And now it’s time to reflect on the pubs visited, or not visited, or, even avoided on England’s Highest Pubcrawl (still not settled on a proper name for this walk – suggestions welcome as long as it’s not Pub McPubFace).
There were four main target pubs – The Travellers Rest at Flash, The Cat and Fiddle, The Tan Hill Inn and The Kirkstone Pass Inn.
So we begin at The Travellers Rest at Flash – or, to give it it’s Sunday name “The Knight’s Table at the Traveller’s Rest” This was closed. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, apparently. Daft name for a pub anyway – so we progressed… Flash has another pub; The New Inn. This looked more walker friendly but was also closed.
Onwards we went – to The Cat and Fiddle, the second highest pub in England. Closed. And it was blowing a hoolie and chickingit down . By any measure of success, this wasn’t anywhere on whatever scale you measure success. We repaired to Buxton. Buxton has 19 pubs, apparently. The first wouldn;t let us in due to us having a dog. The Eagle let us in, though and it was here that we waited for the bus back to the campsite. God Bless the Eagle. We have started. We have landed. I liked The Eagle.
Next came the Devonshire Arms at Peak Forest. They let us in. They sold us beer and apologised that they’d got no food. The locals were friendly. I was going to return for more beer after putting up the tent and eating somethig rehydrated, but I fell asleep. I wasn’t well anyway.
Onwards we went – to Edale which has two pubs, both of which were open. We went in the Nag’s Head. They let us in, didn’t whinge about the dog. We had beer and pea and ham soup which was all very nice. It was OK if a bit pricey. But it’s Edale, innit? A honey-pot. You have to take their money, innit? It’s expected.
We crossed the thin bit of Kinder and lighted at The Snake Pass Inn. I knew they were friendly here, following the TGO chally reunion back in March. We beered and fed – I had a broccoli bake and it was nice.
The next pub was miles away….The Great Western at Standedge. This was closed. It looked like a permanent closure. Never mind, there’s another pub just down the road – The Carriagehouse which also has a campsite. Both pub and campsite were heaving with families and a rugby club coachparty. WE sat outside for the beer and didn’t eat there, but some Pennine Wayfarers were eating and the food looked good.
The White House above Rochdale was the next pub. This has been heavily done-up since I was last here and, again we sat outside with the dog and scoffed beef sandwiches. They used to hate smelly Pennine Wayfarers here many years ago and had insulting poems about hikers on their walls. That was long ago, though..
Next, after a big gap, during which we passed many pubs in and around Todmorden I found myself in the Cock and Bottle in Skipton for a proper session with an old school pal. Both this pub and it’s sister pub, The Royal Shepherd, declare themselves to be dog and family friendly. Its a good , friendly pub, probably helped that Howard seems to be a local. It seems not to have changed very much since I was last in there in ?1972..
We rejected The Angel at Hetton due to a sign on the door asking us to remove our boots, waiters in unforms and a general air of being much too far up it’s own bottom. This may be unfair, but first impressions count and, clearly, we were much too poor and scruffy to spend any of our money in there. So we didn’t.
Pubs in Malham were much too far away from the Gordale Scar campsite, so we had to wait till the next day to visit the King’s Head in Kettlewell. This has been “done-up” too quite recently. We sat outside for thye beers. The shop around the corner provided pies for later.
There was another hiatus in pub-visiting here, due to a heavy rainstorm at Buckden which saw us seeking early shelter and it was too early for the pub at Cray which we passed somewhat above on a limestone shelf, so the very next hostelry was The Crown in Hawes. This is dog and walker friendly and was one of my favourites. Very welcoming, in fact.
The plan was to camp at the Green Dragon at Hardraw and eat there. They were surprised by our request to camp but agreed to open up the campsite. And they’d no food at all. It was their first night open after buying the place and they were’nt doing food till the next day. We managed, though. In the bar, there was a tight clique of locals, and my feeling was that they’d rather not have strangers in there. You could talk at them, make a comment or an observation, but there was no response at all. I suppose it’s because I’m a southerner (I come from Earby)
The Tan Hill Inn was the star of the walk. The place is friendly and welcoming, specially to yer doggies AND had two lasses from Ravenstonedale playing instruments and singing excellent folk music, including “She walked through the fair” which appears on this very blog and which I’ve been obsessed with for weeks now. And beer from Dent Brewery and a cracking Lamb Shank. Dawn suprised me by sneakily getting a room. This turned out to be a smart move since by dusk it was chucking it down outside. I liked Tan Hill.
The next pub wasn’t till Shap. There are pubs available in Kirkby Stephen, obviously, but we were intent on slicing a lump off the long walk to Shap, so we just shopped and plodded on.
The Crown at Shap was visited on last year’s Coast to Coast walk and was found to be friendly and nice to dogs. And it hasn’t changed. Somebody brought Lucky a bowl of water and demanded I remove his pack and locals chatted to us and it was all very pleasant. It got even better when we ordered and received a roast lamb dinner each. I’m afraid I shovelled mine down a bit.
Finally, after leaving Dawn to the crows, I arrived at Kirkstone Pass. I must say that this was a bit of an anti-climax. It was all very friendly and so on, and they accepted Lucky with no problems and I managed to neck three pints of mild before asking about food. They had no food till the next day. I asked about the bunkhouse. It was full. I used to work in Personnel, y’know. And A&E at one time. I can tell, fairly easily, when somebody’s not beng truthful. I believed the bit about not doing food, but there’s was something else going on about the bunkhouse.
So – the best – in approximate order were:
Tan Hill Tan Hill's website
Crown at Shap Crown Inn's facebook page
Crown at Hawes Crown Hawes website
Devonshire Arms Peak Forestdevonshire arms facebook page
Snake Pass Inn.snake pass inn website
The Cock and Bottle Skiptoncock and bottle website
The worst were the ones not open and the Angel at Hetton.
There’s a rematch for the pubs between Todmorden and Skipton, so this will be updated – probably in July this year.