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Monday, 9 November 2009

AN INSPECTOR CALLS... Part 1

This is an unusual one for me: I have been asked to write about my stay at a hotel in the Yorkshire Dales.

As I mentioned about a week ago the deal was that the Charles Bathurst Inn provided a free night’s accommodation for two people with B&B and dinner. All they asked in return is that I shared my thoughts of the hotel on my blog and tell our congregation what I thought of the walks nearby.

Well - that seemed like an excellent plan to me and so I agreed, with the proviso that I would make it very clear that this had been provided to us FOC. This sort of thing fits well within my blog anyhow, as I love hotels and I love good food. (Is there anyone who doesn't, I think to myself?)

For convenience, I am splitting the review into two parts - Part 1: Hotel & Accommodation and Part 2: Food and drink.

So: As you will have read previously, we had stayed the night before (Friday) at Keld Lodge in Upper Swaledale and our stay there had been pretty good. We drove from there over the top, passing the Tan Hill Inn - a fine pub made famous (for me as a child, that is) by Ted Moult and his floating feather past the newly fitted Everest Double Glazing.

It has to be said; the roads in the North Yorkshire Dales are absolutely wonderful - hardly a car to be seen with wonderful 1950's style motoring through wonderful moorland scenery. For the less able bodied, there are abundant parking places to sit and admire the views. For the more able-bodied (come on, keep up at the back - that probably means you) that means quite a few places to dump the car and get out for a walk.

And, as it was a nice day, that is exactly what we did. In fact we were spoiled for choice. The CB Inn is in Arkengarthdale; a spur dale for Swaledale, just a few minutes drive from Reeth. The area is steeped in Archeological history - famous for its lead mining. You can see evidence of old hushes and spoil heaps everywhere adding interest to the steep sided Dales. The rivers and waterfalls rush though the dale bottoms and emerald pastures are strewn with old stone barns, so characteristic of the Dales.

We arrived at the Charles Bathurst Inn after a walk that finished as evening was drawing in and were quite wet and muddy. There's a drying room for walkers (the boiler room, so your soaking togs will definitely dry out)

Our welcome was warm and friendly and we were shown to our room; a superior double. Our room was warm, spacious and tastefully decorated. The bed was very comfortable and the linen new and very good quality. The view from our room was to the rear of the hotel, overlooking the dale - all very peaceful.

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The bathroom was large and well lit and all appeared to be pretty new. The towels were gorgeously fluffy and white and there was loads of useful shelf space.

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Quite a nice touch is that there is fresh milk in a fridge in the corridor outside your room which makes a pleasant change from the usual little plastic UHT offerings in hotels. Shortbread biscuits in a biscuit jar made a welcoming cuppa all the more refreshing.

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There is a resident's lounge on the first floor, well stocked with mags and books and comfy chairs - which would be great if you were with a party of walkers.

The bar is large and busy and serves Black Sheep amongst other real ales, so I was in a personal heaven. You can have bar meals or should you wish you can eat in the restaurant, which is what we chose to do.

So - to summarise, the hotel is clean, warm, welcoming and very professionally run by charming staff. What you pay is shown clearly on the hotel's website and from what we experienced is very good value for your money.

You can find the Charles Bathurst Inn's website HERE

8 comments:

  1. Gah! There you go with the Black Sheep talk again .... :)

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  2. I walked the entire length of Great Britain, drinking some Great Beers.

    Black Sheep was right up there at the top... along with The Reverend James, Doom Bar, Butcombe......

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  3. I thought I recognised the young lady.
    Good luck, sir, and may you savour many more free weekends, educating your congregation...and enjoying the Black Sheep.

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  4. Had a look at the website as well Alan...looks a nice place.

    Unfortunately a couple of points make it unattractive to me personally. Nae dugs and must stay 2 nights at weekends! I notice that gross irritation (the 2 night scenario) creeping in more and more these days...and as a potential customer it puts me off.

    If I am looking to holiday I don't like the idea of an inn/hotel/B&B dictating my timescales. As a result I tend to avoid these places...unless of course our interests coincide (lol).

    How did you find trying to write a hotel review? I know I would find it difficult as I tend to be very analytical (and thus critical).

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  5. Martin: Thank you. Black Sheep is rather tasty...

    Ken: The dog thing can be a bit off-putting - I have expereienced that myself in the past too. I suppose you can understand the 'two night' thing when you look at it from their perspective - if you just want to stay, say, on Saturday night, you may well be 'blocking' someone who wants to stay Friday and Saturday. Perhaps you might have more luck in the quieter season when hotels have less demand and more rooms become available?

    I have found this myself in the past. Most places are pretty felxible.

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  6. Interesting to read your review Alan - look forward to part 2. Swaledale and surrounding parts is one of my favourite parts of the world though I have never been to the CB - but have seen it advertised before.

    As for Black Sheep, would second your comments. Timothy Taylors Landlord is a personal favourite as well.

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  7. So right Phil! I was introduced to Timothy Taylor's Landlord by two infamous characters of the TGO Challenge on my LEJOG - Waggy & Mike Osborne.

    'twere bloody splendid! (as are they both)

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  8. Excellent news, good luck to you both.
    (Bit bizarre, I know, from a 'virtual' stranger, but I really do wish you both well.)

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