THIS WEEK’S MEETING, Wednesday 06 December

Here we are upfront again. You can’t miss this, so don’t miss us either. Join us on our brand new meeting day – first WEDNESDAY this month and every month from now on. Some of the committee members were finding it increasingly difficult to attend Thursday meetings, so we thought we’d move to Wednesday instead. Apologies for not getting out this notice until 24 hours before the meeting, but here’s hoping for a full house!

THE OTLEY TAVERN – Meeting at 19:15; social from 20:00

THE ROSE AND CROWN – Social from 20:45

THE JUNCTION – Social from 21:30

All three pubs are along Bondgate [although the Tavern is just off the main road, down New Market], so no matter what the weather’s like you’ll never have to be outside for more than about 2 minutes all night!


I’ve mentioned ‘There’s a Beer for That’ a few times, but I was reminded about it by a leaflet that came through my letterbox the other day. If you’re feeling cheesy, you can get specific advice on which beer goes with stilton [eg Tetley’s Trust Porter]; or gorgonzola [eg BrewDog AB:16 Belgian Ale]; or brie [eg Thornbridge Chiron Pale Ale]. Or, you know, even if you fancy knowing what pairs up well with fish & chips [eg Lerwick Azure Pale Ale] just head over to the website and type in what you’re having for tea!



Talking of things landing on my doormat, I also got a massive 52-page brochure from Welcome to Yorkshire this month. It’s got details of everything from a medieval Christmas at Pontefract Castle to a Victorian Christmas at Harewood House; from a Krampus run in Whitby to a Santa run in Skipton; from polar bears at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park to husky sleds at Scarborough. But if you don’t fancy going any further afield than Otley, they’ve included our own Victorian Fayre in their Christmas markets section. If you didn’t get a brochure, you can check out their website, where you can see the page on our fayre and also get a chance to win daily prizes with their advent calendar.


Now I know you’ve probably all seen this bit of film before, but here’s what actually happened when the last version of the Historic Otley Ale Trail was presented at the OPC Committee meeting! Just follow this link and read the subtitles!



  .  .  .  and after it in 2018 there is so much more to look forward to in Otley! Not just the usual town events like the Show and the Carnival and the Food and Drink Festival and the Folk Festival and the rest, but individual events like the Burns Night Ceilidh in All Saints Parish Church in January, the Tour de Yorkshire in May, and Yorkshire Day in August  .  .  .



Alcohol and cold temperatures can be a lethal combination. If you’ve been in a hot pub and had a few pints, or spirits, you can feel as warm as toast when you first step outside. But don’t be tempted to walk home if you’re not properly dressed for the weather. This article from explains the dangers – and also reminds you that slipping on ice seems somehow so much easier when you’ve had a drink, but stopping yourself getting hurt is so much more difficult!!



If you were looking for a reason to get behind ‘Brexit’, and the doner kebab is your post-pint food of choice, look no further. This article in explains how a decision not to allow phosphates to be added to doner kebab meat across Europe could put an end to the – errr – tasty treat.



How fabulous was today’s announcement of the route of next year’s races? The men’s AND women’s stage 2 on Friday the 4th of May comes right through the centre of Otley again. This time the peloton comes from the South, having turned left in Pool in Wharfedale and climbed up Old Pool Bank [which will be fun! You’ll need to be there early to get a good viewpoint on that narrow climb.] Then they’ll speed down Leeds Road into town, taking the 90 degree bends at speed into Gay Lane, Bondgate and Kirkgate, before zig-zagging through Manor Square, down Bridge Street and over the river. Finally they’ll turn left along Weston Lane before leaving Otley on their way to the finish in Ilkley.

Two days later, on Sunday the 6th of May, the men will come back through Otley on Stage 4 as the race heads to its conclusion in Leeds. This time they’ll be coming due South into town, heading from Pateley Bridge, Blubberhouses and Timble. Just imagine the speed they’ll be doing down Newall Carr Road as they hit the steep bends before Prince Henry’s Grammar School! Let’s hope for dry roads and no disasters – especially as Mark Cavendish is appearing in Yorkshire again this year!

