Monday, 13 July 2015

BRAPA - South of York : Goole, Snaith, Thorne and Rawcliffe

After two days in Aberdeen, it's fair to say I could have done without a third consecutive day and walking through York to catch the 415 to Selby on race day was, luckily, the hardest part.

I was joined again by Jig, and Krzb who organised the trip and seemed to have a relative/anecdote for every leg of the journey.  They'd been with me on the less than romantic Valentine's 'Outer Selby' crawl.

A tight bus change at Selby ensued, owing to delays, and thankfully we made the bus to Snaith.

702.  Brewers Arms, Snaith

We entered this strangely shaped white pub to find a gaggle of either pre-racegoers or a wedding party milling around the entrance, but the pub itself was quite quiet and we were met by the friendliest landlady you could hope to find.  She thought we were on a real ale trail (which we were of sorts), wondered why we weren't at a beer festival (a bit random) and was very proud that they'd won a recent CAMRA award.  Top marks for her.  Less can be said of Old Mill beers.  Although they are brewed just a couple of streets away, the guest Summer Sunshine left us all with that usual bland feeling.  Perfectly kept of course, the ales just don't do enough,  I'm not wanting Magic Rock or Rat, just some bite!  We sat outside as it was a sunny if slightly windy day (indoors was a bit dark and full of flies), in a most fantastic beer garden and a bouncy castle had just finish erecting itself as we arrived.  A huge climbing frame/play area too was behind - it actually was a "beer garden!" A sign that said "No ballS games" was a bit more worrying.  One final quirk was a well inside the pub with a skeleton at the bottom - the Old Mill founder perhaps?

Krzb and Jig arrive in sunny Snaith
The same bus route then took us to the pretty village of Rawcliffe, which had elements of Poppleton with a village green type thing and a river running down a quiet street to our next pub,

703.  Jemmy Hirst at the Rose & Crown, Rawcliffe

This pub is on the list of "oh my god Si, how have you not been here before?  Call yourself a BRAPA man?  You are an embarrassment!"  In fact, I'm going to come up with a "bucket list" of ten of these to do in 2016 once the new GBG comes out.  Despite the harsh voices in my head, I could see why this has been mentioned in real ale circles for years .... a very old style country pub presided over by a professional and friendly landlord/barman who had to go to great efforts to get Jig's Rat beer back on due to an airlock in the new barrel.  This gave us time to admire the quirky decor and great selection of pump clips on the low ceiling.  Even the crisp range was reassuringly no nonsense - ready salted, salt n vinegar, cheese n onion or beef (the latter considered the exotic option).  Despite the lovely indoors, we again went to an outdoors area and whilst not quite at the Snaith standards, it was a pleasant little courtyard and as I felt my neck burning, it reminded me exactly of the second Horbury
pub beer outdoor area from 3 weeks ago.  In the "Scottish Voting" (which I ironically didn't do for Aberdeen), this won our pub of the day.

A happy jaunty angled Si arrived at the Jemmy Hirst
Our bus was slightly delayed from Rawcliffe as we were stared out by an old grubby vested man with boobs, a bit like Onslow from Keeping up Appearances.  But we were soon crossing over into South Yorkshire for pub three.

704.  Windmill, Thorne

Thorne seemed a surprisingly pleasant little town to walk through, which was just as well because the bus surely should have stopped sooner that it did!  Still, not a long walk to the pub which although we ended up rating the poorest of the day, had plenty to commend it.  Well, a few things.  The barmaid was a pretty young thing, so shame she didn't smile.  The only beer of interest was Kelham Island Pale Rider, I've had some really dodgy ones of these recently but this was a vast improvement, though I'm not sure I enjoy Kelham Island like I did ten years ago.  The pub didn't seem to know what it wanted to be, probably the age old problem of trying to appeal to all.  The bar felt 'traditional local' but it had been opened up into a more family friendly place, and a conservatory and vast outdoor seating area, both in car park and beyond, seemed to reinforce this.  Especially as there was in effect, a "kids only" beer garden (with child sized benches we almost sat on!) and a long haired boy playing noisily with a toy fire engine.  His parents looked a bit mean, but there was no sense of "be quiet Tommy, people are trying to have a relaxing drink!".

