OUR weekend break in the Yorkshire Dales was the ideal chance to see God’s own country at its autumnal finest.

Booked in at the Charles Bathurst Inn just down the road from Reeth, near Richmond, we had the perfect location to explore the countryside around Swaledale.

Nestling on a hillside, the AA Rosette-winning CB Inn in Arkengarthdale offers stunning views across the valley.

Our intention had been to go walking but the gale force winds and driving rain of Storm Callum were too much for us fair-weather ramblers and so we opted to stay dry.

Following just over an hour’s drive from Bradford, we called in at award-winning artist Lucy Pittaway’s gallery just outside of Richmond.

Having created the official artwork for the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race for the last three years, Lucy was crowned the UK's Most Popular Selling Published Artist in 2018.

The event is set to come to Richmond for the first time next spring but the Tour de France Grand Depart passed through Reeth and Leyburn in 2014. The local landscape certainly provides ample opportunity for cyclists of whatever standard.

The weather refused to relent so after a bite to eat in Richmond – shortlisted in the Great British High Street Awards this year - we drove up to the famous Tan Hill Inn.

At 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level, it is the highest pub in Great Britain. Based near Keld in Swaledale, the hostelry is a well-known landmark for walkers and cyclists but also a renowned live music venue, playing host to the Arctic Monkeys in 2008.

Just down the road, we were given a friendly welcome at the CB Inn and shown to our room which provided impressive views across the landscape – a classic Dales scene of rolling hills and meadows made even prettier by an autumnal backdrop of deciduous trees.

A nice touch was the provision of fresh milk which meant we could relax with a decent brew as we settled in.

With an hour to kill before dinner, we took the opportunity to enjoy a pint of Black Sheep Best Bitter in front of the fire downstairs.

The ample bar area also has an adjacent lounge with a decent selection of board games to play if the fancy takes you.

After a satisfying hot shower and making use of the luxuriously big and fluffy towels, we were both ready for our evening meal and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

A crispy belly pork starter followed by pan-fried sea bream with chorizo and mussels was simply delicious.

My girlfriend opted for pigeon breast in a smoky madeira sauce with pearl barley and parsnip crisps followed by a lamb shank main dish in which the meat just dropped off the bone.

With a selection of accompanying fresh breads, it was no surprise we were full up.

We really didn’t have room for dessert but how could we refuse sticky toffee pudding? That hit the spot too before we finished off what was a fantastic bottle of Bordeaux.

After a decent night’s sleep in a bed which seemed big enough for four, we were equally impressed by the full English breakfast the following morning - and also the option to buy a packed lunch for those making outdoor pursuits, which seemed very handy and practical.

But we couldn’t say the same about the weather which remained very wet and windy.

Our stay had coincided with The Scott Trial – an annual motorcycle event run by Richmond Motor Club which dates back over a century and has been held in Swaledale since after the Second World War.

Known as one of the toughest of its kind in the UK, the competition features over 80 miles of off-roading which includes observed sections where riders aim to negotiate fast-flowing rock-filled becks without putting their feet down.

We joined a healthy throng of spectators just up the road from the CB Inn to witness up close the skill and bravery of competitors in rain-lashed conditions as Silsden’s Dougie Lampkin won the event for a sixth time.

Now soaked to the bone, it was time for us to head back home to West Yorkshire and dry out.

We would have to wait for another time before exploring the fabulous walking opportunities in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale.

But we had experienced some alternative things to do in the area and with other attractions such as Easby Abbey and the Bowes Museum not far away, we will certainly be back.


The Charles Bathurst Inn is situated in Arkengarthdale, just over 15 miles from Richmond.

The 18th century CB Inn is a free house, featuring 14 double and 5 twin bedrooms, all offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Arkengarthdale was once an important lead-mining area which was dominated by the Charles Bathurst Company, founded in 1656 when a Dr Bathurst purchased from the Crown the right to mine in the area. The name now lives on at the CB Inn.

Two nights including dinner*, bed and breakfast based on two people sharing a double/twin room: Midweek £290, Weekend £320 (*dinner inc up to £22.50 per person per night) (2017-18 tariff)

A wide-ranging menu, changed daily to reflect the seasons, saw the CB Inn awarded an AA Rosette in 2013, an accolade which they have maintained for the last four years.

The CB Inn’s sister pub is the 17th-century Punch Bowl in Low Row just a few miles away.