It’s a far bigger affair than it was back when we made our first trip to Bangor in, roughly 1993. The more intimate affairs of the early days are the trips I remember and enjoyed best, and I recently took a ‘trip down memory lane’ to maybe the most famed of breakfast pubs.
Someone had recently mentioned to me that, within walking distance of where I now live in Hebden Bridge, was the Cat I’th Well. The Cat I’th Well, at Wainstalls, was, even by Mark’s ability to sniff out good but remote boozers, in an obscure location. Until that mention of the pub, I would have believed it was in the Yorkshire Dales, but in fact, it’s just through Booth in Halifax.
Anyway, my memories of that pub are part of the best memories I have of being a player at HCC. The race trips consisted mainly of players and committed members, led by the ‘Pied Piper’, Ken Leigh. In those days, we all more or less stuck together and we all knew what each other did, there was no hiding. From Vinny Ball falling asleep after four pints in the morning on the back of the coach, to Ken being a shambles after the trip to Doncaster, there were many great moments.
My favourite year was, I think, 1996, after the seconds had won the Burton Cup. With my pal Allister Bold and captain Andy Greenwood among the group, alongside the usual motley crew and pro Alan Badenhorst, we had one of the great days out. The Cat ‘ith Well was almost impossible to reach in a coach, prompting one bemused local to ask, quite innocently, where we were going. I’m not sure he expected John Kaye’s response: “What the f@@k has it got to do with you?”
Breakfast in the beautiful surrounds of the Cat followed, with Tim Taylor’s Landlord flowing like cream. For me, the rest of the day, at Thirsk, I believe, followed indoors drinking with Chris Kaye, Allister leading the singing of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ from the back of the coach, GOD claiming he had the hardest head in Rochdale to a bunch of rugby players at the evening meal in a superb bar/ nightclub in Huddersfield full of young sorts who just couldn’t get enough of 30 or so aled-up lads from Heywood …
Anyway, that all happened, but I may have my year’s mixed up. But back to the point.
In a bid to wallow in nostalgia, myself and a local pal walked from Hebden to Wainstalls. We took the long route over the moors, past Churn Milk Joan waymarker, over the grouse fields, down hills, over rivers, through valleys and, eventually, to the Cat. The pub was warm and oak-panelled, a fire in the grate, Tim Taylor’s still on cask, and a great end to a three hour stroll.
Little did I know, it was far easier to get to the pub than I thought, going through the beautiful village of Luddenden, down the side of the River Ludd, through other small but enigmatic little hamlets, to the Cat. This is the way we came back, stopping at the Lord Nelson for a couple of pints of Pendle Witches and then back to Hebden for a couple more.
I have included a map from where I work to the Cat and a couple of pictures of the pub. I think I will take the easy route next time, and this is really worth it for anyone who fancies hopping on the train and seeing a lovely part of the world. The best route, following Cow Lane, takes you by the side of the river, but this route doesn’t show on the map. Cow Lane can be accessed by crossing from the Lord Nelson, through the church, and then following the path by the river. It takes a bit of care at the end to find the Cat, but, really, when near, just follow your gut!
Should any member fancy a trip down memory lane, or to join me on my other favourite walk that is littered with pit stops, you know where I am. I’m free on a Friday afternoon. Or, maybe, close-season we could organise a walk for those who feel up to it.
Cheers for indulging me!