At lunch the other day in the Cart’s Bog Inn, I had a quick chat with Stuart Davison, who I discovered is expecting to be celebrating running the place for a decade in March 2020. I remember so well when this beloved country pub was abandoned after a marital fallout, sitting empty for at least a year, before Stuart and Jenny took over. Time flies so fast.
But this sojourn is only the latest, and probably the best, chapter in a long and illustrious history for the pub; dating back to 1775, it got its name from the challenges faced by the carts hauling lead from the smelters at Langley and Allen Mill, who persistently foundered in the boggy areas nearby. A friendly hostelry was probably just the ticket for the frustrated hauliers of the day!
Nowadays the flowers around the establishment are a delight and the pub a joy. The Virginia Creeper sets the building off dramatically in this autumn season. But the food is what brings folks out. Amongst the small party, we had wonderful Bog Pie, delicious scampi, wholesome vegetarian nut cutlet and satisfying pork sausages and mash. Washed down with superb red wine and a pint of real ale, it was a lovely lunch. It’s a good thing the birthday lunch was Wednesday, as the Inn is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Otherwise hours are traditional (typically noon to 2pm, and for dinner 6-8:30), but there’s no food offered on Sunday evenings; doubtless the staff needs the recuperation after the superlative Sunday lunch service!
The Cart’s Bog boasts two full quoits teams as well, with its three manicured pitches out back, the clay pits carefully protected with wooden coverings. With ample parking, and plenty of space for a marquee, the Inn does brilliant wedding receptions, and external catering (Stuart catered for the annual Farmers’ Ball at Allendale Village Hall for many years, before becoming ill last year; I was glad to hear that he’s well now).
It’s been a long time since I last hoied a quoit at the Cart’s Bog, though as I recall our team was well and truly beaten by the prowess of the resident team. They must be particularly good at this unique north-eastern past-time these days!
The Cart’s Bog Inn website showcases a lovely gallery of photographs which help to convey the unique atmosphere of this pub, but can’t quite show the esteem in which it’s held by its regulars.