MELTHAM MAGIC

1st January 2023.

At last ! 2023 arrived with the traditional Sheffield New Year’s fireworks, best viewed from our upstairs bedroom window as displays on six hills compete for attention.

I’m really no fan of fireworks, but the scale and beauty came as quite a shock when we spent our first New Year in Sheffield in 2020.

One other surprise from our first couple of years Oop North is just how much of it we haven’t seen. Ever.

We’d never been to Meltham.

OK, neither have you, unless you’re a ticker of pubs or non-league grounds or waterfalls (press play NOW).

Folly Dolly Falls is described by Google as “low-key” which is typical of how Northerners take treasures like that for granted; if it was in Dereham they’d charge you a fiver to look at it.

The falls are nicely placed (presumably by God, not the Meltham Tourist Board) along a nice busy walkway that used to be a train line that connected folk to Sheffield and Huddersfield.

Loads of gentlefolk and families were using it on New Year’s Day, one of only 3 days of the year on which Brits are allowed to exercise.

Meltham (pop. 8,534) looked a pleasing, mixed sort of town, with a lot of solid stone buildings and a dearth of pubs.

My new GBG tick is a mile north of town, so far north it might be listed under Holt Head or Lower Slaithwaite (pronounced “Lo-air”).

It’s a real oddity, a smart drinkers pub run by local brewery Milltown, and packed with gentlefolk, pushchairs and women who wine on the first drinking day of the year.

I could have had Landlord, but that would be daft when their own IPA was clearly the big seller,

and at £3.30* for a cool, clean, sherberty NBSS 3.5/4 pint I couldn’t fault it.

I took the last free table, between two sets of Old Boys who then conducted their reminiscences over my head.

They were good days, Stuart”

“Aye”

“Trips to Haydock, the leg spinner…”

No idea what it was all about but the to-and-fro was thrilling.

Top soundtrack, too.

What the Traveller’s didn’t have was food, and I was starving. And the Morrisons chiller was practically bare.

So thank goodness I bumbled across Fourth Fiend, another Meltham flagship for a local brewery housed in the old Cons Club.

Not that I cared much about Three Fiends, I only had eyes for the Rad Burger pop-up in the corner.

Their lone cask pump dispensed a fruity pale (NBSS 3.5); their Hi-Fi dispensed a constant stream of Emo classics.

Some lovely young people running this place.

Of course, their trade consisted of a 58 year old bloke and a couple of gentlefolk who came in and asked for a pot of tea.

And that’s what I love about pubs.

Great burger, too. Disappointingly, the chocolate dispenser was temporarily out of action.

*Apparently Wainwright was £4.10 in a pub down the road, an horrific amount for a pint.

17 thoughts on “MELTHAM MAGIC

  1. That’s not emo, it’s classic punk! Green Day, Offspring, Blink182.

    1970s be gone. Shall I continue? No? Ok… Ataris, Jimmy Eat World, mxpx, NOFX, lagwagon, New Found Glory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Come on, Spinko.

      There are some of us who can only nod, and mutely mouth along John-Redwood-to-the-Welsh-National-Anthem style to anything after 1979.

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  2. … And ‘Slaithwaite’ is pronounced ‘slorit’ sometimes with additional consonants… ‘slorwit’ but the ‘r’ is virtually silent – just a suggestion of a sound!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The pronunciation of Slaithwaite is the subject of much local discussion, “Slau-wit” and “Sluvit” are also heard locally. My sister used to run the Star Inn.

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      1. I live in Haydock, not the most exciting place to live certainly on the beer front. It’s a good excuse to travel out though. Chorley is currently a favourite destination an easy two buses away.

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      2. Not really, there’s no real centre as such, it’s a typical linear mining village as was. There’s a stretch of shops, housing for a while then another short stretch of shops. It’s been more a place for passing through than stopping. The Racecourse sits right on the border with Wigan/ Greater Manchester and St. Helens/ Merseyside, it leads to squabbles from time to time. Sadly what green spaces there are, are disappearing under warehouse/distribution complexes. the local council has a bit of a fixation with them.

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  3. Haydock is a nice racecourse, and there was a good horse called Leg Spinner about a decade ago.

    However looking at his race history, he only raced once at Haydock so that blows my theory out of the water..

    (Haven’t read the other comments yet to see if the puzzle has been solved)

    Liked by 1 person

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