On both days Otley comes quite close to the end of the stage, whereas in the past the pack has been all together when they came through. This time we should get a good idea of who is in with a chance of winning, and it will take longer for the whole race to pass through – which gives us longer to showcase the town and show how much we really get behind events like this. Of course, there will be downsides! Stage 2 is on a Friday, and with both mens’ and womens’ races coming through, the town’s main traffic routes are likely to be closed for hours. This could cause disruption to businesses as well as commuters trying to get to and from work. Also, as the races come down Kirkgate, there will presumably be no Friday street market – and stalls in the Market Place will be at a premium!

But let’s hope the town embraces the positive aspects of the race rather than complaining about the negatives. It’s certainly a bonus for the pubs on Bondgate, Kirkgate, Manor Square, Bridge Street and Newall Carr Road this year. Previously the route has passed the pubs on the East-West route, so it’s nice to see it travelling South-North [and North-South] next year. Good luck to everyone involved in the races – and to all the businesses in town that I hope can profit from the additional visitors to such a high profile event. Sometimes I think we really don’t appreciate how lucky we are!

All details of the routes are on the Tour de Yorkshire website.



Did you manage to get into town for the Fayre on Sunday? By the time the sun came out [it just about makes it over the top of the Chevin at this time of year!] the town’s streets were packed again. Happily, so were the pubs! I visited all the ones taking part in our #VictorianAleHouse competition at least twice, as well as some that this year had decided not to. As usual, the standards were high; the costumes were fabulous; and the effort that had gone into making the fayre a special day both inside the pubs and out was clear to see. 

It’s a really difficult job having to choose one pub over the rest, as none of those that take part deserve to be anything but winners. So we try to look for something that’s just a bit different, that might tip the balance. Last year it was Whitakers’ Santa’s grotto, and this year it was their next door neighbours The Red Lion who caught our eye [and ear] with their ‘Victorian’ violin band!

Whitakers’ new team almost lived up to last year’s efforts, with their outfits and special Yorkshire recipe pies, and The Old Cock’s usual superb costumes again kept them in the top three. The Bowling Green was highly commended for kitting out all their bar and serving staff in suitable gear, in a pub crammed with Christmas decorations. Finally, honourable mentions must go to The Black Horse for costumes and a cosy fireplace scene, and to North Bar Social for their splendid outfits – including Helen’s, which we decided was our favourite of the day [AND she managed to keep her bonnet on for most of it!]

So I must thank all the pubs that took part for adding to the Victorian ambience in the town on another hugely successful Fayre Day. Thanks also to them and all the other pubs in town for once again providing a good old-fashioned Otley welcome to all our visitors from far and near, and serving up the sort of food, drink and good company that will make them want to keep coming back again and again.



Remember that email I sent out, asking you to take part in a public vote for the best Victorian Alehouse in town on Sunday? And do you remember I said “Of course, it’s entirely possible that we might only get one entry – in which case you and your choice would obviously win!” ?? Well, it seems I was being far too optimistic! Out of a grand total of 439 names on our membership list, not a single one took me up on my offer. [Fair enough I suppose – I spent the money for the prize of 2 pints on myself!] I do think I might have done two things better though. First I should have made everyone aware of it much earlier, rather than making a bit of an off-the-cuff decision a few days before the Fayre. Second, I should perhaps have specified more precisely how I wanted people to let me know their choice of a favourite. It’s possible that people thought that by sharing, or liking posts or tweets they were actually voting for the relevant pub, when really I needed you to tweet, email or FB Otley Pub Club directly, giving us the name of the pub.

NEVERTHELESS – the pub that easily got the most likes and shares on Twitter on the day as far as I could see, was The Old Cock. So I will happily name them as the public’s favourite this year [even though no-one still gets a prize!] I’ll try harder, and be clearer, in future.



I hope you’re all looking forward to this Thursday’s [07 Dec] late night shopping event in Otley, organised by the members of the Otley Chamber of Trade. Over 70 shops and cafés will stay open until at least 7pm, so that you can do some pre-Christmas shopping after school, after tea, and after work. And of course, remember that all the pubs in town will be open long after 7pm, so you can relax for a while on your way home after you’re shopping’s done!



Not all Otley’s pubs have open fires, but lots do and they’re all now blazing merrily away to welcome you in out of the cold. It’s lovely going out for a walk in the brisk December weather, especially when it’s sunny, and even nicer warming up by an open fire. The other day while walking up the Chevin, I bumped into this couple on the left, who seemed bemused at the amount of hospitality Otley has to offer!!





Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

05 December 2017

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