Skip to main content

Travelling Home...

Whilst it won't now be coming home for a minimum 4 years, the World Cup has had a massive impact on the country over the past few weeks. And its pubs. Here are my thoughts, plus a spotlight on the pub where I have watched most of the England games....

I have to admit I have not enjoyed watching the England football team in recent years. Too much hype, too many disappointments, the odd dodgy manager in charge not helping the cause as I wrote here back in 2016. But credit to the FA, who I criticised heavily in that piece, they managed to come up with what is now proving to be an inspired decision when they appointed the Under 21 manager, Gareth Southgate, to the job following Sam Allardyce's short and ill-fated reign less than 2 years ago.

With relatively low expectations, a kinder-than-usual press, and a fresh approach with an exciting brand of attacking football, the waistcoat-wearing Southgate has managed to galvanise the national team, bringing in many of his former charges from the Under 21's, such as Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire, and Kieran Trippier, players who have come up via the tough ranks of lower league football rather than the academies of one of the big teams. And as Wednesday's semi-final approached, belief was sweeping the country that this year could finally be the year that for the first time since 1966, the World Cup would be coming back to England.

I watched the game, as I have done in most of the previous rounds, at one of my local pubs, the Travellers at Hipperholme, an Ossett Brewery pub which I have neglected over the past couple of years. An excellent start, after 5 minutes a sublime Kieran Trippier free kick had put England in front. Could we do it? Chance after chance fell England's way in a fairly dominant first half but they just couldn't take advantage. Crucially, a different Croatian team came out in the second half, with Luka Modric and his midfield colleagues in inspirational form, and proceeded to boss the game. When Perisic scored for the Croats after 68 minutes, English hearts sank. Despite some brave attempts, England couldn't quite score, and so were left with the prospect of extra time. And here the dreams of so many who had come to believe that football was finally coming home were finally shattered. After 109 minutes, Mandzukic, a constant thorn in England's side, scored. Despite some desperate efforts England couldn't equalise and make it to penalties, and were out of it, and sadly heading home. But...what a fantastic effort! The current England squad have more than exceeded expectations and with Southgate signed up on a lengthy contract and with age on the side of most of the lads, they must have a serious chance of going at least one better next time.

Back to the Travellers. This was one of the first Ossett Brewery pubs, if not the first, to be opened in Calderdale. Previously it had been a fairly undistinguished place, with no decent beer, John Smiths and the like, and despite attractions(!) like that, not a lot of customers. So when Ossett bought the pub, they gutted it, re-decorated it and turned it into a real destination for the local community, for real ale drinkers, and for walkers. It is situated on a hill side just down from the busy A58 road between Halifax and the M62, and is on what is Halifax Old Road, cutting a back route across the Shibden Valley, round the back of the historic Shibden Hall, before meeting up with the A58 just below Claremount. The pub itself is a longish building, following the slope of the road. You enter with the bar directly facing you, with a room off to the left, with a snug hidden behind the chimney, and to the right, up a step, is a games room with dartboard, and, beyond that, a further room with pictures of old Hipperholme and the former Sunny Vale Amusement Park, or, as many locals called it, 'Sunny Bunce's', situated half a mile or so down the valley towards Brighouse, with many of the visitors alighting at the former station just across from the Travellers.

I started to go in regularly not long after it opened in 2006. The landlady then was Lizzie, who always made you feel welcome, and it wasn't long before we started to call in at least one a week. The Ossett beers were excellent, most of them pale and hoppy, and being a comfortable, friendly place, it was a natural choice to go and chill out for an hour or two. Over the years, I continued to go in regularly, but gradually, as other places opened across the area, I rarely visited the place.

So this last few weeks, when I first went up for a pint with a mate one evening, and then went again a few days later with some of the lads to watch England, it gave me the opportunity to re-connect with the place. Not much has changed from when Lizzie was landlady. Many of the faces in the pub and who occupy the small outside smoking area were there when I first went in, the interior is little changed, and it is still a really friendly place. The beer choice still features 4 Ossett beers, along with 4 guests, with the one I had watching last night's match, the Hop Back Citra, one of the best pints I have had in ages! Last weekend the pub had a Cider Festival which went down very well with some of the lads, and with landlord Mark and the team doing a great job, having gone back after a two-year gap, I will not be leaving it so long again.

So, if you are in the area, why not check out the Travellers Inn....

Travellers Inn, Hipperholme
Travellers Inn, 53 Tanhouse Hill, Hipperholme, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX3 8HN
Hours: 12 - 11.30, Thurs- Sat 12 -12, Sunday 11 - 11


Popular posts from this blog

The Town That Thinks It's A Village....

My time has been a bit limited recently for venturing too far afield, so last weekend I made the short journey to Elland to check out a few of the town's pubs and bars. Here's what I found.... Elland is a small market town in West Yorkshire, located between Halifax and Huddersfield beside the River Calder. It goes back a bit, being recorded as Elant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and over the centuries the town grew as a result of the woollen industry, with the town becoming home to several large mills. The coming of the Aire and Calder Navigation and the railways further helped the growth of the town. The subsequent decline of the woollen industry in the town meant that there were a number of empty mills left standing, and those that didn't burn down were put to other use, such as the home of Gannex, the now-defunct textile company whose raincoats were worn by the rich and famous, including former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. More recently, several mills have been converte

The Best Buffet Bar None....

One place I am definitely looking forward to visiting again when they re-open is the Buffet Bar in Stalybridge. And whilst it will be great to pay a visit as soon as it is possible, that first visit back to the famous bar on the Manchester Piccadilly to Huddersfield trans-Pennine route will no doubt stir up in me a huge dose of mixed emotions.... Stalybridge Buffet Bar is one of the few remaining Victorian railway station buffet bars left in the country, and is probably the best-known. I started visiting the bar regularly in 2006, when my job meant I was working about a mile and a half away in Hyde. Back in those days, the bar was owned by John Hesketh, who had spotted the potential of the rambling old Victorian station buffet as a real ale mecca. It had originally opened in 1885, and had meandered on over the years quietly serving customers on the trans-Pennine route, but back then it was not known for its beer. John's idea of a good selection of real ales in an atmospheric bar cr

A Calder Valley Ale Trail - UPDATE August 2020

T he definitive guide to the pubs and bars that line the railways in the towns and villages of the beautiful Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, now with an update in light of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.... August 9th, 2020. The idea for a guide to the pubs along the railway line along the Calder Valley came about as I got fed up with people going on about the Ale Trail from Huddersfield to Stalybridge. I reckoned that the scenery along the Calder Valley was generally more attractive than its southerly rival, and whilst there were some excellent pubs along that route, there were equally some mighty fine pubs in Calderdale. And there was clearly a demand for such a guide: the number of page views I have had for this blog, which has been updated a few times over the years, is several times higher than my next most popular. I had been thinking for some time though that it needed a fresh look and a re-write; the inserted sentences and deleted entries means that it doesn't quite flow