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Fred Baker presents the Pub of the Season Summer 2017 plaque to the staff at the Boat House, Skipton, July 2017

Fred Baker presents the Pub of the Season Summer 2017 plaque to the staff at the Boat House, Skipton, July 2017

Helwith Bridge Hotel, Ribblesdale

We first discovered this wonderful hostelry whilst walking a section of the Ribble Way from Horton down to Settle; indeed it is easier to find from this approach as the pub stands a fair way back from the main B6479 road, over both the river and railway line.

It was Golden Jubilee Day. We called in for a pint and to shelter from the rain for a while. The bar was really busy & celebrations in full swing. The welcome was really friendly and the choice of beers remarkable - the five regular beers are from the John Smith's cask range:

Webster's Yorkshire Bitter - Greene King - Old Speckled Hen-Theakstons Best Bitter - Charles Wells Bombadier - Marston's Pedigree

If those were not enough, there are also two guest beers, usually from local brewers: on this occasion an excellent special brew from Daleside called Pride of England & Black Sheep Riggwelter.

The pub, which backs onto the river Ribble, was built in the 1820's apparently as a canteen for the local slate saw mill. It was later extended to accommodate the navvies constructing the Settle to Carlisle railway. The connections still exist as many of the regulars at the Helwith Bridge are employed at the local quarry, whilst railway enthusiasts can have an uninterrupted view down onto the track from a window to one side of the bar.

Colin Hall and his staff have made this a thriving community pub by welcoming two local caving clubs, pub games teams, local farmers and visitors alike. We have been back several times since and found the beers and the welcome to the same high quality as on our first visit.

The Helwith Bridge Hotel is open for business: 11-11 Mon.- Sat. and 12-10.30 Sun. Hot & cold bar snacks are always available. The date for the presentation has yet to be finalised.

Trish Cundall, 8th July 2002

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