"I moved here with my parents and my sister Marguerita in 1964. When we first moved here I grew roses, and I had 10,000 of them in the field out there. When my dad retired I took the licence over in 1979, so it’s 40 years this year. I married a gamekeeper, Ramsay, who worked on Sir Thomas Sopwith’s estate. My sister married a farmer. She helps out in the pub quite a lot.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed running the Red Lion. We’ve got lovely locals and interesting visitors. There’s always something different going on and always somebody different to talk to. We get people from all around the world. I love it.
We’ve had a lot of filming here, including “All Creatures Great and Small”. They were a very nice crew. We’re supposedly the most filmed pub in the country.
We’ve also got some big events going on, like the Swaledale Festival, the Ard Rock mountain bike race with 5000 entries last year, the Scott Trial in October, and the Swaledale Marathon which passes our door. This year we’ve got the cycling world championship. Here at the pub we’ve got a quoits and darts team.
I love the Dales. I love it at all times of the year. We go to Leyburn on Friday afternoons for shopping and each time we come back over the hills the colours are completely different.
I’d certainly never move out of Arkengarthdale. My husband is buried here, as well as my parents. We’re having a bit of a problem trying to get young people into the dale though. We haven’t got mobile phone reception or fast broadband. We’re quite an isolated dale. Just this morning I drove a man to Reeth because he’d walked up here and didn’t have the energy to walk back. There’s no bus service here. There’s no shop anymore and the school is closing. It’s sad. It’s very difficult to get young people to stay when you haven’t got the infrastructure."
Rowena Hutchinson runs the Red Lion pub in Langthwaite. The pub was severely damaged in the July 2019 floods, with repairs taking nearly a year to complete, just in time for government imposed shutdowns of hospitality. She is now open, so I suggest popping in.
This is an interview from my 2019 “Dalesfolk” book. For more information, go here: http://gullwingphotography.co.uk/dalesfolk/