About WensleyAleA brief history
WensleyAle is the annual Beer, Music and Food festival normally held each late May bank holiday weekend at Redmire Station on the Wensleydale Railway. For 2022 it is being held on the last weekend in October at Leeming Bar station.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 !
A bout of Covid
2020 saw the arrival of Covid, and even Redmire was not immune, so plans were drawn up for 2021. Little did we know that drinks with friends anywhere (with the exception of 10 Downing Street) were still banned, so 2021 also had to be put on ice. Although we did try Zoom, but somehow it just wasnt the same.
2022, however is looking to be a great year. We will have to change location as 2 years of no trains to Redmire means there is a lot of work to do on the tracks, and the carpark is currently full of stuff, so we are going to borrow the Polar Express marquees (Thanks PnP we promis to tidy up) at Leeming Bar on the last weekend in October to get us in the groove again hopefully returning to Redmire in 2023 or 2024.
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.