Thursday, September 21, 2006

Yorkshire, innit?

The view from Black Sheep Brewery:

The view inside Black Sheep Brewery, mmm:

The wonderful Gordale Scar campsite:

Gordale Scar itself looking good:

Whitby by night 1:

Whitby by night 2:

Sonia shows off her photography skills:

The oldest pub in town, and well worth a visit:

Robin Hood's Bay 1:

Robin Hood's Bay 2:

Robin Hood's Bay 3:

Robin Hood's bay 4, some well-tasting Old Peculiar, and a pint:

As the damaged toe continues to be damaged, I ditched my plans for my September holiday to be a hiking week and instead take the Sonia to God's Own Country, aka Yorkshire!

The mini-holiday began with the inevitable 7-hour drive from Aberdeen to Barnsley after work on Friday (15th) to pitch up with my folks for the night. Although we were all knackered, we still somehow managed to all stay up until beyond 2am! I refreshed with a Guinness or two...

After a week of little sleep for us both, our Saturday did not start quickly. However, we did manage to get up before noon and re-pack the car as we headed off toward Masham and the Black Sheep Brewery. This was my first brewery tour since Guinness and I was most impressed (especially seeing as this was a proper tour and not the self guiding museum route that is the Guinness version). The tour took just under an hour and our tour guide, a formidable no-nonsense woman, explained things well and seemed to have a genuine interest herself. As I went around I couldn't help contrast and compare things with whisky manufacturing, as apart from the hops, there is much similarity with whisky pre-distillation, experiments in mixing the two started forming in my mind! I also began to feel like it was a patriotic duty as a Yorkshireman to drink more real ale. It's going to be tough, but I will see what I can do. On that note, I read recently that in the 70's only four what would now be termed real ale breweries were still going. Full marks to CAMRA for reversing that trend. Anyhow, after the tour Sonia and I sampled the Black Sheep Ale and Emmerdale respectively, both were beautiful although in all honesty we had to get the barman to remind us which was which; I've evidentally got some way to go before my beer skills match my whisky skills! Before leaving we picked up a couple bottles of our favourite Riggwelter, as well as a Riggwelter T-shirt, a sheep tie and Black Sheep cufflinks. The merchandising tie-in succeeds again!

From Masham, we made our way towards our destination Malham, but not before stopping in Skipton obstentiously for food shopping. However, once there I remembered hearing from Alison and my parents that this town has a fantastic whisky shop. Given my failed quest the previous week for the Lagavulin 25, we set about finding this shop. After initially being directed towards a Threshers, we got a better guide and found the Wright Wine and Whisky Company, where indeed I made the commitment on this rather exclusive bottle, but more on that in a later post...

With food in boot, we continued on to Malham and the wonderful Gordale Scar campsite and just about managed to get on despite a fully booked sign with the help of Sonia's charm. A brief delay to pitching up occurred as we tried to jump start a fellow camper's car. We failed, but they thanked us anyway with a pack of beer, nice! From then a bit of cooking by night and river-chilled beer lead to the end of a fine day.

Sunday was our walking day despite the continued toe problem, so we travelled via great little country roads to Settle and then Horton in Ribblesdale for our attempt on the 724m of Ingleborough. More about this in a later post, however, but needless to say we made it and returned for a fine pint of Theakston's Bitter at The Crown Inn. All was fine until Sonia noticed that an attempt had been made to break into the car. Bad enough at any time, but especially considering that the Lagavulin 25 was sat in the boot at the time! Anyhow, the alarm must have done its thing as the radio needed resetting, and nothing more than a dud passenger-side lock was the end-result. Can you believe such things could happen in Yorkshire though?? The perpretrators must have been on a day trip from Lancashire...

A beautiful evening of cooking, more river-cooled beer, and some fine crystal clear starry sky took us to Monday, when we had a quick look at the fine gorge of Gordale Scar before moving onto the fantastic town of Whitby. After a quick tour of the town in the afternoon, we pitched up in a campsite that was more of a garden and made our way back into town for some fish & chips before visiting some pubs in search of real ale. The first was the decent but average Duke of York where we managed to get some Black Sheep Bitter, but the second was the impressive The Black Horse where I tried a hitherto unheard of brew from the local Black Dog Brewery. Let me tell you that this stuff was gorgeous and that you should definately check it out if you are a fan of the darker beers.

Tuesday morning saw us back in Whitby for a quick breakfast at a quaint and quirky period cafe called Sherlock's, complete with mad elderly lady behind the counter. It all adds to the charm and I recommend this place for the scones at least. But before long we were departing for the cliff-hanging Robin Hood's Bay, a tiny village perched above the sea just to the south of Whitby. We had a good luck around this twisty inlet, even trying to find my end-of-Coast-to-Coast-walk signature in the Bay Hotel, but to no avail. We then had a good walk along the beach, before returning and having a refreshing Theakston's Old Peculiar at Ye Dolphin and then some lunch. After this it was time for Barnsley again and a nice meal out with the folks, before embarrassing photos galore, ridiculously large whisky measures from my Dad, a shortish sleep and then that drive again! All very good stuff, and to top it all, at the end of it that Sonia lass was still talking to me!! Strange girl.

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Blogger Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Yeah, but she's lovely!

Great hols by the looks of it!

24 September 2006 at 10:29  
Blogger George Walks said...

Aye, beck 'eck she's a lovely lass. Hols were great and only served to whet the appetite for more!

24 September 2006 at 12:27  

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