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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

The Harts Head Hotel, Giggleswick

Sometimes, when describing a really good pub, it‘s difficult to put your finger on exactly what you like so much about it because everything runs so smoothly and is exactly “just as it should be”. This is true of our next Pub of the Season, the Harts Head, Giggleswick, near Settle.

Trevor and Barbara Reynolds took over the Harts Head exactly nine years ago and since then have transformed a pub that was ticking over nicely into something indefinably special. Perhaps it‘s the clientele: a healthy mix of villagers and tourists of all ages. Perhaps it‘s the quality of the beers, recognised by Cask Marque as well as CAMRA: four guest ales from “local” breweries such as Copper Dragon, Litton, Saltaire, Barngates, Wharfedale, Timothy Taylor, Theaksons, Black Sheep complement the regular Tetley Bitter and Copper Dragon Golden Pippin.

Entering the pub from the old A65 you have a choice of left or right door. Both lead into the same room, but the two halves, separated by the bar, are distinctly different. Go right and you find yourself in the smarter side. Here there is plush seating, a sofa and a small no-smoking area. The furnishings and feel are those of a comfortable living room with nice personal touches like the flowers and cushions that tell you this is Trevor‘s and Barbara‘s pub. Go left to catch up on the latest football results or play a game of pool, for this is the games area: the pub has teams in various local leagues: dominoes, quiz league etc. Somewhere in the bowels of the building there is also a full-size snooker table. If you‘re after something to eat, there is a separate dining area (booking advisable, particularly at weekends and in summer) with an excellent range of reasonably-priced meals, served lunchtimes except Thursday and every evening. For sunny days, there is a lovely (but quite steeply sloping) beer garden with views of Giggleswick church and beyond. There are also 10 letting bedrooms, if you fancy staying over for a few days - highly recommended by two of our local CAMRA members who did just that last spring.

The pub, a solid traditional stone building, dates from about 1820, when the new road replaced the old turnpike which descended Belle Hill into the centre of Giggleswick village. Until then there had been a pub of the same name on Belle Hill. The composer Sir Edward Elgar was supposedly a visitor in his day when he visited friends in Settle - I am sure he would still appreciate it today.

The Harts Head is open weekdays from 12-2.30 (except Thursday) and 5.30 to 11, and all day Saturday and Sunday. Sunday evening is quiz night and there is a folk night the first Friday in each month.

The presentation for Pub of the Season Winter 2006/7 will be made on Wednesday the 13th December at about 8.00 p.m.

Richard and Tamsin Candeland

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