Sunday, 9 October 2011

A delightful visit to Masham (YDH Day5 29Sep11)

On Thursday we woke to a beautiful sunrise and 'light' at the Jonas Centre: the light through the trees surrounding the cabins was stunning, and armed with the camera (8.30am) I headed out into another field to capture the sunlight and mist through the trees.  I'm not sure which is my favourite, but they're all very calming, relaxing and peaceful.  I'm not sure which of the 3 I prefer?

Sunlight through the trees, Jonas Centre, Redmire 1

Sunlight through the trees, Jonas Centre, Redmire 2

Sunlight through the trees, Jonas Centre, Redmire 3

We left at 10am and headed off into Masham, the final stop on our journey.  It was last, but not least: Masham meant breweries (Theakstons & Black Sheep), tea shops and overnight stay in a pub (a comfy bed and shower!!!)

When we arrived at the Black Swan, Fearby (1.5 miles from Masham) the smell of yeast and breweries hit our noses.  We didn't hang around long, we asked for directions to Masham and headed off (off-road, on foot) to Masham.  Our trek encountered sheep, cows, some very friendly horses and more exciteable pheasants!

By this time the sun was high and roasting us, so we stopped off at Suncatcher's Cafe, which fortunately wasn't in the sun at the time, it was in the cool shade - just what we needed.  They served a great latte (for me) and tea (for Carl) accompanied by 2 warm and juicy scones.

After sustenance we headed over to The Black Sheep brewery to check on tour-times and book in, the earliest we could get was 3pm, so we had to 'amuse' ourselves until then...What to do? We went to the other brewery and see what time their tours are (and have a beer while we're there).  So back across the town we went to Theakstons and sampled their Paradise Ale (for me) - a fruity little number and Lightfoot (for Carl).  Their tours were operating at the same time, so we decided we'd leave it and just do the Black Sheep one.
Which Theakson's ale should I choose?

With still an hour to kill and 1 beer supped, we had lunch in The Bay Horse, a pub on the front which specialised in 'Real' this and 'Real' that - so we decided to see if this 'Real' claim was as 'Real' as they said, and went for a sandwich with 'Real' chips.  Carl had ham baguette and I went for sausage & chutney baguette - and we had a bit of each others.  The bread was warm, the sausages juicy and the chutney tangy.  The chips were a real as their claim: thick cut and floury.  This was all washed down with a beer (Black Sheep for me & Mr Lisa).  Good choice!
Which Black Sheep ale should I choose?

Brewery Tour
As happy as a pig in muck, or drunk?
We went on the tour, which was okay as far as tours go, I thought the half-pint sample at the end was a bit tight (at the Guinness one they give you a full pint of Guinness).
A few things that I remembered from the tour:
  • They bottle their beer at a plant in Stockport, 
  • The spent mash is used as animal feed, 
  • They only have 21 full time staff working on the brewery side of things 
  • A Tun is a ma-hoo-sive barrel, 
  • A tap goes on the end of the barrel 
  • A spile lets the air into a barrel (first a wooden one, then a plastic one).

I also broke my zip on my jeans (the zip was already half broken - it wouldn't stay up), but this time it came off the runners, so I was walking with my flies open.  Lucky I wore a long top.

Outside was baking hot so we stopped at Joneva (on the market place) for ice cream, I went for 2 scoops: Cappuccino and Apricot & Ginger and Carl went for Mint choc chip and Wild Cherry.

The Black Swan, Fearby

The Black Swan Fearby - website

Our return journey to The Black Swan avoided the friendly horses; Carl wasn't too happy about them nuzzling his new rucksack and sniffing his ears.

Accommodation - what you got...
The accommodation was in a separate block at the rear, each looked like a little cottage, one window downstairs and one upstairs.

A swanky looking room: similar to the one we had (from website)
Ours was a downstairs: the door opened up into a massive room, with kingsize bed (2-singles joined together), wall mounted TV (if you fancied it), desk with tea/coffee making, hairdryer, comfy chairs, table, usual local literature and massive wardrobe. There was a single window at the front, with sash window.  At the back an ensuite bathroom with bath and shower.  The room had a gorgeous wooden floor with underfloor heating (not that we needed it), a stone floor in the bathroom, dimmer lights, a comfy bed and good quality linen.

The room was finished and made up to a really high standard, and had either just been done (in the last 3 months) or was really well maintained.

It was pretty luxurious compared to the last few nights, and it was great to have a shower and dry my hair with a hair dryer!!

The pub has a real rustic, old style charm, boasting a fine collection of porcelain potties hanging from the ceiling, but also cheery and bright, with a fresh feel about it at the same time.
There were probably another 5 couples having dinner in the restaurant that night, all of which (I assumed) were staying. We pondered the menu over a Black Sheep beer, and shared our starter of black pudding, bacon and baked goats cheese starter, followed with a sirloin steak (each): a generous, thick, 10oz sirloin cooked rare (to perfection) and finished with a green pepper sauce.  It was served with fried tomatoes, which were spot on, mushrooms and chips (thick rough-cut, skins on, and really tasty).

I finished with a treacle tart, and ice cream, I loved that sticky sweet syrupy crumby filling you get inside the pastry case and tried to think back to the last time I had one....Ages ago.

We had a few more Black Sheep ales before I gave up and had a cup of tea instead.

Places to visit in Masham:
  • The Black Swan, Fearby Fearby, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4NFand also on twitter @BlackSwanFearby
  • Black Sheep Brewery,Wellgarth, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4EN
  • Theakstons BreweryThe Brewery, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4YD
  • The Bay Horse  Silver Street, Masham, North Yorkshire, HG4 4DX
  • Suncatcher's Cafe,  52 Market Place, Masham, Ripon HG4 4EF
  • Joneva, 7 Market Place, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4DZ
  • Beaver's Butchers, aka The Masham Sausage Shop, 11 Silver Street, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 4DX
  • WS Rogers & Son, Butchers, 14 Church St, Masham, HG4 4DR
  • Or you can just go to Visit Masham
I think I'd like to move to Masham and live there, it seems to have everything close at hand. Maybe if I won the lottery I'd move there, or have a holiday home there.

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