on the wild side. Or at least as far as a Greater Manchester bus saver will take you. That meant relying on the not so reliable hourly bus service. But we were yet to learn that lesson and so we kicked off in an old friend-the White Horse at Edgworth. This used to be a popular haunt in the days when Bolton had later licensing than Bury and still remains a good pub.
No sign of the bus, so we decided to walk to the official start of the crawl-the Chetham Arms at Turton, some 1.2 miles distance away. En route we found time to call at the rather good Black Bull, but somehow managed to avoid sampling the JW Lees that was one of the choices on the bar.
The Chetham is one of four pubs in the Welcome Taverns group. They are developing a reputation for taking on underperforming pubs, increasing the real ale range and putting in a quality food operation. It had five cask beers on, but was quiet. Presumably because not many people dine out in the afternoon, but save themselves for Saturday night.
Walking down to Bromley Cross and the Railway Hotel took slightly longer-it is about 1.7 miles after all, but there are public houses in the vicinity to distract you, should you be that way inclined.
Time for a bus ride and then a short walk to the Thomas Egerton, taking in the Masons and some Theakstons on the way. The Thomas Egerton is another Welcome pub with one large front room, divided into distinct drinking areas and a small back dining room. A tempting menu was complemented by four ales. Of which Moorhouses and Brakespear were tried.
Back on the bus for the short journey to the Brew House. This is Welcome’s flagship pub and brews on site. On previous visits there have been three of their own beers on, but on Saturday there were five, including a rather pleasant low-strength wheat beer. They have a well deserved reputation for good food-the fish (with homemade tartar sauce) and (real) chips are hard to beat, but on this occasion I went for the Cheese & Onion Pie which proved also very good.
Afternoon had become mid evening, but there was just time for one last call, and some shelter from the now heavy rain, in the Brierfield. This was the only disappointment of the day-completely lacking in atmosphere and with two pumpclips turned round, only offering Old Speckled Hen. Very poor for a Saturday night.
Back in Bury, I spotted a familiar face whispering sweet revolutionary nothings to his beloved in the candlelit dim of Automatic. Yes, local celebrity Joe Stalin was in. He invited me to join them for a discussion on the ramifications of the Second Soviet Congress, but sadly I was needed elsewhere. Maybe next time.