Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Thirty-two Years at the Cheshire View

After getting iced-in at Congleton in the first days of 1977 and before abandoning the trip completely, someone suggested a walk up to the top of Mow Cop. It was a cold winter's day and as the top of Mow Cop is a long way from the bottom as well as being a fair distance from Congleton we were all in need of refreshment by the time we got there. One of our party knew of a handy pub - the "Cheshire View" which lives up to its name, being situated on the western, Cheshire, side of the hill with views across the Cheshire Plain as far as the Mersey estuary and North Wales.
Whilst most of the party drank in the lounge bar - which has the view - a select group preferred to remain in the "public".
Quite frankly, I find some of the photographs taken that day embarrassing - or, at least, I'd be embarrassed to attempt to take similar shots today. Quite how I had the brass neck to take them I don't know - especially as I don't recall asking anyone for permission.
The Campaign for Real Ale used to describe certain pubs in its Good Beer Guide as "unspoilt working men's pubs" -the joke being that they were full of unspoilt working men! The public bar of the Cheshire View in January 1977 certainly fell into that category as the following photos show:

In the summer of 2009 I took Starcross up the Macclesfield Canal and for the first time in 32 years re-visited Mow Cop and the Cheshire View. It had changed, of course, but perhaps not quite as much as I had feared. One thing, however, was very different: The photos above were taken on a midweek lunchtime, just after the festive season - a time when one could have expected there to be very little money about, but trade was obviously thriving. In 2009 when we visited at a similar time and day of the week - but in July - the public bar looked like this:

...and the only customers in the lounge were the OAP Bingo Club! There is more about Mow Cop and the Cheshire View here.

I remember one other thing about that day. When the pub closed - at 3pm as pubs did in those days - we suddenly realised what a long walk it was back to Congleton. Then, I spied a bus - of the old Potteries Motor Traction company- just arriving at the village bus stop. "Are you going to Congleton, mate?" Well no, he wasn't. "I go 'out of service' from here to do my next run....but that run is to Congleton - and you can come with me if you like!" So, a dozen or more slightly inebriated boaters climbed aboard for what turned out to be a white-knuckle ride down the snow covered roads from Mow Cop and eventually back to the boats. I seem to recall that in addition to our fares we gave that driver a generous tip!


Captain Ahab said...

I think you have struck a rich seam of material here Jim.
Dont stop.

Starcross said...

Yes, there's plenty more like this, Andy but I'll use it sparingly - its bringing back a lot of old memories!