Up Hill And Down Ale, Helwith Bridge, Yorkshire, UK

Location: Helwith Bridge, Yorkshire
14-17th of August 2008

We headed off from Coniston on the morning of the 14th of august to pick up Ed from Leeds/Bradford airport. With Ed on board we set off to see if we could possibly squish more into the car by visiting a home brew shop.

We found a shop that was open called Things To Brew (Unit 21, Kershaws Garden Centre, Halifax Road, Brighouse, West Yorkshire, HD6 2QD). Much fun was had buying ingredients and I ended up with a shiny new mash tun.

After this we headed to Helwith Bridge in the Yorkshire Dales. We stayed in the hostel of the Yorkshire Subterranean Society which is beside one of my favourite pubs The Helwith Bridge Inn. The pub is run by the great bar man Colin and is a mecca for cavers and train spotters alike. The cavers come from the YSS hostel which is a mere two minute stagger away. A train line runs behind the pub and there are a few more lines nearby (old steam trains can sometimes be seen on them if you're lucky) which explains the train spotters.

Walk: Malham, Tarn, Cove and Village and Gordale Scar
Map: Harvey Yorkshire Dales Outdoor Atlas

I've been coming to Yorkshire for years and had never gone to Malham. We decided to skip the underground attractions of the dales this time and go for a walk.

We started by walking by Malham Tarn which is one of the biggest bits of water you'll see in Yorkshire. It's pretty but not as picturesque as the lakes in the Lake District. It's all a bit more desolate but then I like desolation. While walking a path by a cliff we saw a family of four birds of prey flying around and having a fun time. I think they may have been falcons. It was an amazing sight. We then headed down a path which was headed for Malham Cove.

This led us down a dry gorge which kept getting larger. It then joined another gorge in what looked like a fossil waterfall.

We walked along and then came out on a great limestone pavement which drops off in a cliff. As we walked across the pavement and then down a load of steps the full scale of Malham cove started to come into view. It's a great sight and it's easy to see why it's a mecca for climbers, it's immense. It was formed at the end of the last ice age by glacier melt water eroding out the massive cliff.

We walked down to the village of Malham where we stopped for a spot of mid walk lunch. A nice cheese toasty was washed down with some Black Sheep Ale. The tea house we had lunch in also had some inquisitive ducks who tried to see if hiking bags and boots were edible. I also had cream tea, well I was walking so I could burn up the calories later!

After that relaxing lunch we cracked on towards Gordale scar. A road down from Malham leads up to Gordale campsite. A crazy man in camper van almost knocked us down as we tried to jump into a stone wall to avoid him. We walked through the campsite where we again encountered the camper van man but luckily he was going slowly through mud at this stage.

Gordale is a lovely gorge but I think I prefer the name scar. We had been told that you could climb up the fossil waterfall and then complete the walk by walking back to the car park at Malham tarn. When we got there a large waterfall was flowing. It was an impressive site as the steep walls of the gorge closed in and the rocks were covered with yellow white tufa deposits.

Dave and Ed climbed up the waterfall. I wimped out as I had hurt my leg earlier and didn't feel like climbing. I headed back to Malham in the rain. I got some tea and waited for Dave and Ed to pick me up. It was a great walk. The scenery was truly spectacular. I love limestone!

Pub: Helwith Bridge
Food: Giant Yorkshire Pudding filled with Chilli and Chips. This is a yummy filling after walk dinner.
Ale: Helwith Bridge Ale. Brewed by a local micro in Settle. This is a lovely light session beer.

Drive: Dentdale
On saturday the 16th Dave and Ed headed off to Gaping Gill to do some caving. I decided to drive to Dent. I had heard it's a pretty place with an interesting history. The drive to Dent was like a free roller coaster ride. It's a very narrow road with huge hills but it's all very scenic when you manage to take your eyes off the road. I visited the Heritage Museum where they recreate the life of Dent back in The Day. Of course I found the stuff about the cottage textile industry and the terrible knitters of Dent most interesting. The people used a special needle attached to a belt so that they could knit with one hand. They could then use the other hand to churn milk or whatever. I couldn't imagine doing anything else while knitting my brain just wouldn't have it.

We took a trip to Booths supermarket in Settle where the massive range of bottled beer astounded us. Naturally we bought a large selection to try. We also got some cheese and olives to make it look like a classy session.

The cheeses were Wensleydale with Cranberry, Blue Stilton and Applewood Smoked Gouda. I can confirm that beer and cheese go very well together. Hopefully following further research I'll be able to write an article with some recommendations on which beers and cheeses go well together.

Roisin Tayberry Beer from Scotland was my favourite beer. The Tayberry is a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry and gave a lovely fruity tang to the beer without it being too sweet tasting like many fruit beers. My other favourite was the Black Dog Ale.

The rest of the photos from this part of the trip can be seen here. On the sunday we packed up and headed back for the ferry. All in all the Up Hill And Down Ale trip was a success.

4 Responses to "Up Hill And Down Ale, Helwith Bridge, Yorkshire, UK" (Leave A Comment)

Iamreddave says
September 3, 2008 at 2:45 PM

Oh, the Terrible Knitters of Dent
Their fingers are gnarled and they’re bent
And the tourists are staying where inn signs are swaying
And the fountain sings Sedgewick’s lament

The Beer Nut says
September 4, 2008 at 2:52 AM

Mmmm... cheese and beer.

The scenery's not bad either.

Leigh says
September 14, 2008 at 11:11 AM

great pictures. And i agree on the black dog - good stuff. that berry beer sounds really interesting too. good work!

Dave Masterson says
September 18, 2008 at 3:10 AM

Man, i love Helwith Bridge... good with darts.