Thursday, 25 October 2012

Brill - The Pointer pub & four mile walk

Brill - The Pointer Pub & four mile walk on a foggy day

I know one should expect it to be foggy on in October, but the fog was so thick when we visited Brill this week that my beloved Border collie kept vanishing in the mists, I have no photographs of him on this visit. That doesn't matter, I sensed he was not far behind or in front of us.  He is the sort of dog that often goes off for a moment to investigate a smell or check something out, but he is never far away.  In all the 12 years that we have shared walks together, I have never lost him.
We were visiting Brill to check out The Pointer a newly revamped pub in the center of this charming little red-brick village  which thanks to the vision of David Howden and farmer/butcher Jon Wilkins it now comes complete with its own butcher's shop.
The butchers shop is only open during the afternoon three days a week at the moment, but once David and Jon have settled in, opening hours will be extended and the butchers will even sell freshly baked bread that comes from the pub's kitchen.
Our meal was scrumptious, nicely cooked and beautifully presented.
As  I am now working on a book about fish and chips - I ordered fish and chips and was not disappointed, whilst Uncle John went for the hotpot option that featured on the menu as a Senior Special at just £5, which was jolly good value. Judging by  amount of senior citizens enjoying lunch while we were there, he was not the only one who thought this.
As The Pointer is a free house, the beers can be selected from anywhere, so most were local, with their very own Pointer Pint created for the pub by the XT brewing company down the road, near Thame.  This proved a perfect ale for lunch. The grains and yeast to brew this tipple are given to David and Jon who feed them to the Longhorn cattle that they rear on the farm.
Apparently the Longhorn will be ready for Christmas, both to buy in the butcher's shop and  the festive menu that their chefs have created. Longhorn is a particularly tasty and succulent beef - the perfect roast for Christmas.

The walk begins at the 17th century windmill which stands close to Brill's other pub The Pheasant. Delightful views over Otmore make this hilly spot well worth a visit (when it is not foggy of course). The beginning of the walk is quite difficult however as the terrain is particularly rough, such that it would be easy to trip if you weren't looking where you were going. The circular walk took us towards the village of Oakley and Little London Farm. It took us one hour 45 minutes as we had to watch our step and the fog made this difficult. Also the presence of moist cow pats suggested that there were cattle present which we couldn't see.
The notable landmark on this walk is a very ordinary looking modern farmhouse, which replaces the original house built there, that  had been purchased by the Great Train Robbers in 1963, to provide them somewhere to hide and a garden in which they could bury some of the banknotes if needs be. Leatherslade Farm was their hideout for a couple of days, then they cleaned it from top to bottom to remove any fingerprints before leaving. Unfortunately for them they failed to wipe the tomato sauce bottle that was marked with Ronald Biggs prints.
Passing the farmhouse certainly added that extra something to our walk.
We enjoyed our visit to Brill so much, it's our attention to call in before Christmas to try some of the beef  and more of The Pointer beer.