29th December 2022.

Nearly finished the 2022 posts, then I’ll do a December Stocktake, and I’ll be up-to-date on the blog by next week. “What will you do then ?” asks Mrs RM, a worrying question.

Two (2) Charnwood pubs on the River Soar for you tonight, two pubs largely inseparable in style, ambition and beer quality (unhappily).

New Guide pubs between Leicester (a nearly great pub city) and Loughborough ( a nearly great pub town) have been few and far between and pretty dull when they come.

The sense of fox hunts in the recent past hangs heavy in the air, and you sense there are still pubs here run by Leicester City legends like Alan Birchenall and the prematurely bald one. Perhaps Jamie Vardy will run a micropub in Quorn now his marvellous career is nearing his end.

The Christmas decorations were already nearing their end in Rothley,

a remarkably unremarkable village of 3,897 with far too many women’s clothes shops called things like Williams & Bertie.

I always assume I’ve visited all the Charnwood pubs already, and am a bit shocked by the appearance of the Woodman’s Stroke,

spending 7 minutes checking I haven’t ticked it under its “Woodies” nickname.

Marvellously, it opens at 11am, and a fair smattering of well-heeled gentlefolk have gathered well ahead of lunch to stare at the ceiling. It’s a wood-beamed gem, though rather spoilt by the Rugby tat.

Oooh, is that Bass ?

We’re a Bass house. Always have Bass on” says the efficient landlord. Too many other beers, I think.

I wasn’t expecting YOU” says the Old Boy doing the Rothley Reporter crossword. There’s no answer to that.

He’s not drinking the Bass, and it’s served in a generic nonic which may influence my scoring, but it’s not great.

On the other hand, this tight head example isn’t bad either, and I’m torn between a 2.5 and a 3. Am I going soft ?

On the way out, I bang my head on the beams, obscured by pesky Xmas decs. Perhaps it will knock sense into me.

An hour later, I arrive at the Navigation at Barrow.

Now, I was expecting this too be upmarket, but it’s a remarkably unfussy canalside pub, the sort you get near Coventry (Hawkesbury Junction ?).

Bench seating, “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough“, picture of Billy Connolly, silent couple, pint for him, half for her.

Sound great, eh ?

And it’s worth an hour of your time, even if the beer itself is, again, a bit dull.

I don’t come to Leicestershire for Moorhouses and Abbot, I come for Pedi and Bass. And a great burger (“Cheddar or Stilton ?”, Stilton, obviously).

Oh well. It’s Harvest Pale, then; another one that veers between 2.5 and 3 and dips below at the last minute.

In GBG ticker land we’d say “It was its turn in the Guide“.

Eventually the canal dog walkers and the outdoor Amstel drinkers turned up. Dermott ? He never showed. Mind, it was only 2:30.

5 thoughts on “A CHARNWOOD BASS HUNT

  1. Charnwood Forest is a famous geological site, it’s where a 15 year old school boy found the a pre-cambrian fossil in 1957. His name was Roger Mason and the fossil is called Charnia Masoni. Prior to this it was thought that pre-cambrian fossils did not exist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can assure you, Sir, that your kind information will not be wasted on me, but – on the contrary – treasured, with the rest of my quite extensive collection.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t bring myself to have a pint in Woodies. It was a Skittle Alley pub, the last in the village, then it closed and reopened in a different colour and without its skittle alley. I’m sentimental like that.

    As for Harvest Pale, I remember when it was the go-to beer in a Notts/Leics pub, now it’s far and away Castle Rock’s dullest beer. Elsie Mo every time when available…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Castle Rock beers weren’t even that good in the busier Nottingham pubs this last year, even the Preservation I rated highly. I think I’ll put it down to turnover rather than brewing.


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