I started today's survey with a visit to the new station at Maghull North. My first target was the former Red House, now the Fox:
I ordered a pint of Wainwright, but it was unavailable so I had to put up with lager. The barman apologised and turned the clip round. My Carling came in a peculiarly shaped glass I don't think I've seen before.
There were a few people sitting outside dining, and the only custom in the bar side was one lad playing pool. I say custom but he didn't seem to have a drink.
Next, a long walk in the sunshine, passing (and photographing) a number of pubs I intend to visit later today and eventually leading me to the magnificent Scotch Piper:
There were three handpumps on the tiny counter, one of which offered a house beer, but I didn't look further than the Titanic Plum Porter which was, of course, gorgeous.
Quite a few customers were keeping the place going, some sitting outside in the sunshine. A big improvement on my previous visit in 2010 when I was the only customer on a Saturday afternoon.
Where's the gents, I wondered? Luckily someone else asked the barmaid - "It's outside" - so I didn't have to. Outside toilets are another indication of a classic pub!
Having completed my long walk, it was time to retrace my steps, stopping off along the way, first at the Weld Blundell:
I initially characterised this as a dining-oriented place but actually the menus on my table were for gins and drinks, so while it certainly is a gastro-pub they aren't pushing it to the detriment of drinkers, and there's plenty of tellies for watching sport. Overall, a rather skilful design, half way between local boozer and posh dining place.
Next, on to a pub I last visited back in 1998, on a bike ride along the Leeds and Liverpool canal, the Running Horses:
A handful of diners and drinkers were keeping the pub ticking over, but the main sound was a music channel on the TV, which seemed to be playing Christmas songs when I arrived.
Next, the Coach and Horses:
Two handpumps on the counter, but both had the clips turned round, so I had to make do with lager.
There were only a handful of customers in, and the place was pretty peaceful with gentle chatter amongst the regulars, and a quiet TV channel in the background.
On to the Hare and Hounds:
My London Pride was in good nick, is it Japanese yet?
The main sound in here was background chatter, with the time approaching five there were quite a few customers in.
My next port of call was the Wetherspoons Frank Hornby, so I knew exactly what to expect:
I resisted the temptations of Steak Club and headed to my final target, the Old Post Office:
No real ale, so I finished the day with a half of Carling.
Pub of the day: The Scotch Piper, naturally.
Miles walked: 6