A small confession. I’ve skimmed over a few pub visits in North Yorkshire to bring the conclusion of this significant chapter in the Guide.

Got ya

That’s not a criticism of Yorkshire or its often almost tolerable residents. In fact, York’s Pub of the Year, the Mended Drum in Huby produced the best (and murkiest) beer of the month, and looked a splendid place.

Alpaca IPA by Salt Brewery

And in the Beeswing in East Cowton a quite wonderful barperson greeted me with “How are you my darling ?

But it’s hard dragging that out to a whole 400 words to describe a plain dining pub in pleasant countryside, without resorting to the usual Old Boy whining about high tables, children and dogs under your feet, and competently kept beer.

High table hell near Settle

My last two ticks, in the valley below Aysgarth, were worth recording for posterity. You may even get a public holiday to commemorate my first clearance of North Yorkshire.


660 people in Bishopdale, plus 5,000 on the campsite next to the Street Head Inn.

You need a better photographer than me to capture the remote beauty of this lovely part of our country.

Not pub tickers

Fairly plain exterior, straightforward interior again in Newbiggin.

Rare sign mounted on wall

The dining trade was over at Street Head, a few campers were playing darts (it does happen !) and I wished BRAPA was there so something would happen.

Name that tune

I almost wished this was my last post for the chapter when I saw the John Smiths Cask.

Proper beer

But when in North Yorks I stick to the craft, so Theakston it was.

And in honesty, it was the right choice. Cool, creamy, bursting out of that duff vase.


15 minutes later I was in Thoralby,


pausing only to cross the motorway,

Like that for miles

and note the long-awaited result of the 50/50 club.

Congrats Becci with an “i”

I was astonished to see that the Pinfold hasn’t yet been converted into a micropub or emergency BRAPA loo.

Potential ACV

The George looked awfully quiet, too.


The new reality

Those times are completely different to WhatPub, of course.*

I checked the time. Just as I’m sure you will now.


6.59pm. The door was open. Would I beg the Landlord to serve me ? Or just finish the dregs of the Fosters on the table outside. Or make it up like I normally do.

“Am I too late for a pint of Her-me-o-ny ?”

“No. Which one ?”

“Her-me-o-ne” Points to Rudgate.

Like in Harry Potter

It was a functional transaction with a gent with an Old School jumper and a penchant for ’60s music and Blackpool ephemera, both fine with me.

“Lazy Sunday Afternoon”, “Chewy Chewy” and “Stop Stop Stop” in a row.

The Rudgate was pretty perfect, cool, clear and floral.

Almost perfect

“Good Evening, Sir” said our Landlord. I still have no idea when the George closed, and no longer care.

*Yes, as Scott informed me, that second row are also opening times. There are no closing times.


  1. Think somehow that 7pm is opening time for the evening session. So you got served early!!

    Worrying news for you however; yesterday I saw the latest Carlsberg guest ale list, and there,staring out proudly, was Donnington SBA…. It’s going national (at least until somebody tastes it)…..


  2. And you call yourself a completest…

    I’ve noticed that my photos of the Dales do not do it justice. They always make it look flatter than it actually is. Wonderful villages though.


    1. Sign up for “Patronised” like my Swiss readers and you too can see the unreleased photos from a gastropub near Pickering (Marton Arms I think).

      Some beautiful things can’t be captured on film, which is why those outraged expressions on BRAPA are to be treasured.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great achievement – a mighty tough county to finish. There will no doubt be many more hard-to-reach new inclusions. Hard to imagine Donington having the capacity for national distribution. I once, and only once had a beer from there that was superb describing it as “liquid Christmas pudding” at the time. Next time, and subsequent times it tasted nothing like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I’ve always assumed Donington is the exception to my mantra that virtually all beers are inherently capable of tasting very good.

      The genuine homebrew is a bit different. I never cared for the All Nations stuff, for instance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not a mantra I agree with. May ring you on your new (richly deserved) morning phone-in on Radio Cambridgeshire (5am till 6.30) to have a robust debate when you have stopped discussing the A14 and reminiscing about John Beck.


      2. I drank a few pints of Donnington SBA while walking most of the Donnington Way five years ago ( before my knees failed ) and I found it to be “a full-bodied bitter” just as it was described in the 1979 Good Beer Guide, albeit not as full-bodied or highly hopped as what is to be found in micropubs nowadays.
        Since Donnington’s Claude Arkell died in 2007 there has been much cooperation between ‘L.C. Arkell – Donnington Brewery’ and ‘J. Arkell & Sons Ltd’ of Swindon, including swapping of beers and a ‘new’ Donnington pub actually being an Arkells one badged as Donnington and I suspect that Donnington SBA for national distribution might be brewed by Arkells of Swindon.

        What I don’t understand is the vast number of pubs selling Three Tuns beers, surely too many for it all to be from the pub in Bishops Castle. .


  4. You’re a beer sommelier, though, Duncan. I just tip mine away and take the tick these days.

    I think you’ll find my phone in in from 5.05 to 5.06 and only accepts calls from customers of the Angel in Ramsey.


  5. There is something about the north that is missing in the south. I am envious wherever you are but more so when you are in the north.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Northerners, Dick. The south is missing northerners.

      Apart from that, more dramatic, rugged countryside.

      I always think when it comes to pubs the north leads and the south, even London, follows.

      And of course you get more middle aged and older people in pubs in the north.


  6. Not everyone is aware, that during the twentieth century, a significant contributor to the expanding popularity of the harmonica was a New York-based radio program, called the Hohner Harmony Hour, which taught listeners how to master the instrument. Enthusiasts could play along with the program to improve their proficiency. The show gained wide popularity, notably after the unveiling of the nineteen twenty-five White House Christmas tree, which was adorned with FIFTY harmonicas.

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