Tuesday 26 August 2014

BRAPA - deepest, darkest West Yorkshire

On Sunday I finally got the opportunity to have a BRAPA day and despite West Yorkshire being traditionally my midweek county of choice, some of the more outer regions may have just been a step too far after a working day.

One of these places was Todmorden, a lovely friendly town which I'd been to before for my letter "T" in my A-Z challenge, and returned to so I could tick off the last of the three pubs in the guide ....

511 - Masons Arms, Todmorden - this one was not as bad a walk from the train station as I'd expected and was in just after 12 noon.  It had won many awards in 2013 so expectations were high, and it was good, not amazing but good.  A decent range of 4 or 5 ales was to be found, I enjoyed a nice one by the local Worsthorne brewery which had disappointed me on my previous Tod visit.  I'd read the tables in the pub were once used for laying out dead bodies so potentially spooked, I went to sit outside.  Maybe a bit chilly but a nice little drinking area kept me there until I came in for a final half of Saltaire Chocoholic before my train.  By now a couple of extra people were in the pub and it was a bit more friendly.  Am sure the room I sat in had a haunted atmosphere but it could've just been the dead bodies tale playing on my mind.  Overall, a decent start.
Masons Arms, in the shadow of a railway viaduct.

512 - White Lion, Heptonstall - the day really heated up here, both metaphorically and literally as I 'alighted' the train at Hebden Bridge for the 0.8M walk to Heptonstall.  What my map didn't tell me was that it was all uphill, on a cobbled path aswell and I was dripping with sweat when I finally arrived at the pub.  The friendly bar staff immediately guessed I'd walked from Hebden Bridge as it must catch loads of people out, but again I sat outside against the pub wall, enjoying the sun and a brilliant ale, chatting to locals and admiring the pretty village (when traffic wasn't racing past).  Looking back, pub experience of the day.  The walk back down was more pleasant of course, I even stopped half way for a picnic and to hear how Hull City had failed to hang on against Stoke, typical!

White Lion, pub of the day and after that walk, just as well!

513 - Shoulder of Mutton, Mytholmroyd - Another very good pub, mercifully no more than 5 mins walk from this latest train station.  I'd contemplated a 2.5 mile walk south to a pub I need to tick off at Cragg Vale but the efforts of Heptonstall had rendered my legs next to useless!  Another good beer selection, fine quality (I had a Settle light, very light and a new brewery for me) and a nice traditional pub layout exactly the kind I'd expect from this part of the world.  The staff seemed very professional and always hardworking whilst a good jovial mix of locals watched the football on the TV, but I was happy to relax in the far corner.  I again briefly contemplated Cragg Vale but with a train leaving soon, I decided to hop on.

Shoulder of Mutton - a proper solid pub experience

514 - Shears Inn, Halifax - This pub tick was a real "monkey off my back", having tried to go twice before and got lost, I was determined this time.  There's a sign not far from Halifax station well before the Three Pigeons, but then maddeningly, not one again until you are almost there so thank the lord for my GBG App.     I even told the landlady I wasn't impressed with how hidden the pub was, she rightly didn't care, this had a lovely low ceilinged relaxed comfortable vibe, popular with the locals.  They were bemoaning how quiet it was, for me, it seemed the busiest pub I'd been in all day.  My beers wasn't great (I blame Moorhouses) but little touches like free cheese n biscuits, and the whole pub in uproar when xmas fave Winters Tale by Elaine Page randomly came on the jukebox made this a good experience.  Not better than Three Pigeons for me though.

The hard to find Shears Inn, Halifax.

So 4 new pub ticks, wouldn't have minded a 5th but wasn't really logistically possible on the day.  Felt like I need to keep something in Halifax in reserve for when I go to Bradshaw.  Probably not this week now so attentions turn to Saturday's impromptu trip to Birmingham (Harbourne) and then we're in September, the month of the new guide.... stay posted!


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