A.J. Walker


Five Go To Southport


On Saturday five of us went along to Southport with the aim of having a couple of pints there then doing the
Southport Run on Merseyrail - taking in Birkdale, Hillside, Freshfield, and Waterloo. Through no fault of our own it didn't prove to be the case though…

Two of us went to the Shiraz for a Full English first up where I bumped into three reprobates from Neptune Brewery who were doing the exact same thing before taking their train east to go to Salford Beer Festival.

The famous Shiraz stomach lining.

We then heading on to Central and met up with a couple of the lads on the Southport train. The fifth guy was running a tiny bit late and on the following train 15 minutes later.

The Tap & Bottles, Cambridge Arcade

Our first pint was a Red Ale from Reedley Hallows.

The four of us arrived in Southport just before 12:30 and headed straight to the Tap & Bottles. The weather was fabulous – especially given the wet and windy week we'd just had – it really was sunny Southport. The Tap was already busy, including with some Morris Dancers, and we ended up having to sit out in the arcade seating. There was much reminiscing about visits to the town by each of us, and also lamenting the demise of the Liverpool Branch CAMRA ale trips. The fifth member of our group duly arrived and got a quick half in before heading on to the self proclaimed 'Hidden Gem' of the Masons Arms.

The Masons Arms – it's not that hidden.



I'm pretty sure I've been with two of the guys to the Masons before, but everyone claimed that they had never been there before. The drinks of choice were Robinsons 'Dizzy Blonde' and Titanic 'Anchor.' It was good to see that it was busy too.

The Guest House

Another Red Ale.

Next up was the short walk, two small blocks away, to the Guest House. This time only two claimed to have not been there before. It's an old favourite that has won Southport Branch Pub of the Year award several time. Most of us drank a red ale (after three of us had drank a red ale, 'Armistice Day' from Reedley Hallows, at the Tap too) - 'Red Goose' from Old Mill Brewery.

The Barrel House, Birkdale

Then it was back to the train station for the short hop (one stop) to Birkdale. There was a ten minute wait there and then we arrived in Birkdale in next to no time. The Barrel House is just a hop and skip from the station. It is a MicroPub and was full inside so we sat outside once again. This time with a pale ale from Twisted Wheel. I checked the time of the next train for our hop to Hillside and Grasshopper and we had about four minutes. We made it easily. But then it all went a bit Pete Tong.

The unexpected visit to The Park, Birkdale

On the platform the sign said that the next train was twenty minutes away and not just a couple of minutes away as it should have been. There were plenty of people on the platform and faces of confusion abounded. Then the ticket guy came over and told everyone that the next train may be in about twenty or so, but might not be, Apparently we'd arrived on the last train to get there as the whole network had come to a bit of a halt following a fatality at Kirkdale. Although the station was on a different line the knock on effects were messy.

We decided to pop into The Park on the other side of the tracks, but even closer to the station than the Barrel. The beer choices were limited but at least one of them was '
Tribute' and most of us went for that. Back at the station and we had to wait a fair while. We decided to get a bit further up the line, closer to Liverpool, given the unknowns of the continued network issues. We went on up to Freshfield and the Beer Station. We went for Serious - 'Harlequin & Aurora' there. Tony fell for his usual love. A beautiful eleven week old border collie puppy.

The last pint on the Run before going g back to Liverpool.

Back at the station we found the knock on effects were still evident – it was very busy again. When the train came it was pretty busy and with each additional station then on it got more and more packed. Each stop was taking too much time now and we weren't sure about how it would affect us later on, so we decided to head straight back to Liverpool on the train we were on rather than get off at Waterloo. It was a shame, but even then the adventure wasn't over yet. We'd decided to get off at Moorfields and go to the Denbigh Castle, then maybe the Ship and Dr Duncans. But the train gods were having none of that.

Beer Station, Freshfield

We stood up as we approached Moorfields and about a third of the train looked like they were to get off. But as the train stopped the doors failed to open. We were there for several minutes and there was no movement of the doors and no announcement on the intercom. Nope. The train just went on to Central after its stop. We were left none the wiser as to why the doors never opened.

And so we never made it to those three pubs. We went into the Head of Steam and ended up having just a few there before going our separate ways. Another couple of people joined us there (having got back from Birmingham). All in all it had been a pretty good day, but it was a bit of a shame about how it became messed up. Then again there had a been a fatality on the line so we can't exactly complain about it overly can we?

The last two Saturdays have involved local trips out to
Chester and Southport. Wherever next? And what will befall us during the trip next time?