Remember – if you’re only interested in what’s on in the pubs, go straight to the end!

By the time you get this newsletter, all the weather reports predict that the days will be drier [#abouttime] and the temperatures will be nearer twenty degrees than ten [#thatsmorelikeit] for at least a week [#IllbelieveitwhenIseeit]! And all just in time for the kids to go back to school. (Even at my age, I remember those days well – cold, miserable weather when you’re forced to be on holiday, and hot sunny days when you’re studying for, and taking, exams.) So it looks as though I might have been right last month about everything changing from snowdrifts and road closures to daffodils and crocuses. Not to mention Spring lambs . . .



 . . . BUT [and it’s a big but] farmers will no doubt be feeling the economic effects of the prolonged wet weather for months to come. Many of those spring lambs have had to be birthed indoors or closer to the farm, both because of the cold and because of the poor quality of the grass out in the fields. Ewes needing the energy from new growth in the fields are having to have it supplemented or even replaced by expensive artificial feeds. Arable farmers are no better off, as their fields have been turned into muddy bogs or are even under water in some cases. It’s impossible to work in those fields. Let alone plant or manage crops of any kind, and it’s going to take more than one week of dry weather to sort it out. Even those of us whose only contact with the land is walking over it for recreation are well aware what a mess this winter has left it in.

You might think that’s just a shame for the farmers, but in a semi-rural community like Otley on the fringe of the Dales, a major part of the economy will be related to farming. Not just the number of people who work on the land, but those companies that support it by providing equipment, vehicles, fencing, buildings and much, much more. If farmers are having to cut back on expenditure, all those related and dependent businesses start to lose income as well. That means they and their staff have less money to spend on other local services, and so the cycle continues. What’s more, as the price of meat and crops rises to offset the farmers’ costs of production, local butchers and greengrocers will have to increase the retail price or go bust themselves. Hence we’re all getting hit in the pocket as well. And you thought bad weather just made us all miserable because we got cold and wet!!

On a serious note, you might not have seen the letter in the Wharfedale Observer last week from Paul Burrows, the chief executive of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution [RABI]. This was the final paragraph, which is worth repeating here:

“During a crisis, RABI can help those in financial hardship by providing grants for immediate domestic and household expenses. While we cannot help specifically with business costs, if the harsh winter has left you, or someone you know who works in farming, unable to pay household bills please call our confidential Freephone Helpline number 0808 281 9490.


(Photo by Iain Thompson / Muddy Field and Sheep Near Tarbolton, via Wikimedia Commons)


Tour de Yorkshire

We already know that Otley will once again be firmly on the international cycling radar, when the women’s Tour and the men’s [twice] come through town on the 4th and 6th of May. But if you’re interested in seeing more than the race itself, you might be interested in the Tour ‘village’ which will be setting up in Millennium Square in Leeds from Saturday the 28th of April to Sunday the 6th of May.

The Village will play host to an abundance of entertainment which will include amazing art and music, delicious food and drink, family fun activities and lots more to help celebrate both the Tour de Yorkshire and Leeds International Festival. The, free to enter, cultural hub will also be the venue for the eagerly anticipated Eve of Tour Celebrations on Wednesday 2nd May.

Here you will find spectacular live music, entertainment and the TDY team presentations on stage from 6pm. This event is open to all and will be a fantastic event as excitement builds for the fourth edition of the Tour de Yorkshire. 

The Village has been organised by Welcome to Yorkshire, Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID), and Leeds City Council. You can find out more about this and all other aspects of the Tour on its dedicated website.



It’s not often I get any responses to the newsletters at all, let alone unsolicited ones because someone’s seen it on the website, but that’s just what happened this month! Emily Martino, who is on the content team at Wineturtle.com, asked if I would be interested in linking to an article recently put together by one of her colleagues. It’s a pretty comprehensive piece about whether red wine is good for you – 11 little-known health benefits of red wine. I know I said some time back that I wouldn’t get into the whole alcohol/health argument again, but this has some interesting new points such as red wine being good for dental health! [And to repeat my earlier advice, I do open all the links in the newsletters myself with no problems, and I therefore assume they are all safe. It’s entirely up to you whether you do the same. You should of course always be aware of the risks of clicking on direct URL links.]



