“ Ribblehead, N Yorks. tel = 01524 241274 „
There could hardly be a more scenic location for a wayside pub than the Station Inn in Ribblehead. This inviting and friendly pub welcomes visitors all year round who flock to the area for a variety of outdoor activites: Hiking, Climbing, Potholing & Caving, Bird Watching and the rather noisier pastimes of sports car and motorbike riding (attracted by the grand vistas and twisty roads).
Situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the North Western Corner of North Yorkshire, on the B6255, 6 miles East of Ingleton, 12 miles North of Settle and the same distance West of Hawes, Ribblehead is bang in the middle of the famous 3 Peaks (Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-Y-Ghen), and opposite the tiny Ribblehead station, on the Settle-Carlisle branch line.
The train line, also one of the most scenic trips out by rail you could imagine, sees trains potter past every hour or so in each direction, trundling over the monumentally impressive Ribblehead Viaduct, heading North to Dentdale, and South to the nearest village of Horton-In-Ribblesdale.
Location explained: to the pub. (About time!). The main building houses the Pub itself, a modestly sized, comfortably furnished interior with a large semi-circular bar and windows overlooking the valley below Whernside and the Viaduct. Aside from the usual mass market lagers to cater for those with less discerning taste, there is a fine and changing selection of Real Ales to suit the real beer drinker's needs. Local brewers from Dentdale, Ribblesdale and Skipton are usually represented.
The Station Inn is open from 11:00 - 23:00 Monday to Saturday, and 12:00 - 22:30 on Sunday.
The food menu is rather good, with a good variety of wholesome home cooked fare, including majestically sized Yorkshire Puddings filled with a few types of hot yumminess (Mash and Sausages, or a Roast Dinner in a Pud anyone?). The Lamb Shank is particularly to be recommended!
Food is served between 12:00 and 14:30 every day, 18:30 - 20:30 every day except Saturday where Dinner is half an hour earlier to start.
The pub also offers both B&B and Bunkhouse accommodation, the latter being a boon for groups of hikers or climbers needing cheap sleep to justify a trip out to this remote part of the Dales. There are 4 bunkhouses in all, with a total of 32 beds at £10 a night available, as well as the option of a fattening cooked breakfast in the Pub. If you're really cheeky, there is plenty of green space behind the pub where you could theoretically pitch a tent. (N.B. Camping in the National Park is not strictly allowed, but pitching after dusk and packing up around dawn is usually safe).
The Bed and Breakfast rooms are well appointed, and not too small (I sound like an Estate Agent now!), but mainly it's the fantabulous Breakfast I remember from my sojourn there, filling as it was to my uppermost limits with cooked and fresh goodness. As for pries - they vary from £70 per room per night for the 4 poster Room with En Suite, to a more modest £55 for a twin room with a shower.
The Station Inn also caters for larger functions, being popular with parties, anniversaries, even the odd wedding. The Car park has room for 50 cars, although it does get busy enough to resemble a cunning puzzle on sunny weekends. The Train Station itself is a whole 150 yards away, and that's only because the path doubles back to climb up to the platform beside the Viaduct, and with Leeds/Bradford not much more than an hour away, it's a reachable day trip destination.
Anyone needing more information can visit their own website at http://www.thestationinn.net/home.shtml
My overriding impression of the Station Inn is always one of relaxing, coming as it does usually after a hard trek up Whernside and down again, or a long and scenic drive up through Ribblesdale from the South. I love visiting the pub; the combination of good Ale and Food, a friendly welcome, amazing views and utter isolation and tranquillity make the Station Inn a contender for my favourite pub. Visit it! You won't regret it.... And then I won't have to set the Dalek Chef on you!