SKIPTON provides a pleasant setting for all of its businesses to thrive, but few locations can be lovelier than the canal basin at Belmont Bridge.

Which is presumably among the main reasons why The Boat House, right on the Coach Street canal side, has long been one of the town's most longstanding and successful cafes, well patronised by tourists and townsfolk alike.

It was taken over about a year ago by the Clarke family - Ian, wife Pamela and daughter Zoe - who also run the narrowboat holidays and trips firm Pennine Cruisers, also based at the canal basin.

A recent revamp of the menu has seen The Boat House place its emphasis firmly on wholesome fare featuring locally-sourced ingredients, as well as tea, coffee and soft drinks.

The morning menu, for example, encompasses a range of breakfast baps like bacon and sausage, full English and vegetarian breakfasts, and favourite staples like beans or cheese on toast.

The lunchtime menu includes soup, chicken, burgers, pies with chips or mash, and also stuffed aubergine, and quiche. There is also a sausage and mash veggie option.

And ringing the changes is new manager Keith Moorby, a familiar face from his several years as Tesco's 'community champion.'

As important as the food, the Boat House bar dispenses a variety of real ales, craft beers and other alcoholic drinks as well as soft drinks - making it possible, for example, to start with a full English breakfast when the cafe opens at around 8.30am, stay on for lunch and tea and spend a convivial evening with a few pints of beer too!

The balance between 'cafe' and 'bar' shifts slightly as evening arrives, says co-director Zoe Clarke, thanks in part to a base of regular customers, from those popping in for a post-work pint to those looking to extend their drinking enjoyment until later in the evening.

The Boat House has recently been showcasing brews from Keighley's Wishbone Brewery and will continue to feature products from the best breweries in the region.

And John Garton, better known as 'Spike' to drinkers at the nearby Narrow Boat pub, has just taken over as bar manager, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the business, Zoe says.

It's not likely that even The Boat House's most ardent fan is going to spend 12 hours a day every day there, but, says Zoe, it does indicate the extent to which the family would like to see the cafe at the heart of the community.

Zoe says: "We are Skipton people who love the town and we want to make an honest living by providing good quality food and drink at reasonable prices. Obviously, there is a very significant tourist trade in Skipton, but I'm pleased to say we have a loyal clientele of townsfolk too.

"I suppose we are technically in competition with everyone who serves food and drink in the town, but in reality everyone is friendly and supportive - that's the Skipton way."