With a weekend of crappy painting behind me, and with the suggestion of sun in the wild west, me, Koof and WF headed over to Glossop and up the big hill of unending traffic jams and out onto the motorway heading towards Milnrow and Oldham.
I had asked WF to keep the destination a secret - little did I know it was a mystery to him as well! We arrived at the Puckersley Inn at Shaw near Oldham in time to walk in for a pint, Koof opting for a half of Lees bitter and me a pint and WF a half of Brewers Dark. Last known visit was the 60's confirmed WF, but this was not the pub he had intended us to visit - that was on a hill visible from the M66 (or similar) and was, perhaps, nearby....
Much fannying later and we still had no idea what or where the magical hostelry was, so headed over the moors to Rishworth and down into Ripponden to visit the Old Bridge Inn. This was the first time me and WF had visited in the day, and only the second time we'd found it open after an initial stop in 1994, when there were 7 handpumps and no pump clips. All was on display this time along with some good foreign lagers, Koof and WF opted for Oldershaw Caskade and, myself a pint of Osset Excelsior.
We supped the beer by the river and then popped back to the car for lunch, away from the flies, before taking a relaxing stroll along the river, ending, somewhat incongruously, at the car park of a factory, where the path seemed not to carry on. We walked back admiring the scenery and then headed on towards Sowerby.
At Sowerby Bridge we found the Rams Head closed as usual - the last time we had visited was the same time in 1994 as the Old Bridge, so we headed down to Sowerby Wharf for a look around, and to watch the interesting spectacle of 2 narrow boats getting through the locks on the Rochdale canal together. We also nipped in the Moorings, a sprawling eatery in old warehouse locating at the wharf, which had an admirable number of beers on, alas all from major brewers - we all had Taylors landlord.
On to Hebden Bridge, where we toiled lengthy to find a parking spot before securing a space and heading to Moyles bar, a unique real ale venue in that its unashamedly contemporary, but good at sourcing and selling an interesting range of beer - me and Koof had the Slater’s Monkey Magic and WF had the Little Valley transition, which like all Little Valley beers was a smidgen cloudy, but no worse for it.
WF went to move the car and me and Koof walked up the canal to Stubbing locks and up onto the road and the Fox and Goose, which, in a stroke of luck, was having a beer festival.
Tickets sourced we made our way in no particular order or assignation through Bridgehouse bitter, Leydens Chestnut Mild, Kendal something, St Austell Tribute, Atlas 3 Sisters, Brass Monkey Baboon, Berrow Topsy Turvey, Ballards Wassail, and Howard Town Dark Peak.
Beers were supplemented by sensibly priced sausage rolls, cheese and onion pasties and pies, and all was consumed sat in the tiny back room, admiring the extensive and haphazardly stowed pewter jugs. Suffice to say there was much snoring on the way home, but overall a highly enjoyable way of spending a bank holiday.