April 2016 - Swineshead
Heather distributed information leaflets on Swineshead Abbey, the remains of the motte and bailey castle at The Manwar Ings, and of Swineshead public houses and hotels and brewers of a bygone age, and well before the usual photo shoot!
Heather then led off the fifteen (there would have been 17 but John and Keith were still cycling in) onto paths and tracks in a northerly loop. Frequent stops were made to admire the wild flowers en-route, primroses, bluebells (hybrid/ Spanish variety), borage, coltsfoot, a few remaining daffodils and with some trees and hedgerows in blossom, and with Heather providing a commentary at various key locations. On the corner of the main road where the farm shop has an outside green area a giant rabbit was seen - unfortunately captive in a not too large cage. Was this pet or lunch? Will we ever know?
Crossing the two main roads the party then found themselves back in the village and after boots and coats discarded, a welcome respite in the Pig & Whistle where an excellent range of ales were sampled. These included Banks Mild, Timothy Taylor Ram Tam (deliciously full bodied mild), Fullers Oliver's Island (a tasty golden glow), Black Sheep and Doom Bar. Keith and John had turned up earlier and were a pint or so in front. A bearded cyclist then arrived who, it transpired, had cycled from Hull and was a CAMRA member from North London. After a pint or so his next stop would be the Prior's Oven, Spalding, before cycling on to Whittlesey and the Letter B pub.
The Wheatsheaf was the lunching destination and the party assembled in the bar for Andwell Brewing Co.'s Gold Muddler (3.9%) and XB. Lunch was taken somewhat later where Heather was warmly toasted for making arrangements and leading the walk.