Saturday, 14 January 2012

'Hark to Bounty'..... the ancient village inn, situated at Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland, the place to which we were heading on a glorious winter's day, that yesterday begged us to enjoy to the full.

The open road
With the sun shining and the heater in the Morgan working full blast we approached the village of Scorton, some 10 miles from home, and situated on the fringe of the Forest of Bowland an area of outstanding natural beauty, huge chunks of which are owned by the Duke of Westminster, the lucky blighter!

It's a village that we have passed through on countless occasions during our life, en route to picnic places in the Trough of Bowland and beyond.

Stop for coffee in the Trough of Bowland
The first part of our route took us through Dunsop Bridge, one of two main contenders for the location of the exact  geographical centre of Great Britain, the other being Haltwhistle in Northumberland some 70 miles to the north, on to Newton and thence to Slaidburn, where we would have a beer and a hearty, warming bowl of soup at the 'Hark to Bounty'.

'The inn was known as The Dog until 1875, when the squire of the village, who was also the Rector, had a pack of hounds. One day whilst out hunting, he and his party called at the inn for refreshments. Their drinking was disturbed by a loud and prolonged baying from the pack ouside. High above the noise of the other hounds could be heard the squire's favourite dog, which prompted him to call out...."Hark to Bounty!" 

This is a watering hole that we have used before and we have never been disappointed. The excellent real ale went down a treat as did the steaming bowl of hot pea and ham soup, perfect for a winter's day. We ordered the medium size of soup, just what the size of the largest soup portion on offer is, goodness knows, it must be big! We've never stayed there but the service has always been friendly and the food superb, yesterday the Game Pudding looked gorgeous.

The 'Hark to Bounty'
Fully refreshed we then headed north towards Bentham, a wonderful moorland route that we love, offering superb views of Ingleborough to the eastward, a flat topped hill of 723 metres, and to the north west the Lakeland mountains. The visibility was superb and the total silence magical, why are so many people apparently afraid of silence nowadays, at least Simon and Garfunkel knew how soul wrenching it is.
Looking south, approaching the summit
It is worth mentioning that at that stage we had seen about three cars and a couple of cyclists since Scorton!
Down from the summit of the pass near a hill called Great Harlow (488 metres) we dropped down the road, that was icy in the places where the sun hadn't reached, passed a sign indicating that we were now briefly in North Yorkshire and finally into High Bentham. As we entered, following a large tractor, we were alarmed when it's trailer suddenly detached itself, ground along the road in front of us and necessitated swift , heavy breaking on our part!

 North from summit
We were back in civilisation, the traffic intensified, don't forget it was 'Poet's Day', (p..s off early, tomorrow's Saturday!) as we made our way along the B6480 towards Wray and then the A683 down the Lune Valley, noticing with some sadness, that the 'Fenwick Arms', one of our drinking places in the days before the 'Drink Driving' regulations came into force, had been boarded up.

Joining the motorway at Lancaster, we headed south and home after a splendid drive.


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