AHOY there! It is about time I set sail for the Rossendale Valley — and my port of call this week is, the Jolly Sailor in Waterfoot.

The pub has been run for two and a half years by David and Jackie Riley — and Jackie was there to greet and give me a warm, friendly welcome.

It's a spacious, open planned hostelry — with an impressive, L-shaped, wood-panelled bar, a pool room, and lots of tables and seating, nicely spaced around the pub.

Outside at the rear of the building there is a most attractive wooden-decked, beer-garden and a private, sheltered smoking area.

There’s plenty to offer the local community and beyond at the friendly Jolly Sailor — this includes a fine range of cask ales and draught lagers, good value food and live, musical entertainment most weekends — all of which adds up to lots of hospitable provision being available.

As ever, I was interested in the beers on offer and was impressed with the five cask ale pumps on the bar.

Jackie explained: “There were only two cask ales on when we took over — we now have five, two being permanent — a Moorhouse’s brand and Copper Dragon's, Golden Pippen — the others are rotating.”

The pub had just received its Cask Marque award for beer excellence for the second year running.

Jackie added: “Golden Pippin is the best seller, we have two pumps to cope with demand. The regular customers prefer the lighter, lower strength ales — the stronger ones have them sliding off their stools after two or three!”

The Golden Pippin was in excellent condition and other customers were enjoying the Skipton brewer's tipple.

“There’s one regular who loves the stuff,” Jackie informed me. “He comes in the pub two or three times a week - and drinks about 10 pints!”

The pub also caters well for draught lager drinkers — a choice of four, including Budweiser.

“It's growing in popularity here — and we are the only boozer that has it on draught locally,” said Jackie.

Food is very popular at the pub too. A group of 12 satisfied customers were just leaving as I was entering the pub. The choice and price list is very appealing.

The haddock, chips and mushy peas for example, was just £3.95 —that’s cheaper than your local chippy!

They also had a tempting sweet menu. The sponge of the day – lemon and orange with custard – it would certainly round off your visit!

I kind of anticipated the experience that was in store for me, at the Jolly Sailor — friendly ‘Rossy Valley’ welcome, nice, relaxed atmosphere, friendly characters at the bar — and last, but not least, the landlady, Jackie — who I found to be a most helpful, accommodating and cheerful host.

Mark Briggs has been a real ale connoisseur for over 35 years.  A self-professed ‘beer geek’, Mark visits East Lancashire’s pubs for his weekly column.
Read of Mark’s adventures in ale at his blog realaleupnorth.blogspot.com or follow him on Twitter @realaleupnorth