It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere

LETJOG – Day 22: Tuesday 8 June – TAMWORTH to BURTON-UPON-TRENT (17 miles)

Well, if yesterday’s walk finished with a visit to the ‘Ancient Capital of Mercia’, then today’s destination might be termed ‘England’s Capital of Beer’ – Burton-Upon-Trent, in the self-proclaimed ‘Creative County of Staffordshire’. And who better to share such a trip with than two of our very oldest friends, Rick and Eleanor, fellow aficionados of beer! Joining me during the afternoon, and to be my companions for the next three days, we were to visit the Burton Bridge Brewery together, as well as a ‘walk-past’ of the Molson Coors Brewery (formerly Bass Brewery, established in the town in 1777), along with a couple of renowned real ale bars.

Outside the Molson Coors Brewery with Rick . . .
. . . then enjoying a pint at the Burton Bridge Brewery with Eleanor and Rick (he’s half a pint ahead of me already!), and . . .
. . . even our Ibis hotel was once a grain warehouse!

Burton-Upon-Trent had been a prerequisite of my LETJOG route from the outset. I have posted (15 May, for those interested) on the reasons for the proliferation of brewers of traditional English amber bitters around Burton, as a result of the uniquely appropriate chemical composition of the local water for this genre of beer-making. The brewing tradition was established in the town before Domesday, and in its pomp (following the opening of the River Trent Navigation in the early 18th century) Burton not only produced around one quarter of the considerable quantity of beer then brewed and consumed in England, but also lent its name, in brewing circles, to the process of ‘burtonisation’, whereby groundwaters around the country are treated routinely to mimic the chemical properties of those occurring naturally in this beer-making hub. Burton’s natural brewing advantages perhaps explain why the town has been fought over on so many occasions across the centuries, including the bloody battles of 1322 and 1643.

So having covered the social part of today’s proceedings first, earlier on in the day there was, as ever, some serious walking to be done on my part. Yesterday, sometime before descending the locks at Curdworth, I had crossed the watershed from the Severn catchment to that of the Trent, and today’s walk would take me down to, and across, that latter river itself.

Starting early, for the cool of the day, I followed a direct northerly road out of Tamworth, through Wigginton and Harlaston, before taking some scenic farm tracks between arable fields, turned mainly to wheat, through Edingale to Rosliston. Three times, at the margins of these fields I disturbed a hare, but, alas, all three were too quick for me to fire off a camera shot. Past Rosliston I had a foray into the southern edge of the National Forest, an area, currently, of around 200 square miles of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and south Staffordshire being set aside for afforestation, before arriving, early in the afternoon, in Burton.

Wonderful cirrus sky-scapes today, . . .
. . . a hares-eye view of a wheat field, and . . .
. . . a tantalising glimpse of Edingale
And, all the while, this fellow kept following me!

One thought on “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere

  1. Not only walking but giving a truly interesting history lesson! What a great adventure and such planning- puts us all to shame when we forget Hil’s walks moments after finishing. And now the sun- what more could you ask for? Happy journeys Nick!

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