Skimmington Castle 2.0

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Sep 25th, 2007
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Friends of the World Drinking Tour know the Skimmington Castle as a legendary site for tales from the drink.

Founding tour member Keef introduced me to “The Skim” (as it is better known) over 10 years ago. As we drove up Bonnys Road in Reigate, he pointed to a sand trap on the golf course and simply stated, “I slept in that bunker one night.”

Indeed, one of the best things about The Skim is the convenient discount lodging at the nearby bunker … although the early morning checkout time, and wake-up call with a golf ball, can be a minor inconvenience.

You can read more about our tales from The Skim at our sister web site, or … the web sites that eventually led to the creation of this blog.

But alas, it’s been a rough year for The Skim. Long time publicans John and Naomi called it a day in September 2006, and a new tenant landlord was brought in. They still have Addlestone’s Cloudy Cider on tap, but the food … which was always consistent … if not high-quality, extremely good quality … country pub food … has gone downhill. And the public has noticed, as the pub is not nearly as crowded as it used to be.

In early August, on a Sunday afternoon visit to The Skim, I had run into John at the bar. He had popped in for a quick pint, but then joined me and my friends on the new back deck at The Skim to catch up on things. Turns out that he and Naomi had just wanted to take some time off, but they were soon to be taking over the Black Horse in Reigate, which was less than a mile down the road.

As fate would have it, my next visit to Reigate was Thursday, September 20, 2007. Keef and I thought that we’d check out The Black Horse, see if John had taken over yet, and if they had Addlestone’s … then maybe pay another visit to The Skim.

Turns out that it was John’s first night at The Black Horse. No Addlestone’s yet, but we had a pint and decided that the food menu was definitely worth returning for … after a quick trip to The Skim. Popping round The Skim for a few pints of Addlestone’s is always a good idea … but it’s an especially good idea if you’re flying long haul out of Gatwick the next day (preferably with a flight around noon).

After four or five pints of Addlestone’s, we arranged transport with our designated driver Brian to pick us up at The Skim and head down to the Black Horse for a meal.

The food at the Black Horse was excellent … and while there was some decent beer, we decided to transition to the Hoegaarden, as that seemed more compatible with the Addlestone’s that was already in our system. And I’m proud to have been there to close down The Black Horse on John’s first night (which probably reminds him why he had wanted to take some time off in the first place).

Thankfully, the Black Horse has a comfy sitting area so that the designated driver can take a kip, while his mates take pictures and make a general nuisance of themselves.

I look forward to returning to The Black Horse, which we jokingly refer to as The Skim 2.0.

But I also hope that changes will be forthcoming for The Original Skim, so that it can return to its past days of glory and legend.