Friday 1 August 2014

BRAPA - Yorkshire Day

A Friday off work which was actually also Yorkshire Day??  It was crying out for some pub ticks in rural West Yorkshire and I don't really need that much persuading as you know by now!

The lesson learnt today was "managing expectations".  I'd read so many amazing ghostly and historical stories about the Old Silent Inn, and thus, conjured up all these amazing images in my mind, it stood to reason I could only be disappointed.  This was tempered by the Brown Cow in Keighley, a spur of the moment decision to go so no preconceptions in my mind .... it was superb and easily my pub of the day.  Funny how things turn out.

A typically grey Yorkshire morning brightened briefly as I arrived at Keighley (I'm a poet and I know it), changing onto the delayed steam train bound for Oxenhope, full of  families with over-enthusiastic kids.  I 'alighted' (as they say) at Haworth and took the grueling uphill walk through the pretty village past the already ticked off Fleece Inn, and a couple of miles down the road to Stanbury.

Pretty but touristy Haworth, view down the main street on a previous visit

495 - Friendly, Stanbury - Similar to my midweek experience, the pavements were non existent but at least today, the traffic was slower and less frequent, the roads wider and the scenery superb above Bronte country as I walked to the village supposedly the home of Wuthering Heights farmhouse.  The pub was exactly what it said on this tin, friendly.  Local, very local, but friendly and no-frills which i always respect.  Had a gorgeous Rat beer from Huddersfield though landlady seemed to have problems with the barrel, most locals drank the goose eye anyway.  Felt very much like the visitor I was, luckily my rucksack would've just made everyone think I was another walking tourist!

The walk to Stanbury - note the lack of pavement yet again!

496 - Old Silent Inn, Stanbury - I'd heard cracking tales of a ghostly ex-landlady who fed the cats that foraged up on the moors, she rang a bell to let them know she'd put food down for them and it can still be heard today.  I also heard two historic tales of why it was called the 'Silent'.  One cos the locals covered up a murder, one because they were loyal to Bonnie Prince Charlie and didn't let anyone know he was staying!  No one knows which is the real reason the pub has this name.  The location was wonderfully bleak, but it screamed 'gastropub' as soon as I entered.  A good barman asked if I was a walker, I let him believe that, the ale was great (a local Goose Eye brewed for the pub), but the piped music, tourists and diners meant any ghostly historical edge was somewhat lost in the mists of time.  Sad but the pub obviously knows it's reputation and needs to play on it to get the punters in.

Lovely pint of the local brew, though the pub was more gastro than ghostly.

497 - Turkey Inn, Goose Eye - A punishing walk above more beautiful Bronte countryside where I heard birds of prey screeching up above (the Old Silent was originally called the Eagle for this reason) saw me eventually, with the rain now teeming down, reach this wonderful pub by a stream in a little hamlet called Goose Eye, home of course to a famous local microbrewery.  Somewhat ungraciously, I chose a beer by Hop Back in Wiltshire!  Circumstances undid me here as I tried to find a quiet corner in the pub (there were plenty) where I could smuggle my pasty as I hadn't eaten all day.  Unfortunately, I chose the one area where the staff were doing all their work and stock taking, and it was right by the kitchen - bad move.  I still enjoyed my pint immensely but appreciate how much better this pub could have been in different circumstances - it was long and thin with many rooms, each with a fire, a suit of armour in the corner, it felt like it could be a very good pub indeed.

Goose Eye's finest, could've been even more spectacular

498 - Brown Cow, Keighley - Another punishing walk eventually took me back into Keighley and totally knackered from my walking, I decided my Cross Hills bus plan was a journey too far so went to the most outer Keighley pub, which I was walking past anyway.  And what a cracker.  A fantastic community feel, friendly staff and locals, great beer range and quality, and a nice layout - not exactly separate rooms but you felt you could get away from the bar area if you wanted.  My Fernandes IPA was as good as anything I drank all day and for all those people who take the lazy option when in Keighley and go to the Boltmakers, I'd say the 5-10 minute extra walk to here is totally worth it.

A pub that's so good, it even has it's own glasses.

I must have walked at least 5 miles today, would be interesting to know but I never will.  And we're back on the BRAPA trail tomorrow as of course, it is a Saturday where I have nowt better to do!  Will hope there's less walking involved as my legs have given up on me now!  

See you later this weekend for the next update.

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