Old Hill Inn, Chapel le Dale
This is one for those times when you are not looking for fancy menus and starched linen but something much more down-home and real. For me tha usually means when I’m in Ribblesdale that dour Yorkshire Dale with the Three Peaks and the mighty railway viaduct built by 6,000 navvies living in shanty towns in its bleak shadow. Also in it’s shadow – well almost – is the the Old Hill Inn, an ancient pub that has been a timeless refuge for walkers descending Ingleborough or Whernside
I know it must be breathtaking in summer, with the sun on the fells, but I’ve only ever been here in winter, when all you want is real warmth, a restorative pint of Dent bitter and a plate of proper comfort food. Something like lamb shank and good gravy, rib eye steak with garlic butter or steak pie?
If all that sounds too Desperate Dan, there are lighter dishes like fennel risotto, salmon with a Thai curry sauce and stuffed mushrooms. It won’t win any rosettes or stars but this is definitely the best place to eat for some miles in any direction. You can eat in the dining room which bizarrely showcases chef’s award-winning sugar sculptures but the chances are after your walk/pothole/ climb/motor you’ll want to hunker down in the bar, beside one of the roaring fires, and eat at a rough hewn table with that pint. And if that pint turns into more than a couple there are two simple bedrooms upstairs.