Thursday 27 November 2014

BRAPA - Cas Vegas and North Feath'

West Yorkshire midweek pub ticking doesn't get much better than this, after a wonderful evening in the Castleford area.  Despite people at work telling me the town was rough, scary or just plain cheesy, I found the locals friendly in a down-to-earth, no nonsense way, and the pubs, excellent.

Another top poster from the BRAPA team - note the Cas Tigers colours.
After a short train ride from that mystical Leeds platform 17A, I was soon at Cas and hadn't bought a ticket on principle having seem a York 'artist' effortlessly ticket dodge the previous evening and I was still smarting at how the guard let him get away with it, and his boasting afterwards.  Luckily, my Leeds-Cas trip was free as I wasn't gripped at either end! And no, I didn't feel guilty.

A 'white-knuckle' bus ride followed, the kids at the back treated it like a rollercoaster, an old man with a 4 step ladder muttered to himself, I was just plain terrified.

510 - Bradley Arms, North Featherstone -  You might think, is Featherstone really big enough to have a 'north'?, well I can inform you that it does, and that it seems to be a place in it's own right far removed from actual Featherstone.  It also houses a cracking two roomed pub with great historical significance, the first ever talk on workers rights was held here.  After an awful day at work, it seemed fitting.  Only two guest ales were on but the friendly, characterful barmaid helped me decide on the Thunderbridge Stout with the warning "don't blame me if you hate it!"  It was superb, and from a new Yorkshire brewery called Small World(?)  I was sat in the area which can be best described as 'sports bar', the other two locals glued to boring Zenit St Petersburg v FC Porto - the weather was the only link to North Feth' that I could see.  I bonded briefly with the duo over the amount of yellow cards administered, but it was time to move on.

Power to the workers!  Bradley Arms, excellent pub
Strangely, the daytime bus service between Cas and Feth stops about 6pm but the evening 177 service doesn't kick in until after 7pm.  I was stuck in this hour, unwilling to wait, so it was taxi time again.  My driver was a knowledgeable chap as far as local pubs went, even if he did tell me I was too posh and "broken" was pronounced "brokken".  You'll see why next Monday.....

511 - Glass Blower, Castleford - You know you are having a good night when a Wetherspoons turns out to be a cracker, but this one did!  After some recent average 'Spoons experiences in Brighouse and Huddersfield, I was fearing the same identikit pub but a warm homely atmosphere in this former post office helped, plus another great Elland beer, called "Catch the Rainbow", served rather fittingly by a trendy, camp young barman.  In fact, all the staff seemed excellent.  I found a booth in the raised area and read how the people of Castleford used to like glass blowing, hence the pub name.  My comment to this effect was favourited by the 'National Glass Blowers Association' on Twitter.  It really was one of those nights.  The beer quality was as good as you could ever expect anywhere.

High quality 'Spoons in Cas?  You'd better believe it!
512 - Junction, Castleford - A 5 minute walk took me to Cas's most celebrated real ale outlet, the Junction which many people had raved about to me.  In the recent Beer magazine, landlord Neil had even been featured as he serves local ales directly from wooden casks, or "the wood" as the experts say.  Only 2 of the many handpumps were in use on my visit, but the 5.7% Coda from Ridgeside was warming and powerful.  I needed warming as the pub was freezing, save for two real fires.  I huddled around one with three elderly men, the oldest one Jim is apparently the best "proddler" in the business, which means he was good at keeping the fires going.  There was some murmurings that the landlord was lazy in this department.  A young man came in, and his elders asked him about the modern obsession with tattoo's as he had plenty.  His response (and quote of the night) "they are like marmalade, you either love them or hate them!"  And on that note, it was time to get the train back to York, via Leeds of course.

Warming fire at the Junction thanks to Jim the Proddler.
So, the letter "C" is now complete (Cullingworth done back in the summer)  and we move swiftly on to "D" and in particular "Darrington" as soon as next Monday.  This means a trip to Pontefract so I'm staying in the same area.  Can it match Cas night?  It'll do well if it gets close.

Page 551 of the 2015 GBG complete - all going to plan.

Before that, 2 or 3 pub ticks in Manchester pre the Hull City game on Saturday.  December is looking like a predictably busy month with xmas nights out, football, funeral etc etc so the BRAPA trips may have to be shuffled around a bit.  January is even harder to plan due to one thing, the FA Cup.  A third round tie at home to Ipswich and I'll be gallivanting off to some BRAPA venue or other, but Concord Rangers away and I am practically there!  Please let's get knocked out early this year.



  1. Sorry, I remember your second paragraph still. I hate to say this, but following some research for something else, I have discovered you weren't fare evading in any way. You had a valid ticket. Your York-Leeds pass. Sadly, 1-0 artist.

    There was still enough evidence to prosecute at South Shields though.

  2. So let's get this right- when I make an honest mistake, I was rightly treated like a criminal. And when I try and 'get away with it', and had a valid ticket all along! I'll never understand rail travel. Ha.

  3. Entirely correct. Funnily enough, there used to be, I'm not sure if it is still there, on the website of one of the companies that uses penalty fares, an FAQ page. One of the answers was something along the lines of "penalty fares are for those who make honest mistakes and fare evaders will be prosecuted." It definitely used the phrase honest mistake. If you did anything similar on the Geordie Mackem Metro again, they would come down on you like a ton of bricks, hence the name taking business.

    Given the obscureness of York-Leeds via Pontefract as a valid route (I was looking at something else and stumbled on it), I think questions would still be asked if somebody checked the ticket properly, especially if you encountered a revenue blockade by the dimwit security contractors.