Today I bring you one of those rare trinities. Bikes, beer and a bygone boozer all feature in this post.
It was time for a getaway. Time to hunt down some Swedish waffles.
It'd been quite a while since I'd indulged in a waffle or two – other than those which fill these pages – so Mrs Bygone Boozer and I set off for the airport, guided by Malcolm, our trusty satnav with a penchant for taking us on magical mystery tours.
Normally we'd head across the Cat and Fiddle, skirt Macclesfield and Wilmslow, pass through Styal and arrive, but this time, with the new Poynton Relief Road having recently opened, Malcolm had other ideas. We just hoped that he knew where we were, for we certainly didn't. One thing I did know though was that I was really pleased that I wasn't towing a caravan. Single-track roads, bends, reservoirs, old mills and bridges, his route was certainly interesting and I vowed that when I had a little time I'd try to determine exactly which way he'd taken us.
That little time materialised and I managed to trace our route with the help of an old road atlas. Whilst examining an even older map I couldn't help but notice that, a little way along one of the side roads that we had passed, there was marked the location of the Cheshire Hunt Inn. Does it still exist? Well, to save you all the suspense, it doesn't.
So, having researched Malcolm's tortuous trip it was now time to research this bygone boozer too.
I haven't had a lot of joy with finding out much early detail about the pub. Things aren't helped by the place technically being in Rainow but being much closer to both Pott Shrigley and Bollington The website of the latter informs us that it changed its name at the end of the 1800s, having previously been called the Quiet Woman, but I haven't been able to find it named as such in any early trade directories or censuses.
In fact, the earliest that I have managed to definitely tie it down by name is in Kelly's 1892 edition which show one Joseph Dawson as its innkeeper.
He must only recently have taken the pub on, for the previous year it was in the hands of Scotsman James Burgess...
...who most probably took it over from the Stubbs family...
...who, whilst not always being shown as publicans or innkeepers, seemed to be living in the same property from at least 1841.
At one point the Cheshire Hunt was a Showell's house. It was certainly an outlier for this brewery from Oldbury in the West Midlands, although the company did at one time also have the Red Lion in nearby Bollington. In this image it's selling Allsop's Burton Ales, which dates it to after the 1914 takeover of the former by the latter.
I haven't been able to track down a copyright free or licensable recent picture of the pub taken whilst it was still serving, but if you click here it will take you to a photograph of the Cheshire Hunt as it was in 1999, a few years before it closed and was converted to residential use. (If, by some chance, you happen to be the photographer, please get in touch.)
So that's the Cheshire Hunt dealt with, but we were on a hunt of our own. A hunt for waffles. In order to achieve our goal we'd take our gravel bikes...
...along the gravel road...
...where we'd turn by the church to be faced with a kilometre climb, whose gradient averaged 1 in 12. Whilst it doesn't compare to the ascents on which Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar were duelling in the Tour de France, we weren't seeking sporting glory. Just waffles. Those waffles had better be worth it.
Whilst only one of the above-mentioned pair would go on to achieve his ultimate goal both Mrs BB and I were successful in our quest. And what success.
The hunt was over. Waffles. Giant waffles, at 26cm in diameter, arrived accompanied by cream and raspberry jam, complete with a ghost to boot. Now I just had to work out my means of attack.
With the waffle pilgrimage successfully completed it was time to leave the ghosts to their own devices and return from whence we'd come. Showered, changed and refuelled it was time for a beer after our fifty-one mile ride, and keeping with the supernatural theme I decided upon a Mystic Pilgrim from Jamtländs Bryggeri.
I can't think what it was about the label's design that could've tempted me to remove this bottle from the shelves of the local Systembolaget, Sweden's state-owned booze shop, but it poured clear and bright, albeit with little condition, as I've found with most of their bottle-conditioned brews. Malty on the nose, this English-style ale hit the spot quite nicely with its hints of honey and butterscotch. A little fruity too, I thought. Why the name? The second part was easy as the brewery is to be found in Pilgrimstad, but the first? After a bit of digging I've discovered that it is brewed with a new variety of English hops – named Mystic. Low in alpha acids, it's mainly used for its aroma.
So, there we have it. The hunt is over. Except that it isn't. I'd really like some more Mystic Pilgrim but can't find any. It's not even listed on the brewery's website any more. Perhaps the Systembolaget branch in the neighbouring town will have some. The hunt is not over. The hunt actually continues.
If you've read this far, then thank you. Possibly, like me, you may have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. Clicking here will take you to a searchable/sortable index which you can use to see if I've already featured any lost locals from your locality. You can also subscribe to ensure that you don't miss any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could simply follow the link at the top of this page.