Generations of farmers, walkers and tourists have found sustenance and nourishment at the Lion; built in the mid-1600s as a coaching inn it was a stopping-off point for travellers to Cumbria and Scotland and in the last 100 years the starting off place for train enthusiasts making the journey to Carlisle over the Ribbleshead Viaduct and through some of the most spectacular landscape in the country.
Thwaites spent a small fortune on the renovation and what a splendid job they’ve done. The fabulous Inglenook fireplace remains, as does the elegant, sweeping staircase. Checked wool upholstered easy chairs and old settles in front of the roaring fire invite; just the spot to down a pint of Wainwright’s Original and ear-wig smug Three Peaks baggers telling tall tales about beating personal bests.
You don’t have to have tackled Whernside to enjoy the food, but it might help. There are notable exceptions but the emphasis here is on comfort. Expect pies, hot pot, bacon chops and double-dipped chips. The magnificent Settle Pudding has a suet crust thick enough to lag a boiler, with a filling of beef so tender it falls apart on the fork. It arrives with a little mound of mushy peas and a jug of gravy. A jug. Of gravy. Oh happy day. Local lad/chef John Wild knows a thing or two about what makes people tick. Home made Scotch egg is a masterpiece, the yolk soft but not spilling, the meat succulent and herby with a fine crisp outer. Accompanied by faultless fat chips and Mr Vickki’s chilli jam, it’s the perfect antidote to a miserable January day.
The Lion at Settle, Duke Street, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9DU. 01729 822203. www.thelionsettle.co.uk Open seven days a week, food served all day.