Wednesday 6 August 2014

BRAPA - Appletreewick, Addingham, Silsden and Ilkley.

Last Saturday was my third BRAPA day in four, and my last in two weeks after totally burning the candle at both ends, and killing my liver too in the process.  After the hardcore Bronte country walking of Friday, my legs couldn't take much more as I awoke on Saturday.  Thankfully, it turned out to be one of those very good smooth n easy BRAPA excursions.

A train to Leeds, and a change to Ilkley found my outside the bus station at 10am waiting for the 74 bound for the Dales.  I recognised a guy a vaguely knew from work and after a chat, found out they too were heading for Appletreewick on a pub crawl where you have to go around Wharfedale and drink a Wharfedale beer in each pub and get this leaflet stamped.  My kinda thing if I wasn't BRAPPING!

One of the more unique pub signs I've seen on my travels

499 - Craven Arms, Appletreewick - After a 10 minute delay in drizzly rain and quick walk around this small but beautiful Dales village, they soon let me and the Alex gang in and they headed straight for the Wharfedale pumps.  The York Beer Monster tells me it is one of his all time favourite pubs.  Great range of ales saw me try a local Hetton Pale which was decent.  I sat with Alex and his friends, a like minded bunch of pub geeks and my BRAPA story is always a great icebreaker - I was soon almost one of them.  The pub dates back to 1548 and had a fantastic feel, great staff, I can't speak highly enough of it.  Always annoying though when your first pub is pub of the day!

500 - New Inn, Appletreewick - So, a landmark 500th pub had arrived and with the Alex gang totally living the BRAPA dream, I was given a guard of honour and round of applause as I entered the pub as the clock chimed for 12 noon opening time. The landlady didn't know what to think.  One of the lads even bought my drink, a superb Goose Eye Chinook as I made up for not having a Goose Eye yesteday, in Goose Eye!
Poised to enter my 500th Good Beer Guide Pub in the lovely Appletreewick
Like something from Shaun of the Dead, a load of campers then ascended from the valley near the River Wharfe and swarmed to the bar like a load of ale thirsty zombies.  We all sat in the outside beer 'garden' across the road from the pub, the sun came out, this was almost perfect BRAPA action despite the lack of phone signal to do my check ins!

As the campers dispersed, I bid farewell to the Alex gang who were heading down towards the river for some serious walking in their quest for Wharefedale ales, the heavens opened and suddenly I was on my own, waiting for bus back towards Ilkley and thank god it turned up else I was stranded.

501 - Swan, Addingham - I jumped off the bus early at Addingham, a few miles west of Ilkley.  Thankfully, the heavy rain stopped and it was warm and sunny again, adding to the feeling that this was a lucky day for me.  
Amazing mild in Addingham's Swan
After walking past the intriguing looking Fleece (still with bloody yellow bicycle outside, grrr the Tour finished a month ago, get over it!!) I walked into this unassuming looking pub to be greeted by a very friendly and helpful barman who served me a gorgeous Ilkley Black which for a mild, was exceptional. 

Some South African tourists came in for lunch, and I was tempted by the soup and sandwich offer but I had my own food so tried not to waste any more money in the name of BRAPA.

It was time to move on anyway, and catch a different bus to the small town of Silsden, as in the train station 'Steeton and Silsden', and my bus took me pretty much directly to the front door.

502 - Kings Arms, Silsden - Pub 4 of the day was a very different experience, very much more like a town local full of old West Yorkshire men than the other pubs I'd been in.  It had a happy community feel and two things stood out.  Sexy barmaids plus many beers from the Abbeydale / Doctor Morton's stable of Sheffield - so with these two things combined, I was as happy as your proverbial pig in shit.  They did have a Tour De France stain glass type painted mural in the window opposite me, just to keep me partially discontented! 

503 - Crescent, Ilkley - After another bus, this time back into Ilkley (having almost accidentally gone to 
Marie Jaune, pint of the day contender.
Keighley by mistake, as if yesterday hadn't been enough!), I was in the Crescent - a corner pub in centre.  Beer wise, it was fantastic and I had a Marie Jaune from Ikley brewery (French name, surprise surprise!) and this was probably pint of the day. I had a bit of a problem with the 'pub' though in that it was quite clearly tied to a next door posh looking restaurant which it shared loos with, where I enjoyed an incredibly high class piss.  It consequently had an overly manicured atmosphere and general feel but then I've always felt Ilkley was one of the more well to do areas of West Yorkshire, if that's saying anything!  Nice though, can't knock it too much.

So overall, a really nice feeling easy BRAPA day after Friday's exertions and Wednesday's traumatic evening session!  Good to be back on track but will now take stock before getting back on the midweek trail in 2 weeks time with my final (I hope) trip to Bradford.  Si

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