A few weeks ago I suggested to my mates " fancy a mystery trip pub crawl?" They were all up for it so last Saturday 8 of us convened for breakfast in the 5 Swans Newcastle. Still keeping them in suspense, we walked along to Eldon Square Bus Station and queued at the stand that said
X 10 Middlesborough ,
X82 Throckley ,
They were still mystified as we got on the express for Newbrough and got off at Hexham Bus Station.
Our next bus to our mystery destination was not for an hour so a quick pint in the County Hotel seemed the sensible thing to do. One guy, who happened to be sitting in a backwards facing seat on the bus said " so this is Throckley ?" Wrong town mate.
The Crown was quite pleasant with well kept beers but only time for a pint, as the next bus was due. So back to the bus station and the number 688 to Allenheads. We got off at Allendale Town half an hour later, as the town had three pubs worth looking at ; The Golden Lion, The Kings Head and the Allendale Inn.
The first pub was too small for 8 of us so we opted for The Kings head which is literally next door.
But before we even got to the door , marching towards us were three some Star Wars Stormtroopers brandishing their weapons. What on earth was going on ? Turns out a new science fiction museum had opened that day in the town so they were doing some publicity and collecting for the local school. Parking this experience, we dived into the Kings Head for a another pint ; some bland Marstons beers.
After one, it was time to investigate this museum. That's when the fun started -outside was Chewbacca from Star Wars, a Cyberman with a bald head , a Dalek in a shed (?) and other characters. The museum cost £7 entrance, in unison we all said - " sod that, that's nearly 2 pints" so after some photos, straight into the Allendale Inn which seemed to be the centre of attention.
Inside a few tables were taken up by some Dr Who memorabilia and, as it turned out , an ex actor from Dr Who , John Levene (no, me neither) . He was there to open the museum and sign autographs in the pub at £5 a time. There was actually people of all ages queuing up for the honour. He apparently played a sergeant in the 70's during the days of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.
We just sat there thinking we had just entered some sort of parallel universe as we came over the moors on the bus. The local townsfolk just seemed to be taking it their stride. We were pissing ourselves laughing most of the time. The height of the surrealism of it all was when back outside , Chewbacca came over and mentioned to one of the lads that he used to work with him !
With buses being every two hours it was time to travel back through the portal and back to Hexham and sanity. A pint in The Heart of Northumberland went down well then down to the Tannery for some excellent grub.
Getting back to Newcastle , it seemed sensible to go for beer in the Town Mouse to round off the day and recover from what we had just seen.
In all honesty, the pubs and the beers came secondary to our unique experience in Allendale. The lads thought I had planned the whole thing to coincide with this sci fi weekend. Pure chance honest !