Mark Briggs has been a real ale connoisseur for over 35 years.  A self-professed ‘beer geek’, Mark visits East Lancashire’s pubs for his weekly column.
Read of Mark’s adventures in ale at his blog or follow him on Twitter @realaleupnorth

YET again it was clear blues, as I commenced my bus ride towards the Lancs/Yorks border.

Cliviger Gorge was magnificent in the spring sunshine, as we meandered towards the pleasant market town of Todmorden.

The town’s smallest boozer, the Wellington Inn, was my aim. A watering hole, very conveniently situated on Halifax Road, close to all the town centre amenities.

It certainly was quite a small establishment, with just the one oblong-shaped room. It had a cosy, relaxed, old fashioned feel about it, with its soft furnishings and a large selection of old pub photos.

The photos were most interesting, including one of some blacklisted, habitual drunkards, who had been given the ‘red card’ by the pub landlord... I hasten to add that the photos dated back to 1903.

I was met by Lisa, behind the bar, a member of the family running this establishment, with her parents Wally and Marie. Wally was quite a character, and had been in the pub trade for many years. The Polished Knob round the corner, having been one of his previous tenures.

There was just the one cask ale available, Thwaites Wainwright – at a more than reasonable price of £2.40. This golden, refreshing, fruity ale, was in good nick. Lagers included Amstel and Kronenbourg, at £3.20. For stout fans, Guinness was priced at £2.90.

Lisa said: “Our cask ale is ever-changing. We had Reedley Hallows’ Filly Close Blonde on last week, it was very popular, as was Theakston’s Lightfoot, previous to that.”

There was a good community feel about the place. One local was Kath, who typified the friendliness of ‘The Welly’ as she drank from her dimpled, half-pint glass. I hadn’t seen one of those for years – although I sometimes drink out of the pint sized variety, that are more common.

Kath said: “I have been drinking out of this glass for 40 years. I have one at home that is even older. It has a Double-Diamond emblem on it – I used to drink the brand many years ago, it was my favourite beer.”

The regulars were telling me many fine tales about the pub. You got the impression it was all part of the entertainment. Lisa said: “It wouldn’t be The Welly without our characters, comedians and story-tellers – although we do have karaoke on Sunday night.”

The Wellington Inn is one of many fine, friendly pubs in Todmorden. You always get a good welcome in the town’s boozers. What you might call, a typical Lancashire greeting. Hey up though, some say a typical Yorkshire greeting – although it’s perhaps best not to discuss that particular prickly, contentious issue, here in ‘Tod’.