Stockport & South Manchester

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Weekday Wander - West on a quest to Valinor

Monday 29 April 2024 11:00

Well we are not quite alighting on the grey ships and departing across the Belegaer ocean to the land of the immortals, but this trip into Salford may encounter balrogs and dragons! We will, however, be undertaking a mighty quest — to fill our Mild Magic cards with stickers.

Our journey starts on a more colourful yellow bus [with an odd funny colour mixed in] in Piccadilly bus station where there are, in theory, three busses departing within six minutes and all going to our first pub. It will be first come, first boarded, so let the competition begin.

MorningStar_1920x800px_HeaderSlider_7.jpg After a (scheduled) 39 minute journey we are dropped across the road from the Morning Star (not the nazgul weapon, but another name for Lucifer!). No smell of sulphur as you enter, but there should be an enticing waft of home cooking. The Morning Star is a good honest local Holts pub, selling Bitter and Mild by the gallon (though they will serve you in pints). It isn’t stick-in-the-mud and also stocks Two Hoots and another Holts (which includes Bootleg Brewing) offering. The big question is – “Will we be greeted by Unmistakably Mild?" again this year.

After satisfying the inner man, SORRY person (must be politically correct and fully inclusive) we need to voyage forth and trek across the barren lands to seek out the hidden haven of Monton. This is easily expedited utilising two buses with a cross-road connection but, as the second travels from “lands to the North" (okay Bolton) delays are not unknown. The Park is a complete contrast to the Morning Star, being a 60s(?) rebuild of the original Park Hotel. Again the range on offer will be from the Holts stable. Though now Monton is almost rural, not so long ago trains rattled over nearby bridges on their journey to Bolton and Bury, and just to the south was the large Patricroft engine shed (code 9H watch film [9minutes in]) which was a major provider of local dust and smuts! Another contributor to the stygian atmosphere, and especially to the acoustic scene was the works of Nasmyth, Gaskell and Co where the infamous (well at least to mechanical engineers) Nasmyth Steam Hammer. Between the rumble of heavy freight trains and the constant thudding of the steam hammers the district must have visibly vibrated. There are two interesting micro-bars across the road, but neither opens before 4:00pm so it is on with our travels.

StanleyArms_1920x800px_HeaderSlider_3.jpg In around 15 minutes of intrepid voyaging we will be deposited in the Stanley Arms, Patricroft, which is a Grade II listed building and boasts one of CAMRA’s three-star (pubs of exceptional importance) Historic Interiors. Historic Interiors. Take a good look around, including the back rooms, corridor with ornate tiles and the back room with an iron range (pictured) — but then get down to the serious business - the mild.

Finally it is back on the bus and a return to Eccles town centre(?) and our final duo. The new kid on the block is the Eccles Cross, a Wetherspoon outlet which is surprisingly small (for JWD) as it is housed in the former New Regent cinema (photo here). Maybe Eccles was pioneering the small, cosy multi-screen concept way back in 1920! Internally it is as you would expect, but do take note of the dugouts housing intimate drinking booths. There is also an outside drinking courtyard, should the weather be with us.

lambHotel_1920x800px_HeaderSlider_5.jpg Our final destination is the Lamb Hotel, a large Holts pub across the road from the tram stop and 2019 Salford CAMRA Pub Of The Year. There is a cosy vault to the right, but as a group of any more than six would take over from the locals so we will go straight on into one of the main rooms. The bar is surprisingly small for such a large pub but still has space for not only bitter and mild but a third ‘guest’ from the Holts range. Don't just focus on the beers, look up at the etched glass bar surround (none of those spray on fakes here) which, reputedly, still slide up and down. The front rooms are well appointed with Edwardian décor, fixed seating and inbuilt bell pushes (photo), but the most interesting room is that to the rear. This was the billiards room, hence the raised seating for spectating (photo here). In its later days it did resort to that modern upstart snooker, but those days are long gone (but remembered by this author!)

Now to home – there are trams every 10 to 15 minutes opposite as well as a profusion of bus routes. If departure is cunningly timed (around a quarter to the hour), use can be made of the hourly train service to Manchester Airport, so may be of interest to Didsbury and Heald Green wanderers.

11:0011:00Meet at Manchester Piccadilly Bus Station - south end near stand P
Bus 37 stop P (Bee Bus) — Whichever of these three buses turns up first – let the battle begin
Bus 38 stop N (Stagecoach)
Bus 36 stop P (Bee Bus)
12:0013:10Morning Star520 Manchester Road, Wardley, M27 9QWYes
Bus 36 to Swinton Town Hall --> Change to bus 22
Back-up: Bus 36 to Swinton Town Hall --> Change to bus 21
13:3614:10Park142 Monton Road, Eccles, Monton, M30 9QDYes
14:1214:29Bus 20 to Patricroft       Back-up: 14:21 --> 14:35 Bus 21 to Patricroft
14:3015:10Stanley Arms295 Liverpool Road, Patricroft, M30 0QN 
15:1115:24Bus 67 to Eccles     Back-up: 15:21 --> 15:26 Bus 10     Back-up: 15:31 --> 15:36 Bus 65
15:3016:15Eccles Cross13 Regent Street, Eccles, M30 0BPYes
16:1517:00Lamb Hotel33 Regent Street, Eccles, M30 0BP 


Alternative options
Train to Piccadilly then through to airport
Tram to Piccadilly then Ashton
Tram to Piccadilly then Ashton
Tram to Piccadilly then Ashton
Bus to Piccadilly
Tram to Piccadilly then Ashton