Camra's Wild Pub Walks

Camra's Wild Pub Walks

There has long been an affinity between the hillwalker and the pub. What better way to round off a hard day on the fells than a couple of pints in a welcoming boozer where you can share your day’s exploits with other like-minded folk?

Camra’s Wild Pub Walks, published by the Campaign for Real Ale and written by journalist Daniel Neilson, suggests 22 ways of combining the two activities in some of Britain’s best scenery.

Each walk has a good route description along with added facts to enhance the trip, along with two or three pub descriptions. The routes vary in length between 5½ and 13 miles. Each of the national three peaks, Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike feature, as do inns with strong outdoor histories, such as the Clachaig Inn, Pen-y-Gwyrd Hotel, which gave its initials to one of the routes up Snowdon, and the Old Dungeon Ghyll Inn.

There’s a good emphasis on arriving at the area by public transport, which is no bad thing considering the drinking that will inevitably occur at the pubs, though some of the walks, in Glencoe for example, are ill served by buses and trains, so you may need a designated non-drinking driver with you on these walks.

The other essential criterion, of course, is that the featured pubs sell real ale.

There are walks in the Highlands, Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District, North York Moors, Lake District, Cairngorms, Mid-Wales and the Scottish Borders.

Each walk has an excerpt from either 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey mapping with the route superimposed, though it is recommended to carry your own map. Any navigation error could take you off the book’s mapping and into unknown territory.

The book is small enough to slip into the rucksack and take with you, so you can refer to it en route.

Readers should note that some of the pubs featured are a good distance away from the walk, in another valley or nearby town, so reaching them involves travelling after the walk. However, there is usually one on the route itself or at its start or end though, in the case of some, Glen Coe, for instance, walkers following the route to its end at Altnafeadh, will then have to make their way down the glen to the Clachaig to quench their thirst.

I would also countenance caution against overindulging in alcoholic consumption midway through a walk. At certain levels, alcohol is a vasodilator, the effects of which will increase the danger of succumbing to heat loss. It may also impair motor functions and navigation decision making. Personally, I leave my drinking to the end of a walk.

As you would expect from the book’s title, this is aimed at hillwalkers with a reasonable level of fitness and navigational skills. Many of the walks take you into the high mountains of Britain, with all that necessitates in the way of equipment, knowledge and stamina.

Wild Pub Walks is a nicely compiled collection of routes, enhanced by interesting facts, plus photographs, of some of the best ways to combine a love of the mountains with a taste for real ale.

Camra’s Wild Pub Walks by Daniel Neilson
Published by the Campaign for Real Ale

Price £11.99