- Chilly on top at Chillington Wharf? -
Although this would be an away day outing, the trip begins with a Black Country breakfast at Jeans Cafe near the Priestfield Midland Metro stop. A Full Monty here is not for the faint-hearted but members rose to the challenge magnificently, meaning it was highly necessary to walk off such indulgence with a stroll back into Wolverhampton via Monmore Green. The Chairman was so captivated by Chillington Wharf off the Birmingham Canal that his bald spot defences were breached before we'd even set foot in Shropshire.
- The Woodberry Down -
The 890 bus provided our link to Bridgnorth so we caught the 09:45 departure from Wolverhampton. The journey takes in Compton, Wightwick, Trescott, Shipley and Rudge Heath before the final approaches through Worfield and the Stanmore Trading Estate (we saw rather too much of Arriva's Bridgnorth depot throughout the day). Rather than alight in Bridgnorth town centre we saw the route right through to its outer terminus on the Sydney Cottage Drive estate, allowing for a photo call at the distinctly pink Woodberry Down pub.
- Bridgnorth Baldness -
A gentle wander along Innage Lane brought us back into Bridgnorth town where we could admire landmarks including the local hospital, the Northgate Museum and the historic Town Hall, which stands half-timbered in the middle of the High Street. There are plenty of inns to capture our imagination too, with West Castle Street contributing the Old Castle and the White Lion (the Hop & Stagger brewery tap) although it was the Shakespeare's old road signs that prompted another brazen bald spot display.
- Driving the 114 -
Our Chairman had been insistent on including a village visit in the day's itinerary and so Worfield was nominated as the required destination. To get there we made use of the 114, a route that operates roughly two-hourly linking Bridgnorth with Shifnal and Telford. The sight of a vacant back seat had Mr D9 salivating at the thought of another driving demonstration so the customary steering pose was adopted with great gusto.
- Worfield Village -
Worfield is a place that exudes rural charm with the quaintness of Main Street winding down towards St Peter's Church. Old telephone kiosks and country cottages accompany the sounds of the playground from the village school as we investigate the village green with its war memorial plinth.
- Floral Furnishings in The Dog & Davenport -
A quintessential English village needs a quintessential English pub and in Worfield's case the Dog Inn & Davenport Arms more than fits the brief. The double-barreled name reflects the area's links to the Davenport family, local landowners going back several generations. A half of Hobson's Bitter goes down nicely as we peruse a book about Wolverhampton trolleybuses and D9 sniffs out the flower arrangements. Back out on the A454, the Wheel Inn is itself a renowned landmark and offers some Hop & Stagger Simpson's Original although the Chairman was much more interested in the Hobson's branded beer glasses.
- A Crafty Checkout -
The 890 has the honour of returning us once more to Bridgnorth (complete with another garage detour), and this time we hop off in Low Town on the eastern side of the River Severn. A clutch of pubs can be found around Bridge Street and Mill Street with the Vine and the Fosters Arms providing the scene for some secretarial skulduggery, Mr WME securing an improbable 71 darts checkout followed by a discount deal on the Cannon Royall Blonde Bombshell.
- On board the Cliff Railway -
Crossing the river we take a look at The Cartway, a historic cobbled hill that once provided the main access between High Town and Low Town. In centuries gone by the street contained up to 50 public houses of which only the recently refurbished Black Boy remains - you can still see the traces of several cellar hatches as you walk along. Engineering history then comes to the fore as we savour a ride on the Cliff Railway, a steep funicular connection rising 111 feet during a journey that lasts little over a minute. A return ticket costs £1.20 which is well worth it for the sheer novelty of the experience, not to mention some spectacular views looking out over the river and surrounding countryside.
- The Bell & Talbot -
Continuing with the railway theme a little longer, we make a visit to the Severn Valley station, crossing a nerve-jangling footbridge just below the remains of Bridgnorth Castle. The station is proving a popular attraction despite inclement weather, as is the Railwayman's Arms pub in the station's former refreshment rooms. We then climb the hill from the station up to Salop Street, pausing to absorb the coaching inn ambience of Bell & Talbot serving its own Clipper ales. Trying to get to grips with all the pub possibilities in High Town would be impossible given that our last 890 back to Wolverhampton leaves a minute after five, but among the options we could consider are the New Inn, the Friars Ale House and the Harp.
- Keeping Calm in Wightwick -
We make it onto that 890 with time to spare although the notorious D9 bladder is soon causing havoc, hence an emergency stop in Wightwick is required. The Chairman was worried about chewing wasps but manages to get away without being stung too much in the Mermaid or the Fieldhouse - perhaps the message on the cushion had the desired effect! The Fieldhouse in fact was a WME sleeve success and Mr D9 only recovered his bearings once returned to the familiar surroundings of Tettenhall Wood and Compton, where the bald one used biological warfare as a somewhat dubious means of closing out a 5-4 darts victory. A stinky finish perhaps but a day of the highest quality all told, and with several unscheduled 'wedding toasts' along the way we shall look forward to whatever adventure awaits us next.