Thursday, 15 October 2015

BRAPA - Ilkley

After a straightforwardly boring train journey from Leeds - Ilkley (just the way I like them), I crossed between rush hour traffic to find this pub, sunken into the ground so you were actually kind of underground when you entered.

I nearly came here on 2nd August 2014 when I bumped into Alex from work and his friends (who helped me celebrate my inaugural 500th 'tick') and they told me they were finishing here after their walk.  I knew it had pre-emptive potential but I'd had a long enough day as it was.

709.  Flying Duck, Ilkley

The pub building dates from 1709 and you probably wouldn't know that from the 2013 refurb, though the exposed stone plus cosy ambiance (made even better when the wood burner was put in) made for a very nice pub atmosphere indeed, just the calming sensation I needed after a fraught day at work.  This is the Wharfedale brewery tap, with the brewery out the back, so it would have been rude not to try one of their ales - a Wharfedale Black was an excellent mild, normally can be quite a disappointing beer type.  There was only one other customer (long haired man at the bar) but any hopes of a BRAPA chat never quite materialised as he and barman were quite reserved, and I don't like to force my religion on people!  It seemed wrong to come to such a nice pub (and pay almost £10 for a train ticket) and just stay for one, so I went big with a 6.7% Black Magik from the always great Abbeydale Brewery,  A local couple had come in and been sampling it, so it allowed for a brief bit of human interaction!  However, the peace was shattered when another couple brought in two crazed dogs, Marley and Chester and if ever there were dogs trying to win a "worst pub pet of the year" award, it was these two.  To be fair, the owners did as good a job as possible keeping them in control (save from bringing them in in the first place!) and when one poor old woman walked down the stairs, Chester went bat shit mental - apparently confused thinking she was a burglar and he was at home!  They stunk too, and I could see the rest of the dogless drinkers expressions, they were about as impressed as me.  Any hopes of a third and final Abbeydale pint evaporated in my mind at this point.  Time to go.  So off I went.

Flying Duck - the calm before the doggy storm! 
I then had a 'farce' trying to get back all self inflicted.  First I missed the train I was aiming for as I tried to take a short cut down Railway Road which didn't work out for me (not for the platform I needed in time anyway), and I then wrote down the next time as 19:49 instead of 19:43 so missed another one!  And then back in Leeds, I missed two by a minute and had to get a slower stopper back to York.  Maybe I was being punished for ordering a MaccyD's.  Anyway, the Ilkley kerfuffle at least allowed a very swift half of 'Chop & Change' in the excellent but posho food-smelling Crescent.

Chop & Change, whilst Cellino is "confident" over his court case - apt! 
Social Media Improvements

It's long been recongised that I have not been doing enough in BRAPA to promote my challenge, but recent positive Twitter experiences at Horbury Bridge and with the Imperial in Mexborough mean I have made it a fundamental rule to 'tweet' the pub if they have an account.  I did this after Whelans of Asselby with no comeback sadly, but tried the same at Flying Duck in Ilkley and 48 hours later I got retweeted and 'added' by them.  

What this means in the real concrete world is a win-win situation where their pub gets a bit of free advertising and I get BRAPA out there too.  This is the way forward, though recently forgetting to leave my cards in pubs has been a schoolboy error I need to rectify.

Dunn's Law

As suggested by one my newest BRAPA enthusiasts, Andy Dunn, I am going to try and stick to set release days for my blog.

Monday - Archives
Wednesday - Write up of Midweek BRAPA trip
Sunday - Write up of Saturday BRAPA trip.

Special reports will be released on any given day.

He even suggested I put set times on these releases, but as you can see from this blog, sticking to the day is going to be hard enough to maintain!  A good idea though. 

Coming Soon (the rest of October)

Saturday is Sheffield day, or to be exact, Loxley, North Sheffield, Mexborough and potential Conisbrough. 

Next midweek is a no go for West Yorkshire BRAPA as Dad is hijacking me for Hull City purposes.

The following Saturday sees a return to Bedfordshire (part VIII).  This is a key day which will require some serious planning. I have my first new Bedford tick since BRAPA began and this will be my 'base'.  I then want to get out on the bus route which covers Felmersham, Souldrop and Sharnbrook.  And hopefully, with time permitting, another bus to Renhold or Riseley (or both).  

