The Fen Reveals A Gem
For centuries, travellers journeying along the road between King's Lynn and Ely
have paused for refreshment at Brandon Creek. This is where Hereward the
Wake defied the Norman invader; where the Scots and Irish prisoners were
detained in the Civil War; where fen met sea-going waterway. The Cambridge
Branch of CAMRA have recently passed this way and fully realised the merits
of The Ship Inn and voted it their Pub of the Year.
Facing you squarely between the eyes as you walk in is a section of the bar
proudly presenting the handpumps. Mauldons, Butcombe, Adnams, Hook
Norton, Elgoods, Batemans, etc. with a careful selection through the gravity
range. A full measure served every time in a sparkling glass from a traditional
dispense. The recently refurbished cellar ensures proper temperature control.
So there's not a lot wrong with the beer.
At one end round a wood-burning stove is a railed-off sitting area with prints of
old fenland life adorning the the walls. The split-level effectively makes this a distinct, cosy area - a popular choice for quiet conversation. CAMRA
newsletters from three counties are regularly displayed on a nearby shelf and,
on the campaigning front, Good Beer Guides are always on sale.
A Real Fire Welcome, even in June
At the other end is a blazing log fire, the focal point of an area of candlelit
tables ready for bar meals, serviced largely from the new servery, a feature of the latest refubishment. Friday night is serve-yourself curry - eat as much as
you like for about £7. Each wall in this area is adorned with a model of
a ship, each one quite different.
For the more formal meal, the wood-panelled dining room seats up to 32
people, the prime seat being perhaps the window box overlooking the fork in
the river. Food is always available when the pub is open. Winter opening is
12-2.30, 6.30-11, Tues. - Sat., 12-3, 7-10.30 Sunday. Closed all day Monday.
Beware the dim shape wriggling in mid-air...
Outside there is ample car parking, also gardens and boat moorings with ghosts
reputed to haunt the riverbank. It is very popular with the boating fraternity in
summer while the local support comes from a surprisingly large number of
fenfolk from the surrounding hamlets. The buoyant repartee is available to all
customers from landlord Tony Hook and his wife. Happy, smiling service is
ALE November/December 1996 No. 286
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