I went on a bit of an adventure the other day. When I tell you what it was, some people will go, ‘so what?’ Not having been in a tent since school days, I can tell you, it was quite something for me.
I sort of found the tent by accident whilst having a clear out. I guess it was more a case of having forgotten it existed really. To give you some idea of the size of it, my son trekked across China with it about five years ago and it’s main drawback wasn’t so much the getting in to it as getting back out again!
Anyway, what’s this got to do with beer? A lot really because our expedition took us to Filey and the discovery of two places I had never been into, Bonhommes and The Cobblers Arms, which will both be the subject of future posts. It also got me thinking about a Pub walk, maybe I could do a book? Just with a different slant, like a two day tour? So here goes, my first walking and drinking route:
Go to Filey and spend a leisurely afternoon in this delightful little sea side town and have a drink in Bonhommes and The Cobblers Arms. You could go in the Good Beer Guide listed Star, but there is a sign outside saying, ‘No dogs except guide dogs’, so that ruled us out. I should say that all the other pubs on this list are dog friendly. Now you don’t have to camp, there are a couple of small hotels, guest houses and numerous holiday lets in the town. What you must do though is go for Fish and Chips in the fabulous Brown Room, which will also get a separate post because it’s principles relate closely to good pubs.
Anyway, when you get up the next day then point yourself North towards Scarborough and follow The Cleveland Way long distance foot path , which disappoints only by virtue of the fact it is entirely in Yorkshire and Cleveland doesn’t actually exist. Stout footwear and weatherproof gear are essential because for much of the eight and a half miles you are very exposed. You need a drink as well because there is nowhere to stop until you get to Cayton Bay at the three quarter mark, and even then the beach cafe is not always open. In terms of time, it took us two and three quarter hours to get to The Spa at Scarborough (not including a cuppa at Cayton Bay and ten minutes on a random bench)
The walk is stunning and much of it is cliff top paths, so you don’t need a map or anything like that as it’s way marked throughout. None of it is difficult, but there is one short, but steep incline, plus a series of nasty steps just after Cayton Bay. The cliff here closely resembling the Seaton to Lyme Regis path where a long time ago a massive section of the cliff has dropped and then settled. Similarly, as in Dorset, the entire area is fossil rich and subject to frequent landslip and erosion.
If you are thinking wild and wind swept cliffs overlooking bays and rocks with basking seals, wild flowers and abundant wild life then you are not far off. The only intrusion being the odd caravan site and a few houses that will probably have fallen into the sea within 20 years!
When you get to Scarborough walk right along the promenade to the North Bay, taking in all the sounds and sights of ‘the original’ seaside town, before doing a sharp left past Peasholm Park to the North Riding on North Marine Road.
This pub is currently in my top ten and will stay there so long as Stuart and Karen keep doing what they are doing. I didn’t get much of a chance to speak with Stuart, just a quick hello, when he returned from what was apparently a very exciting cricket match (Yorks v Notts) at the ground across the road.
The Peasholm Pale is one of my favourites and in it’s unfined guise it was even better. It’s probably the tastiest beer I’ve had for a while, that wasn’t over 6%. We also tried Mallinson’s Azacca and NRB Ticker’s (something) which didn’t do it for me. What I do like as well, are the friendly locals and staff who always remember you and kindly prompted me to get another drink just before the cricket match finished and the entire pub got taken over by thirsty cricket fans.
On leaving The North Riding we headed towards the station and called into the very quirky Indigo Alley. There were some random doors propped up in the bar on our previous visit, this time there were a load of brand new, still wrapped, mattresses stacked up in the corner? The ale was however, still on excellent form and we tried Milltown Brewing Co. Platinum Blonde, Yorkshire Heart Hop cycle – July, Pacific Gem and Indigo’s house ale, brewed by Wold Top.
The final stop was The Stumble Inn for a third of Elderflower Power by Great Newsome Brewery, a Copper Dragon ‘special’ and 4T’s American Woman Bravo, which was my favourite, with the Elderflower one a close second.
We then hopped onto the train back to Filey and during the fifteen minute journey considered the conundrum of why a return ticket for two (£6) is cheaper than getting two singles (£7), confused? I was. In fact I was still thinking about it while we ate a takeaway sat outside the tent in the dark with a spork, which provides a, previously un-encountered, surprise element to a Chinese Special Curry.
You could of course do this the other way round and stay in Scarborough, which has quite a few other pubs worth a visit. Personally, I prefer the more genteel environs of Filey, although Scarborough has many more accommodation options. In all these boozers you will be very surprised by the comparatively low prices if you are used to drinking in Leeds and other similar priced places. You will however get to sample some very well kept and diverse beers in a varied range of friendly licensed premises.