A - Z Pub Challenge

Those of you who have viewed this site for some time will know that back in 2011 and 2012 I attempted to do an A-Z Pub Challenge. You will also know that I didn't succeed on either attempt. 2017 will see me try and crack this one for the third time of asking!

So what's involved. OK, it's nice and simple, I guess. I aim to complete the alphabet using pub names, though its agreed that there are some letters that simply don't have pubs which used them, X being one. I aim to visit the various English and Welsh counties and have my scooter photographed outside them to show where I've been and to provide a record that they have been visited.

The only main rule in this challenge is that it's one letter and one county. For example if I visit the Black Horse in Foxton (Leicestershire) that's the letter B (the word The isn't counted) and the county of Leicestershire used up. So, no more pubs beginning with B and no more in Leicestershire.

I guess it sounds simple, but in reality its not. As I've seen in the past 2 attempts, I can travel hundreds of miles for a couple of letters. But then that's the fun of it, being out and about on the scooter.

I've found a current list of British counties and will start logging where I've been once I get the first run under my belt - watch this space!

Update No 1:

My first shot at the challenge in 2017 saw me completing 95 miles and visiting three counties (Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Rutland).

The trip started with me heading down the A5199 to the Northamptonshire village of Thornby and The Red Lion pub to kick off 2017's attempt at the challenge. A trip back up the A5199 via Husbands Bosworth and then I was on my way through Market Harborough and out towards the small picturesque village of Illston on the Hill. The centre of this village features the small village pub that is The Fox and Goose. A few moments admiring the landlords Austin Healey 3000 car and it was back on the Lambretta for a ride into Rutland, initially via the A47 and then out onto a mix of A, B and unclassified roads, via Launde, Tilton on the Hill and eventually Bruanston in Rutland for the Blue Ball pub.

The return leg saw me head to Oakham to fill up and then back home via the A47 until Houghton on the Hill when I chose to cut across country on some decent back roads.

So, all in all not a bad start. Trouble, now that three letters have gone, I need to start planning more!

Update No 2:

Second shot this year saw me attending the Cleethorpes scooter rally and despite travelling approximately 100 miles (one way) this only gained me one pub and one county. The ride was all on the A46 which when it gets into Lincolnshire is a great road to ride with some nice twists, curves and a couple of hills (who said Lincolnshire was flat!!). 

Having passed pubs on the outskirts of Lincoln I pressed on and at Middle Rasen decided that the Nags Head would see me score off the letter N and with it the county of Lincolnshire. 

Mind you after Middle Rasen every village I went through seemed to have a pub I could of used!!

Update No 3:

With Cleethorpes now a distant memory it was time to get some more miles in and to see how many more counties and pubs we could visit. Out towards Market Harborough on the A6 saw me then diverted onto the A427 as the section of the A6 linking it to the A14 was shut. Ah well, a nice leisurely ride through the Northamptonshire countryside. This diversion was quite a circuitous route but not bad as far as diversions go.

Having dealt with the diversion it was out and onto the A14 which for a Sunday morning wasn't too heavy with traffic. The A14 led me to the village of Ellington in Cambridgeshire and the Mermaid Inn. So another county off of the list and the letter M. It was back onto the A14 and then the A6 heading towards Bedforshire. I had initially thought of going straight to Bedford but then thought that I'd turn off of the A6 onto an unclassified road through the villages of Knotting Green, Knotting and then the village of Melchbourne. A wrong turn into the village had me thinking there was no pub so I headed out onto the road to Yielden. It was then that I saw the St John Arms. So, photo taken it was back along the way that I'd come.

Once back on the A6 I had to think how I'd get to Buckinghamshire and thought of going to Bedford and then heading for Milton Keynes. Having another brain wave I decided to head onto the B565 and Olney but then thought no stick to the original plan. So onto the A6 and I;m heading off towards Newport Pagnell. I rode through some nice villages including Lavendon. The next village was Yardley Hastings so I thought I'd ride on to there and see what pubs the village had. However, something in my head said, are you sure its in Bucks? Layby located and I stopped. Nope, Yardley Hastings is in Northants so it was time to turn round and go back to Lavendon and the Horseshoe pub. The time to turn round again and head off.

I stopped to fill up and thought that I'd now head for home using the A509. Bad choice, somewhere near to Wellingborough I hit a pot hole and shortly afterwards the exhaust note changed. Great, a quick inspection showed that I'd fractured the exhaust pipe, not fully but enough of a crack for the gasses to not make it to the muffler!!

157 miles later and I was home. One exhaust needing attention, but 3 counties and 3 letters in the bag. So far the letter tally is B, F, H, M, N, R and S. That's seven letters - hang on exhaust is a seven letter word!