Sunday 10 January 2016

BRAPA - Beckwithshaw, North Rigton, Sicklinghall.

Surprise, surprise, it was pouring with rain as we arrived at the car park of our first pub just a couple of minutes before 11am opening, Dad back on his BRAPA chauffeur duties which served me so well in 2015.

I wouldn't have fancied the walk in this weather, and Dad's SatNav which has an excellent sense of humour had us on winding, hilly country lanes, thick fog and at one point, "flying slop" as an old woman shovelled some muck into the street and looked outraged as our car nearly collided with it.

777.  Smiths Arms, Beckwithshaw

We sheltered from the rain in the entrance until the 11:01am official opening, but when the barman unlocked the door, he didn't even register a surprised smile to see us standing there - maybe it happens every day, or more likely, we are in rural North Yorkshire meaning of course that bar staff are not allowed to be friendly and they are doing YOU are favour for simply existing (I'd like to state this isn't true once you get as far north as, say, Northallerton).   Another rural North Yorkshire tell tale sign was the "geared up for food" feel with the kind of chairs and tables that were never designed for pubs, though comfy enough.  The warmth and log fire, plus a decent pint of Yorkshire Gold and some good conversation actually meant this turned out to be a good pub experience, though a mirror menacingly advertising Valentines Day meals made me realise that I was glad we were in on a wet Saturday morning, having the place to ourselves, and the fleet of cars arriving just as we were leaving only reinforced that.

A happy pub scene at the Smiths Arms
2.75 miles to the west (you can't fault my maths!), and we were in North Rigton which looked to be a beautiful village, quite picture postcard.  Dad had taken Mummy Ev on a 'date' night here some 42 years ago but any thoughts of it being unchanged in the intervening time were always unlikely.  

Dad pops up after 42 years in the wilderness

778.  Square & Compass, North Rigton

As predicted, a young waitress tried to thrust a menu into our hands on arrival. I said "we're only here for a drink if that's okay?" and luckily we weren't ejected, and there was no rugby tackling me to the floor a la Guinea in Moggerhanger.  Our barman wasn't very good at counting money but the beer range was slightly wider here, I like Ilkely so went for a nice standard Joshua Jane though sadly I started to get vinegar as it got towards the bottom.  The place had a light welcoming feel with more ridiculously 'non-pub' furniture, but it has to be said it was quite soulless and Dad couldn't recognise it from his 70's visit.  Groups of middle aged women and excitable kids did nothing for the atmos, though Dad was jealous of one girl's Frozen leggings which are now on next year's Christmas list.  Finding the toilets was like undertaking a slalom, dodging chairs and tables, they were hidden away with the pub going in a large circle, reminding me a bit of the Falcon pub near Clapham Junction.  And talking of the loos, the decor of women's bum cheeks seemed uninkeeping with the rest of the pub's feel.  Similar loo decor in York's Phoenix works a lot better.  I don't think this will be a pub of the year contender, but at least the staff gave us a cheery farewell which always gives a bonus point in my eyes. 

Time for a cheeky snap in North Rigton

Our final new pub was west of Wetherby, in the even harder to reach Sicklinghall which doesn't seem to have a bus service so another great 'tick' to get done by road.  

779.  Scotts Arms, Sicklinghall

This was more typical of a traditional pub, I was pleased to note, and a separate upper drinking area to the left meant we didn't need to mix with downstairs diners, which was fine because for now, it was mini cheddars and Tim Taylor Landlord all round.  One of those pubby quotes on an old beam proclaimed "poor and content is rich enough", whoever wrote that hadn't order 2 pints and 2 pack of mini cheddars in here as I called my bank to arrange a mortgage.  The place reminded me a bit of Chequers in Ledsham as middle aged locals kept arriving in Jags and Barbour jacket, swaggering around with an air of self importance, or as though they belonged in an episode of Midsomer Murders.  The bar though did boast one of the best selections of proper old fashioned sweets I'd ever witnessed in a GBG pub and had the mortgage come through, I'd have stretched to some dolly mixtures.  In pub terms, this was the nicest of the three, but once again, the (usually reliable) Tim Taylor Landlord had gone all sulphury three quarters of the way down.  

Sweets in the Scotts Arms
We'd done so well time-wise and with bacon sandwiches waiting at home, we had time to drop in to York's wonderful Fox on Holgate Road which was neglected for years despite being an obviously amazing building, full of little rooms.  Since it's takeover by Ossett, it now has amazing beer too plus friendly staff, but then again, York isn't technically in North Yorkshire.  If this had been a BRAPA tick, it would be an early contender for pub of the year.

A pint of Rum for Cover in the Fox, amazing and very strong Lambs Navy taste!

And that was that, bacon sandwiches and a bit of Soccer Saturday and we'll now wait to see what Hull City get in round 4.  It'll have to be something pretty amazing (away to a lower league club who don't bore me!)  to stop us having another day like this.  

Meanwhile, next week could be quite momentous with plans to finish both West Yorkshire and Bedfordshire for the first time, fingers crossed.



