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North Cotswold Mystery Tour 24th April 2008

North Cotswold Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale


  The first Mystery Tour of 2008 was held on 24th April. Peter White who organised it, excelled himself with this trip since none of the participants were able to guess any of the three pubs visited even when close to the respective destinations. This was partly due to all three pubs being in Oxfordshire within 7 miles of Banbury and well outside our normal stamping ground.


  The coach from Pulham’s set off from Bourton collecting from the Mousetrap at 6.45 (Well kept North Cotswold Hung Drawn and Portered, Agatha’s Ale and Cotswold Way) and also a pick up at Stow before heading east to Banbury area via Chippy (Chipping Norton).


  The Chequers at Chippy and then the Falkland Arms at Great Tew seemed the most likely bet but having passed these we were stumped until pulling up at the George Inn at Barford St Michael. (Photo 1)


  Landlord Martin Winter (Photo 2) and Dillon, his chocolate Labrador welcomed the party of 14 serving well kept Coach House Honey Pot, Archers Best and Castle Rock Elsie Mo.


  Suitably refreshed we moved on to the Bell Inn at Adderbury. (Photo 3) A Hook Norton House with unusual ‘cocked ales’ mixing normal Hooky offerings from 6 hand pumps. I prefer my cocktails with spirits and fruit with an umbrella next to a sun-bed so stuck to a standard 303. This pub is the North Oxford POTY for 2008 and as Peter was aware it just happened to be the presentation night. (Photo 4) What a coincidence with a most generous free buffet on offer with Hooky top up for thirsty travellers. (Photos 5 - 7) Good contacts made with North Oxford CAMRA officials, and the Central Southern Regional Director who were also interested in attending our own POTY presentation at the Kings Head at Bledington on 22nd May.


  Reluctantly moving on we arrived at the last pub at Broughton, the Saye and Sele, Arms another new one for me but not for fellow traveller Jon Pilling of North Cotswold Brewery who had delivered supplies there the previous day. A very busy pub catering for both drinkers and diners it offered well kept Spinning Dog Pork & Ale, Adnams Bitter, Bishops Tipple and Norfolk Wherry. (Photos 8 & 9)


  We set off for the return journey just prior to closing after thanking Peter for his considerable effort in planning the pubs and transport particularly as he had taken the trouble to check out each one prior to the visit. Tough work but somebody has to do it.


 Report by Roger Price, Branch Secretary & Photographer