When The (Catherine De Barnes) Boat Comes In(n)

There are far too many brackets in that title but I am struggling for inspiration here because Pub Bloggers Rule #37 decrees you must post on pubs you’ve had an alcoholic drink in.

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I don’t invent the rules, that’s down to much more experienced – no let’s be frank, much older bloggers than me such as Martin, Pubmeister,  Mudgie , Garden Hermit,Rich, Si, Pete  and Paul.

However, the only slight drawback with that is when not a fat lot happens in a boozer that is fairly non-descript.  The sort of place that even Alistair Campbell would struggle to spin a line out of.

But, Catherine de Barnes has made it onto the coveted ‘Midlands villages that sound like people’ list alongside the likes of Clifford Chambers, Kirk Hallam and Kirk Ireton, as officially declared by this blog here 

It’s a small village between Solihull and Hampton In Arden with houses a newsagents, pub and, bizarrely, a restaurant.  It is also home to Catney Cricket Club of the Cotswold Hills League, whose ground is accessed next to the only boozer in the village.

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337 – The Boat Inn B91 2TJ is on the busy Hampton Road into Solihull and has been there as long as I care to remember.

(marked just by Elmdon Heath on the map) 

Catney Boat Inn Map.jpg

As well as being a pub that must have been visited by Pete due to its proximity to the Grand Union canal it was traditionally used by navvies who helped build the canal in the 1800s.

It is now part of the Chef & Brewer chain, which is mostly food led but can still have some decent pubs in its stable…

catney boat inn 02.01.19 (22)

…I was there at around 5.30 on a Monday with a couple of grumpy kids (my own, I hasten to add) so, in The Boat’s defence, I was always up against it.

There is a tiny bar area, which had some comedy value as three lads were there comparing notes about how off their heads they were on booze on New Year’s Eve…

(good stories)

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…whilst there were another party of three also drinking.

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Other people were dotted around the food area using the Wi-Fi and drinking/eating and it was a middle of the road boozer that was far less ‘pubby’ than I ever remember.

However, any open pub should be applauded these days and this village doesn’t have a huge population so relies on plenty of passing trade from the NEC and Solihull, therefore leading on food is a must.

(a forlorn looking Xmas tree)

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I initially asked for the IPA (Greene King) but that had just gone so I had a very respectable half of Gold Star (Silhill).


I won’t be rushing back here but it does what it says on the tin and I reckon a trip beforehand to Catney CC in the summer followed by a visit to The Boat would be far more appealing…one for Duncan to combine!

19 thoughts on “When The (Catherine De Barnes) Boat Comes In(n)

  1. Not my rules. I will happily post about pubs where I haven’t had a beer. Often Wetherspoon’s where I will resort for the breaking of my fast when lost in a strange town. Actually, only Wetherspoon’s. Mind you Coldwell’s mantra #6 is ‘Rules are for the the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am not as dedicated a blogger as some and often don’t post if there isn’t much to say (though some would say I also post when there isn’t much to say). There are cricket hoppers who will plunder club grounds. I usually stuck to county games but the Cotswold Hills League sounds rather wonderful. Lots of new or unusual venues in the county championship this season as grounds being used for World Cup are set aside for a few weeks. Warwickshire have a home game scheduled during that period but last time I looked hadn’t identified where it would be played.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I would like to think it is. Unlike most counties they haven’t used that many outgrounds, though Courtalds in Coventry was used in relatively recent times. Think M&B sports ground in Birmingham too but many of these company sports grounds have disappeared.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Indeed they have which is a huge shame. It’s all about pounds and pence and I suspect they are still clawing back cash from the huge redevelopment years ago, which coincided with playing on out grounds. The atmosphere at somewhere like Knowle and Dorridge CC (not to mention the beer) would be terrific for a four day game.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Do you know a book called Played in Birmingham (2006)? One of a fantastic series published in collaboration with English Heritage and covering venues of all sports in the city. There were huge works cricket and football leagues at one time.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am hoping it might be Knowle and Dorridge but more likely Moseley I guess…..There are cricket ground hoppers? That is fantastic – That is definitely on my agenda when I retire (or possibly sooner) as I can’t think of anything better – seriously!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are quite correct, but I haven’t been there for many years (since 2001). For regular canal goers, The Boat comes as a welcome respite after a long slog from Birmingham along the Grand Union Canal where there are no canalside pubs and no viable mooring spots!

    I recall one occasion when we left The Kingsley (now Cuttle Bridge Hotel) and spent almost seven hours travelling (meeting no boats on the way) and finally arriving at The Boat and having difficulty finding a mooring because of all the boats there.

    The stretch of canal from Camp Hill in Birmingham to Catherine-de-Barnes is one of my least favourite stretches of cut on the whole system. We only did it when our timing calculations for getting back to our moorings had gone awry (usually my fault!).

    However, The Boat was always a welcome sight being a comfortable village pub that did good food.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can see Mrs A may well have got the hump with you occasionally over your navigation skills!!!! Yes, maybe I was a little harsh on this place as it is a bit of an outpost/godsend. I hadn’t realised quite how important it was on the beer (I mean canal) route!


  4. “no let’s be frank, much older bloggers than me”

    Technically older implies more experience. And when did BRAPA become older than you? 🙂

    “when not a fat lot happens in a boozer that is fairly non-descript. ”

    Yep. Bit difficult unless you resort to porkies*.

    * (or as some might say, artistic license) 🙂

    “(marked just by Elmdon Heath on the map) ”

    And I notice the National Exhibition Centre is just up the road. Is that where all the lads in macs congregate for some tips? 😉

    “(good stories)”

    I’l bet.

    “(a forlorn looking Xmas tree)”

    It does look a bit blue. 🙂

    “so I had a very respectable half of Gold Star (Silhill).”

    It should be good; the brewery is a stone’s throw away.

    “and I reckon a trip beforehand to Catney CC in the summer followed by a visit to The Boat would be far more appealing”



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice one Russ…although I’m not sure what the men in macs is all about!!!! NEC is a huge cavernous car park with loads of exhibitions and gigs on. However, in the past couple of years they have built up Resorts World to make it more of a ‘destination’ visit….


      1. “although I’m not sure what the men in macs is all about!!!! ”

        Men in macintosh coats (raincoats, yes?). So… flashers or *cough* exhibitionists. 🙂


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