Blog Surfer

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

#180 The Boat, Minworth, West Midlands : 1986 to 2015

In the early 1980's The Boat was, technically, my local pub as I lived just around the corner in Minworth for a few months. It sits at the side of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal and is the last, reasonably safe, overnight mooring before the centre of Birmingham. Over the years, we have been intermittent visitors having passed by more times than we've stopped.

Our first ever boating visit to The Boat was on the evening of Sunday 22nd August 1982, but sadly there's no pictorial record of the visit. I do, however, have a photo taken the next day as we made our way down the windswept Curdworth Locks.
Our next visit to The Boat was in the year that I'd decided to start taking a picture of each pub we visited. This was on the evening of Wednesday 30th July 1986.
Back in those days it had a cosy lounge and a fairly standard bar with pool table and dart board, but (as I recall) didn't do food.

Our boat, Emma Jane, moved away from the Midlands for a number of years and so we didn't stop there again until the evening of Tuesday 5th September 1995, close to the end of the journey bringing Emma Jane back to the Midlands.
On the outside, a complete transformation from a fairly standard Ansells pub into a 'Big Steak' pub!

We returned less than a year later, on the lunchtime of Friday 31st May 1996. This was a pit-stop on an 'epic' journey that took us from Fazeley Junction to Catherine-de-Barnes on the Grand Union Canal in a day (10 hours 20 minutes travelling time!).
Even in just 9 months, part of the exterior signage had disappeared and the paint was starting to peel!

It took us another 10 years before we came back to The Boat. This was mainly because we'd worked out that we could travel from Birmingham city centre to The Kingsley or Curdworth in a day's boating so we sailed on by The Boat on many occasions.
This was at lunchtime on Thursday 8th June 2006 and we still made it into the centre of Birmingham by evening - a 5 hour journey! Another complete transformation of the outside of the pub including a small extension at the front.

We returned at lunchtime on Thursday 6th June 2010 as part of what was, essentially, a repeat of our 2006 journey - this time it took us 5 hours 20 minutes to get into Birmingham!
Not too much of a change apart from the sheltered smoking area that has been added.

This next picture was taken on the afternoon of Sunday 11th May 2014 as I happened to be in the area following a Craft Fair at the Brook Marston Hotel. (There seemed to be little likelihood of us stopping here in the near future, so I thought I'd add a photo to the collection.)
Yet another external transformation. The smoking area remained, but the new extension has been radically altered.

Having predicted that we wouldn't be stopping here in the near future, our next visit was on the evening of Sunday 14th June 2015.
 Little change in a year. The internal layout of The Boat has hardly changed over the years, but it has been refurbished several times. The Boat has its own website and will hopefully be able to survive as a proper pub that does some food. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

#179 The Great Northern, Langley Mill, Derbyshire : 2009 to 2015

Langley Mill is a small town at the current terminus of the Erewash Canal, which, until 2009, was a stretch of canal that we'd never ventured along.

Our original plan had been to go up the Erewash and then go on to Nottingham, but when we arrived at Trent Lock, the Erewash Canal was closed. So, a couple of days later than planned, we arrived at the Great Northern Basin at lunchtime on Friday 4th September 2009.
A pleasant looking pub that, on the day we were there, was being refurbished and there was no food on offer! This meant that we had just the one pint before heading off to sample the delights of Langley Mill.

It was another six years (and another boat) before we ventured back up the Erewash Canal. Again we went to Nottingham first; this time, by design to collect our third crewman. This time, we reached Langley Mill at lunchtime on Tuesday 25th August 2015 and, after a very poor effort turning the new boat Peggy Ellen (by yours truly) we went to the pub! (In my defence, you'd expect the Great Northern Basin to be a large expanse of water with plenty of room to moor and to turn a boat. It isn't! Essentially it is a canal junction where the currently defunct Nottingham and Cromford canals meet the Erewash. Although, as my crewmates pointed out, it was still a piss-poor attempt at turning a narrowboat!)
The pub had undergone a complete exterior makeover in the intervening years, but inside it still felt like a proper pub...and, this time, food was available.

Further research shows that The Great Northern is run by Pub People who operate over 40 pubs in the East Midlands (Bought from Greene King in 2013). It is good to see that companies are still investing in pubs!