Wednesday 8 July 2015

BRAPA - Slawit, Linfit and MelTHam

Despite some pretty inclement July weather, Tuesday evening's pub ticking in the villages outside Huddersfield was a huge success, with some real quality on display.  It was of course, another huge step in the direction of completing the West Yorkshire section of the GBG.

First we had a conundrum* (see notes section below) as I'd wrongly assumed for two years now that the current Slaithwaite pub is the one I had visited a few years ago.  Wrong Simon!  Silly Simon!  What a good job I checked or I'd have brought BRAPA into disrepute.  It's been sitting there already highlighted since BRAPA began.

Commercial, Slaithwaite

I changed trains at 'Udders to one bound for Wigan Wallgate and was surprised to see about three quarters of passengers got off at Slaithwaite (pronounced Slawit or even Slowit if you are really hardcore).  Talking of hardcore, it was raining hard in a summery way and my coat was at the bottom of my bag so I was short sleeved.  It was soon obvious this was a totally new pub on me, being on a fairly busy street corner.  I felt a bit 'out in the wild wilderness of West Yorkshire' so a 5.5% Oblivion seemed a fitting beer to get, a fact that wasn't lost on a friendly drunken local next to me who seemed impressed I was pub ticking in his locality.  In fact, all staff and locals here were in ebullient mood and it was a cracking post-work atmosphere.  I still took my pint to some large red leather chairs which didn't seem to quite fit the pub feel.  Sticky table too.  One local got a phone-call, his wife wanted him home for tea. And then a young hybrid of Paul McShane and Stephen Quinn got a call from his Mum wanting to know where he was.  It felt like all Slawit men were hiding here.  And as my evening went on, everyone I spoke to raved about this pub.

Friendly locals enjoying a fine range of ales in the Commerical, Slaithwaite
I decided on a taxi having weighed up the key factors - heavy rain, dodgy walk, not suitably dressed for wet, needing to make a late bus from Meltham.  And I have to say, a more efficient service from Abbas and the Slawit-Golcar people you couldn't get - they literally were "just around the corner", fares were cheap, very friendly service too.  I asked him about whether Linthwaite was pronounced Linfit or Linthwaite - it seems it depends what side of town you live on, very confusing.

690 - Sair Inn, Linthwaite

As I got out of the taxi, I realised how high up we were as I looked down onto picturesque countryside between here and Huddersfield.  I'd had high hopes for this pub, and wasn't disappointed to find one of those ultra traditional 'drinkers only' pubs, like something from a rural 18th century setting.  I'd read about a "long suffering landlord" but all I found was a friendly barmaid who I was soon chatting BRAPA to, and she pointed me in the direction of the local CAMRA mag to give me some tips, though to be fair, 90% of pubs listed felt like old friends to me!  This pub is special in that it remains one of the few brewpubs around, and the Linfit ales seemed superb, my Autumn Gold was delicious and felt fitting considering the weather,  Being pedantic, I might point out this pub is in the LinTHWAITE side of town, rather than Linfit!  With hindsight, I might've taken the magazine back to bar and chatted with her more but it was choc-a-bloc with local after-work drinkers and probably a few farmers thrown in for good measure.  The pub even had a nice damp old fashioned smell, gotta be an early contender for pub of the month.  And Abbas was back on the scene quicker than I could drink to whisk me to Meltham.

A winking pig greets me as I enter the Sair in Linthwaite

691 - Wills O'Nats, Meltham

I really was out in the sticks now, just north of Meltham proper out towards Blackmoorfoot.  And to be honest, I was a bit of an idiot here and it was entirely my own fault I didn't enjoy it more.  Having said hi to two women in a tiny smoking area, I found a pleasant old fashioned bar with another healthy hubbub and nice staff as I ordered a Nook Best, remember that Holmfirth brewpub from a few weeks ago?  Now you should know by now my main pub vice is the whole foody gastro thing, well this pub had a much quieter 'food area' totally cordoned off with reception area and 'spare barmaid' like the entrance to a restaurant!  (well, I'm exaggerating a bit).  I decided to sit there but being ultra-polite, the staff let me.  Big mistake.  Soon, a young boy was turning round asking his family "why is that man only having a drink?" ('errm, because it's a PUB you little shit!'  I didn't say that, obvs.  "Sit facing me and eat your food Tommy" his Mum replied).  But when a young couple soon appeared and put a sleeping baby in a basket at my feet, I had to take the walk of shame back to the bar area admitting to the barmaid's that I'd made a mistake.  Thankfully, the gents toilet was not back through the 'restaurant' either!  I enjoyed the pub after that and reflected, they'd kept diners and drinkers so separate, the pub cannot be criticised - though the beer style and overall experience probably was still the weakest of the three.  

