Dales Way Pubs: The White Lion at Cray, North Yorkshire
For our third day on The Dales Way (in reverse) we set off from Gearstones, around a mile north of the Ribblehead viaduct. We walked steeply uphill against a driving wind to the top of the moor, before descending through trees and through remote farmland eventually accompanying Oughtershaw Beck, which joined the source of the Wharfe when it met Green Field Beck at Beckermonds.
We would essentially follow the Wharfe from this point all the way to Ilkley, and the section from Beckermonds to Hubberholme was very pleasant, with a lot of green pasture, sheep and birdlife along what remained a quiet, relatively calm and low section of river. After reading some negative reviews, we had decided not to risk staying in the historic George Inn in Hubberholme, which was in any case closed at the time we reached it.
Instead we were staying in The White Lion at Cray, about a mile uphill and off the Dales Way. However the steep uphill walk was alongside a very pretty waterfall and when we got there the pub was great. The room (a superior) was simple but exactly what we needed, with a big bed and a clean bathroom. The bar downstairs had a warm log fire and the family who ran it were extremely friendly and helpful.
On the bar there was a small but good selection including Copper Dragon Golden Pippin and Timothy Taylor Golden Best, and the Golden Pippin was the type of pale session ale I had begun to really appreciate after walking for 12-16 miles a day. The food was both hearty and extremely tasty. I went for a haggis, black pudding and peppercorn sauce starter and Kate had smoked local trout pate. Neither of us could resist the pork belly stuffed with black pudding on buttery mash, which was even better than it sounds. Too tired and full to stay up and enjoy the fire, we had an early night.
The next morning we had a very nice full English breakfast (with more lovely black pudding – my third dose in two meals) and picked up the foil-wrapped sandwiches we had asked them to make for us the night before for our lunch. We headed out from the pub feeling happy, well fed and relaxed to a beautiful sunny Dales morning and a pleasant walk downhill to Buckden.