Guyrope gourmet Josh Sutton lines up the latest of his top Yorkshire spots for camping and cuisine in this summer holiday series.
This trip takes us into limestone country, in the shadow of the Three Peaks and the darker shadow of a Lancaster postcode.
Still firmly rooted in the Yorkshire Dales, Silloth House Campsite just outside of Austwick is about as good as a you will get.
It took me a while to pluck up the courage to write about Silloth House. It’s a little patch of Yorkshire that part of me wants to keep secret.
Jon and Helen bought the place in January this year, moving in to a practically derelict house.
Jon has done an amazing job of knocking the old place into shape, mowing the camping fields, laying water pipes and putting in a new shower and services block.
He already has his eye on refurbishing the old open-air swimming pool, which has lain unused for over 20 years.
The amenities are ample for the size of the site and there are also eight serviced pitches in the “electric field”. Helen opens up the little shop most days, selling fresh milk, bread and other necessities.
It’s a 15-minute walk to the nearest pub, the Gamecock in Austwick, where you will also find a local shop and Post Office.
A small beck bisects the main camping field, so you can lie in your tent at night and doze off to the sound of running water.
Shallow and tame enough for the kids to play in, the beck really gives this site a unique sense of adventure without having to leave the field.
If you are up for adventure, there is plenty to explore in the wonderful country that lies around Austwick.
White Scar and Ingleborough caves, Gaping Gill pot, Malham Cove, the Three Peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Penyghent are all within striking distance of the campsite.
You will find the Blue Pig Company in Long Preston, just down the road from Austwick. It’s a family run business with a high reputation who supplied the meat for the Taste Yorkshire Food awards which marked the climax of last year’s York Food and Drink Festival.
Brothers Andrew and Anthony Bradley rear “Blue Pigs”, a cross between Gloucester Old Spot and Saddleback pigs, which gives their animals a blue/grey hue to their markings.
Set up in 2004, the business is growing steadily and is developing a brisk on-line trade.
Andrew and Anthony are passionate about “honouring the beast”, as well as their agricultural, cultural and family heritage in the way they rear their free-range pigs. The family have been farming the area for five generations.
They offer a diverse range of pork products, with eleven different types of sausage, smoked and un-smoked bacon and gammon cuts on offer, as well as a continental range of pancetta and chorizo.
According to Andrew, the surprise best-seller at the moment is their traditional black pudding, closely followed by their smoked dry-cured bacon.
It’s the Blue Pig smoked streaky bacon that works really well in this simple Guyrope Gourmet camping recipe.
Smokey Bonfire Pasta
Really good smoked bacon should have yellow fat approaching the colour of straw, the meat should be more purple than pink, it should be dry to the touch and it should make your car smell like a garden in November someone’s burning autumn leaves.
I love this description of “quality” smoked bacon, first described by my friend Rob, who gave me the recipe.
This has now become a Guyrope gourmet favourite, as our children will eat this until the cows (read pigs) come home.
Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When it’s boiling drop in the tomatoes for less than a minute, scoop out, then peel off the skins and roughly chop. Add your pasta to the boiling water.
Lay out the bacon in a large frying pan, with just a splash of olive oil.
Cook on a low heat until crispy and the fat is the colour of amber.
Remove the rashers from the heat and allow them to cool down.
Into the frying pan add the tomatoes, the garlic, the herbs and the paprika.
Stir it through to make a rich vermilion sauce.
When the bacon is cool enough to handle, snap it up into small pieces, and when the pasta is nearly ready, put it back into the sauce and stir it until heated through.
Drain the pasta and plate up, cover with the sauce and a generous garnish of the smoked cheddar.
Don’t eat this while wearing a white shirt!
A robust red wine will be good with this dish, but for a real treat enjoy a smoky, peaty single malt from Islay as a digestif.
Silloth House Campsite, Silloth House, Austwick, Lancaster, LA2 8DH. Tel: +44(0)7854 368 832
Grid Ref: SD777692
Take the turning off the A65 sign posted for Austwick. Once in the centre of the village, take the turning towards Wharfe/Horton.
Travel past the Post Office and Local Shop on your right and the Gamecock pub on the left and follow the road for approx 3/4 miles. Silloth House is the While House on your right, just before the bridge.
Serviced Pitch (one car, two adults and up to three children) £19 per night*
Family tent pitch (one car, two adults and up to three children) £17.50 per night*
Small 2 adult tent £11 per night*
*£21, £19.50 & £13 respectively for bank holidays.
No fires. Barbeques to be raised off the ground.
The Blue Pig Company
Andrew and Anthony Bradley, Mearbeck, Long Preston, Skipton, North Yorkshire. BD23 4Q
Tel: 01729 840218
Best buy for tenting without tears
A good shelter is essential for survival out in the wilds, and whilst a few branches propped up against a drystone wall might fit the bill for Bear Grylls and his pals, I would always opt for a well-built tent. I’ve owned a few over the years. I still have my trusty two-man hiking tent, which weighs less than 2kg, but our tents have got bigger as our family has grown. Avoid the temptation to buy bigger than you really need. Camp site owners will often charge a ‘large tent premium’ for tents over 6 metres. Secondly, trying to erect the Taj Mahal in a force four gale, with tired and hungry children in tow, is not much fun. We are a family of four and we sleep in a 5-berth tent. It’s worthwhile spending a little time on the internet looking for the best price.
The Monterey 5 made by Outwell is a new model for this year I’ve tested recently and it has now become base station for the Guyrope Gourmet. It has two bedrooms and ample room inside for cooking and preparing great food. It’s under the dimensions of a ‘large tent’ making pitch fees more reasonable and the flysheet (outer part) pitches first, with the inner tent suspended within. So if it’s raining when you arrive you’re not going to be sleeping in a soggy tent. The sturdy steel poles and easy pegging system make this a solid shelter in the most inclement of great British summer weather. Search for the best price online and a have a practice before you go. There’s nothing more comical than watching a couple argue while putting up a tent. No matter what goes wrong, it’s not your wife’s fault.