Homemade carrot cake and a welcome cuppa by the Aga went a long way to reviving our flagging spirits after a drive up the A1 from London to the Yorkshire Dales through torrential rain to the two-bedroomed Heather Cottage guest house in Aysgarth Village.
Our en-suite room in this arts and crafts Edwardian showpiece was clean and bright with fluffy towels and had furniture that was fitting to this country house, sympathetically restored byAngela and Peter Jauneika who bought it in a state of disrepair 13 years ago.
Every day they left freshly baked cookies in our room, perfect after a full day of walking through the surrounding Dales.
They also gave us laminated Ordnance Survey maps, with routes highlighted — invaluable. Making the most of some dry weather, our ramblings took us from the cottage’s front door to Aysgarth Falls and medieval Bolton Castle where we were able to explore the gardens, battlements and rooms where Mary, Queen of Scots had been imprisoned for six months.
We gazed in awe at the tumbling waterfall in the village of West Burton where Kevin Costner had been filmed in a bathing scene in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.
And to set us up for these walks the breakfasts were sumptuous. And when the rain caught up with us, the indoor charms of this National Park saw us make our way to the Wensleydale Cheese Centre in the bustling market town of Hawes for a tour and endless tasters, and a tour of the Black Sheep brewery in Masham was a hit with my ale-loving husband.
The White Scar caves with wonderfully named stalactites and stalalmites such as the “The Judge” and “Witches’ Fingers” provided further indoor entertainment.
Local eateries were excellent – the Jauneikas gave us a run-down of the pubs and restaurants in the surrounding towns and villages.
Rates: from £72 a night
Tel: 01969 663229