The results of a major piece of research into the effects of alcohol on length of life were published in The Lancet this month. The study covered almost 600,000 people in 19 countries worldwide and concluded that the current lower UK guidelines for ‘safe’ drinking had got it right. It was part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and shows that drinking more alcohol is associated with a higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and death.  Regularly drinking over five pints of 4% ABV beer or five 175ml glasses of 13% ABV wine per week was linked with lower life expectancy. For example, having 10 or more of the above drinks per week was linked with one to two years shorter life expectancy. Having 18 drinks or more per week was linked with four to five years shorter life expectancy. This is an extremely serious issue, and I had a very close friend who died as a direct result of alcohol abuse, but I’ve always thought that if you didn’t drink, life only seemed to drag on for longer  .  .  .  !



You might remember that last year I published a story that might or might not still come true, about one of the empty bank buildings in Otley seeking planning permission to be turned into a naturist pub. Well this year The Daily Star seem to have liked the story so much that they produced a very similar one, about a proposed pub chain called Streakers. I’ll be sending them a link to my story from last year and asking for reparations and a printed admission of plagiarism. And if they call us Otley Pube Club, I’ll sue! [Love that guy’s chest graffiti though.]



It’s always good to see Yorkshire breweries flourishing. Goodness knows how many there are in ‘The Broad Acres’ nowadays, or even whether anyone knows how much the total grows from one day to the next. Black Sheep is one of the better-known ones, and BeerToday has reported that the brewery has reached an agreement with Tesco supermarkets to stock a range of their newer beers – including their first lager. As you well know by now, Otley Pub Club believes the best place to drink beer [or lager] is in a traditional pub. The social benefits of meeting and drinking together are well-researched and well-documented, and the worst excesses of drinking and abusing alcohol at a young age can be controlled in an environment where ‘everybody knows your name’. Swigging white cider out of a bottle in a park just to get legless is so wrong, and sitting at home on your own getting slowly more pie-eyed is just as bad.

So I suppose we should be critical of yet another brewer doing yet another deal with a supermarket with pockets full of cash. Well, sad certainly – but critical? Not really. If doing a deal with the devil [sorry Tesco!] is what it takes to keep a brewery like Black Sheep solvent in these days of hipster millionaires, peanut butter and jelly canned froth and ten-pound pints, so be it. At least it means they can keep producing their traditional Yorkshire beers and serving them up in traditional Yorkshire pubs, and we’re all in favour of that!



Nice to see the Otley business awards taking place again last month, and we’d like to add our own appreciation, thanks and congratulations to all Otley’s businesses that make our town worth living in. You might have noticed the name Tim Wilkinson in my last newsletter article that talked about the number of volunteers who do great work in the town, and I’d like to add my personal appreciation to him being granted a lifetime achievement award. Tim and his wife Helen run Dowgill House Bed & Breakfast in Otley; they are also co- organisers of the Christmas tree festival at All Saints Parish Church; he has been active on the Otley Town Council tourism sub-committee; he was involved with putting Christmas trees, and Yorkshire flags on the 133 brackets outside Otley businesses; and he has produced the Otley Economic Bulletin for over 9 years; and much more.

But it’s the production of the Bulletin that really resonates with me because of my own production of these newsletters! In the latest issue which you can find on the Otley Chamber of Trade website, Tim relates the difficulty of having to keep abreast of National and Regional news as well as getting sufficient meaningful local stories when feedback and news items are not, as he so kindly puts it, “quite as forthcoming as hoped”! He says “The prospect of looking at a blank sheet of paper at the beginning of each month  .  .  . is becoming a little wearisome” – and I know exactly how he feels! If you’re a regular reader of The Bulletin, you’ll know what an extremely useful source of information it is about the town. If you’re not, then you’ll just have to hope it’s not now too late! Tim has suggested that it might now benefit from a ‘fresh pair of eyes’, and asked anyone who would like to take it on to contact him at Wilkinson_tim@sky.com – a message which I’m happy to share. To Tim himself I would just like to say “I feel your pain”, now take a break from the Bulletin and have a well-earned rest – if you can! [Thanks to OCT for the photo]



In a previous life I was on the Otley Film Society committee [and others even further in the past] and although my direct involvement with film promotion finished a while ago, I’m still happy to see an interest in film being encouraged locally. When that promotion also details the actual locations where films and TV programmes were filmed in the area, it’s even more interesting. You will no doubt have heard about Keira Knightley and Matt Smith being spotted filming ‘Official Secrets’ in Otley Police Station recently, and film crews from Emmerdale and other TV programmes can often be seen in the centre of town. [See the visit Otley website to find out more.]

