The art of bad timing seems to be a particular skill in our house. The odour from the fluffy one was becoming ,at best , noticeable, at worse so the decision was made. 15 mins later the carnage was complete, wet paw marks lead across the floor and onto the cream sofa, the bathroom a scene of mass destruction and the net result of one slightly less smelly and without doubt fluffier terrier flashing two claws in our general direction from his bed .
Fast forward 16 hours and FW’s Crufts like turnout had gone for a burton, lost in a potent mixture of Yorkshire’s best horizontal rain, thick mud and heather undergrowth and topped off with a heady perfume of stagnant water and sheep dung. Like I say bad timing …
We’d taken to the bleak unforgiving landscape above Haworth, the smallish rugged village 5 miles from Keighley that was happily pootling along keeping itself to itself till the mid-1800s when the arrival of a new Vicar and his family to the village somewhat upset the apple cart and things were never quite the same again.
From that moment Haworth would forever be associated with the Brontes and the bl**y miserable sodding sisters who’s presence always loom large over Haworth’s famous cobbled main street.
‘Haworth, is a particularly agreeable place to spend a dog day out’
At times the sheer volume of visitors particularly at High Summer weekends and at Christmas can make the place a bit manic especially for our 4 legged friends, and probably best to avoid but midweek or especially on cold winter days when the place is is a little less busy Haworth, is a particularly agreeable place to spend a dog day out
Forget the range of Jayne Eyre themed toilet accessories , the Branwell Bronte Junior Opium Set or the life Size inflatable Heathcliff’s (Tom Hardy version) on sale at the numerous tat (sorry gift) shops on the main street and head for the moor tops above the village and you’ll find some spectacular walking for mutts and their owners with lots of different routes of varying length and intensity.
The most obvious are those connected to our Victorian Friends, the ruins of Top Withens and the Bronte Waterfall especially, but get out a map and head away from the honeypots and solitude with breathtaking views can easily be yours. It being winter cold and raining during our two hour wander we passed just on other solitary walker and their hound , peace indeed !
‘head away from the honeypots and solitude with breathtaking views can easily be yours’
For this particular day out we set off from the bus in the small hamlet of Stanbury. There is little to see in the village but it has an hourly bus service to and from Haworth plus a couple of watering holes.On this occasion being mid-morning even for a weekend . refreshment stops were not yet on the agenda but on previous trips we’ve found theWuthering Heights particularly dog-friendly and worth a visit should you find yourself ‘stranded in Stanbury’
As I said at the start of this post proper crap timing seems to be the order of the day in our household and true to form alighting from our charbang the heavens opened and the usual Yorkshire Monsoon was upon us .think Mumbai but about 40 degrees colder
Wandering from Stanbury towards we passed the magnificently mistily erie Lower Laithe Reservoir .The sign that proclaimed ‘this water is cold’ ‘ thand past the worlds most useless bus stop who’s timetable proudly announced that the sum total of zeo buses actually stop there ..
As the bottom of socks begin to take on a dampish sponge like consistency and the waterproof clothing already having surrendered to the driving rain you start to begrudgingly slightly admire the sheer stoicism of the Brontes .Let’s face it they were wandering the Haworth Moor top 150 years in all weather in less than appropriate attire , Berghaus had not quite got round to producing its own Bustle and all those layers petticoats could have done better with the addition of Gortex breathability . The buggers must have been made of stern stuff., though in hindsight that may explain their perpetual state of gloom ….
Despite the conditions nothing was set to stop our four pawed hero who ploughed through puddles and squelching mud with the pulling power of the most advanced 4 x4 The little git who’s idea of morning exercise is to sporacdically raise one eyelid momentarily given an open morland path sudden burst of energy put down to nothing more than the heady scent of rabbit and sheep shit …
Plodding on our destination was the Penistone Hill Country Park , 180 acres of rough moorland that is leased out as public access land by the local council .Part of the site are the workings from the days when it was
In the main you’ll find Haworth particularly mutt minded , shops and cafes are all beginning to realize that the dog owning market is one to tap into .Our three pubs have long been favourites and although most of the village watering holes allow dogs these are our usual ‘refuel’ stops .
Our first port of call coming off the moor was the Old Sun, set a stone’s throw away from the main street it’s an honest unpretentious little boozer , as popular with villagers as well as visitors, which is always a good sign .
it’s an honest unpretentious little boozer , as popular with villagers as well as visitors, which is always a good sign .
Two very sensibly dressed middle aged ladies complete with well thumbed copies of Haworths Finest works who were try ting to explain the finer points of and one very confused French family who in turn were having to contend not just with understanding the complexities in translation an English bar Food Menu but alo those of slighty worse for wear old local who was insisting on regaling them with tall stories of his own (nudge- nudge- wink -wink)’ Anglo Saxon Conquests ‘ many years ago across their home nation.
Our final two stops took us back onto the village’s famous main street ( of Hovis Kids on a Bike ad fame ) and the Kings Arms and The Fleece .
Before we go any further I must confess that we are a tad slightly biased about the Kings as our good friend Caroline is the Landlady ! Owned by Keighley based Bridgehouse Brewery the pubs current identity is a million miles away from the dark and dingy Tetleys dive that occupied a prime position next to the church for many years
. Today it’s a cracking ridiculously dog friendly spot with some great beers and good food. .Despite its many references to its near neighbours at the Parsonage (see the beer pumps for details ) the Kings like the Sun still maintains its fair number of local regulars including a fair number of Pooch’s . Dogs are welcome in the Bar but not in the separate restaurant area . It can get a bit manic at times , the last time we visited on every table in the bar had a dog under it but the pub staff take it all in their stride and even time it right on a Sunday and the mutt could be tucking into his own free Sunday Dinner !
‘Today it’s a cracking ridiculously dog friendly spot with some great beers and good food.’
Just to have a moan at this point nothing to do with the Kings but last time we were in there we encountered the sort of moron that is the moan of most responsible dog in pubs owners – Mr Bloody perfect – typically to be found in ridiculously expensive walking gear with spaniel or lab at his side ,the idiot that believes that his dog has the divine right to be off lead in a pub full of mutts on leads . Yep we get the fact that your hound is so ridiculously well trained that it can sit, come ,retrieve your slippers , fluff up your cushions and pour you a small whisky chaser of an evening ! I actually don’t care, just put him on a string like every other dog in the place who you are winding up by your actions .
Quite simple mate, only dogs that should be wandering loose in a pub are the resident dog (obviously !) or if its been ok-ed by mine host ( Bruce is always invited by our local landlandy to have the run of the place if its other canine customers !) , Saturday afternoon in a tourist hot spot full of assorted unfamiliar canines is not one of those places – rant over !!!!