The Hat is Back .....and heading for Hednesford !

My first stop-over trip following County this season, combined with my never-ending search for great real ale, is rapidly approaching.

Hednesford hear I come!

As you know, you can find all of the pubs I try on the excellent CAMRA website

This season, I’ll be submitting a preview ahead of each trip, outlining my plans.

Also, following feedback from my mentor & boss, Hedgegrower, this season I will actually be wearing a hat!

I’ve also been instructed to get pictures of the Blue Army on the march, so you have been warned!

Other than that, my general approach will be the same as last season, namely, trying not to get lost too often, trying as much real ale as possible, & searching out the Blue Army.

I’ve already been on good form this season. After the game at Stalybridge, I confidently marched a select band of the genuine hardcore down to a boozer on the canal called the Millpond, only to find it boarded up!

I hastily exited stage left.

The Plan

Only one Hednesford pub is listed in the 2014 Good Beer Guide, the Cross Keys Hotel. But, this lone boozer offers everything that any self-respecting travelling County Supporter & paid-up CAMRA Member could possibly wish for.

It is very close to the ground & easy to find (we’ll just see about that!). It offers accommodation (£27), has 8 real ales of offer, & dates back to Dick Turpin’s days.

Dick Turpin

Apparently Dick stopped for a swift half during his legendary ride from London to York (190 miles in 15 hours) on his trusty steed, Black Bess, in order to establish an alibi for a robbery he committed.

I know what you’re thinking, “hold on, wasn’t that John “Swift Nick” Nevison, a highwayman of far greater ill-repute than measly old Dick?” Well, you’re right, & rest assured I’ll be putting the records straight during my visit.

Swift Nick Nevison

But there’s more, not only was the Cross Keys local CAMRA pub of the year 2011 & 2012, the landlord is also a former Hednesford player & current assistant manager. Talk about sleeping with the enemy!

Inside the Cross Keys

Other real ale opportunities in Hednesford look a bit limited, so the plan is to stay over at the Cross Keys Saturday night & explore other lesser venues after the game.

The Trafalgar Inn Hednesford

In fact, it appears that there are only 2 other definites, in terms of getting some real ale, namely the Trafalgar & the Hen House. The rest will all have to be researched there & then, with details passed on to the Cannock branch of CAMRA. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it!

The Hen House.

The Cross Keys has been recommended in this Blog’s Away Guide (which also mentions there’ll be no pies!), so I shouldn’t have too much trouble in tracking down the Blue Army to get the pictures I need.

I’ll be catching the 09:43 from Stockport Station, which, following changes at Stoke & Rugeley Trent Valley, should get me to Hednesford at 11:23.

As there is no Wetherspoons in Hednesford, I expect the 09:43 to be a popular choice with the Blue Army, & as the Cross Keys does not open until 12:00, I hope to be checked in & sat there with a pint (& a smug look on my face), by the time non-residents are let in.

See you there!

Man in a Hat.


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