Walking Middle-Earth: Three Farthings Pub Crawl
This month in Walking Middle-Earth, Everard Took takes us on a pub crawl across the Shire.
Kai Greenwood (@LostDunedan)
Three Farthings Pub Crawl: Experience the hospitality of the Shire, and drink it dry, in this long-distance ale extravaganza.
Distance: 40 miles
Difficulty: Begins easy, growing progressively more challenging
Dangers: Drunkenness, debauchery and degradation
Here is a walk you won’t find in other stuffy guide books: visiting the finest inns this side of the Brandywine! Calling the route a ‘walk’ is perhaps stretching credibility, unless forty miles a day is within your gift. Luckily, Nibb’s Traps run between all the villages, and Nibb does not charge extra for spillages (of any kind).
We begin at an inn, a merry old inn, beneath an old grey hill (1). The Ivy Bush in Hobbiton is a homely place with a penchant for quirky beer. Here you can order Wormtongue’s Knife, Smaug’s Lament or the cheekily-named Sam’s Stones which was brewed in tribute to the bravery of our new mayor.
Here, a warning. Not all hobbits are blessed with a Tookish constitution. Less experienced drinkers may struggle to match the achievements described herein. Be warned!
Leaving the Ivy Bush, a short stroll along the Hobbiton-Bywater road will bring you to that most famous of Shire inns, the legendary drinking hole that is the Green Dragon (2).This sprawling hostelry offers a rotating range of ales, but the Bullroarer XX is the house specialty. The food here is excellent by the way, although a little expensive. The prices seem to inflate at the same rate as the Dragon’s infamy…
When the Dragon has taken your coin, we have a chance to relax, perhaps with a flagon of take-out. Wander up to the East Road where you will see the Three Farthing Stone looming (3). A quick circle of the stone will ensure the name of this crawl is justified, as by this act you will have trodden in three of the four Farthings.
Return to the Great East Road and wait for Nibb, or one of his brothers, to pass by for the journey to Frogmorton.
The Floating Log (4) at Frogmorton is a delight, although watch out for the midges in the summer months as they swarm in from the swampland beyond the hamlet. Treats here include Ent IPA, a potent brew best enjoyed at a sedate Entish pace.
By the way, be careful visiting the toilets in the Floating Log, as I found the floors oddly uneven after my second Ent IPA. The landlady should really get this looked at.
It is time now to travel to our final inn, again via the trustworthy Nibb’s Traps (I assume. My memory is not clear). However you arrive in Stock, the Golden Perch (5) is a welcoming hostelry with a well-tended garden overlooking the Brandywine.
The barmaid, (oddly, one of identical twins on my visit), told me that Seredoc Sackville-Baggins was once found sleeping in a ditch here, but this may just be local gossip. Avoid Seredoc’s fate by requesting one of the comfortable rooms behind the bar.
After one last pint, of course.
Read more at www.kaigreenwood.com
Text and Maps © Kai Greenwood 2021