One of the things that has changed most on the cut since I first boated in the 1970s is the pubs. What were once small, quiet,old-fashioned houses, frequented by locals and a few passing boaters have become upmarket, mainly food-oriented establishments. In extreme cases they have become more akin to restaurants where one feels unwelcome calling in just for a drink.
I don't remember stopping at Stockton Brook in those days so have no memories of the "Sportsman" (on the main road near the second lock in the flight). However, I doubt it's changed substantially since those days.
There are two rooms: a comfortable "snug", that functions as a lounge bar and a "tap room", which is everything a public bar should be.
|Mark gettin' 'em in at the Sportsman|
As for today, it started to rain as soon as we set off, rained all the way down the Caldon, rained at Etruria where we tied up and set off to find a pub called "The Holy Inadequate" that a boater had recommended to me. Unfortunately he neglected to mention it doesn't open at lunchtimes during the week. It then rained all the way to Kidsgrove, where it's till raining as I write. The only time we weren't cold and wet all day was the 35 minutes we spent negotiating Harecastle Tunnel. I shouldn't have gone through so quickly!
|Waiting to get out of the rain at Harecastle Tunnel|