I’ve been on a fair few stag tours. Ibiza, Portugal, Edinburgh, Brighton, Nottingham, Amsterdam – to name but a few. I’d probably say I’m a stag vet. This one had the feel of a traditional, all encompassing stag event – no holes barred, no horses spared. Full power 35 hour, 1 shower.
Our digs were cheap and cheerful – allowing us to realise a much better yield of money to fun ratios. A typical Youth Hostel Association building near the village of Oakamoor, near Cheadle / Stoke that we had hired for the duration. Upon arrival I tuned in a computer that I had on me to listen to the Yorkshire v Lancashire T20 cricket – that best man Henry had convinced me to put a fiver on – I’m glad he did as we won! This win set the tone for me. Winning, elated sports and drinking vibe laddishness. As fellow stags arrived from all over the country – some old friends – some new – we soon turned our attentions to the local village, with it’s provenance of pubs and associated trappings. We popped in to The Admiral – a good pub with friendly staff and a cracking drop of Tiger ale. As a lot of us there were cricket fans, the lure of a pub further up the village called The Cricketers Arms was too much of a coincidence to let slide. Several hours later, after an incredibly tolerated, noisy, Doonbar (and the rest) fuelled night we headed back up the hill to home. This was no mean feat – almost a scramble in places, pitch black with only two torches between the lot of us. I’m surprised there were no serious injuries. I’m also suprised that the questionable logic of tying a jumper to a tree to help locate a lost shoe by the king stag paid off the next day when he re located his lost footwear.
The next day consisted of 10 hours of cricket, drinking, music..
..and a failed mission from Captain Harvey Jones of the S.A.S. to snag us some venison. I blame the fruitless deer results on the high propensity of stags in the vicinity.
Eventual, after a world record bid to do 50 keepy ups and a full building football lob..
..our plans to hit the high life of The Cricketers Arms for another night of frivolity became a reality. Little did we know that Binsy the landlord had laid on a Karaoke themed evening which was in full voice upon our arrival, only to be made fuller voiced with Tim singing “Tim is Wild” and my own rendition of Ring of Fire.
Much to the releife of the locals, we took over the back room which we renamed Dooksie’s Lakeside. We got the stag in rare old spirits – probably by plying him with every rare old spirit the bar had to offer. Here he is having a bit of a dance in pants.
At about 4am we stumbled back into the hostel after nearly leaving a few good men behind in the woods (again the torch to beer ratio was right out).
The next day involved a big ol’ clean up operation and some bleary eyed goodbyes.
A few of us dropped off the motorway half to back up north and found a pub called the Yellow Lion who served a really good carvery for less than £7. Slighty more bruises and stories to tell – but I think we can safely say we broke the stag. Here he is at 4am Sunday, face down in a bacon sandwich.