>Joe Fusniak would have been well looked after when he appeared at the White Lion, which remains a great, unpretentious pub. Not everywhere has remained unspoiled by progress, and not a few places in the Dales have been gastrated with varying degrees of success. I’ve heard of stares and even outright hostility toward visitors wanting just a pint and some crisps rather than a glass of Barolo and a bisque-infused crab and pea risotto with sun-boiled onions. None of this, mercifully, at the Fox And Hounds at bunting-wrapped Starbotton where we stopped for a post-Pike quencher. It’s a classic Dales Inn – bow back chairs, flagstones, old shotguns on the walls – and a polite notice asking walkers to remove muddy boots. There are never any surprises with beer in a Dales pub. Jennings, Theakston. Maybe a Taylor’s. There’s always Black Sheep Bitter, which must surely have a claim to be Yorkshire’s Official Pint with the demise of Tetley.
The Fox’s guest was the Yorkshire Dales Brewery’s Nappa Scar, and we took a couple of pints out front to watch chartered accountants wobble past on their Harleys. On our last encounter with an unsparkled Nappa Scar, I thought it smelled like a farmyard. Here it was all hops, billowing facefuls and huge mouthfuls of the stuff. I don’t know much about IBUs – but I bet this wasn’t far off the Stone Ruination that I tried t’other month. The hophead’s perfect pint after a four-hour walk. And we didn’t even mind that it was £3.20 – about the same price it would be at the Harp just off Trafalgar Square.