Sunday 20 September 2015

BRAPA - "Detox" day in North Yorkshire

After a crazy last week of Lewes, Brighton, London, Cardiff, Manchester and the York Beer Festival, it's fair to say I wasn't feeling at my best as I boarded the ridiculously crowded bus at Skipton (there was a war-themed event on in Grassington),  I also had a bit of man-flu, so when a know-it-all Yorkshire family Dad starting talking on subjects like bus tickets and Sam Smith's pubs, I was worn out and not in the mood to humour him.  At least my main fellow passenger, 'the Asian Rambler' (as he probably isn't known) was a calmer soul who's only concern was the weather.

It was a huge relief to 'alight' at Kilnsey, a beautiful Dales village, and with the warm early Autumn sun beating down, I was feeling a bit better about the 4 mile walk in front of me - no pavements of course meant it was always a lively trek!

By the time I finally arrived in Arncliffe for my next alphabetical North Yorks 'tick', I was exhausted but ready for pint, food and a couple of hours of downtime.  I just hoped the pub was a good one .....

What a relief!  I've finally reached Arncliffe

689.  Falcon Inn, Arncliffe

And it didn't disappoint.  I was soon "well in" with the landlord by commending his decision to un-brand the Tim Taylor Boltmaker back to the original "Best Bitter", a move which also went down well with Mrs Falcon who was more in charge of bringing food outside.  This was an unspoilt no-frills pub which was actually the original "Woolpack" in Emmerdale Farm, but it didn't milk it like Askrigg's All Creatures Great and Small theme.  The Best Bitter was served straight from a jug and was delicious.  I sat outside on the village green with the hills all around, it was so tranquil at this point and I sat in the sun reading and getting bronzed (burnt).  I went in for a swift half of Dark Horse Hetton Pale, the only other ale on and it was even nicer, apart from when a wasp drowned in it.  The calm was spoilt when a young guy in Range Rover ("Prick Prince Harry") arrived and was noisy and posh with his friend and Grandad.  I learnt that last week, John Inverdale had been in this pub (no doubt to abuse French tennis women for being ugly) and Eric Cantona was fishing near here - what a nightmare scenario.  Speaking of which, a chavvy Wedding Party soon arrived to disrupt the calm further (third time recently, do wedding planners consult the GBG these days?) so I had to guard my picnic bench carefully.  Even they, though, couldn't spoil a classic BRAPA pub experience.

The excellent Falcon in Arncliffe

Back in Kilnsey half an hour before the bus after an even livelier walk, waving at cars, chatting to bikes, scowling at motorbikes, I thought I should probably sample their village pub as a pre-emptive of sorts.......

Tennants Arms, Kilnsey

It didn't look stunning apart from the backdrop with abseilers all over this sheer rock-face at the rear of the pub.  Some people and their leisure pursuits eh?  I'd rather be BRAPping any day!  Anyway, I entered this dark pub geared up for food with the traditional country North Yorks knives, forks and placemats everywhere.  I was glad to see a couple of ales, so had a half of Otter Bitter all the way from Devon, served by a blonde barmaid with a child's voice, and I smuggled two Cheese n Onion pasties in the main food room!  I think she noticed but didn't say anything on the matter.  Again, the tranquility was broken when a group of middle aged annoying Yorkshire men descended on the bar like a pack of particularly upbeat Zombies, but I was on my way anyway.

50 minutes of painful bussing later, I was back in Skipton for my second trip here this year, third pub trip here in total ..... as there is a new pub in the guide.

690.  Beer Engine, Skipton

Skipton has lots of pubs (no Sam Smith's ones sadly for annoying bus man) but it didn't stop this new micro pub being 'packed' on a Saturday afternoon.  It was bigger than the Cardiff one, but smaller than most I've visited this year so being 'packed' probably means about 20-25 people were present.  It had a pleasing range of ales but I chose badly as I didn't enjoy my bland Dawkins Green Barrel.  I was pleased just to a) find a stool for my bag b) find a wall to lean on c) work the sliding door to the loo and d) be allowed to rest my drink on the bar temporarily to find out Hull City had been disappointing as usual.  Like most micro pubs, the average age of clientele was probably about 40-45 and it was a real friendly vibe, nice staff, you'd think this was an old Skipton institution that had been open for centuries, well, if you were blind maybe!  I probably got the timing wrong, but a welcome addition to the Skipton ale scene.

Micro fun in Skipton - note a lot of people out and in!
Well, in coming back to Skipton I had burnt my bridges of getting my Hubberholme tick.  Too much effort.  I could have got off at Keighley and got a bus to Cross Hills.  Too much effort.  And by the time I reached Saltaire and Shipley, I also remembered I had no money left so stayed on til Leeds, went to MaccyD's, back to York, and pretty much straight to bed by 8pm with Lemsip - exhausted!

Coming Soon

September continues to yield a huge amount of ticks and we are back on the midweek trail Wednesday (instead of the usual Tuesday as I have a gig to attend in Leeds).  I have not made a final decision but it won't be too far out of Leeds.

And next Saturday will probably (but not definitely) be my second shot at Beck Hole & Grosmont.  The Grosmont pub only opens daytime on special occasions and there is a steam gala on so it may be too good an opportunity to pass up - especially as the war weekend clashes with a Hull City day.  It should also give me the chance to get out on the train to places like Danby, Egton, Lealholm or even Whitby again so I'll have to do my usual thorough planning and hope it isn't a nightmare like last year's attempt.  Really, I should be doing Austwick (it's near Clapham) as this is my final North Yorkshire "A"

And September concludes a week on Tuesday with a return trip to Hebden Bridge and possibly somewhere else.  

A few days quiet recovery is all I'm interested in now though!  




  1. Did bus family man have any useful ticketing tips? Were there any pre-emptives that he suggested?

    If he is reading, congratulations from me to the landlord at Falcon Inn on not rebranding Taylor's Best Bitter. If they want to sell a beer called Boltmaker, they should brew a new one. I do wonder what would happen if you went into the Boltmaker and asked for a pint of Taylor's best.

    Do they not have bank machines in Shipley, or were you frighted of the locals mugging you when using it? If the latter, probably a wise decision. Could it be an admittedly out of the box idea to keep something like Shipley back to use of Bellend Road day, in case we go to the game. They are probably the easiest required pubs to get to the ground, unless you actually need something new in White Shite itself.

    You could in theory have scored 4 more and got a 6-6 draw. It probably wouldn't have been a brilliant plan though.

  2. Bus family men mentioned I could have got a Yorkshire dales rover for Leeds-Skipton and on to Kilnsey for a slightly better price. Pub wise, he didn't know Emptives, never mind pre-emptives.

    I'd love to do that in Boltmakers!

    Re Leeds, I don't have pub ticks on the agenda that day. Plan is wear crash helmet and get to nearest dark corner of safest city centre real ale pub! Archives for The WS coming soon.

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  4. Bus family man was almost right. You could have got a Dales Rambler Day Ranger for £11.50. Given a Leeds-Skipton cheap day return is £9.50, you would need the bus fare to be less than £2.00 to beat that. This appears to be a very good website to compliment the other one I sent you for North Yorkshire:
    You may find some of the Dales villages are easier on Sundays, particularly in the summer (you still have one weekend left on many services) when the Dalesbus services run.

    Is there actually any need to go to Leeds that day? They'll charge a rip off price, it may well be a daft kick off time, we'll lose 2-0. They don't get close to frightening me enough for a crash helmet.

  5. You're practically French,
    You're practically French,
    You're so southern,
    You're practically French.