Well-known Yorkshire Dales pub landlord Robin Miller has died

Arncliffe is in remote Littondale
Arncliffe is in remote Littondale
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A publican whose family had owned The Falcon Inn at Arncliffe for 300 years has passed away.

Robin Miller, who has died aged 76, was the last Miller to run the remote Littondale pub, along with his wife Elspeth. The couple retired in 2012 but retained ownership and handed over the licence to their former barmaid Joanne Hodgson.

The Falcon Inn in 1992

The Falcon Inn in 1992

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The ivy-clad inn's interiors have changed little since the 1950s and it's often said that James Herriot would have felt at home there. It has a private four-mile stretch of river with its own fly fishing rights, and appeared in early episodes of Emmerdale back in the 1970s.

Until around 2014, the pub famously didn't even have any handpumps, and Timothy Taylor beers were poured into porcelain jugs from small barrels beneath the bar, then decanted into glasses. Two pumps have since been installed but the jug method is still employed for customers who ask for it. There are no electric lager or soft drink dispensers.

Its original features include royal coats of arms, bench seating, walnut pews, an Aga and a Victorian-style ceiling drying rack in the kitchen. The residents' lounge - reserved for those staying in the guest accommodation until several years ago - has been described as looking like a period film set.

Robin was known for his quiet, unhurried approach to service. He and Elspeth took over the licence from his father in 1975 - before that, he'd worked for the gas board. Their opening hours - 12-3pm and 7-11pm - were a throwback to a more leisurely age.

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In a 2006 interview, Robin told the Yorkshire Post that tourists who visited the pub in its Emmerdale years, when it appeared as The Woolpack, were often unimpressed with the reality of remote Arncliffe, which has a poor access road and no coach park.

" 'There's nowt but grass and trees', they were heard to remark. 'It's not as good as the real thing'. We couldn't sustain that kind of tourist trade.

"A village is only as good as the folk that live there."

In the 1990s, the organiser of a Morris dancing festival criticised Miller for not allowing the Morris men to use the pub, claiming he was told by the landlord that the custom was 'pagan' and not welcome in Arncliffe.

A death notice posted on the pub's Facebook page stated that Robin died peacefully at Airedale Hospital on December 23 and was a 'true Dalesman'. His funeral will take place at St Oswald's Church in Arncliffe on Friday January 3 at 3pm. Family flowers only.