Sunday, 24 April 2016

Drinking in the Blood Tub

Off to another canalside pub in West Lancs: this time it's the Ship in Lathom. This country pub is less than a mile from Burscough and its two railway stations, and is a landmark on the Leeds-Liverpool canal. It has the nickname the Blood Tub, for which there are two possible explanations: one is that many years ago there used to be a tub of water outside the pub for canal workers who had been in fights to wash off the blood before being allowed in; alternatively, the name is said to refer to the tubs of pigs blood that used to be delivered to the pub to make black puddings. Of course, neither explanation applies today.

The outside is attractively whitewashed, and inside the pub consists of a series of nicely decorated rooms in a row, which suggests that the pub has expanded over the years into neighbouring cottages. There are open air drinking areas to the front overlooking fields and to the rear by the canal, with a covered smoking area.

When we visited, the six real ales were: the house beer Moorhouse's Ship Special which is always available; plus guests, Lancaster Blonde, Morland Old Golden Hen, Robinson's Wizard, Black Sheep and Moorhouse's Pendle Witches Brew. Our group enjoyed all the beers we tried, and one of our number reliably informed me that the food in this pub is very good. It is served every day from midday until 9.00pm, while the pub is open from midday until 11.30pm.

The licensee Ray McKinty was telling me about the quiz they hold every Monday evening and their two Beer, Pie, Sausage and Chilli Festivals with live music in the spring and autumn; in fact, one has just finished and was very popular. He also mentioned their kitchen garden where they grow their own vegetables, which must be the ultimate in local sourcing.

The Ship is child-friendly, dogs are permitted in the boot room, and there is free WiFi. Drivers can use the good-sized car park just across the road from the pub.

The Ship is at 4 Wheat Lane, Lathom, Lancs, L40 4BX. You can find more details on their website, on Facebook, or phone: 01704 893117.

This is part of a series of articles that I am writing for the CAMRA column in our local paper, the Southport Visiter. Previous reviews are here.

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