Master of my own downfall at Wills O' Nats, Meltham
A brisk walk into Meltham followed, the bus was thankfully on time and did stop for me and two teenage girls (who gave me six pence in coppers for some strange reason) and I had time for a quick half in the GBG listed KING'S HEAD at Huddersfield station before the direct service back to York, home before 9:30pm was a great result.  And the scales finally dropped from my eyes and I can see why CAMRA favour the King's Head over the Head of Steam but let's face it, both are great.


Attentions now turn to Aberdeen tomorrow amidst rumours of flooding in the Granite City!  Floods and BRAPA don't mix, as my 2014 days at both Brighton and especially the Grosmont-Whitby farce have proved, but I am positive, I've packed my overnight bag, and ten pub ticks await as long as I plan it strategically enough - i.e. Under the Hammer only opens 4pm so will have to be a "day one" pub, the two Wetherspoons may be best left for the morning of day two as my train home is about 2:30pm on the Fri.

And Krzb Britain has planned the Goole area day on Saturday which makes my life easier.

Bon voyage, Si


  1. *The Slaithwaite Conundrum - So, the only time I visited a pub here was on my first of three Transpenine Real Ale trails, which I think was the original "Welly Summer Day Out". I was naive, I had no breakfast in Dewsbury WRRR, was quite worse for wear, so my memories are hazy. I think it was summer 2008, I say this because I took my York 'gang' on the back of this first trip, but Jig was not allowed to come cos his accident still made pubby jaunts impossible. He had his accident Oct 2008 so I think I took them in the Spring/Summer 2009. My only memories are a short but very steep walk, up a country lane, possibly even cobbled but I could be thinking Haworth there. The pub was furnished in a lounge style and I think they had a lot of beers from a specific local brewery. There seemed quite a few kids, babies with Mums around the place. I wonder what it was called!

  2. We're going to lose today.

    I hope your enjoying your run up to Aberdeen.

    I'm not sure that was Slaithwaite. On the day when you had no breakfast, you went home from Marsden, deciding you'd reached the full sign (we were in, or more accurately outside, the Ossett Riverside Brewery Tap at the time). Marsden is west of Slaithwaite. I wonder whether you are actually thinking of the Railway Inn in Greenfield, which loosely fits the description.

    If I'm wrong, you'll be amused to hear that I have subsequently wasted time flipping out from Hudders to whip in the shack at Slaithwaite. It did not seem familiar at the time. And funnily enough, I too was greeted by friendly drunken locals.

    I find it very disappointing that you didn't actually call the child a little shit. And that there is no mention of barmaids in the Commercial.

  3. I know Tom, a rare no mention of lovely barmaids! Journey going well so far, dragging a bit now we've just left Leuchers.

    I am 100% sure I was in Slaithwaite with you all. It was later in the day than Marsden and Greenfield and I remember both those pubs a bit better, probably cos been more than once. I remember being on the Transpenine back with everyone cos Ben n Christine fell out and weren't talking all the way back to York (something about Ben going missing on another platform in Huddersfield!)

  4. Maybe we an conflating the different trips between us. I remember you going home from Marsden, but I also remember you being in the Kings Arms on another trip.

    I'm glad I made good use of my time whipping in Slaithwaite. I really didn't remember being there before. Just a good thing my red pen came out of its pocket that evening really.

    Just as a fun target to beat me, I reckon on finishing West Yorks shack ticking this season. I've not worked out when the last will fall yet, but I have at least one close season jolly. The question is, will I finish South, or even east, first?