We arrived at the Poets Corner Ashover where we were delighted that the filthy northern habit of using a sparkler on the beer was not in place.

Tim had a great pint of Light Rale, a beer made in their own brewery, whilst Paul and I enjoyed a Poets Tipple and Richard and Mac an Oakham Baja. A delightful pub, but we were soon on our way to the Bear at Alderwasley. A very enthusiastic couple run this magnificent old pub and as in most of the pubs we visited an open fire greeted us. There were six great pints on the hand pumps. The Hartington Bitter went down really well and Tim particularly liked the Timothy Taylor Bitter.

The main feature of this trip was the “SatMac”… A device that does not exist, just Mac telling us he is not sure where we are going! We passed the same Morissons four times, before arriving at the Olde Gat Brassington. The sparkler was off and we all had an average pint of Jennings Little Gem. This pub is fabulous and boasts blazing fires, one in a 17th century kitchen range.

Time for more food and we were not disappointed with magnificent beef sandwiches at the Devonshire Arms Beeley. I went for Black Sheep whilst Paul opted for the Brother Rabbit by Thornbridge at 4%, and Mac went for the Chatsworth Gold. There were six real ales on offer including Theakstons.

So over to Castleton and the Olde Cheshire Cheese. This is where we had booked in for the night so we dropped our bags, had a pint of Acorn Barnsley Bitter and off to enjoy the evening. We had more of the same beers at the Bulls Head Fullow a very nicely appointed pub before the Monsal Head Hotel at Monsal Head where the bar is in a set of stables. The stables are eating areas that are named after horses and the food looked fantastic.

So back to Castleton for dinner and to watch the Red Lion on television. Another full English and it was off to Buxton for the morning, before Mac’s next selection, the Quiet Woman Earl Sterndale. This amazing old pub was like walking back in to the 1960s with a really great landlord. Budgies in the garden and Jack Russell terrier-dominated, the smell of the pub was really nostalgic and a real find. Richard and Julian particularly enjoyed the Jennings Mild. The Cock and Pullet at Sheldon was to be the next pub in this fantastic countryside. We were not disappointed with Black Sheep and again Hartington Bitter being the order of the day.

We ended up in the Yew Tree at Cauldon which was more like an antique shop than a pub. You would either love this pub or hate it. The toilets were less than hygienic, the lunch of sandwiches and pork pies was incredibly good, and the beer at £2.00 per pint nearly made up for the Burton Bridge being undrinkable! The following pint of Bass was much better, but the old memorabilia in this ancient old pub has to be seen to be believed.

So back to Cambridge and a thoroughly good trip was put to bed.

Jerry Brown jerrybrown77@hotmail.com