by Jackie Macintosh
a lovely walk over the fell to Arncliffe,
said the landlady of our bed and breakfast.
And so it was,
but deceptively difficult too. The reality of
trudging to what we thought was the top only to
find yet another summit on the horizon, not once
but three times, was quite a test of endurance.
However, the view as we descended into the next
valley was spectacular. We could see the village
nestling among a patchwork of dry stone walls and
began anticipating the possibility of a welcome
pint or two. We quickened our pace.
Two men in
brightly coloured waterproofs strode
energetically up the fell towards us. As they
neared, we had to pass with caution on a narrow
track. We exchanged greetings and asked about the
Falcon, said the red anorak, yes,
its rather special. Old Fred has run it for
years with his wife. Hes dour and
wont contemplate any help. In fact, when
they had to go to a family funeral once they left
the door open and an honesty box on the bar!
We said our
farewells and continued on our way with renewed
We arrived at
the village green just at opening time but had to
wait with other thirsty hopefuls while Old Fred
opened the creaky wooden door to the old, stone
which served as a bar was at the end of an uneven
and foot-worn flagged passageway leading from the
entrance. The sun might have shone outside, but
the interior was dingy. It was a pub in a
time warp in deepest rural Yorkshire.
served his renowned ale from a jug filled from
barrels on the floor. Indeed, beer and little
else, with no concessions to modernity apparent.
found a seat whilst I waited my turn at the hatch. Old
Fred looked past me to the men behind.
he said to them.
pints of Best, please, I interrupted.
looked disapproving; he obviously did not
consider it seemly for a woman to buy the beers.
As I pocketed
the change, picked up the two glasses and had a
sip of the best ale I had tasted. I noticed
a well-dressed holiday-maker reading a Dish
of the Day board, which had just one dish
listed - Meat and potato pie with peas.
looked at the Landlord. And the vegetarian
was the gruff reply.