Over the past few months, we’ve been mulling over the question of what form our first ever UK run should take. We came up with the basic concept – a cheeky drive to the infamous Barnard Castle, to raise money for those affected by Covid – back in the summer. Since then, we’ve spent many an evening toying with how best to arrange the event, and we finally have a plan which we’re happy to share with the world - a plan which is rather different to any of the other trips we've run so far. So sit back, keep scrolling, and get inspired to kick off 2022’s road tripping season in style.
So, this plan - what is it? And how does it differ from everything else we’ve done since launching Pub2Pub Adventures? Well, in a way, it doesn’t, as what we’re doing with the Barnard Castle Memorial Run is going back to our origins; it’s harking back to our first ever Pub2Pub adventure, which occurred a year before our globetrotting trip in the TVR.
‘What are these long-forgotten origins?’, I hear you ask.
Well, back in 2016, we couldn’t wait another year before getting Pub2Pub underway by hitting the road to Patagonia, so we decided a starter was in order. After a few beers one evening, this idea for a starter metamorphosed into a drive from the southernmost bar in the UK, to the northernmost, vis the NC500. And our noble steed for this mighty journey between the Witch Ball Inn on the Lizard, and the John O'Groats Hotel? Why a classic Fiat Panda, of course, in company with friends in a Mk1 MX5, and an Alfa Romeo Brera. This first ever Pub2Pub trip took a week in total, and was the tiny acorn from which grew the current, mighty Pub2Pub oak. Or something like that.
As anyone who has read the Pub2Pub book will know, depression was at the forefront of our minds during the build-up to the Pub2Pub Expedition, and so in tandem with the idea for the drive, we came up with an idea which went by the catch line ‘buy a round for Mind’. The thinking behind this was simple – undertake an adventure which ends at a bar and when you get there, donate the cost of the first round of drinks to the mental health charity Mind. As we were undertaking our trip to John O'Groats for a beer, we encouraged other people to dream up their own drives to pubs, and when they got there, to buy a round for mind too. Plenty of people did as well, enjoying their own pub-based adventures and raising money for a good cause in the process.
Given the effect that Covid has had on so many people’s mental health over the past 18 months, we’ve decided that next March, we’re going to bring back the tagline ‘buy a round for Mind’, by encouraging everyone to make a journey to a bar, and make a donation to the charity when you get there. What journey you make is up to you. It could be an epic journey across multiple countries, or a gentle trip around the block. It could just be you, or you could bring along your friends or even get your whole car club in on the action. You could travel by vehicle, bike, canoe, paraglider or even tuk-tuk, it doesn’t matter. Just let your imagination run wild, dream up a pub-based outing and then get out there on the last weekend in March, and make it happen. Just do that one thing for us – when you get to that last pub, make sure that first round is for Mind.
Of course, you don’t have to dream up your own trip. If you’d prefer, you can feel free to join our own pub drive – the Barnard Castle Memorial Run.
The itinerary of this trip is a microcosm of all that’s good in British motoring, shoehorned into a weekend. It will be starting after breakfast at London's Ace Café on Saturday 26th March, hitting the road at 0930 to pick up scenic tarmac through the Chilterns and Cotswolds en-route to lunch at Caffeine and Machine, just outside Stratford upon Avon. After Lunch, we’ll be heading up to Coventry to ogle at Thrust SSC at the Transport Museum, before getting another hour north under our belts to reach our hotel on the edge of the Peak District in time for dinner and beers.
Following breakfast on the Sunday morning, we’ll be taking a scenic route through the Peak, via such famous vistas as the Winnats Pass and Snake Pass, before stopping for lunch at the probably-inappropriately named Ford Inn on the northern edge of the Peak District. And then, after dessert, the scenic roads of the Yorkshire Dales await, for the final run up to the highest pub in England – the Tan Hill Inn, just outside Barnard Castle at an elevation of 1,732 feet above sea level, where we’ll be buying a round for Mind by making a donation to the charity, before checking into a room for the night and getting some beers in for ourselves.
So, there you have it - the Barnard Castle Memorial Run. Maybe it’s of interest to you, or maybe you’d rather come up with your own pub based trip? Whichever you prefer, do get out there on the last weekend in March, and when your epic journey comes to an end by the welcoming fire of a friendly tavern, don’t forget to make it truly worthwhile by supporting those whose mental health has been affected by Covid, by buying a round for Mind.