Golden age for improving riverside pub

The Golden Ball Hotel. Snatchems. Owner Stephen Hunt in the new upstairs restaurant overlooking the River Lune.
The Golden Ball Hotel. Snatchems. Owner Stephen Hunt in the new upstairs restaurant overlooking the River Lune.

A waterside pub described as “coming back from the dead” has received an award for not just surviving but significantly improving.

The Golden Ball at Snatchems has been turned around by landlord Stephen Hunt and won the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)’s Most Improved Pub 2012.

In 2010, the Lune Estuary pub was closed and put up for sale and looked set to become a private house.

But there was a spirited campaign by pub regulars, led by Russell Dunkeld, to keep the pub open.

Stephen Hunt, who had previously run the Farmhouse Tavern but had moved to Spain, was drawn back to damp Lancashire by the challenge of owning and running this historic inn.

He has spent large sums renovating the place, but without removing any walls or otherwise spoiling the atmosphere of the 18th century interior.

There is also a new extension with all modern conveniences including wheelchair access and a great view across the river.

We are quite isolated here, both geographically and in not belonging to a larger company and it is great to get some recognition,” said Mr Hunt.

“This is a pub that has come back from the dead and it is impressive to see what what Stephen has done with it since he got it,” said Jenny Greenhalgh, CAMRA Lunesdale branch chairman.