With “ambitious” accommodation costs and “challenging” bus timetables, the Yorkshire Dales contribute to making North Yorkshire one of the toughest chapters to complete in the whole GBG. Even if you live there, like our hero Si.
You need to see my trusty Philip Navigator to appreciate the emptiness of Nidderdale, with GBG enclaves at top (Aysgarth) and bottom (Grassington).
But you need your OS Map to appreciate the beauty of the contours round here.
Sadly, my budget doesn’t stretch to those plastic covered OS maps so mine got a little drenched at Aysgarth Falls, as did I.
Which clearly delighted the folk in the austere and rather quiet Aysgarth Falls Hotel, particularly when I took my leakage into the upmarket (by my standards) dining area.
Not much beer being consumed, so the quality of a cool and chewy Black Sheep (NBSS 3.5) is testament to cellarmanship as well as the selection criteria of North West Yorkshire CAMRA. A very similar experience to the one just north of here off the A66, I thought.
Further testament to the variety of GBG entries is just down the hill.
Hendersons looks like the dining option for the caravan park, in much the same way that Holiday Property Bond, that bastion of old folks self-catering holidays, seem to always have a decent pub nearby.
At 1pm, just one family with a dog, and no diners I think the dog was enjoying the R’n’B (probably from Usher) more than the humans.
Another decent drop of Landlord (NBSS 3), but quite how you’d think this the best beer in England I can’t imagine.
So, old-fashioned hotel, holiday park bistro, and now time for the basic walkers pub stuck up a road to nowhere (well, Litton). Isolation brings its rewards.
Apart from the scatter cushions, Arncliffe’s Falcon is another place Pub Curmudgeon would approve of. Bench seating, beer mats, stuffed animals, ill-dressed cyclists, blokes in singlets all present and correct. Actually,a very BRAPA pub.
I was offered the Timmy Taylors Best from handpump or from the jug .A nice touch that didn’t add much to the flavour; pleasant enough (NBSS 3) but not going to move me off the Black Sheep next time I’m here.
Yet another entry in my next blog on outdoor pub loos too.
BBC Weather said we’d escape the worst of the weather. We didn’t.
Finally, we had no recollection of ever having visited Grassington, though the pink pen on the Navigator suggested otherwise. As expected, we were nearly run over by the Silent Death* on entering town.
You know, there are still signs up on buildings from the last big cycle race to pass through here. There were cobbled streets without the flags, though.
I set off toward the medieval villages (site of) before admitting defeat.
Luckily The Foresters is, for a change, open all day.
Just your typical stone built Dales local, then. I had it,and a decent half of Black Sheep, to myself at 2.30, before a few old boys and a family created a bit of a surge. Perhaps the one place in town with an average age below 50.
I found it all pleasant and easy-going, though Simon would have had something to say about the small child demanding “Mummy, can we go on You Tube ?”. Whether this was to watch clips of cats falling off chairs, or to start an acting career, I never found out.
Overall reflection on the Dales; Decent beer in quiet pubs hanging on in the face of another wet summer. And not a drop of craft, for better or worse.
*Cyclists are great but I do wish they’d ring their little bells to warn old folk they’re there.