  1. I'm surprised at a picture of a woman's arse in a foody pub that encourages children. Whilst I find it bizarre, I approve in the way that it goes against the overly child friendly grain and proves they haven't taken over entirely.

    Sweets for sale in a pub on the other hand, I state the exact opposite. Unless they are positioned such that the diners won't come across them.

    May I enter £9 as an estimate for two pints and two packs of Mini Cheddars in a North Yorkshire pub these days? I'm ball parking at £$3.50 a pint (that could be optimistic) and £1 each for the cheds. Do you not have the authority to approve your own mortgage?

    In what way is York not in North Yorkshire? It is surely in the ceremonial county, as I think is Middlesbrough. Are you arguing that the City of York is a unitary authority or some other such modern nonsense?

    May I suggest for Cup Round 4, in the event of an away game that isn't entirely boring (ie something with decent BRAPA potential, ie not something like Burnley), we go come what may and if needs be just don't go to the game. The comedy draw would obviously be Luton away, I personally want Carlisle United away just to see where they play it. I've not actually bothered to look if any of the named examples are still in the thing.

    1. Experience seems to tell me that old fashioned sweets are rare but normally are to be found in understated classics like Beck Hole and Stalybridge Buffet bar, they are certainly aimed at drinkers and not diners here!

      £9.70 so not bad, £3.50 in rural North Yorks would probably be slightly generous.

      Dad says someone sued successfully due to the inconvenience of his post being addressed North Yorks when York is some unitary authority rubbish!

      Bradford or Bury away! I said it'd take something good to get me to go, well it has happened. Bury would be more useful BRAPA-wise but Bradford fine as need a pre-emptive. Plus it has some classics I'd like to show you and Dad.

    2. I shall bow to your experience.

      I would be interested to see details of the legal case so that I can sue everybody who sends my mail to Humberside. Warnings will not be issued. Happily most people where I supply the address in this age of being able to modify addresses online send things to Lincolnshire, not the North East Lincolnshire claptrap (I had a different word with two syllablkes, the first of which is a male bovine character with many pubs named after it, the second rhymes with 'hit'. Would I have been allowed to use that word on the blog)

      Both Valley Parade and Gigg Lane are required Hull City Association Football Club (Tigers) Limited ground ticks, the former amusingly due to a blunder when I didn't go to a reserve fixture because I couldn't find out where the Coral Windows Stadium was, not realising that they had a comedy new ground name. Just goes to show that such things detract supporters and cost clubs money, especially as it was when Drabford were in the shit. I will go to the game iff neither Arsehole or Ehab Allam is chairman or owner of the club at the time. I will go for the day out come what may, though a slight preference for Bury.

  2. You're getting Watford away next round - deal with it.

    North Yorks isn't great for beer is it ? And all the pubs are restaurants (Harrogate Tap excepted). York is a different world. £3 for a bag of sweets !

    1. Dodged a bullet with FA Cup draw! I'd not have gone to Watford though Tom is right, potentially places like Bushey, Rickmansworth, Heronsgate. Though given the choice, I'd be happier doing these on a non-football day. Pressure off.

      Totally, especially the Dales etc. Restaurants and rude staff everywhere! Plus £4 a pint. Yes, York is ace but I am biaised, but it would be £3 a bag of sweets here!

    2. I'm always right apart from the very unusual circumstance of me being wrong. Ricky and Heronsgate (near Chorleywood?) are best waiting until the ever delayed Croxley chord is built. Bushey I have advocated before but something stopped us going. There are other places to the north like Hemel also. I'm not sure whether there is anything out towards St. Albans, I think there used to be. Watford away has a veritable feast of possibilities. We'll end up there one day.

  3. Is my eyesight going? I saw it as £1 for sweets.

    I think there is BRAPA potential with an away game at Watford. You just have to think outside the box.

    Si, if ever there is a new guide entry in Harrogate that requires your attention, please can I go there with you. I think you are probably the best person to introduce me to the place.

    1. Hi Tom, Tues 2nd Feb is my next Harrogate date, I'm off to Tom's Social funnily enough combined with a Knaresborough 'Spoons if you wanna join me on the 4:29 or 5:29 (or whatever) line from L**ds-York, you're v.welcome. I'll try and take you somewhere irritating I know of too like Hales or Blues.

    2. A Tuesday night after work. I'd struggle, but never say never. The political fallout could be huge, given it is my Sister's birthday the following day. I shall see what I can do, but it would probably be a late decision with a lot of luck involved.

  4. The Scott's Arms was surely the least worst of the three restaurants with beer attached. Square and Compass now has to be re-visited on 27 Jan for old times' sake, so spare a thought for he who will be not only in a pretend pub, but also a year older.A Fox stop on the way back maybe.

    1. Hi Dad, Scott's was pubbiest of course. Glad you and Mum are going for a North Rigton birthday meal, at least the barmaid can force a menu on you this time. Fox and I would be jealous! Enjoy.