Monday, 6 August 2012
#077 Old Royal Oak, Hillmorton, Warks : 1993 to 2011
The first time I ever visited the Old Royal Oak at Hillmorton was on my first canal trip in 1980. Sadly I don't have a picture of the pub from that trip, but I do remember that we had a great evening there and moored the boat right outside the pub.
It took us quite a few years to 'rediscover' it in September 1993. Our boat was moored at Winkwell on the Grand Union Canal near to Berkhamstead and our annual trips took us north as far as we could get, then we'd turn around and retrace our steps. On this trip we got as far as Stretton-under-Fosse before turning around and we actually visited the Old Royal Oak on the way up and on the way back. It has a superb location as it sits right on the bank of the Oxford Canal.
As I recall, it was no longer a 'proper' pub, but was aimed more at the family market. However, we stopped because they did food which wasn't as common then as it is now.
The next time we came this way was in 1995 when we moved Emma Jane back to the Midlands. My only picture of the pub, though, is a somewhat blurry night time reflection shot from across the cut. From memory, the pub was largely unchanged.
It wasn't until 2004 that we returned to the Old Royal Oak on a return trip from Oxford.
This was at lunchtime on Thursday 26th August 2004 and the Old Royal Oak had become a fully fledged family pub - it was now a Hungry Horse!
We were there again in 2005, this time on a Spring trip that took us to Coventry.
This was in the evening of Monday 30th May 2005 and I took the photo from the road bridge as we walked into Hillmorton to find some 'proper' pubs (which was a successful decision!).
Our next visit was on Wednesday 30th May 2007, a lunchtime stop.
Little to report, apart from the extra growth of ivy on the front!
Our most recent visit was on our last ever trip on board Emma Jane and this was the last ever pub we visited from Emma Jane.
This was on Sunday 6th November 2011 and the pub was still a Hungry Horse. It is still possible to moor right outside and I managed to get this shot from inside.
Again, we used the Old Royal Oak as a useful stopping place and ventured into Hillmorton to revisit the numerous 'proper' pubs to be found there. It's not that there's anything wrong with the Old Royal Oak, but we weren't in family pub mode. As a lunchtime stop it is great, but for an evening, it isn't ideal for us.