The pub crawl is known as a major part of the celebration of youth in Great Britain. It usually consists of a largeish group of people consuming fermented vegetable products in the various public houses of a provincial town, or part of a city. Sometimes they can be themed - at a pub representing each space on a London Monopoly board, or the nearest pubs to all the stations on a London Underground line. (The Waterloo and City line is recommended for appalling lightweights).
This entry is not intended for standard pub crawlers. It is intended for rural dwellers who prefer a solitary existence. Welcome to the world of the Solitary Countryside Pub Crawl...
The name of the Solitary Countryside Pub Crawl is wonderfully self-explanatory. You do not set off in a large group, but rather on your own. The reasons for this will become clear later. The pubs included in any Countryside Pub Crawl will all be rural pubs, preferably with thatched roofs, but these are sadly an uncommon sight in modern England (this Researcher has yet to have the pleasure of attempting such an activity in Ireland, Scotland or Wales). The main advantage of countryside pub crawls, however, comes from what may be termed the second fundamental: the pubs must be literally miles apart, in separate villages. Again, the advantages will become obvious shortly.
All you need for a Solitary Countryside Pub Crawl is a plentiful supply of money. As regards clothing, yes, wear some, as naturist pubs are rare and you are unlikely to be served. However, no special clothes are required. This is not a hike or a countryside ramble. It is a Pub Crawl. Jeans and trainers are perfectly acceptable in all venues that don't operate a dress code (ie, 'No jeans allowed'). Men are advised to have beards as some rustic landlords consider them respectable and are more likely to welcome bearded strangers.
An optional piece of equipment is the number of a taxi firm. This depends on the nature of your crawl - linear or circular.
Types of Solitary Countryside Pub Crawls
A linear crawl involves separate starting and finishing points. It is clear from this why a Taxi Number may be required - you might end up twenty or more miles from your starting point and have no wish to walk back. However, there is an alternative, which is to conclude your crawl at an inn, stay the night, and reverse crawl the next day. Clearly, this option is only for hardened crawlers.
These are considerably cheaper than linear crawls, because they naturally lead you back to your first pub, which should be in the vicinity of where you live/are staying. There are even rumours of crawlers who have been rewarded with a pint on the house on their return.
Planned crawls lend themselves well to circularity. If you intend to go on an unplanned circular crawl you could pull it off by turning left or right three times, but if you mistime one of these you will be in serious trouble. Note that only the route may be planned. If you plan times, you might not get to enjoy supping your ale before having to move on, or run miles to the next pub. Frankly, you might as well binge in your local.
Unplanned crawls have the joy of danger. Simply head off following signs between villages and see what happens. The glory of such walks, utterly linear, has to be experienced to be believed. There is, however, one major risk in unplanned crawls. Suppose you find yourself reasoning thus:
Hmmm... East Langdon... That looks interesting. I'll go and try a pub there...
It's a fair assumption. Indeed this is exactly how this Researcher once reasoned. However, you will be disappointed. There is no pub in East Langdon. There are, rather worryingly, many other similarly pub-deficient villages in England.
Note: You may, on a crawl, have the luck to pass a large country pub that stands alone, away from any human settlement. It is your duty to go in and speak loudly about how you did not drive there, unlike all the other patrons. These people will usually have Mercedes-Benzes parked outside.
The Glory of the Solitary Countryside Pub Crawl
So why do it? What, many ask, is the Solitary Countryside Pub Crawl for? There are, in fact, a number of excellent reasons, as explained below.
Let's face it, an urban pub crawl begins at five in the evening at the earliest. The gaps being so small, crawlers are finished before they know it. Not so the Rural crawler! Countryside Pub Crawls last all day, slowly moving from village to village. They are far more of an event than town or city crawls. One might counter that an urban crawl could just as easily be made to last all day. This is not the case, as the next reason explains.
The brevity of urban crawls is due to the nearness of the relevant pubs. One pint down, the next soon follows. But by the time you have reached your next pub you have walked off the effect of the last pint. Thus it is possible only in rural areas to pub crawl all day and yet get drunk only very slowly (though it is far from impossible to get drunk at all).
So why 'Solitary'? The above reasons could be equally applicable to the communal crawl. Indeed - and this is where freedom comes into play. We all operate at different speeds. Our companions may be slow or fast when it comes to drinking or walking, and will try to hurry us along or slow us up. If we crawl alone, we are free to enjoy our drinks at our own speed, and, also at our own speed, to walk between pubs. We are freed at last.
This is not to knock the advantages of companionship. Communal countryside pub crawls are not without their advantages. Especially if you fall in a ditch.
The Golden Rule
Remember: On a countryside pub crawl of any description you must never, under any circumstances, consume lager. Ale must be your chosen drink, though cider is permitted in hot weather. There is no reason for this rule, it is just as it is. And woe betide any who should ever violate it.