Every year Gabriel and I go away for a weekend to do something outdoors-y with his brother, Alan, and his wife Clara. Last year we chose ‘The Drunken Duck’ in the Lake District. This year they chose ‘The Charles Bathurst Inn’ in the Yorkshire Dales.
The weekend did not get off to a flying start. As we crawled past signs to the Lake District, listening to traffic reports advising people to avoid the M6, I wondered why on earth we’d said we’d go to the Yorkshire Dales in the first place.
Two hours late (no, I don’t mean later), we met up at the Wensleydale Creamery,
legs wobbly and unkeen to support our bodies after maintaining the stuck-in-a-car position for six hours. The weather and my mood were as one. Damp. Miserable.
But we had come to walk. And walk we did.
Thirsty, hungry, rain dripping off the tip of my nose, I couldn’t wait to get to ‘The Charles Bathurst Inn‘, with its promise of warmth, comfort, and sustenance. As I walked past a few campsites I breathed a sigh of relief that my camping days were behind me.
The walk finished, we now fell, enthusiastically this time, back in to the car, and then drove to the Inn – over moors, up and down dales, over hump-back bridges and along miles and miles of grey drystone walls, and field after field full of lambs. At last our destination was in sight.
The setting was dramatic and wild, made even more brooding by the low mist which hung in the air. With the Stang one side and Arkengarthdale the other, The Charles Bathurst Inn nestled between the two, the grey winding road meandering on by.
From the outside, The Charles Bathurst Inn, also known affectionately as the CB Inn, looked pleasant enough.
Yet as we stumbled into the bar, the interior was bright, modern, all the while radiating a warmth and a welcome that instantly made the hellish journey along the M6 a dim and distant memory. As for the rain, when inside this cosy inn, it seemed positively essential, all the better to enjoy the contrast of within and without.
We checked in at the bar, then were shown to our rooms on the first floor. My legs were so heavy ( due to the car journey or walk, I couldn’t really say), that I had difficulty lifting them up the stripey stairs. Even more alarming was my inability to push open the very heavy door. The room. I was almost in the room. I just wanted to get inside the room. I used my entire bodyweight to push open the door. I tumbled in.
And then I saw and felt it. The bed – so very comfortable; the sheets – so soft and fresh; the air – so comfortingly warm.
Gabriel and I made ourselves a cup of tea and devoured the homemade shortbread biscuits appreciatively, starting to relax. But then we realised that we only had thirty minutes before dinner. Hell! No time to even lay my head on the plump pillow. I just about managed to be amazed by the view from the window before I had to throw myself into the shower.
Our table was in the main bar area –
and at 7.30, we, (me – Izzy, Gabriel – my husband, Alan – Gabriel’s brother, Alan’s wife – Clara, Gabriel and Alan’s cousin – Rona, and Rona’s special friend – Stefan) were in the bar, choosing food from the mirror menu . As the focus of my gaze ricocheted between the words and the objects reflected in the mirror, I had to turn away.
I remembered seeing the words ‘scallops’ and ‘Chicken Kiev’ so went with them.
The scallops looked good and tasted better.
So did the chips and salad. But the Chicken Kiev took quite a while to saw in to. Now I was tired after the walk, but I had to admit that the Kiev wasn’t quite right. In the end I gave in, admitted defeat, and told the waiter…
Whereupon I received another one that looked very similar…
I eyed the other plates with envy.
But having crunched, then munched, my way through two plates of food, I couldn’t face pud.
But the others could. And did.
And very pretty they looked too.
However, I couldn’t help but join the others when they chose to finish the meal, not with a coffee, but with a local ale, before retiring, and sinking into a wonderfully deep sleep, between cotton-crisp sheets, in a cosily warm room.
Time for breakfast! Always a shock, but pleasantly civilised at the Bathurst Inn in not starting before 8.30 and going on until 10.
Still feeling slightly radioactive after the Kiev, I wasn’t really hungry. But then I was presented with the breakfast menu.
There was a selection of cereals, fruit and yogurt to which I could help myself, as well as juices. Obviously there was tea, coffee, toast and home-made preserves.
Gabriel’s brother promised us a ‘good’ walk, and so I justified my gluttonous indulgence in the name of fuelling up. I told myself that I might not get another chance for quite some time. Little did I realise how prophetic that was to be.
The breakfast menu had everything you might expect from such a lovely place – full English, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, champagne. And, surprisingly, given how full I still was from the night before, I opted for the full English with fried eggs. I managed to eat every morsel.
And then we were off, following our leader, Alan, into the unknown. He’d plotted a walk starting from the Inn and going up into the hills on the other side of the main road. And we walked along empty roads, up hills, down dales, over grouse moors, past mines, along rivers, into towns, past fields and fields of sheep, over rivers… and then back to the Bathurst Inn – fifteen miles and seven and a half hours later.
As we collapsed into the Bathurst, I downed a pint as if my life depended on it, and sat appreciatively next to the glowing fire. The restorative powers of the lime soda soon took effect, enabling me to wobble and hobble back to my room for a shower before dinner. At seven thirty.
This time our table was at the very back of the building, down some steps, in the furthest corner of a large, airy, dining area. It had a high ceiling and attractive wooden beams, and the most wonderful views of the fields and hills.
I opted for the fillet steak – by far the most expensive dish on the menu. But I justified this by having neither starter nor dessert.
It was absolutely delicious. The over-used phrase, ‘melts in your mouth’ comes to mind, and I feel ashamed that I can’t think of a better one, as the steak merits some fine wordy praise. Even the stack of vegetables teetering on the top of it was heavenly. It was the perfect reward for having finished my longest ever walk.
It must be something to do with extreme fatigue but, senses heightened, I even savoured the grenache. Makes a change from not touching the sides.
I appreciated how pretty the other dishes were…
but the fillet steak was all I needed.
As for the staff, they were tested to the full, one way or another, by our little band of merry walkers. Yet they emerged radiant, calm, cheery, and unfailingly polite.
As the car headed for home the next morning, I couldn’t help but wish I could have stayed at the Charles Bathurst Inn just a little longer… as well as working out how soon I could return.
Two stars and a wish
LINKFILE, factfile, and ‘in their own words’
‘The restaurant and bed and breakfast in the Yorkshire Dales has built up a reputation for high quality food and accommodation at affordable prices, and attracts a number of high profile guests from aristocracy and royalty to the occasional celebrity during the shooting season.’
The CB Inn has 19 rooms (14 doubles and 5 twins) all en-suite with TV, central heating, tea and coffee making facilities, phone and wi-fi. There is also a guests’ lounge where you can relax away from the bar area.
Location – Arkengarthdale, Richmond, North Yorkshire DL11 6EN
Phone number – freephone 0333 7000 779
E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Price – not cheap, but good value for the standard of food and accommodation on offer.
Dinner, Bed and breakfast rate for 2 nights (weekend) – £280
(But in researching prices I discovered a Groupon deal. Worth looking out for. )
The CB Inn can get booked up, so you might want to look at its sister establishment, the nearby Punch Bowl Inn, which offers similar facilities and is run by the same people.
For a look at a sample menu click on the following –
To find out more about the accommodation, prices, and to check availability click on –