The Sportman and Royal Oak – Strines

Ahh summer is upon us and as the weather gets warmer and drier one of the things we love to do is hope on a train, go for a walk and end up in a pub. One of the benefits of living in Manchester is the ease of visiting places like the Peak District, Cheshire and the Lakes via public transport and it’s great to get out of the city and get some fresh air.

 

Recently we took a trip to Strines. This is over in the Peak District near Marple and is only about 20 minutes away from Piccadilly on the train.

 

It’s quite a small place and has two pubs which are very close to each other, so we popped in to both.

Firstly, we went to The Sportsman.
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We arrived just after opening so it was fairly quiet but not empty. Most of the clientele seemed to be regulars with everyone knowing each other but the pub didn’t feel unwelcoming.

Inside there was a large traditional fireplace and a fairly big window offering views across the surrounding countryside which gave it a bright, airy feel.

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I started with Hope by Howard Town, a Derbyshire brewery I’ve never heard of before. It had some great citrus flavours and really hit the spot .Ross first off went for the Marston’s Chestnut.

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Ross hails from Heywood originally and he’s chuffed to bits whenever we see Phoenix Brewery’s various beers in pubs (especially as they seem to be quite elusive and don’t sell them in bottles – at least last time he got in touch with the brewery they didn’t). Spotland Gold was listed as being available but the pump clip was turned around. However one of the locals asked for it and got it so Ross wandered over to see if he could get one too and he was pleased to not only get served it but also have it in the brewery’s glass.
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For my second choice I went for Gold by Derventio, another Derbyshire brewery, which I didn’t enjoy as much as my first selection.

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We also decided to go for food while we were there – a roast for me and burger and chips for Ross which we both enjoyed (I couldn’t finish mine!)

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Overall, a nice little free house with a focus on local areas from both Derbyshire and Greater Manchester to highlight the area’s proximity to both regions.

We then popped down the road to The Royal Oak. A colleague of mine who lives in the area told me it once won an award for its pies but as we’d already eaten we were only after drinks.

It’s a Robinson’s pub so I went for Dizzy Blonde and Ross went for the Smooth – which they don’t seem to sell very much of because they had to run it for a few minutes before he got a pint.

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It was a more traditional and cosy pub compared with the Sportsman with little alcoves and a small back room behind the bar where we decided to sit.

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Again it had lovely views and a fire place, and it also had a darts board with a little electronic machine to help you keep score (I’ve never seen this before and it was a lot easier than quickly doing sums in your head!).

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We only stayed for one at the Royal Oak but enjoyed it nevertheless.

So our visit to Strines was a success. Local ales, a hearty meal and glorious views in a very rural location within easy reach of Manchester.

I should point out that we did see another pub while we were walking but there was a race on and it seemed to be the finish point so we decided it would probably be too busy!

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