Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

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There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

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Sunday, 12 November 2017

God's Own Country (Old Barn cafe, Malham and Old School House, Hebden)

Old Café Barn,
Malham,
Opening times Every day 9:30-5:30
Old School House Tearoom,
Hebden.
Opening times Mon-Fri 10-5, Sat-Sun 9-5,
Highly Recommended 
I always like to take the opportunity to expand my cycle cafe reviewing activities so when, over the summer, I met up with David, an old school friend, and it transpired that he not only lived in the Yorkshire dales but had recently taken up cycling I immediately invited myself to stay and demanded that he take me on a ride.

Things got more exciting earlier this week as while confirming my arrival time it turned out that he was due to get a shiny new bike the day before our ride. I was therefore somewhat distressed to receive a text during my journey up that reported he had fallen off on his first ride (trying to go too fast methinks) damaging both himself and his new steed.

On arrival David tried to show me a huge weeping friction burn and massive bruise on his hip but I was far more interested in getting his bike back in working order. Thanks to some Yorkshire tea and a bit of derailleur hanger bending we got it, if not him, back into shape ready for our ride the next day.

I was promised 60 miles of beautiful scenery, plenty of hills (including a rather tricky climb) plus a couple of cafes stops and I must report that David's route didn't disappoint. 
Part of the fabulous Yorkshire Dales route we went on
The weather was also perfect, with sunny blue skies, as we got our adventure underway. Early on we came to the corner where yesterdays tumble had occurred. I felt it important  we stop and reenact the incident for posterity. With cars and bikes whizzing by David surprisingly refused to lie in the middle of the road but still did his best to recreate the action. I don't think the photo did justice to his fall as he probably wasn't grinning like a cheshire cat when he hit the deck for real.
Reenacting the cycling crash incident of the day before
The scenery was absolutely fabulous with the sort of views we don't get in the flatlands of Norfolk. However there was also something familiar about it and I realised every where we went looked like a set from Postman Pat who was also from the dales. (Apparently he was from the Cumbrian dales and it this was actually Jane Austen country but I don't anything about her whereas I'm a big Pat fan).
You could imagine Pats bright red van coming over this bidge at any moment
We continued going up and down until we arrived at our first stop the Old Barn Cafe in Malham, which looked a bit like Greendale post office although there was no sign of Mrs Goggins.

The Old Barn Cafe minus Mrs Goggins 
I first got David to take the mandatory cafe photo before we locked our bikes. Inside the slightly dark stone building we found a pleasant dale tearoom style set up.
Inside the Old Barn Cafe
The cake selection was a good interesting one. As I had been warned that our big climb was just round the corner I decided to fuel up with a big lump of traditional fruit cake while David went for something called Yorkshire curd tart. I hadn't realised that there were curds in Yorkshire as I thought they were mainly from Iraq but apparently this curd is of the cheese variety and the tart also includes raisins.
A nice interesting cake selection
It was standard hot chocolate and americano coffee for drinks. My hot chocolate was nice if a little sweet and my cake was also good but slightly dry. David wasn't impressed by his coffee but felt it was excellent Yorkshire curd tart so had two pieces to help power him up the hill (although it didn't work). 
Drinks, fruit cake and double helping of Yorkshire curd tart
The Old Barn cafe was nice enough but probably not worth coming all the way from Norfolk  for. However this was more than made up for at our second stop later in the day.

Before then we had the small matter of Malham Cove to get over. It is a two mile climb averaging 6% but there is a 0.4 mile section in the middle that is all at 12-18% so quite a toughie. Now powered by fruit and curd based cake we wobbled our way up. As an excellent host David let me get to the top first and after I had read a short novel joined me at the summit.
David makes it to the top of  Malham Cove
It was certainly one of the hardest climbs I had done in the UK but I was informed that there are a lot tougher ones in the area on which to test yourself.

The ride now went along the top for sometime offering more spectacular views before another very steep section and then on to our second stop at the Old School house in Hebden. 
Our highest point on the way to Hebden
On arrival I pointed out how much it looked like the school in Greendale.
The Old School Tea room. 
Here we were greeted with some fabulous views out of the school hall window. It was very busy with most tables reserved but we were able to squeeze on to the comfy sofas.
View out of tea room window not done justice by the photo
The cake selection was very fine with a number of large sponge cakes to choose from. I opted for raspberry and white chocolate and David a traditional victoria sponge. It was also good to be offered a choice of dark or milk hot chocolate for which the correct answer is always dark.
A very fine cake selection
We returned to our sofa where we were joined by another couple who told us (yes honestly) that they first met as former pupils of this school before it sold tea and cake. What an opportunity to find out what life in a little dale school was like so I asked them if they had been taught by Jeff Pringle (Greendale school's teacher). Clearly they weren't Postman Pat fans as they looked at me blankly and quickly started to talk between themselves.
Our drinks and cakes on the table in the comfy sofa area
The drinks and cake were at the top end for taste and quality meaning excellent scores across the board and a place in my current cafe top ten. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

Refueled it was time for the final push. At this time of year, especially up North, the light starts to fade in the early afternoon and the temperature drops but just after we had gone up yet another short hill a bright red post van went past re-lighting the day .I was very excited as I sped off after it shouting 'it's Postman Pat' (it wasn't).
The light was starting to fade as we reached the end of our ride
With lights now switched on we returned safely to base and my short Yorkshire cafe cycle ride adventure was over. I told David that the combination of the scenery, cafes and a near Postman Pat sighting (oh and his company of course) had made it one of my favourite rides ever and I looked forward to inviting myself up again so he could take me on another one. He mumbled something about being busy for the next few years as I hopped in the car and sped off back to Norfolk.

Ratings
Old Barn Cafe
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
6.25
5
7.35
7.6
7.0
6.64
Old School Tearoom
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
8.1
8.05
8
8.35
8.1
8.12
Route
Click here to download 62 mile Burley Malham Cove loop GPX to your gps.

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