We were on the home straight now, with a last Welsh stop in Gowerton on the edge of Swansea. Two minutes off the M4,unless you’ve got a tall campervan in which case it’s twenty minutes to avoid the railway bridge.
The bikes came off the back for the first time Caernarfen but oddly only I had no takers to accompany me to another pub high on my target list.
It was a perfect four mile route, magically flat for the most part and with an attractive rust coloured gulley of water on either side for company.
NB On the return, I managed to do something for the first time ever, and felt pathetically proud of myself. What was it ?
At 5pm the Railway was already packed with professional drinkers inside, and a fair few professional lycra wearers tying up their posh bikes outside.
It’s not a pub you’d take your Mum to for Sunday lunch perhaps (unless you were Simon Everitt), but somehow all the more welcoming for that.
I saw plenty of traditional looking pubs on the Welsh tour, with good boozing atmosphere and a fair bit of local beer. The Railway Inn is just an exemplar of that formula.
The rooms are quite small, and the taproom already full, but I felt this was the place to enjoy a dark beer in the sun. Deep Slade Dark is a favourite beer name, and this was almost as good (NBSS 3.5) as I remembered in the equally good Joiners Arms up the road.
The ride up the hill into Killay central was a bit tougher, and the Village Inn a slight anti-climax. Pubs in 1970s suburban shopping precincts can be very good, but this felt a marginal Beer Guide entry with limited take-up of the Pride (not drinking well) and Landlord. Pleasant 1980s interior though.
I can’t vouch for beer quality, but it did surprise me to see so few Brains houses in the Beer Guide this year, especially west of Cardiff. The two in Gowerton looked pretty decent, but perhaps like Batemans, Palmers, Arkells and Wadworths they’re taken for granted now.