Craven Arms, Appletreewick, North Yorkshire

In our (hopefully) never ending series of [1] visits to pubs and [2] walks in Yorkshire, we set out to walk up Trollers Gill in Wharfedale. We’re meeting up with friends and looking for somewhere to stay for a night. After running through about a hundred possibilities, we finally rest on the pub at Burnsall. Everywhere else was FULL. Surely people haven’t heard how wonderful, sunny, welcoming [ah…I see the problem here…Ed] that they’ve arrived in hordes, even in winter?

The walk up Trollers Gill is typical of the Dales’ walking. A real mixture of riverbank, meadow, woods and open hillside, with climbing a dry limestone gorge thrown in. Allow about 3.5 hours for this 13km walk, allowing for easy scramble up the gorge. You could walk from Burnsall, but we parked in Appletreewick [a village where, despite asking supposed locals, we’re no nearer to getting the pronunciation right] and set off.

On our return we find there are two pubs in the village, but we’ve booked into the Craven Arms for a light lunch. Excellent food and beer [sandwiches and soup]. More interesting and quite safe, we have to say for fear of frightening visitors from afar, was the man and daughter, in matching tweed jackets, caps, breeches and boots, calmly handing their tame ferret around the bar. They passed it round so everyone could have a stroke and several people happily shoved it down their jackets or jumpers, where the ferret seemed unmoved. It was white, totally relaxed and ambivalent about being passed round the pub and, apparently a sure fire winner in the ferret racing they held in the back room of the pub. All perfectly normal. Honest. ‘Elf and safety dictates the ferrets race in enclosed tubes strung from the ceiling with little clear bits so you can see who’s leading. Trust us, its not normal. It’s certainly not Mayfair round here.

Nonetheless, very welcoming and, yes, we had our turn with the ferret. It would be unsociable to do otherwise. Very good hot beef sandwiches and soup. Excellent beer and very friendly. Especially the ferret. Don’t forget to book – it’s busy.

Pub The Craven Arms

Out the back…

That ferret…

back room and ferret race track…


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