About WensleyAleA brief history
WensleyAle is the annual Beer, Music and Food festival held each late May bank holiday weekend at Redmire Station on the Wensleydale Railway. It is organised and run by volunteers with the aim of providing a family day out in the dales while raising some funds to keep the railway running. Come for a train ride to probably the best beer garden in the world, where we make our memories by helping you to loose yours.
This is Our Story
About 6 years ago a few of the volunteer from the Wensleydale Railway were drinking a few beers at the end of a successful Diesel Gala, when somebody suggested it would be a great idea to run a beer festival. Spurred on by the ale and over a pizza or two this idea grew and took flight.
In 2015, a small tent was erected at Redmire station, a few local cask ales acquired and a guitarist engaged to provide some background music and WensleyAle was born. It wasnt much, but it did prove that a festival was possible, and more importatly fun.
After the first year we realised that a festival needs more than just beer, so we added music and food as you always get the munchies after a few pints. Our range of beers increased from a handful to 20, we had local bands playing, people dancing and generally having a good time. With more to do we needed more volunteers to help, and they came from far and wide, and without them there would be no festival.
We now had built a bit of a following and at the end of the second festival people were starting to book local accommodation for next year. we must have been doing something right. The festivals so far (mainly) had been on the last bank holiday in May, so we decided to pin that date into our calendars and plan to make this an annual event. With more beer, ciders and include a Gin bar as Gin trains were becoming very popular on the Railway.
The measure of sucsess can sometimes be judged by how you cope with adversity, and seeing people dancing in the rain of a bank holiday thunderstorm to a backdrop of raucous music really paints a picture
A Tornado blows through
2019 saw steam locomotive 60163 Tornado visit the Wensley Dale Railway, and it was used to provide a regular service up the dale to the festival. Bringing yet more people to eat drink and be merry. So again we expanded, with now over 40 locally brewed ales, including a specialy commisioned one to celebrate Tornados visit. More street food with Thai, pies, BBQ and now legendary Hog Roast.
And a friday evening pub quiz, with some fantastic prizes and even more fantastic questions !
WensleyAle 2020 and 2021 have become victims of Covid-19. While not actually catching the virus the festivals were never going to get approval to run, so will have to go down as super spreaders that never were. 2022, however is looking to be a great year. We have a 3 day bank holiday thanks to the Queens Jubilee, so with the dates set (June 2nd to 4th) we are starting to make our plans. booking the long lead items and getting all excited !
Wensleyale is organised by a very small comittee (3 members) and a small group of dedicated volunteers, both from The Wensleydale Railway and beyond, without whom the late May bank holiday would be a much duller weekend.
Mr Motivator, makes sure everythong runs to plan, and generally greases the wheels that make the festival turn
Our Mrs Fix It. Has links to all the local breweries, is on speaking term with all the local bands and what she dont know about Gin isnt worth knowing. Also very good at making us wash up
Mr Geek. General sounding board, beer taster and food critic. Calm(ish) in a crisis and not phased by technology, and can pull a mean pint on a moving train.