MOSCOW may have a McDonald's these days, but the fast food giant had better watch its back now that Stanforth's celebrated pork pies have landed in Red Square.

The famous Skipton establishment already sells its pies to customers throughout Britain, and they have gone abroad before. But, as far as we know, this is the first time that Russians have been able to savour the flavour of a Stanforth's porkski pieski.

Just how the local delicacy made it behind the Iron Curtain is a tale in itself, and involves regulars at a pub in another foreign country - Lancashire.

Every Christmas Fred Davies, a regular at the Black Dog Inn, at Belmont, near Bolton, heads for Skipton on the pub's annual "pie run". He takes orders from all the locals, fed up with their usual diet of hotpot and black pudding, and this year crossed the border with 222 Yorkshire porkies destined for darkest Lancashire.

Regulars also racked their brains to guess the total weight of the crusty consignment, raising £100 for Bolton Hospice.

But one regular had travel plans for his share of the pies, rescuing them from the Black Dog for the sake of the Russian Bear.

Ray Jones used to work in Russia, where he met Muscovite Liliya Lutfullina. The couple keep in touch regularly, and Ray travelled to Russia to see in the new year with Liliya, taking a parcel of pies with him.

Apparently they went down a treat with a drop of vodka to keep the cold out. And Ray even thought to take this picture of Liliya and the well-travelled pies in Red Square, with St Basil's Cathedral and Lenin's tomb in the background.

Staff at Stanforth's could hardly believe it when the picture was delivered to their Mill Bridge shop, where it will be framed and put on display.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.