Crown Hotel, Middlesmoor, Nidderdale
This isn’t so much about food (though there is some) but we just had to tell you about this great pub.
On a late summer’s day, the last gasp before we batten down the inevitable hatches what could be better than to find yourself sitting outside a 17th century pub in warm sunshine. There are so many things here to delight; cobbled lanes, jaw-dropping views down the valley, Gouthwaite Reservoir glinting in the distance, good beer and snuff. Yep, you heard me. Snuff. I can’t remember the last time I saw it, let alone be offered it (gratis) over the bar. And no, I didn’t partake but TBF did and he’s still reeling. You might be interested to know that snuff is provided for members and officers of the House of Commons at the doorkeepers’ box at the entrance to the Chamber; I bet Glenda Jackson has the habit.
At 900 ft 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 reveling in the fact 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 & 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 wild guess’ is my rejoinder as he pushes a tin of snuff towards me. ‘Whoever you are, this’ll sort you out’. Don’t you sometimes long for such a place? Black Sheep Bitter, Thwaites Wainwright, Rudgate Jera and Wadsworth 6X are nicely kept and we did sample most. Or rather the designated non-driver did. If you’re in for the duration there’s a fine selection of malts too.
Food-wise a blackboard promises the likes of grouse braised in wine, lamb shanks, sausage & mash and the usual array of sarnies. A young woman (presumably the chef) was leafing through Delia taking notes, cooing ‘Ooo salmon in filo parcels. We’ll ‘ave them on.’
Outside, locals, walkers and overnight stayers primed for the Nidderdale Show ease back into their chairs eking out the last of the September sun. We reluctantly drift off to make the journey back to Todmorden. To paraphrase Van Morrison; wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all of the time?