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Winster Hall and the East Beast.

I wrote about most of Winster's bygone boozers in an earlier post which did not feature this one. I'm putting that to rights now.

Winster Wakes Week. A week long festival of fun, culminating with the village carnival on the Saturday, takes place annually in the Derbyshire village, starting on the first Sunday on or after June 24th. That is, of course, the date of the Nativity of John the Baptist, as I'm sure you're all well aware. This is presumably related to the fact that the village church is dedicated to him.

It seems that the fun has always included a race on two legs - even one on three legs for children - and a few years ago somebody came up with the idea of also introducing a race on two wheels. But not just any race on two wheels. This addition to the fun entailed pedalling up East Bank, from outside the Old Bowling Green Inn, to the common at the top of the village as rapidly as possible. The East Beast was born. Somehow Matlock Cycling Club were enticed into helping out and it's become part of the club's annual events programme ever since. From its birth as a simple village event it now attracts entrants from as far afield as Surrey and even Cornwall.

As the riders prepare their steeds and warm up by riding back and forth along Main Street few, if any, will realise that the impressive Grade II* listed building that they repeatedly pass had a brief existence as a pub.

Winster Hall.

Originally built in 1628, before being much altered in the early part of the 18th century, it was operated as a Bed and Breakfast establishment by Derek and Pauline Wood before they applied for, and were granted, a full license in the early-1980s. Ownership passed through a few pairs of hands before it ceased trading in September 1999. It now earns its living as a large, luxury self-catering holiday let and its former pub sign, depicting the Winster Morris Men, has found a new home in the Bowling Green.

As for the East Beast, what's the big deal? Who'd want to get their hands on this bit of pointy wood? After all, East Bank's only about a quarter of a mile long.

That's as may be, but in that quarter mile it climbs about 150 feet. That gives an average gradient of around 1 in 9. And in 2018 Calum Brown managed to ascend it in 46.6 seconds. That's a speed of around 18mph. 18mph on a bike. 18mph on a bike up a 1 in 9 hill.

Here are a few pics from clubmates Eric Ruthenburg and Andy Woolf which give a taste of the East Beast.

And the winner was? Just like last year, Calum Brown. He went even faster. A new record of 46.1 seconds.

Winner Calum with his trophy. And a well-earned pint.

How about me? How did I do? Well, I'm not known as Stew 'I don't do hills' Marsh for nothing. Don't think my cardiologist would've been too happy either. And besides, somebody technologically incompetent had to be responsible for the results board.

Well, that's a bygone boozer and some bikes, so how about completing the trinity. Time to round off the evening with a nice pint of Hartington Bitter from Whim Ales.

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