ROB Saddleworth Ramble

We should have known better, holding a ramble on the Saturday of the Old Trafford Test. The 15-20 walkers met at Uppermill's Waggon Inn. Robinson's Unicorn & summer seasonal Sunny Jim were on offer. Both beers were rather fine. The pub was something of a time capsule being full of people in 2nd World War uniforms and clothes for the Yank's weekend.

It was then the mistake was realised. To get to the next pub there was a walk alongside the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The canal is so named because it's narrow & goes to Huddersfield. The walk should have been scenic & gentle. The problem was that it was raining, heavily. Fortunately everyone had come prepared & the canal tow path has been improved in recent years.

A rather soggy crowd arrived at the Navigation at Dobcross where all available surfaces were soon covered in wet raincoats, everyone stripping off, the stone floors coming in handy to catch drips. The beers available were Theakston's Best, Black Sheep Bitter, Tim Taylor's Golden Best, Wells Bombardier, plus guests Harvestoun Gold Rush & Mauldon's Gold Rush, the latter 2 being more 'summer ales'. The stay was somewhat protracted due the good value food also being sampled.

Fortunately the rain had relented before we climbed a set of steep steps at the side of the pub. This led us to the road to the Swan Inn (Top House) at Dobcross, a Jennings tied house with the full range of beers, plus Tom Woods Harvest Best as guest beer. By now the sun was out so some actually sat outside.

We retraced our steps to regain the canal tow path across from the Navigation. Our destination was to be the Diggle Hotel. Of course the rain returned soon after we hit the canal. Again it was lucky that the tow path has been much improved in recent years, but it's a bit sad to see the canal tunnel locked up after all the money that's been spent to re-open the route. The Diggle greeted us with a further opportunity to sample Taylor's Golden Best, Black Sheep Bitter, Jennings Cumberland Ale and Wells Bombardier.

On leaving the Diggle, in the dry, the group had the longest walk of the day. The road & party snaked mainly up and with some downs to the Church Inn, well above Uppermill. The Yank's crowd had obviously made the track up the hill as the pub was packed. Church Inn & Thwaites beers were on offer, although by the time I arrived quite a few had gone off for 15 minutes. As the inside resembled a Turkish bath most of us took our drinks outside. Fortunately there are large umbrellas as the monsoon had returned.

Our last move was up the steep & slippery steps to the Cross Keys for Lees Mild, Bitter, Moonraker & the seasonal Scorcher, which was slightly cloudy but tasted spot on. Fortunately by now the test had been abandoned for the day, so the sun made an appearance for the walk down the steep hill back into Uppermill for transport home.

It had been a good, if damp outing. Thanks must be made to Ken Holt for his usual good planning. But next time could we please make it a dry day?