Between 2014-17, I worked hard at getting the county of North Yorkshire fully greened up. A fine achievement, though the chauffeuring of Daddy BRAPA was key. I need a Devon Daddy BRAPA when I start that scary looking county in 2023!
Anyway, I left N Yorks alone for a few years, exploring 'other ventures'. But recently, I started to look at it again, especially that huge section to the north west of the county AKA The Yorkshire Dales. Mummy BRAPA had given me a James Herriot book to read over Christmas. 'Twas a sign. The time was right to get back on the Daleside horse!
I'll be honest with you know. My early memories of Dales ticking are this - gastropubs / restaurants , surly staff, unmemorable 'pubs' & dull beer.
And here I was, having to revisit places like Hawes, Leyburn and Askrigg which I'd been to at least once. Let us just say I wasn't expecting a day of first class ticking.
On the plus side, being mostly residential establishments in a famous tourist area, opening hours were generous, even on a Tuesday Bank Holiday immediately after Christmas.
The Daddy BRAPAmobile arrived at BRAPA Towers 09:30am pronto, and off we set to our furthest point out, Hawes, which is practically in the Lake District if you tilt your head and squint.
Pub Curmudgeon won an award for working out where I was going based on the below photos, which I will present him with in Stockport's latest unlikely GBG entry, Project Something. I hope he likes Mini Cheddars.
We arrive in the little town at 11:30am, and pull up opposite the pub. Would be great if I could get in before noon wouldn't it? I see a couple of comings and goings, feel optimistic, Dad takes the photo but waits in the car .....
... the door opens easily, the lights are on, a lady is on the floor playing with a toddler, a couple are eating breakfast in the corner. Another lady is behind the bar, one hand resting on the Tim Taylor Landlord pump, the other on the Black Sheep one. I open my mouth, but she says "we're not open til 12" and I feel like saying something very sarcastic like "you couldn't look any more bloody open" , especially when she throws a glance to the other lady on the floor like "why do these numpties keep waltzing in pre-noon and asking for beer?"
"I'll be back!" I say, puffing out my chest and forcing a smile.
I leave, give Dad a thumbs down, hop in the car, and we drive up to the Creamery, where Dad had always intended to nurse a coffee for half an hour whilst I tick. I join him for coffee, he gets a scone and clotted cream too, tempting, but I wanna down the coffee, sprint back to the pub, and be in for 12! I buy some Wensleydale cheese on my way out though, it is law.
Back at the pub, 12:02, I stride back in, this time, she asks what I'm drinking before I even open my mouth. Wahey, welcome to the Board Inn, Hawes (1984 / 3547). It is a delightful pub, and I mean pub - cosy, benches, and the pint of Landlord is simply stunning. When TTL is kept this well, there really is nothing that beats it. A bloke in mask has been loitering for some time, finally he's presented with two packaged ham sandwiches, which he passes to his wife and child outside. "Phew, panic over!" says the returning sandwich maker to the barmaid. I wonder how good this pub is under pressure. They have a funny attitude to customers, no doubt borne out of a lifetime of tourists faffing around not knowing what the hell they want. They aren't unpleasant, in fact the brusqueness is quite endearing in a Yorkshire sense. Funny when three generations of the same Huddersfield man enter, and enquire about food. When they are told "no rush, sit down, take your time, order a drink first" they take her at face value. One of the blokes takes off his coat, goes up to the bar to order drinks 30 seconds or so later, and she quickly says "you ready to order food?!" Woah! The blokes chuckle, and so do I. So does Colin. I can't help but like this place. Funny weird, but also funny pub great.
|I had to ask for a top up once I got to my seat|
That was my third GBG trip to Hawes, and easily the most memorable. And 5 miles east back towards home, if you want to look at it like that, it was time for my second GBG tick in Askrigg. Cap on, I was going for the Herriot-chic look, ended up like a Docklands Dell Boy. #Fail
|Colin you plonker!|
I also had to edit out my 'Christmas tummy' which looked terrible. Must start jogging again in the New Year. Crown Inn, Askrigg (1985 / 3548) then, Daddy BRAPA joining me in this one, and we are immediately drawn in by the homely, local atmosphere which would define the majority of pubs today. King's Arms, my 2014 GBG tick here, had been quite touristy, so this was a pleasant surprise. The landlady is an absolute jewel, doesn't mind my photo, and you just click with some staff, maybe its my new hat? Anyway, we chat happily on Pub Lockdowns, Staff with Covid, and other jolly topics, warm ourselves on a fire to our right, avoid the scowls of CRK (Camouflage Roy Keane) and squeeze on a table opposite a young walking couple having lunch. I don't know about you, I always get a sense of guilt in such scenarios that I haven't done a 20 mile walk, setting off at 6am, so I start puffing and blowing and trying to look exhausted, smearing mud on my shoes and face, to try and look like I've actually earned my Dales pints.
Time for pub three, making good early progress here, and a nice dude off Twitter says whilst I'm here, am I going to a pub he likes in a made up place called Carperby? But it isn't in the GBG so obviously, I'm not, so I try to photograph it to appease him, but miss!
Slightly off the beaten track even in comparison to Hawes and Askrigg, we come to Redmire, a BRAPA debutant and a very beautiful village. Pub looks nice too. The pub dog cowers in fear as I pull Colin out of my new bag to say 'hello' in what was supposed to be a Brummie accent.
|"Alroite skip, I'm just a friendly Cauliflower"|
Bolton Arms, Redmire (1986 / 3549) is my least favourite pub experience of the day, but that isn't to criticise the place. It is going for highbrow large dining venue, the hard working staff seem a great bunch, they are obviously excellent at what they do, just not my kinda environment. As Dad gets the ales in, I run the gauntlet along the wooden boarded floor towards the toilets, through the giant extended family Christmas dinner. I step over two dogs, three twilds. A drunken uncle is trying to get his party hat on. Teenage daughter is surreptitiously supping the dregs of someone's white wine. A tipsy Mummy looks like she'd be comfier on the cool stone floor next to the dogs. Some elderly aunts say hi to me. After my wee, I don't even try to make my way back through towards Dad. I've found an unreserved table at the far end. So I just frantically wave him until he sees. The kind aunts give me a wave too. I point at Dad. They wave at him too. It is wayyyy too warm in here, and the beer is kept a little bit too cold. But mustn't grumble, half way there, and if we can get back to York not too late, I know Dad'll really appreciate it!
Next stop Leyburn, another place where I cannot believe there's a new GBG entry I've not done, despite two previous visits. Places like this you really should 'Winfield it' and just do everything in town whilst you are there til you fall over.