The following midweek again sees Dad hijacking me, but as I'm off work Thursday and Friday, I think switching midweek WY BRAPA to Wednesday is do-able, Knottingley will get it's BRAPA debut and it even has a railway station - hurrah!  

The next day, I have my mystery BRAPA Hallowe'en Special (4 pubs likely).  

And the month ends in just as spooky fashion at town planners wet dream, Milton Keynes, with three pubs on my agenda as I've decided to try and keep it fairly simple (Dad was happy for me to stop anywhere on the Euston-MK line but this season at least, we'll do what's nearest MK).

So, plenty to keep us going, am looking to get past 720 before month end which judging by the above, should be a cake walk, but with 750 needed by 31st December, am not resting on my laurels yet because I know how the Christmas season can limit BRAPA from past experience.

See you soon, Si


  1. I am pleased to see that their is a new BRAPA enthusiast and hope to welcome Andy to the comments section soon. I am perfectly harmless, please do not be afraid. My bark is worse than my bite, so I apologise in advance for if I ever say anything offensive.

    I did not know that Hull City had games the next two Tuesdays.

    Bedfordshire bus ticketing gen is that Stagecoach East offer an £8.00 Dayrider Plus valid on their service 50 between Bedford and Sharnbrook via Felmersham. It could be worth email both operators to find out relevant fares for what you want to do to see how good a deal this actually is, it sounds poor but some rural bus fares are eye watering. If you need any help, feel free to email me.

  2. Not sure Andy's actually been on the blog, but believe me, he's as opinionated as anyone so wouldn't shirk from a blog post if he had something to say!

    Ipswich and Leicester league cup!

    Great, thanks re Beds. Do you know if the 26 bus is also covered on this Dayrider Plus ticket as it covers I think Sharnbrook and Souldrop? Do I just get them on the bus itself? After that Arlesey - Shefford £4.70 one, I'm prepared for any crazy Beds bus costs! I'd take £8 now. Ta!

  3. You might end up having to do some moderating! How many BRAPA fans do you have to get before you start organising BRAPA conventions where you give autographs?

    Will you have any time to go for a pub tick when the Ipswich game is abandoned after 10 minutes due to crowd disorder with City losing 5-2?

    The 26 is Grant Palmer so the Stagecoach ticket is not valid. I'm not sure on your train times or pub opening times, but I would be basing my day around the Soudrop limited service 26, which I think will be a walk in one direction. Thinking about it, the £8.00 probably isn't such a good move, but it is so hard to tell with buses because many companies don't put much information on their websites. Centrebus are excellent in that part of the world, full fare table for every route, forumlae provided to calculate day return and season fares and the like. Now why can't everybody else follow.

    York - Wilberfoss single is £3.60 with a 10% discount card. And apparently that is a a cheap evening fare.I was quite pleasantly surprised to only pay £5.60 for a day return from opposite the front door of my building to Caistor last week. When you have a plan together, let me know and I shall send some probing emails asking the right questions. When/if they respond I shall then respond at the uselessness of their website for such information. If they don't respond then they will get a very good complaint.

  4. Publicising your blog, a delicate subject. Always courteous to let a pub you've wrote about them on the blog, as I suspect outside the cities they don't get written up much. More trickly when you've just said the beer is poor and their dog smells, but like you I believe in the truth (BRAPA or RetiredMartin version).

    I see you're approaching the big 10k - well done. Any exciting overseas views yet ? I'll swap one of my Saudi Arabias or Falklands for a Greenland if you have one of those. Sent son to Poland and he failed to view my blog there.

  5. Yes, I've often wondered if I'll only "make it" in the blogosphere when I accidentally/on purpose offend a pub or get my first troll (not including Tom under Kew Bridge). Tricky one isn't it!

    Just past the 10k, BRAPA party time! Party Poppers from Scunthorpe still in my cupboard left over from New Year's Eve. Still no Greenland, never had a Falklands, I think Venezuela is still about the most exotic! Good tactic with son. Might send Tom to Sao Tome and Principe.