PUB OF THE WEEK:
The Boat Inn, Sprotborough
THE website for The Boat Inn has a line which tells you that it is “a 17th-century pub on the grassy banks of the River Don, next to Sprotbrough Lock.” And today, so it is – but not so many years ago, when this part of the county was sore afflicted by flooding, The Boat was not so much on the banks as in the Don itself. Way in. When the waters eventually subsided, the poor old Boat was a sorry sight. Happily, those days are now behind us, and the bustling Boat is once again shipshape.
It is said that no less a literary luminary than Sir Walter Scott stayed here in the reign of William IV, scribbling away on the first draft of his epic novel Ivanhoe, which he set in and around nearby Conisbrough Castle. One of the nice things about The Boat is that it is a collection of nooks, corners and crannies, so that a small party of diners doesn’t feel hemmed in by larger ones.
As for the beers, wines and spirits, well, the shelves of the bar are crammed with them, and the guest ales are changed regularly. A superb pint of Cumberland was a joy to sup. On warmer days, the courtyard is as busy as the interior, and you can work up a fine old appetite by having a stroll along the river banks before lunch or dinner. The area is popular with fishermen, ramblers, dog-walkers, and The Boat’s regulars. It is therefore a pity, with so many other good things going for it, the greeting on our visit was abrupt. However, the menus are enticing, and it is, apparently, imperative to book for evening and weekend meals.
The Boat Inn, Nursery Lane, Sprotborough, DN5 7NB. 01302 858500.