Wednesday 22 July 2015

BRAPA - Southowram

Sheep & Halifax - a view from Bank Top after a tough climb.
I will miss West Yorkshire when I finally 'complete' the county in the coming two months, and today was a microcosm of everything that makes it great and has been typical of my WY travels.

Okay, so a train delayed by only six minutes to Halifax was nothing to get upset about, but in that time I came to the conclusion that a 2.7 mile walk to Southowram would be preferable to the bus ride.  Of course, it saved money but it also allowed me to exercise/burn off my little "beer shelf", see the countryside, and avoid hanging around 30 mins for the next bus.  Also, Halifax bus station is the most badly positioned West Yorks bus station in my opinion.

So why do so many busses run, and why do more people not walk?  That soon became clear with the most back-breaking steep incline imaginable up to a place called Bank Top (the clue was in the name).  I was sweating buckets, my heart was racing, at least I'd had a work out!  The final mile was smooth level plain sailing as kids cartwheeled through the streets and two boys on scooters powered down to Southowram, you could tell it was the summer holidays.  

711.  Shoulder of Mutton, Southowram

And the pub too was typical of all that is great about West Yorkshire midweek BRAPA as the group of eight customers present were all stood at the bar, all laughing and joking with each other and the landlady.  When I arrived, one kindly woman exclaimed "eeeee. you've got a customer!" and I ordered a top quality Saltaire Blonde.  The only beer on, not always my favourite, but perfectly kept and let's face it, it's all about the pub rather than the ale (in this instance at least).  Everyone seemed to be practising their Spanish, maybe not the first thing you'd expect from a rural West Yorks pub scene.  Then, there was a racist joke reminiscent of Saturday's trip to Arlesey's Vicars Inn.  The landlady/barmaid (Christine) then had the pub in uproar (well, those eight people) by stuffing a cushion up her top to make her 'fat' before doing an impression of one of the locals!  It was that kinda pub.  There was a pool table in one empty room, another was in the dark.  I contemplated getting another half but there was a staff changeover, three of the group left, and I decided maybe the magic was gone and I should cut my losses.

Shoulder of (M)utton - half the "M" missing but the pub felt very complete!

A bus was due but the walk was all downhill as I well knew so I skidded back towards Halifax at quite a pace.  I was probably only 2-3 mins off getting the direct service back to York so what could I do but pop into the Three Pigeons for a swift half for the first time in nearly two years?  Wow, what a pub - soon to be reviewed in the archives so I won't talk about it now.  

And I was still back in York about 20:30 for dumpling stew and to shake my head at how bad "Death in Paradise" is.  A textbook low-key BRAPA evening.

A perfect pint of Saltaire Blonde in a cracking pub

BRAPA Other News

And I can exclusively reveal, just four pubs left on the West Yorkshire front!  And I'm determined to get them done before the 2016 GBG comes out.  Thornton is next and how I now regret when last summer, a kind taxi driver from Thornton volunteered to stop here and wait for me to have a quick drink.  However, I received a text from Christine of Welly gang fame - she was having two hours of pub time in Bradford today and drew my attention to a pre-emptive tick "Bradford Brewery" which surely is too good an opportunity to pass up next week.  

I'm trying to be relaxed about the Colton situation.  After all, Dad says I was there in a high chair gurgling once.  I assume this means when I was a baby and not last year.  Earliest archive tick?  But seriously, I now see it as a daytime 'whip it in' tick when I'm off work one midweek (post punk fest?)  However, my most problematic West Yorks tick (Wintersett) is not possible after work and may also fit into this category.  

I have a bonus ticking plan for Friday evening.  I just have to postpone drinks with a girl at work - can I tell her BRAPA is more important than her?   I know how to treat my lovely work ladies.

All this talk of West Yorkshire making great progress but actually, another East Yorks jolly with Dad on Saturday will see me left with, dare I say it, only TWO remaining EY ticks.  IF all goes smoothly.

See you soon for more archives and weekend updates.

Keep on pubbing, Si


  1. Plan for Friday. Take girl for drinks at the winning pub. No need to postpone drinks, no need to lose use of red pen. Everyone wins.
    If she doesn't cooperate, send her to Wrestlingworth to be processed by the excavating locals.

    I think you might be able to do Wintersett on an evening. There are buses from Wakey, see
    A bit of a late night possibly, but on. We were going to do it as a Saturday day out if I recall, but never got round to it.

  2. I did wonder if that was an option Tom so good thinking (the BRAPA trip, not the Wrestlingworth bit though I like your style!)

    Wintersett pub only opens 12-3 on Tues and on other weeknights, doesn't open again til 7pm so I'd have to find a couple of Wakefield pre-emptives but thanks for link, at least busses run late.

    Yes, we nearly did it last April when BRAPA was just taking off. The reason - it's the last English pub in the guide and I'd just done the first at Ampthill!

  3. I suppose the other way round it would be to save it up until something else in Wakefield gets in the guide, rather than taking punts with pre-emptives.