A bit further afield, but still just on Otley’s doorstep, is the very first UNESCO city of film – Bradford. They have a brand new website – http://www.bradfordfilmheritage.com/ – which shows you how to visit locations from your favourite movie and TV moments filmed in the area. You can journey through the city’s cinematic past and relive much-loved locally-filmed classics like The Railway Children. You can also follow in the footsteps of stars by taking a tour of TV and movie locations from hits featuring actors such as Sir Tom Courtenay and Jim Broadbent. And as if to reinforce the City of Film name, yet another multi-screen cinema chain is due to open in Bradford city centre on May the 11th. The cinema next to the Broadway shopping centre will be the 11th to be opened by TheLight cinemas, and there are early offers available if you join before May 11th at https://bradford.lightcinemas.co.uk/ A full website for the Bradford location is due on April 27th, but in the meantime you can find out more about TheLight cinema concept on their corporate website. I’ll no doubt give it a go, but as a ‘Silver Screen’ ticket at the National Media Museum is about £3 cheaper AND you get a free cup of coffee, they might have to convince me they’re doing something different before I go regularly. [Now, if there were a cinema in Otley I wouldn’t mind paying a few quid more, if anybody’s listening . . .]



This will take place on Fri 4th & Sat 5th May 2018 at Baildon Moravian Church Hall as usual. They would be most pleased to see you and anybody else that wants to come, and they’re open from 4pm – 11pm on Friday, and Noon – 11pm on Saturday. There’ll be 20 Real Ales on as well as three ciders, so if you time it right, you could probably try them all! Admission is only £2 and is FREE for CAMRA & SPBW Members. Programme, Returnable Glass and FREE Snacks provided.



After saying last time that there was a shortage of volunteers in Otley, and that some groups were struggling to fill all their posts, it’s good to see that some of our sports teams don’t seem to be suffering. First, Old Otliensians Rugby team beat Eccleshall 28-12 in the semi-final of the RFU Junior Vase competition to set up a final date at Twickenham against Tribute Devon One leaders South Molton. Great to see there was a big crowd and record bar takings at the semi, but maybe I should take some Historic Otley Ale Trail leaflets down there to tempt some of the away supporters into the town’s pubs as well!


Supporters’ coaches will be leaving Otley at 5am for the final on Sunday May 6th for an 11-o-clock kick off, and the team are hoping for a big following. Ben Featherstone, who is organising the transport said in last week’s Wharfedale Observer “After the game and presentations, the supporters’ coaches will leave Twickenham for Twickenham Rugby Club, who have kindly offered to host an after-match party with the players. They will be providing food and a bar for supporters to join players in what will hopefully be a victory celebration. The coaches will head back to Otley at around 7pm. – Let’s fill Twickenham with an army of blue and white.”

With their promotion prospects and progression in the Aire-Wharfe cup as well, it’s been a pretty good season for the ‘Ensians, and we wish them all the best in Twickenham, but they’re not alone in celebrating success at the East end of town. Last Wednesday Otley Town FC thrashed Baildon Trinity athletic 6-1 to secure promotion to the west Yorkshire Association Football League Division 1! And, like Otliensians, it seems success breeds success as they’ve also been involved in a couple of cup competitions. They take on Pool in the final of the Wharfedale and District FA Challenge Cup at Guiseley FC’s ground, kicking off at 18:00 next Sunday, April 22nd. Let’s see if we can get a good crowd up there to support them in that one as well!

So what are those two clubs doing right, that other groups in town could copy? Well for a start they are both sports clubs that rely mostly on players who really enjoy playing their chosen sport. As reported widely recently, Otley RFC have been finding it a bit of a struggle to get volunteers to fill some of their backroom posts, but I’m sure that will just be a ‘blip’ and that the admin side of the club will soon get back to meeting the National RFU guidelines on staffing the non-playing side. It was good to see that the recent appeal for volunteers has started that process already, with some major roles being filled again. One of the reasons for the Otliensians success also seems (from what I’ve heard) to be its continuing close links with the local community. Most of the players apparently live locally; there is still a major connection to Prince Henry’s Grammar School; all the squad are really keen to play every week; and that passion for the town and for the game seem to be driving them forward. Of course sporting prowess, passion and a sense of community can’t bring success without the backing of a sound management and administrative team, and Otley Town seem to have secured that in their own return to form and rise back up the leagues. Good luck to one and all – I just wish Otley Pub Club could bottle some of that passion and hand it out at the Food and Drink festival to tempt some more people to join our committee!!



