A few weeks ago Patrick and I decided to go on the Real Ale Trail in West Yorkshire again, we did this last summer and enjoyed it immensely. Patrick’s two friends had expressed an interest in going with us ‘the next time’ so we tried to arrange it around them. In the event, neither of them could commit to a date so we went ahead on our own, on Good Friday. We stayed at the same hotel as the last time, The Cambridge Lodge, not far from the station. The Ritz it certainly ain’t but clean, tidy and cheap at £45 double room including cooked breakfast does for us. We had decided that our first stop would be the West Riding at Dewsbury station, having seen a blackboard advertising their famous sausage sandwiches on our last visit.
Famished, having only eaten a slice of toast before leaving Hull…in anticipation of said sausage sandwich, you can imagine our devastation to be told ‘We’re not doing food today’! We had a couple of wonderful beers anyhow and got the train back to Huddersfield, to a fantastic Fish and Chip shop by the market (had it been a market day that is!). This Friday malarky wasn’t proving too successful! After Fish and Chips, we made our way to the station to catch the train to our next destination. For some reason my memory of the order in which we visited the pubs along the trail is a bit hazy 🙂 . So in no particular order, we also visited: The Station Buffet Bar on Stalybridge station. This is an absolutely fascinating place, being the original station buffet. A huge selection of ales but a strangely remiss attitude to glass collecting! On our previous visit, the place was heaving so I put the vast quantities of empty glasses and bottles all over the tables, bar and any other flat surface down to the fact that they were rushed off their feet serving. On this occasion though, it was relatively quiet, yet they still didn’t seem in a great rush to clear the surfaces or wash the glasses. The Riverhead at Marsden, we had a less than satisfactory time in here and didn’t stay for a drink due to the lack of service and terrible attitude of the staff. The Railway Inn at Greenfield, we managed to arrive right on the tail end of a very large party of drinkers from the same train as us and with seemingly only one man serving behind the bar, had quite a wait. Theakstons Old Peculier more than made up for the wait though. The pub interior itself is a bit grotty quite honestly so we sat in the beer garden, overlooking Saddleworth Moor. I checked the timetable for the next train. In my, by then, hazy state of mind I misread the timetable and told Patrick that the train was in 2 minutes. We rushed the rest of our OP (criminal) and dashed across the road to the station. It didn’t seem to occur to us that if the train was really due, the pub would have emptied and the station platform would be full. We had rushed the Beer by which all others are judged in order to sit on a station platform for 7 minutes! The Commercial in Slaithwaite, which is pronounced Slawit apparently so do take note and don’t make a fool of yourself should you ever want to visit the place. Actually, from what we saw of it, whilst walking to the pub (here is where the ale trail goes a bit awry, the pubs in Slaithwaite being substantially further then a 2 minute walk from the station and up and down hills to boot) it seemed a nice enough town. The Commercial isn’t very memorable really, being one of these refurbished jobbies, you know the kind..all the interior ripped out to make one huge room which is then decorated in ‘contemporary’ style. Decent selection of beers though and we sat outside, me making a fuss of a couple of whippets whilst we both tried to decide what the hell the wasps that kept dissapearing into drilled holes in the stone window frames were doing. The holes were clearly drilled for drainage purposes in the solid stone so there would be no hollow behind them, no room for a nest. Not even enough room to turn around I wouldn’t have thought, yet they kept flying in and out all the time we stood there. I found myself wondering how they had turned around in this little tunnel, why didn’t they have to reverse out, in fact could they do such a thing? Time to move on!! Back to Huddersfield where we headed for the Kings Head. The second of two pubs situated at either end and within the old station buildings at Huddersfield station. This place is the polar opposite of the Commercial and clearly hasn’t been cleaned in decades never mind refurbished! It is in what was the old waiting room and has a fireplace at either side of the room. I don’t think they are in use though but having only visited in warmer months, I don’t know for sure. The selection of beers in here is massive, 12 I think it was and it was a hard choice by that time of evening.
We then decided for one more in the Head of Steam before heading into the heart of Huddersfield night life (ahem!) for a kebab at a wonderful cafe/takeaway called Kebabish, these are proper kebabs and not the rubbish you see at some places. We ate here on our last visit and it was as good again. Back to the hotel and a good night’s sleep.
The next day, weather being beautiful again, we decided on a walk along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal to Standedge Tunnel.