The Boat Inn
Scarthin, Cromford, Matlock, DE4 3QF
The whiskies and brandies behind the bar aren't the only spirits to be found at The Boat Inn, by all accounts. This charming pub, popular with hikers, dates back to 1772 and is steeped in history. Its spooks are said to include a soldier, a little girl who loves playing with the light switches and a genteel lady who drifts along the bar. The latter has been seen several times by both the licensees since they took over in May 2010. And perhaps all this history helps to inspire the fine menu. Off the beaten track, this pub is not known as Cromford's best-kept secret for nothing. I visited with a friend and, to start with, we chose the homemade country pork terrine - served with a delicious chutney - and the smoked haddock fishcakes, which were fresh and moist. All the meat is sourced locally so I couldn't resist ordering the local game casserole. My companion opted for the homemade half-pound burger, served slightly rare, juicy and tender. It was all washed down with some well-conditioned ales. I can't vouch for the ghost stories but this was certainly food (and drink) for the soul. Don't let the tales put you off - the atmosphere here is warm, welcoming and well worth seeking out.