September 2012 - Campaigning Trip - Branch Southern Area
13 campaigners boarded the bus to travel to the southern part of the Fenland Branch area intent on collecting data, photos and hopefully some tasty ales, and spread the CAMRA word.
First stop was the New Saracens Head just before opening time but once inside there was the pleasant surprise of Thwaites Original. This traditional village pub was a drinking inn from 1850, and has been in the current family for 20 years. On then to Sutton Bridge where 4 pubs were surveyed including the Anchor which has been completely rebuilt and has been open just over a year and has a light wood interior which carries through to restaurant and function room; XB being the beer. The Riverside with its L shaped bar and large pub mirror of the same name has an unusual cellar bar in the depths of the building. Old Speckled Hen is on offer here. Apparently the Gathering, a rock and heavy metal themed pub, proved a bit of a revelation and as well as a bikers' pub had Sharpe's Doombar as its regular beer. The excellent fish & chips in Sutton Bridge were enjoyed by the party as they wended their way.
Long Sutton's Olde Ship Inn, by all accounts, won the "most attractive barmaid" accolade and was very keen to show off main features.... which included the low beamed ceiling and the history from 1690 - slightly older than the surveyor and the Adnams bitter and Old Speckled Hen. Gedney was the next port of call and the Old Black Lion had the best range of beers of the day with its Fugelestou Marsh Mild and Fulstow Common, and Oldershaws Newtons Drop.
Fleet Hargate's Bull Inn seems unaffected by time including the parrot and probably has more age old memorabilia than the rest of the pubs visited that day put together. Olde Trip beer was on form.
The Holbeach Hurn and the Rose & Crown provided their usual Elgoods Cambridge on gravity. The Swan at Moulton of GBG fame had 3 beers on including Bonkers Conkers which on microscopic examination of the pump clip revealed that it was brewed by Greengate - in other words GK - but nonetheless a tasty beer.
The last 2 pubs visited were Deers Leap (previously the Chequers) at Weston, another light wood interior with Adnams Broadside, and then the Bell Inn at Weston Hills with Bateman's Combined Harvest. This pub also houses the village shop and tearoom.
In all 14 pubs in 9 locations were checked out, information collected and photos taken - all of which will be included in the pub database. Thanks to Pat for arranging the coach, the excellent driver from Cockrams who patiently followed our itinerary, and to Malcolm who organised the running order, provided the data sheets and urged the imbibers into action with pen and paper.