On Saturday last I met Dave Boulton (and several members of his family) along with Vic Dejean, to undertake (it’s a chore – but someone has to do it) the Beer Train Trail from Stalybridge to Huddersfield. This is slightly different to the one Oz Clark and James May did on T.V. and actually takes in several of the villages that the ‘local’ train stops at.
If you ever want to follow the trail you need the train that travels between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield (or visa versa), usually one per hour. We started in Stalybridge, where the pub on the platform sells real ales (which is the main criteria for this trip) and reasonable food. Here, they specialise in pies with black peas – a particularly west of the Pennines delicacy.
We then went to Greenfield, missing out a stop at Mossley.
At Greenfield, the Railway pub is across the road from the station. Greenfield is close to Uppermill, if you know the area. I have no idea what I had to drink in these first two pubs, but it was a great pleasure getting to know Dave’s relatives and friends and talking shop with Dave and Vic. Sadly, the pub was very quiet and without much atmosphere, in fact there was no one else there except the eight of us.
So then we moved on to Marsden, just one stop down the line, but at the opposite side of the Pennines.
Now, at Marsden I’m back in home territory and we walked into the village only as far as the Riverhead Brewery pub. I do know that I had two pints of Cardamom Bitter here – which were the best two pints of the day.
We had our second pint outside, by the river in brilliant sunshine. Sharon had joined us by this stage.
Slaithwaite was next; Slawit, as we say around these parts. The Ale-Trail web [http://www.realaletrail.net/] suggests a walk to the Swan pub at Crimble but I suggested that we go to the Commercial instead. The Commercial is right in the centre of the village and has a great selection of real ales. Because the weather was so good, everyone else was outside, so we had plenty of room inside to relax in the cooler atmosphere.
The area outside the station, St George’s Square (the home of a Harold Wilson statue), was heaving with people. The Huddersfield West Indian Carnival was well under way, so not only did we have two real ale pubs to go at, but plenty of things to see and do as well. Apart from Sharon and me, everyone had to get a train to Wakefield about 7.30pm – so until then we had beers and curry or kebab (at Kebabish opposite Wetherspoons).
Cracking day. Thanks everyone.