It might because I hail from landlocked Brum and now live in equally landlocked Derby but the lure of the waterways always fascinate me.
Pete, of course, is our resident canals expert and his cracking blog highlights many boozers of yesteryear that were/are based near a canal. http://pubsthenandnow.blogspot.com/2018/08/a-tail-of-digbeths-two-spotted-dogs.html?spref=tw
I’m not ruling out the sea either of course but the opportunity to wax lyrical about seaside based boozers on a Midlands pub blog are slim to say the least.
So canals it is then and I’m happy to visit pubs that are by canals that have long since bitten the dust. If you thought Beeching was a hard-nosed operator from a train perspective with his cuts in the sixties then he was a mere pussycat compared to the water boys back in the day.
Take, for example, the Oakham canal that ran from Rutland to Melton Mowbray and opened in 1802 but was shut in 1847. That’s right Oakham, home of Rutland water, decided that finances meant it was closed down and infilled to allow the opportunity for a railway to be built…which then, of course ran the risk of the Lord Beeching cuts…#viciouscircle.
It’s got a keen bunch of volunteers trying to resurrect part of the canal in 2018 but, as Pete will confirm, it’s a slow process in the canal world.
Anyway, that is why 272- The Boat Inn LE13 1AF on Burton Street in Melton Mowbray acquired its moniker.
The canal basin opposite this classic boozer used to serve the workers on the Melton-Oakham canal but now attracts a different kind of crowd in a town that has plenty of drinking options.
It has won CAMRA awards previously and it’s easy to see why as it keeps great beer and has a landlady/barmaid who is top class.
Melton Mowbray has some picturesque sights…such as St Mary’s Church
…or the Anne Of Cleeves boozer (one for the future)…
with The Boat inn tucked away just off the beaten track but is a handsome chap in it its own right.
Smooth FM was on in the background which probably suited the age range in this boozer and whilst it was quiet it was warming up nicely on a Friday afternoon at around 2pm.
The Golden Best (Timothy Taylor’s) was magnificent and a conversation at the end of the bar between four blokes who looked like they were settling in for the duration covered Johnny Morris, John Noakes and Animal Magic.
The landlady made a point of saying, “see you again soon” when I left and was observant whilst reading a paper which is a very good skill to have as it means people can carry on about their business.
However, on the wall I spotted a Leicestershire & Rutland pub crawl sketch that was drawn in 2012 and noted that, with The Boat under my belt, I had clocked off 14 boozers on this trail***
Mind you, I also noted at least two I knew that had bitten the dust in the past six years and I wonder how many more will have gone if come back to The Boat in 2024. I’m not going to wait that long though as a classic boozer with bench seating, terrific service and beer allied to a warm atmosphere means I will be back again soon…
***All pubs featured on this blog
(Cross Keys, Jolly Potters, The Lamb, Plough Inn, The White Hart, Three Crowns, Half Moon, The Boat, Old Bull’s Head, Dew Drop, Snibstone New Inn, Robin Hood, Birch Tree, The Grainstore Brewery Tap)