Pubs By-Passed by the A30 – A View from the Driving Seat

Saturday 3 June 2017

Celebrating our 40th Anniversary with a bit of Nostalgia and a View from the Driving Seat

Ann Burnett, our new Social Secretary, had taken over the organisation of the trip from Dugg Polman and had even taken me on a ‘wet’ run! On the day she came with me to collect Flo, our Heritage coach for the day, so that she arrived at Redruth Station already aboard. We arrived bang on time at 11am and were loaded quickly. We left just after 11:15am for the Plume of Feathers, Scorrier, which had opened early for us. After some high speed (!) precision driving, after being held up by the road works at the bottom of Mount Ambrose, we arrived at The Plume on time. We were quickly unloaded, so I parked the coach in the car park. It’s only a small place and I just managed to get in the door at the back of the queue. Eventually I made it to the bar and ordered a coffee, “I’ll just go and fill the kettle,” the barmaid told me. Still instant Nescafe, 2.5 on the beer score, made it feel just like home! This is definitely a ‘no frills’ pub and to be enjoyed all the more for it.

Ignoring the Sat Nav (see signs nearby), I turned right out of the car park and headed for The Red Lion at Blackwater. Minutes later, thanks to Flo’s super powerful engine, we arrived, debussed and I had parked Flo up. A nice walk to the Post Office was called for, so I did, only to find that it had closed for good the week before. Oh, well, that’s progress I suppose! Back to the Red Lion and this time we had gone up market to a filter machine, proper job, “one of they please!” Filter coffee with cream, 4.5 scored, thanks Ann for the pasty, proper job, too!!! This pub has a special place in my heart; it’s where my downfall began, I’ll explain. When I was about 13, or 14 (you can work out the year) my Uncle and Auntie were the licensees. One evening my parents took my brother and I there. My parents went in the bar, we stole a glimpse as we were quickly ushered into their private lounge (now part of the bar). Sitting watching TV, two halves of cider appeared and I’ve never looked back since, although working in London got me off cider and on to real ale in the late 70s.

All too soon lunch was over, so our happy bunch boarded Flo again and off we set. Flo was really sailing; we had almost hit the 30mph speed limit by the time we hit Blackwater hill. This gave us plenty of time to admire the passing scenery. What seemed like hours later we were heading east up the A30 gradually overhauling 30, then 40, then ... the queue behind the usual tractor. Still, it meant we overtook something that day, which is not always the case, but Flo chose Zelah bypass for the job. It was all downhill after Carland Cross and before long Flo was sending a steady stream of Camra Members (“they’re a Camera Club,” I heard on knowledgeable customer intone to his mate) into the bar at The Blue Anchor, Fraddon. Flo parked nicely on a piece of grass in the car park, I walked to the garage to get my paper, pleasant enough. Once back in the bar, I found that the previous coffees seemed to be working and that the toilets were in top order. Variety is the spice of life apparently, so a J2O was drunk, a pleasant 4.5 scored! Members were slowing down a bit now and seemed reluctant to leave, so some impatient driver behind decided that I needed to hear his horn ... several times, but Flo can take it!

Off we went heading for Hamburger Hill. Flo loves a challenge and was soon in 3rd gear doing 15mph, oh sorry, she was in 2nd, no we took 3rd again, back to 2nd, out around a broken down car, into 3rd, no back to 2nd and repeat, till we crested the hill and took off like a scolded cat down the other side. I didn’t see any nose bleeds as we hit 50mph, so all seemed to be well and eventually we had pulled into the nearly empty car park of The Victoria Inn, Roche. Debussed, parked, I mingled with the drunks, sorry, members. Feeling peckish I bought a bag of crisps, but could only get a mortgage for the one.

Time was creeping up on us, so we headed back down the A30 for The Plume of Feathers, Mitchell. After debussing right outside (walking distances were getting shorter!!!) I turned around and parked in the road staying with the Flo. With Ann’s instructions for a prompt departure ringing in our ears, all too soon a steady line of wandering fellows and felowesses, were heading towards me; all except Steve. As he appeared I started to drive up the road towards him, but he panicked and stood in the road in front of Flo, of course I was going to stop, honest! Steep hills overcome (eventually) we arrived at The Hawkins Arms, Zelah early and, lo and behold, Adam had opened. After several attempts to take photos outside I treated myself to a 3.5 score coffee from a machine. Now armed with drinks of choice we had several more goes at photos. Steve was blaming his camera; he probably needs a better one, one that operates itself when he’s had a few!

Soon Ann was gathering her flock and we headed at high speed on an empty road (in front, at least) back to the Chiverton Arms for busses home and then poste haste, back to Redruth. Everyone, including Flo and I, was in high spirits with talk of another trip. Well, this is only the second pub crawl that I have ever been on and stayed dry – AND BOTH TIMES WITH ANN!!! Need I say more! It was a great day and I reckon tickets for any future trip will sell very fast, so keep your eyes open for any announcement.

By Mike Crewes