Experiences can make the best birthday presents, and I assume it was with that in mind that my better half booked a February weekend away on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Looking at the Metcheck 14 day forecast a few weeks ago, rain and strong winds were forecast. Metcheck is one of the most accurate forecasting sites I've come across so it was no great surprise when we encountered heavy rain, roads turned in to rivers and spectacular waterfalls cascading down the hillsides as we took the scenic route from Preston to Richmond via Skipton and Kettlewell.
Our home for the weekend was at Natural Retreats, just outside Richmond. Their website reads "The award winning design, modern open plan living and sustainable build are only a few highlights of these superb residences which offer perfect self catering holidays Yorkshire Dales." As we drove down the long and heavily rutted track to our "Eco Cabin" we weren't disappointed. Despite the poor weather the views across Swaledale were great and there were clearly acres of rough grassland and woods on the doorstep to keep the dog entertained. Perfect for a wet and wild weekend!
No need to leave the site for a good walk!
After a an hour or so playing with his ball the dog was happy enough to curl up on his bed near to the fantastically cosy wood burner, rising occasionally to stare out of the huge windows in hope of glimpsing one of the many rabbits and pheasants that hopped and strolled across the grass outside.
The site is big enough not to need to venture far and Saturday morning's walk took in a couple of miles of walking, almost entirely within the boundary walls. It was then off for a trip to Reeth, where we had heard good reports about the Dog Friendly Kings Arms Hotel. On arrival it was hard to miss the "lease this pub" banners adoring the facade. Undeterred we went inside and joined one elderly lady inside, who was finishing a pot of tea. Perhaps unfairly we decided that a pub with a good reputation for food should have more than two punters and a dog awaiting Saturday lunch so after (a good) pint of Theakstons Best we took a short stroll around the village before heading to the historic town of Richmond for the afternoon.
Happily the rain held off so we enjoyed a walk around Richmond without getting wet. We again struggled to find a good food serving pub which looked like it would welcome damp dogs so we took our chances as sat outside, pretending it was summer, eating fish and chips from what was clearly a popular place on the main square. We contemplated a trip to the dog friendly Richmond Castle but decided that given the weather, we'd save it for another visit.
The woodland trail
Returning to the site gave another chance for an hour or two in the fields and woods before returning for another cosy night in front of the fire.
Wet and misty early morning
One of the cabins set in a disused quarry
You might have to wait for special offers if there are only a few of you but a short break at Natural Retreats in Yorkshire is recommended. The only down side was that, despite the weather, it was all over too soon!