My second year running at this one. In 2015 it was pouring down all afternoon and we were stuck in the goods shed and marquee, but that's where the beer was of course. This year was much better, but we still stayed in the shed, as that's where the beers were of course. The event is held on the Battlefield Line, a heritage railway line that runs from Shackerstone to Shenton via Market Bosworth.
Five of us this time. Myself, Dave, David, Tony and Tony's brother Ron was down from Scotland for a few days. Once again my trip down was hampered by delayed trains, some issue at Chesterfield meant that my train was diverted around a goods loop to bypass Chesterfield, getting us into Birmingham 28 minutes late, just in time to see the one-per-hour service to Hinckley going out on the adjoining platform. At Hinckley station there was a minibus to take us to the festival as Market Bosworth station is some nine miles away by road. I finally arrived about 2.15pm after leaving home at 9am.
With it being a Friday afternoon visit we escaped the 'entertainment', I still cannot understand why we have to have our ears blasted out at these festivals when we're trying to talk about beer. We had a choice of 70 beers to go at, 28 ciders as well. As I had been delayed and was therefore thirsty I started with a pint of Ossett 'Yorkshire Blonde 3.9% (2.5). Sadly, not on form but I drank it anyway. That was followed by Pig Iron 'Blonde 3.8% (3.0) then Fernandes 'Bull Ring Bitter' 4.1% (2.5), Abbeydale 'Moonshine' 4.3% (3.5) to give myself a reference point, Rat 'Rat in me kitchen' 4.0% (3.5), Fernandes 'HBG Gold' 4.7% (3.5), Riverhead 'Rhubarb & Rosehip' 4.0% (3.0) and Leatherbritches 'Dr Johnson' 4.0% (2.5) to finish off.
Only 3 hours at the event as I was booked on the 5.15 minibus back to Hinckley, I had lost an hour through being late. I got myself a 'real ale' pasty on the way out, probably over twice the price I would have paid in a shop for the same thing. The disadvantage of being at a beer festival a mile from the village and no shops nearby.
Once again I didn't go out to even look at the trains, let alone take a ride. When I got there our table had our little party on it, plus a couple of other guys. No idea who they were or where they were from but I got chosen to be their bestest buddy until they left about halfway through the afternoon. Lots of random topics discussed and no doubt I'll bump into them at another festival one day, but probably will not remember them. Yes, I know lots of festivals have individuals attending who latch on to someone for a bit of moral support.
Apart from the beer drinking and conversation there wasn't a lot more to report. I did have a chat with the Hinckley and Market Bosworth branch chair and their social secretary as they are looking to make a trip up this way to see the Vulcan aircraft at Finningley and then head into Donny for a couple of beers. I've asked them to stay in touch and let us know when that will be so they can be given a tour around some of our pubs.
David and myself were on the trains and had about 40 minutes to kill in Hinckley, there's a Steaming Billy pub, The Railway, just over the road from the station so we went there for a pint. I forgot to note what we had though. I got myself a pulled pork sandwich from a catering van outside, heck of a spicy sauce ! I must remember not to have that again next trip.
Eventually I got back to Doncaster about 9.30, that spicy sauce had been drying my mouth out for too long so I called in the Corner Pin for a much needed pint - strange how many of my trips end up there.