WE ventured over to The Dark Side.

The land buried in the Pennines and divided between those who insist they are still Yorkshire and proud, and those who claim the red rose of Lancashire blooms strongly.

This part of Saddleworth used to be in the old West Riding and many still hark back to those pre-revolutionary days of the early 1970s and yearn to be Tykes.

Uppermill is the Pennine equivalent of Holmfirth – a touristy place, full of quaint cafes, browseable shops and boat trips on the canal as the centre of its attractiveness.

But we were there on a dark Saturday evening, in search of sustenance.

Many friends had mentioned The Church Inn at Uppermill, both for its award-winning beers and for its food.

It’s not high-end cooking but unpretentious, hearty, pub food served in a spectacular setting.

Our friends got that bit right, after a somewhat circuitous route to get us there.

But what they forgot to mention were the prices – especially for the beer.

A pint of the home-brewed Saddleworth More came at £1.20. Yes. that’s right – it’s not a misprint. I could have gone for several others brewed by landlord Julian Taylor and his staff in the adjoining brewhouse for a challenging £1.70 a pint.

It certainly put me in good spirits as we sat down at the chunkiest table I have ever seen in the pub’s restaurant lounge to order the food.

The Church Inn, as the name suggests, nestles alongside the massively-imposing St Chad’s Church, perched on the hillside overlooking Uppermill.

The church is floodlit at nights which was extremely handy as we made our way up winding lanes from the centre of Uppermill on our quest.

Pub and church share the same car park, which could be a problem come Sunday lunchtime, but no matter.

Inside the solid stone building, the L-shaped bar is propped up by regulars perched on stools and we were given a warm welcome as we were shown through to the restaurant to the right.

The pub is open and quirky, with collections of old photos, old posters and brasses adorning the stone walls

One corner is dedicated to the Saddleworth Morris Men, who practise in the pub yard every Thursday evening. You can imagine them working up quite a thirst – especially at £1.20 a pint.

There are up to eight pumps on the bar, all providing different cask ales.

Regular beers have local names – Saddleworth More (think Moor), Shaftbender, Bert’s Corner and St George’s.

The young staff behind the bar double up as waiters in the restaurant, but informality is very much the name of the game and you can eat at any table in the pub.

The menu is typical pub fare – starters, mains, grills and sandwiches – but on the night we called there were specials including spiced burgers, fishcakes, home-made sweet and sour ribs and liver and onions.

The menu itself has half a dozen starters with all the usual suspects in there.

Linda went for garlic mushrooms and was delighted with a bowl of thick creamy sauce filled to the brim with sliced mushrooms.

The fresh white roll alongside it was perfect for “dunking”.

I opted for the home-made pate and have to admit it was some of the best I had had; meaty and rich, with a little tub of sweet Cumberland sauce on the side.

Again, the portions were every generous with a full toasted bap and a side salad to go with it.

The one slight disappointment of the evening came with Linda’s main choice, but only to a small degree.

She chose scampi and felt the well-cooked little pieces of fish could have been a little better.

But the accompanying chips – and we’re talking proper potatoes, cut into chunks and deep-fried – were superb.

My friends who had suggested The Church said: “Go for the mixed grill”.

Scanning the menu, I was tempted by the lamb and by the ribs but thought I’d better do as I was told.

What a feast for a carnivore. The waiter had asked how I wanted the steak cooking and it arrived surrounded by a butcher’s dream.

There was also a grilled chicken breast, two lamb chops, two sausages, black pudding, mushrooms, tomato, peas, onion rings, a fried egg and a mountain of those wonderful chips.

Oh, and don’t forget the side salad as an extra.

That was the moment I realised the chunk of pate and the toasted bread had perhaps been a step too far.

I made a game effort to work my way through but have to admit I was beaten by a few chips and some of the peas.

Neither of us could face a dessert, even though the sticky toffee pudding or the jam roly poly could have been a temptation.

Instead, we found table in the bar and finished our drinks – our cheap drinks – in comfort.

It’s certainly worth the journey over the moors to sample The Church.

The Church Inn

Running Hill Gate, Uppermill OL3 6LW

Tel 01457 820902

Website No

Opening hours Food served noon -2.30pm and 5.30pm - 9pm (Mon - Fri) and noon - 9pm (Sat/Sun)