After an early morning shopping trip to Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre, the plan was to catch the 09:36 non-stop Stagecoach service 72 from there back to Sheffield Interchange ready for 10:24 train service to Derby. However, the bus made such good time that I was able to get the earlier 10:00 departure to Derby, allowing time for a quick, unplanned visit to the Babington Arms (GBG 2019), an excellent Wetherspoon establishment, and a half of Heritage Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (4.4%) was enjoyed before the bus to Heanor.
The first pub visited here at opening time was the Crooked Cask micro pub in the town centre, which had four tables on entering, a couple of steps leading up to the bar area which contained some stools and a small room beyond the bar with more seating. Of the four beers available on hand pump I chose Grasshopper Cricket (4.8%). Almost across the road is the Redemption Ale House. A one-roomed micro pub with eight or nine tables, a wood burning stove and seven hand pumps. My choice was a half of Little Star Brewery Shipstones Nut Brown Ale (4.0%).
Back through the marketplace and past the bus stop was the Crown Inn, a traditional pub with seating around a horseshoe-shaped bar. Six hand pumps dispense three cask ales and one cider and I had Dancing Duck Duck Berry (4.1%). Two Falstaff beers were also available. I was greeted in this pub by the barking of an oversized poodle which not only yapped at me but also at passers-by on the pavement. Not the best of welcomes, although the beer was fine!
It was then time for the hourly number 21 bus service to Ilkeston. The first call here was to the Burnt Pig Ale ‘Ouse (GBG 2019), a bustling and friendly micro pub with the bar located in the cosy front room. Two further rooms stretched beyond this making it larger than it looked from the outside. Large cheeses and pies were being sold from the well-stocked fridge. The five pumps dispense a range of beers and styles and I selected Coastal Relentless Sea (4.2%) and Castle Rock SIPA V1 (4.2%). Not too far away is the Spanish Bar. A spacious open bar area greets you leading through to another seated area and beyond that there is a covered conservatory and then a garden. Five of the seven hand pumps were in operation and I had a half of Oakham Bishop’s Farewell (4.6%).
Onward by bus now to the Horse & Jockey in Stapleford (GBG 2019 entry). Although located just over the border in Nottinghamshire, it is accessible on a Derbyshire Wayfarer on the My15 Trent Barton service. This is a well-established split level pub and is easily identifiable as it is painted white. From the 13 hand pumps I had two from Three Castles Brewery, Tiddly Dyke (4.8%) and Barbury Castle (3.9%) plus Turning Point Wavelength (4.5%). A chance encounter here with Malcolm from Long Eaton offered the opportunity to visit the York Chambers (GBG 2019) in that town, which is only a short bus ride from Stapleford using the My15. Situated in the Market Place in an old bank it had about five tables with six beers served straight from the cask in a room behind the bar and no lager. I selected Amber Chocolate Orange Stout (4.0%).
It was then back on to the My15 to Stapleford for the Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren. By now this was a very busy Wetherspoon’s and I tried two beers from Newby Wyke: WisKy rye ale (5.2%) and Distant Grounds Extra IPA (5.5%). Just round the corner from here is a micropub called the Millipede. Its eight tables were also very busy, partly due to the imminent Nottingham CAMRA Branch Meeting in the Horse & Jockey. Here I sampled Old Sawley Two Rivers IPA (4.8%).
Using the My15 bus again I went back through Long Eaton to Long Eaton station and the nearby Sawley Junction micro bar. This was nicely busy with all six tables occupied and people standing at the bar. I sampled Brewster Goatee (4.2%) and Scribblers Rubecca (4.8%). A train from Long Eaton to Derby allowed a few minutes to visit the nearby Brunswick Inn (GBG 2019). My selection was Irving Intrepid (4.9%), a red rye ale, before catching the next train back to Sheffield and the bus home. I had never drunk in Heanor, Ilkeston, Stapleford nor Long Eaton before and there are more pubs to visit in these places with all being accessible by virtue of the excellent value Derbyshire Wayfarer ticket.