Sunday, 31 May 2015

BRAPA : More from East Yorkshire

Dad arrives at the Gait, we sat out on these benches (see pub 660)

The month of May finished (BRAPA-wise) with three more pub ticks, thanks in the main to Dad who used his new car to be "chauffeur" for the day, as we went pubbing around the underrated Yorkshire Wolds.

659 - Goodmanham Arms, Goodmanham - And a late contender for pub of the month had to be this wonderful old place, in a remote old hamlet not far from Market Weighton.  As someone said on my Twitter page, "looks like something out of Lord of the Rings", and for the next hour and a half, I certainly found like Frodo who'd found the ring.  We walked in to that reassuring smell of coal fires (yes, it might be the end of May, but it's still too cold).  It was one of those pubs where you find yourself gaping open mouthed like a surprised fish, looking around you trying to take it all in with pewters hanging from the ceiling, old horse racing pictures, a room full of vintage motorbikes and Hornby train sets.  It's almost a surprise this pub isn't in my heritage book.  The beers weren't bad either, a huge range served not only guest ales but there own brews from the Old Hallows brewery and I sampled both a golden and a porter, very good indeed.  When we arrived, an army of young female staff outnumbered the customers and all I could learn about them was that one loved the TV programme Jackass whilst one hated it.  Meanwhile, a huge dog had sat on my foot and blocked out all the light so we moved to 'motorbike' room.  I got talking to a very old man at the bar who pretty much told me they'd built the pub around him 100 years ago, it was just a single farmhouse room back then, and when I mentioned Wetherspoons, he looked ultra confused.  Moving to the side room was a good move, as the pub started to fill up with lunchtime diners so it was time to go the outdoor loos and move on.

Arriving at the stunning Goodmanham Arms

660 - Gait Inn, Millington - I used my own brand of complex Sat Nav to help Dad get us here, but at least the scenery around the Wolds was beautiful, up near Pocklington now.  I was highly anticipating this place but after the Goodmanham, it failed to quite live up to expectations.  Maybe the Black Sheep sign outside was a giveaway but out of three beers, only Anglers Reward by Wold Top was interesting.  Thankfully, it was one of the best pale ales I have drunk on a BRAPA trip this year.  Truly superb.  The landlord was a friendly chap and the pub was thankfully not taken up with diners (Dad had been thinking about another pub in Bishop Wilton) but it didn't have the stunning interior of the last place, though I apparently missed a unique old map of Yorkshire on the ceiling!  This was probably because we sat on benches outside the front of the pub.  I often think outdoor drinking gives a pint an extra 5% of flavour.  With an old horse n cart going backwards and forwards through the village, the smell of freshly cut grass, bikers, walkers and the sun finally out, this was the summer drinking experience that May has sadly lacked.  It probably made a quite good pub that much better.

Outdoor BRAPA pub ticking in Millington's relative sunshine
And that was that, I thought, until Dad had one of surprising "spur of the moment" decisions and realised that back on the Brid road, we weren't far from Thixendale .... where I had a North Yorkshire pub to tick off.

661 - Cross Keys, Thixendale - And Dad's sense of urgency made sense when he explained that he'd been walking here with his friend group "the Bunnies" several times only to be let down by this closed pub.  On one occasion, the landlord saw them but wouldn't let them in as he was about to walk his dog!  I therefore hadn't realised how lucky we were to get sat down with a decent if not spectacular pint from the Half Moon brewery a few miles away in Ellerton.  A couple of walkers came in, asked about food, but were turned away as he was closing soon(!) so we had been ultra-lucky.  To be fair to the landlord, he offered the walkers a soft drink and crisps.  They declined.  Dad still saw this evidence of the landlord's bad form and spent the rest of time scowling at him!  The pub itself felt quite basic but I was so delighted to get a bonus 'tick', I just had the same stupid smile on my face I had done in Goodmanham.  But you did get the feeling this was a locals pub which didn't really grasp the concept of offering a public service to the masses of walkers and tourists who pass through.  

And that really was that for May, with 26 pubs done, a very productive month considering I put my West Yorkshire midweek trips on hold for the entire month.  Pub of the month?  Goodmanham Arms, the White Swan at Stokesley and Totternhoe's Old Farm were the three that made me smile most/

June Preview

So, with the football season thankfully over, 100% efforts can be put into BRAPA, or can they as friend's are talking 'beer festivals' and 'summer days out'.  

Whatever, I am determined to get back on the West Yorkshire midweek trail starting on the outskirts of Hebden Bridge this coming Tuesday.  We have the 'work friends Heavy Woolen tour : part two' next Saturday, our monthly Bedfordshire trip the following Saturday and on the final Saturday of the month, I plan to get back on the North Yorkshire trail with Chapel-le-Dale, it's next in order.

See you soon, Si

Indoor scene at Goodmanham Arms, trying to capture the magic.


  1. Do not worry, y plan is that the 'summer day out' will not derail BRAPA. I hope they can go hand in hand together. Does the heavy woollen tour feature West Yorkshire, or I suppose Lancashire, mill towns with required GBG pubs?

  2. Hi Tom, it is very much a West Yorkshire tour, I think Lancs is more heavy cotton, West Yorks the woolen side of things with the slightly colder climate and less rainfall (see, I do remember GCSE history in Industrial Revolution!)

  3. You are correct the Lancs has more cotton and Yorkshire more wool, but I believe there were exceptions to that rule. The most important thing is, do you get to red pen a pub?

  4. Oh yes, it's a BRAPA centred day with six pubs expected. The same happened last June, but this has just been postponed for 3 wks.

  5. Time for pedantry. There are four weekends in June. You have only accounted for three of them.

    Please do let me know you Beds moves for June / July. There is a remote chance our paths could cross, given a good bit of luck with some potential track.

  6. Hi Tom, really like your July 4th email by the way. I'll reply at some point and agree Staxton might be a step too far.

    Yes "pedant"(!), one weekend down in June as doing a beer festival with York friends.

    Beds June on 13th should go something like Eversholt around noon - walk/taxi to Toddington - bus to Wingfield - bus to Harlington x2 pubs - train (but order still to be organised).

    July is third Sat of month. Something like Sandy around 12:30, Dunton 2pm - not sure from there, ideally both Felmersham and Great Barford but they may be too far apart to both achieve.

    Nowt in Aug due to Punk Fest & Early season fun. September is a possibility but waiting for fixture list. If so, perhaps Heath & Reach / Leighton Buzzard & a bit of Luton!

    Let me know if any sound likely for you. Si

  7. Which route are you taking to/from Harlington. I am awaiting other gen for the 13th of June, if it is positive whilst I won't be in Bedfordshire, I may be on a train heading in that direction so may rig it and say hello.

    I presume August and September could have localish BRAPA fixtures added for the home games? Don't forget the first Saturday in September is blank fixture day, if you want to book a Leighton Buzzard trip.

  8. Hi Tom, I haven't worked out the final plan for next Sat yet but still going to stick with the Eversholt 12 noon bus then probably Wingfield as it shuts at 3pm, then Toddington and then Harlington so would expect it to be about 4pm in Harlington. Would be nice to see you, see if it fits in,

    Thanks re first Saturday in Sept info, I will go ahead and book that for a Beds day.

  9. I'm still awaiting gen, so have no idea where I'll be. It will be further north than that though, there is an outside chance I will bump into you on your way south. Which way are you going down?