Does the idea of visiting Windsor Castle or Big Ben during your next trip to Great Britain sound a bit stale? Here’s an activity that might be more up your alley: A team of scientists recently figured out the shortest, most efficient route for grabbing a pint at 24,727 British pubs listed on the Pubs Galore website. The result is a 28,269 mile pub crawl – billed as the world’s longest – covering a distance longer than the circumference of the Earth. You may want to consider delaying your return flight.
Walking at a typical speed of a mile every 20 minutes, and putting in a full-day’s work of eight hours a day every single day including weekends, the mammoth crawl would take well over three years to complete – and that doesn’t even include drinking any beers! The good news is that the entire crawl creates one big circle – so even though the researchers behind it began at The Green Shutters on the Isle of Portland off England south coast and ended at The Rodwell in Weymouth a few miles away, you can start at any point on the crawl and end up back where you started… three years the wiser and probably a bit hungover.
Despite his findings, lead researcher William Cook from the University of Waterloo in Canada stated, “We did not set out to improve the lot of a wandering pub aficionado.” Instead, the point of the exercise was to tackle the largest ever “travelling salesman problem,” attempting to find the shortest single closed-loop route between a large group of destinations. Using the pub database allowed Cook’s teams to test their methods on a set with 100 times more stops than any previous road-distance travelling salesman problem to date, according to The Guardian. Cook described the project “as a means for developing and testing general-purpose optimisation methods, which have wide applications in science, industry and commerce.”
However, Cook’s research isn’t the first time someone has taken a beer-soaked approach to testing these sorts of mathematical concepts. This time last year, Nathan Yau of the blog Flowing Data created a similar map of the US using 70 of the highest rated breweries in the country as his location points. Sounds like these guys might be secretly itching to get out from behind their computers to go grab a beer. Either that or they know that using bars and breweries as their locations is the only way Joe Sixpack will ever read their research. Who wants to chug a beer to science?!
If you have a few years of your life to spare, don’t mind trekking the distance of the globe and have no regard for your liver, an interactive Google Map of the entire British pub route can be found on the University of Waterloo’s website. At the very least, it can give you some ideas of how to quickly get between pubs in your neck of the British woods.