Just as Nostradamus said it would, November has become the peak month for pub ticking. Only five centuries earlier the boy from Provence predicted it would be an optimum time as most publicans wouldn’t take holidays in the run up to Christmas and the roads wouldn’t be clogged with holiday makers. They were just clogged with everybody else including sausage themed number plated butchers.
Unfortunately the landlord of the Royal Oak, Hooksway, West Sussex didn’t get the memo, leaving a single pub sized hole in the county. At least he posted it on social media and even google maps. The man they called the Nosmeister probably predicted that too.
Before that setback and other southern travails, there were ales in the Dales to enjoy on the way south. The Fox and Hounds in Starbotton (title pic) is one of those isolated Yorkshire pubs that pop into the Good Beer Guide and make you wonder they haven’t featured, in this case since the 1999 edition. It’s in a remote setting, all narrow lanes, sheep, dry stone walls and fast flowing streams.
Not near anywhere
The Fox and Hounds is a classic two roomed 17th Century country inn with flagstone floors.
A gentle 4.1% golden style Semer Water from Wensleydale Brewery went down well.
In the same county Richmond also produced a new entry, the Buck Inn, in a historic part of town.
Though it has its knockers.
Unusually I even had time to eat in Richmond at a smart upstairs cafe called Duncan’s. It was great even if it did feel a bit like playing the part of an extra in an Alan Bennett play. The staff had been on rigorous “coffee training” the day before, which had clearly taken its toll, though the regulars were sympathetic.
The Buck had a competent Boltmaker (the beer) and a garden that is blessed with fine views to the castle.
Last of the trio was the Woodman in Burneston, which I think Martin had found closed after a change in its midweek hours. It certainly looked doubtful on arrival.
Hooray, the sign was right. Expect that it was closed for a funeral party. Having spotted a crowd of mourners leaving the church and, knowing none of them would want to be seen sprinting to the pub, I dodged in a minute or so ahead of the pacemakers. The landlord kindly accepted my pleading, served up a brisk 3.9% Pennine Hair of the Dog and I scuttled off before the crowd descended, without having to don any funeral attire.
But – top pub ticking tip number 37 – it’s always wise to keep a black tie handy just in case.