When Kate Bush wrote her best selling novel Wuthering Heights back in 1978 about these three sisters called Bronte who lived on the hills above Keighley with their no-good vampiric pub ticking brother Bramwell Stoker, it became a smash hit overnight.
Soon, tourists were flocking to said hills, one of the consequences of course being that it allowed pubs to stop being cold one roomed ramshackle farmhouses serving one man and his dog a pint of Fosters and a bone, and meant they could broaden their horizons and indulge in real ale and scotch eggs.
In recent BRAPA history, I've visited the wild windy moors to tick off pubs in Stanbury and Haworth in the depths of winter, and on a similar night, I found myself this way out again, looking for a pub in Oxenhope.
But when I say IN Oxenhope, I actually mean 30 minutes walk out of the village on a pavementless lane in the middle of nowhere, as close to Denholme, which is practically Bradford.
So I wrapped up warm, and started my journey where all the best journeys begin, Keighley bus station.
Rather than take a bus to Oxenhope, it was actually quicker (and potentially less dangerous traffic wise) to take the 67 bus, causing the driver great consternation by jumping off at the Trough Lane stop 'twixt Cullingworth and Denholme. I don't think it gets used a lot.
Luckily, I'd packed my trusty torch, as I walked along the pitch black lane, wind and icy rain whipping in my face. You don't have to be mad to be a pub ticker, but it helps. Gloves, hat and scarf were soon on.
|No wonder the Brontes looked old before their time|
I think I only saw six cars (three each way) during the course of this 23 minute walk. Each time, I stepped up onto sodden grass verges, once I stuck my foot in a stream. Every building I passed was a barn or some farmers lodgings. You can imagine my relief when I reached the end of the lane, and the pub loomed out of the gloom, my final act being to wade through a large puddle or was it a flooded road, it was hard to tell even with my torch on.
A 25-30 minute walk back into Oxenhope along more pavementless roads (more of a main road, but mercifully quiet at this time of the evening) takes me up to the bus stop next to the Bay Horse pub which I did in 2017.
|West Yorkshire 2022 ticking .... almost done!|