Thanks to Jibber for his comments on Will's previous post about the Cricketers. It set me thinking a bit about some of the pubs I never seem to get to, but probably should.
I know this is not the weather to start tripping off into the wilds in search of beer but do we, as drinkers, become complacent if we have good pubs on our doorstep? Is going the extra mile to get somewhere worthy of a visit, too much for some of us? Are we missing out on some gems? Unfortunately the answer to all these questions in my case is certainly yes.
We live in an area where we are spoiled for choice, both in good beer and good pubs. I regularly visit several pubs in the town centre, as readers will no doubt be aware, but rarely do I venture into the outlying villages around Huddersfield. This is due to various reasons, the most telling for me being the opening times and their accessibility by public transport.
I am a day time drinker and my Saturday commitment leaves only Sunday when all day opening is virtually guaranteed. Transport is usually at a premium then, so what seems like a good idea to visit out of the way pubs becomes a chore rather than a pleasure.
I have not been to The Sair at Linthwaite for some time for this very reason and likewise my visits to the Yeaton Cask at Kirkheaton have been few and far between. They are both excellent pubs, well worth a call, but a bit out of the way and especially tricky during weather like this.
I am lucky to have occasional access to a car and driver, so sometimes can venture out into the unknown, but if I do, I prefer to get to places outside my usual drinking area, and the scope of a 'Swift One' - only rarely do we stay local. I know others of the editorial team are keen walkers and use this as a means to get to some of the more distant pubs, killing two birds with one stone as it were, it is not my thing however, so locally I have to rely on the fragmented transport system.
Is there an answer? Well it will depend on how important you feel supporting real ale pubs in awkward locations is. Jibber's comment is spot on - most of us will visit a new venue once or twice out of curiosity but the onus is, and always should be, on the local community. If, for what ever reason, they aren't interested, then the pub won't survive. However much we may like a place and wish we could visit more often, we can't be expected to become regular, nor should we feel guilty about it. In the case of Horbury's Cricketers Arms, the decision to take on this pub will surely have been made with location in mind, there are precious few more important considerations after all.