You’ll be delighted to know I’m firmly back in chronological order now on the blog, though if those 1997 pictures of the giant pumpkin turn up in the garage I might throw in a 20th Anniversary Three Horseshoes in Boroughbridge post.
After Risby, I left Mrs RM and the boys alone with six tubs of Sainsbury’s seafood and six Dr Oeteker pizzas for a solo trip to Rutherglen. No-one I spoke to in Waterbeach had any idea where Rutherglen was.
As I’ve said before, most folk in Waterbeach couldn’t place Sheffield on the map (nor can Google, it seems), and responded to a trip to Scotland as if I’m emigrating.
My “comfort stop” on the way to Carlisle is at Kirby Hill, one of those irritating places in North Yorkshire that are just too far for a day trip. The area bounded by the A66 and the roadwork-clogged A1 is a surprisingly rich area for pub tourists at the moment. Bottom left you’ll see Hudswell, home to the National Pub of the Year, top right you’ll see the Grandfather Clock pub, and at Gilling West the best fish and chips in England.
The pubs are a bit “polite society dining“, if I’m honest, more Northallerton than Darlo. But I can cope with a ten minute half with views this good at Ravensworth.
Perhaps not as dramatic as Reeth or Grinton, but the roar of motorbikes rounding the corner at 5pm suggests the Shoulder of Mutton at Kirby Hill gets a fair bit of Dales custom. Unless they were the ones who vandalised the castle and were fleeing the scene.
The best indicator of good walking country is, of course, the presence of folk sitting outside a pub drinking on a Bank Holiday weekend.
The Fosters drinkers at the Shoulder pointed me towards an entrance from the garden via the pub laundry, perhaps a first.
With Sunday lunch long gone, it was very quiet inside, bar those folk who take three hours to eat a meal.
It looks like nearly every other Dales pub I’ve ever been in, but “unmodernised restaurant with three handpumps” isn’t the worst look. All the tables seemed set for dining, but there was at least some decent bench seating if you looked hard enough.
And Black Sheep Bitter isn’t the worst beer, though I’d have gone for Theakston Best if they’d had that. What’s the point of Lightfoot ?
Not for the first time recently, the Sheep was full of flavour (NBSS 3.5), if a little super cool (as you can tell from the photo). Like Bass,Pedi and Sheps, it’s another neglected beer you have to catch when served by someone who cares.
Some Durham folk checked in for their Bank Holiday break. They did a convincing act of “never having been in a pub before“, presumably for my entertainment.
“What name shall we use, Charles ?”
“No, not that one”
If that’s their idea of clandestine, they’ve no hope.
Just as I had no hope of getting the barmaid to accidentally sell me the 1997 Bass above the bar.