Beware kids with fire engines at the Windmill

Krzb told us there was plenty of time until the next bus, so after a quick stop at Copelands for a sausage roll, we decided to sample the nicest looking of the non-guide pubs......

The Old Vault, Thorne

And this really was a pre-emptive pub tick so well done Krzb, well done all of us, for coming here.  Some typically South Yorks locals (men in vests and shorts with no teeth) welcomed us and landlord was a top chap too, he told me they'd just opened in December so probably won't get in the GBG until the 2017 edition if that silly 'year rule' still applies.  It had really nice green and white tiling so Krzb speculated it might be a former Lloyds Bank, seeing a Yorkshire and HSBC in the same market square.  A great range of ales was on offer, plenty from Lytham (I had a stout) and a round for £7.50 was very impressive but apparently, it's £1,50 a pint on a Thursday!   Micro-pubs are the way forward for CAMRA at the moment with so many more historic pubs sadly tied to evil pubcos and this is the latest of many impressive ones I've been to this year.  A real find, and when I told Dad on the phone, was surprised he knows about it cos his friend Brian often passes through Thorne and stops here!

705.  City & County, Goole

After another bus ride, we were in Goole which didn't seem as much like a scene from a zombie film as I'd been expecting.  And no Gooligans more importantly, as we entered this quite grand building which used to be a Midland Bank, and certainly reminded me, externally at least, of the Archibald Simpson in Aberdeen.  It had that rough n ready Wetherspoons vibe and I went for a Dutch JDW guest ale collaboration which was okay but had that distinct Spoonsie clarty chewiness.  There were some interesting people and fashions on display, and the loos were hidden in a maze of corridors where you never came back in where you'd gone out!  So all very Spoons-esque actually.

City and County in Goole - see, you could be in Aberdeen!

A painful bus journey to Selby followed, absolutely dying for the loo when we got back, and again we 'made' time for a 'final' drink .....

Cricketers Arms, Selby

We played safe at this non-Guide Sam Smith's pub, mainly because we knew it did at least sell real ale!  Still, me and Jig went for a fruity bottle and Krzb struggled with his OBB - not he said because it wasn't a good pint but a heavy day of drinking plus a fairly heavy ale meant it was the wrong beer at the wrong time.  Still, staff were friendly and it had that traditional SS pub feel, dark oaky wood, traditional furnishings - which really is my kind of pub.  It didn't seem rammed, but no one was willing to give us half a sniff of a seat (so to speak) so we had to lean on stools and admire old Yorkshire cricketers like Len Hutton and the spinner Emmett from Victorian times.  Not sure how I remember that detail!  Whether you could call this a pre-emptive pub or not is a moot point - I'll let you know in 2042 whether it was worth the visit.  But I quite enjoyed it.

Organic Cherry fruit beer in Sam Smith's house, the Cricketers in Selby.
And then the bus back to York, Krzb departed Fulford, me and Jig "thought outside the box" and went into Three Tuns for a final pint and Scottish Voting and then it was fish n chips and home, job done!

See you tomorrow evening for a different type a Tuesday pub tick.



  1. Did you get an Arriva bus day rover ticket, whatever it is called these days?

    I'm glad you didn't find the Thorne equivalent of the Gooligans. I regularly see them on a Saturday night on the train home. Imagine a full compliment of Gooligans without Javo to control them.

  2. Hi Tom, something like a "Yorkshire Day Saver" - it worked any way.

    I wonder if the Javo equivalent of the "Thorneigan" does exist, and he was the one in the vest who welcomed us to the Old Vault, quite a wiry and edgy character.

    Any ideas if Beds bus savers that cover Dunton and Sandy also cover Great Barford/Renhold?

  3. I'll have a look at the Bedfordshire bus tickets. Just to save me duplicating the research you have already done, which bus services are you using to said villages? Did you notice who operates them? Don't worry if not, I can easily look said gen up.

    Do you think the chappy in the well would like an Egyptian friend. It could be just like having his mummy back.