We usually only include here anything special going on over the next month. If a pub’s not mentioned, don’t worry – it [probably!] hasn’t closed, and the regular weekly quiz, open mic or whatever will still be on. We’re updating our website to include all those regular events so you can check them out at any time. Collection of info from pubs and updating of website is proving a bit time-consuming, but should be completed soon.


  • If rhubarb be the food of love, pour on. Give me excess of it! (Rhu-Bar-Beer from Yorkshire Heart brewery, that is!)


  • Bar now closed all day Mondays.
  • New menu going down really well.
  • Folk Club Weds.


  • Guinness on draft now
  • Sky Sports on 2 screens. All major sports. If your game isn’t on just ask!
  • Regular bottle deals.


  • Lowlands Beer Festival continuing to the end of April, with beers from Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • Spring cycling classics going down well on the bigger Tele downstairs.


  • Thursday Quiz
  • Friday DJ Benny
  • Saturday Live Bands (Look out for details)
  • Food: Monday-Friday 11.30-3.00, weekend 11.30-5.00
  • Sat May 20th 9pm live music from State of Georgia


  • Sat 21st, celebrate National Tea Day with home-made cream tea and drinks from Birdhouse Tea Company
  • Gin tasting 25 April. 8 gins for £25 snacks included. Check facebook page or call in for details.
  • Remember breakfast is available from 0900
  • Friday is pie day
  • Quiz night Thursday
  • Tuesday morning baby & toddler social
  • Oyster festival 11th – 3 types of Oyster with new toppings plus instruction on how best to eat them!


  • Tuesdays, Speed Quiz using your own mobile (app downloaded). Very popular.
  • Wednesdays, free pool
  • Thursdays, Karaoke
  • Full strength Stella coming soon.
  • Tour de Yorkshire – hoping to have an outside bar


  • Tour de Yorkshire/Junction T-shirts now available. See facebook or call in. S, M, L & XL available. All profits going to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance
  • Don’t forget to check the facebook page regularly [link below] for the latest news on live music, drinks offers and more.


Kev still owns the pub but has moved up North to run a B&B, so Jordan is the new man in charge and will be letting us know what he’s got planned once he’s settled in.

  • Friday 27th – Live music from Steve Chapman Smith


  • Ace of Spades Jackpot game continuing every Wednesday at 7:00 PM
  • Quiz Night every Tuesday at 9:00 PM
  • Saturday 28th, live music from Kieran La Fox


  • Quiz nights Tuesday and Sunday
  • Friday spend £20 on food for a free bottle of wine.
  • Seniors lunch Thursdays. Main and drink for £5
  • Open mic night 19th
  • Bingo night 21st to raise money for Wheatfields hospice
  • Karaoke relaunch 01 May


  • Open mic night 1st Sunday every month
  • New menu coming soon.


  • Thurs 19th Manor Sessions, Gum Trio & Jester B
  • Sat 21st Issimo
  • Thurs 26th Bar Room Buskers
  • Sat 28th Kwame D
  • Thurs 3rd Steve Chapman Smith & Mr CD Wallum
  • Thurs 10th Manor Sessions, Jon Budworth & Neve
  • Sat 12th Red House Trio
  • Thurs 10th Jackson Lake & Matt Sturgess
  • Every Friday is open mic night
  • First Sunday every month, lunchtime Irish music Session
  • Second Wednesday every month, evening Irish music Session
  • Remember the Manor is still a Leeds Rhinos Ambassador Supporter branch!
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=190&v=i0gwuxYmxdY


  • BBQ for TdY. See website for details
  • Gin & tapas night 27th
  • Quiz night Wednesday win a pie meal voucher + the chance of a cash prize.
  • Constantly changing special offers


  • Still the only Otley pub to guarantee live music every Friday and Saturday night. See photo for who’s on till the end of the month, then check their facebook page for more!













































Stew and Oyster

– – / / – – / / – – / / – –

Finally, my usual apologies for errors and/or omissions. If you are receiving these newsletters and any other correspondence from Otley Pub Club by email, but you no longer want them, just email the return address and let me know. On the other hand, if you stop receiving our newsletters in future but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Remember this email address for the future – secretary@otleypubclub.co.uk , or get in touch via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list right away. Thanks!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary


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