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18th November 2016
Present: Clive Benson, Steve Carey, Steve Curvis, Dave Dalton, Andy Fildes, Steve Goff, Trevor Heywood, Larry Johnson, Kevin Jordan, David Lamb, Alan Larsen, Colin Larsen, Sylvia Larsen, Keith Mayoh, John Nelson, Mark Nutter, Noel O’Toole, Bob Rial, Tony Statham, Dave Whittle, Mike Whittle, Mike Worthington
The BBC weather forecast for the day around the Halifax area didn’t look too promising and it was to our dismay borne out by reality. It was, therefore, heartening to see a coalescence of a twenty-two strong team. Earlier in the morning, your correspondent had to prematurely disembark from his First Halifax service into Halifax town centre. Traffic congestion, resulting from road works in Mytholmroyd, incurred a twenty-five minute delay leading to the abandonment of a scheduled 11:55 arrival in the town centre. Group leader Alan’s assessment of the impact of the delay on the day’s schedule was deemed to be intolerable. In the light of this predicament several fraught bursts of mobile telephonic activity ensued between your leader and your correspondent, frustrated several times by intermittent transmission and reception signal quality. The heavy rain also made its presence felt, interfering with the finger to phone contact. After the successful conclusion of broken and fragmented communication and the judicious insertion and deletion of partially missing conversations, a rendezvous was made with Alan adjacent to the Calder and Hebble canal.
Apart from a brief, transitory interlude of clearing skies, the rain was incessant. The group paused briefly to admire the the triple flight of Salterhebble Locks, one of which is a candidate for the shortest lock on the connected inland waterway system of Britain, together with the architecture of the bridge, which was the subject of structural repairs as we came off the canal. The name Salterhebble originated from the “salt-sellers' foot-bridge”. The heavy precipitation was unable however, to dampen our spirits as we arrived at our first Elland hostelry, The Drop Inn in a buoyant mood. We looked forward to our two pints lunchtime beer allowance having been granted prior approval from Alan. We additionally visited The Barge and Barrel prior to our departure from Elland.
It was with a sense of foreboding as the question passed over our lips: “How much more rain was yet to fall?” We continued with our remaining two-mile walk along the Calderdale Way in the direction of our next hostelry, our pub of the day in Siddal, namely the Cross Keys. It was here that Alan had pre booked meals of pork pies and mushy peas. The general consensus was that the beer and meals were very enjoyable. It turned out that the single remaining pork pie was identified as being that of David Burrows who was unfortunately detained by other business. In a bid to head off any arguments over claims to the pie, Larry made an executive decision to act as auctioneer and to have it auctioned off. The lucky diner acquired the culinary delicacy through the conduit of an unchallenged bid of £0.50.
By this time, twilight was rapidly approaching and thus, we bid farewell to the Cross Keys’ landlord as we embarked upon our final leg of the walk into Halifax town centre, heading towards an Ossett Brewery venue, The Three Pigeons and our final port of call, Dirty Dicks. It was shortly after his arrival in Dirty Dicks that Bob began to experience his own starring part as lead character in his own personal episode of the Twilight Zone. The start of his episode of surrealism began as he made an innocuous inquiry as to the whereabouts of his backpack. A cursory check with members sat nearby confirmed that following Tony’s earlier departure, he hadn’t inadvertently acquired Bob’s bag. It was a reasonable, preliminary check to have made as Tony, unquestionably, has previous form concerning sundry items that inexplicably disappear. So, where then was the wretched thing? Frustratingly for Bob, the backpack was still nowhere to be seen. He slowly began to consider the enormity of his situation and also the question: had he actually collected it from the Three Pigeons? Of course he had as he gently chided himself. Nonetheless, by this time and now wracked by self doubt, his earlier calm approach to the search began to quickly evaporate and transmogrify into a full-blooded witch-hunt. Adopting a not dissimilar role to that of Matthew Hopkins, the notorious mediaeval Witchfinder General, he was only seconds away from conducting an investigation involving full scale body searches. Then fortuitously and almost by accident, some enterprising soul happened to move Steve Carey’s jacket to one side which was hanging over the back of his seat to reveal the source of Bob’s angst and anguish: his backpack hanging underneath! For God’s Sake, Bob muttered under his breath. “It never rains but it pours!”
Prior to our 20:27 rail departure for Manchester, the group applauded Alan for another enjoyable walk.
This years Ale trail will be over in West Yorkshire and the group will catch the train to Halifax.
After getting off the train and once I have met up with you all, I am on a different train, we will walk along the Hebble Way and Calder and Hebble Canal to Elland, this walk will take the group by the Salterhebble Locks which are very interesting, Walk approx 3 miles.
The pubs of the day in Elland are The Drop Inn and The Barge and Barrel. After a couple of pints I propose the group walk walk over The Calderdale Way to the Halifax Pub of the day The Crosskeys in Siddal. Because it will be dark at 4:30 pm we will have to leave Elland at 3:10 pm or we might get lost on the moors in the dark. Walk approx 2 miles. If the weather is really bad we will catch the bus back to Halifax. There is a chippy in Siddel but it's the other end of the village from the pub but the landlord will lay on local pork pie and peas for £3:50, best in Halifax, please let me know in advance if you want a portion.
Please meet at Manchester Victoria at 10:30am in order to catch the 10:48am train to Halifax arrive 11:33am, there are again £4 single tickets if bought in advance. A day return from Greater Manchester Stations is £9.90. Wayfarers are valid up to Rochdale.
My train arrives in at 11:48am and we will immediately start the walk. Walking gear, boots and waterproof coat , for this ale trail.
The return train is Halifax 20:27 arriving at Manchester Victoria 21:17, there are £4 single tickets for this train if bought in advance.
Any enquiries please contact me via email or my moby is 07949550751.