On a late summer’s day, what could be better than to be sitting outside a 17th century pub in Middlesmoor, Nidderdale?
So much here delights; cobbled lanes, jaw-dropping views down the valley, Gouthwaite Reservoir glinting in the distance, and good beer. At 900ft, Middlesmoor is the one of the highest villages in North Yorkshire, and if the air is thin I didn’t notice, I was too busy revelling that the Crown is a proper pub. Not a whiff of Farrow & Ball or a single stick of blonde wood, but rather, battered chairs, scrubbed tables, flagged floors and black and white photos of farmers rescuing snow-bound sheep. In a stand by the bar, exquisitely crafted walking sticks are for sale, made in the village by Bill. Dogs snuffle round your feet and the landlord, not behind the bar but perched on a stool at the other side in a commanding position throws good natured insults to all and sundry. “Who are you?” he thunders as I indiscreetly make a note of the beers on offer. “Are you from Camra or Sky TV?” “Take a guess” is my rejoinder as he pushes a tin of snuff towards me. “Whoever you are, this’ll sort you out.” Black Sheep Bitter, Thwaites Wainwright, Rudgate Jera and Wadsworth 6X are nicely kept and we sampled most, or rather the designated non-driver did. There’s a fine selection of malts too. For food, a blackboard promises of grouse braised in wine, lamb shanks, sausage and mash and the usual array of sarnies. Outside, locals, walkers and overnight stayers primed for the Nidderdale Show ease back into their chairs eking out the last of the late September sun. We reluctantly drift off. To paraphrase Van Morrison; wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time?
Crown Hotel, Middlesmoor, Pateley Bridge, Harrogate, HG3 5ST. 01423 755204