A wobbly Coast to Coast path - Rambling Pete's Way 2010

Accommodation review


 I started to plan this walk at least 6 months before and booked my accommodation well in advance. This of course means that I have to pay the full whack, but it's a price I'm willing to pay to secure my choice. I always plan my long walks around the accommodation stops, which can be awkward, but I like a pint in the evenings. I don't think I could do backpacking - mainly due to my knees not being able to stand the extra weight, I prefer to socialise a bit of an evening and thankfully I can afford B&B's or hotels. Some of the places were a bit quirky, and some superb value - but the worldwide web can make a silk purse out of a pigs ear. But overall my choices were ok and gave me everything I needed. I was lucky enough to be chauffeured around the Lake District and stayed at a friends house - that made life very easy, but I could have got accommodation if I needed it. One thing to note though is that most B&B's \ hotels in the Lake District like you to book two nights at the weekends which can make planning  difficult.

Budle Hall - about 3 miles on from Bamburgh Castle - http://www.budlehall.co.uk/

Originally I had made a booking in Bamburgh itself, but thanks to a snooty owner, they double booked my room. So I ended up at Buddle Hall - a delightful shabby chic sort of place. Very grand, with a slightly faded facade. But the welcome was marvellous, a make yourself at home sort of place. The room was huge and comfortable, with a smattering of antiques. The bathroom was OK and the plumbing typical of an old hall. I was served up a couple of beers in the garden while I wrote up my blog - I'm sure the owner thought I was a journalist or something. Breakfast was good and plentiful, and also a bit quirky - I was sat at a long table and my place was set aside from the other guests by a strip of astro-turf (complete with Daisies) across the table. A thumbs up for me, but probably a tenner more than it should be for a single. I ate in Bamburgh at The Olive Tree - a nice little Italian restaurant - good walking food.


The Grand entrance hall


The impressive stairwell

  Wooler-   http://www.rockliffehouse.co.uk

I've stayed here three times now, and the owner Rachel is very welcoming. So welcoming that she left me a note on the front door telling me she had to go out and leaving the keys inside - great that there isn't any crime up there - a theme I'd found in quite a few rural areas. The room was a good size double, with great touches like a box of fudge and some chocolate, as well as the usual. A very tasty breakfast and altogether great value - high on the list of my favourite places on the walk. I ate at the local restaurant - Milan and had a good nosh of pasta for the next day.

Barrowburn (down from the Pennine Way) - http://www.barrowburn.com

This farmhouse was the only place for me to stay on my route across over The Cheviot from Wooler. I had a nice down to earth welcome from the hosts in the tea room - 'you don't look like the normal walkers we have here. Most of them are knackered'. That remark puts them up the rankings straight away, along with the pot of tea and choccy biscuit I was served with. I had my tea served up outside, with a can of Boddingtons, sitting in the sun looking over the meadows and watching the Swallows flit in and out of the eaves. The accommodation wasn't the Ritz but it was fine, clean, and very quiet. They also have a bunkhouse and a holiday cottage to rent out as well. Good value, and a packed lunch thrown in as well.


Nestled down in the valleys - amongst rolling hills

Rothbury (for 2 days) - http://www.orchardhouserothbury.com

I really splashed out on this one - well I do consider my long walks a holiday, and if I find somewhere I really like I book it.  A massive suite of lounge, bedroom and bathroom worked out at  £60 per person B&B - the same price as some other lesser places to stay. It's a lovely small town, and was relatively unknown to most of the general public until this summer when the mad gunman shot himself on the village river bank. We were  welcomed with a glass of fizz and a hot towel - very welcome for me to freshen up. The whole place was superb and in my eyes value for the money I paid - the service was exceptional. I ate down in the town at the local Italian restaurant - 3 pasta based meals out of the first four days.


It doesn't look much from the street - but it's very, very nice and pricey

Bellingham - www.thecheviothotel.co.uk/

Bellingham (prounounced Bellingcham) is a small linear village with a few stores and a couple of pubs, B&B's etc. This one was a bit of a disappointment really - the room was small - true I'd booked a single, but it wasn't great. I'd say very basic, as was the food. The beer was OK, but I think the hotel was struggling to keep up. Overall I would look elsewhere for better value - probably the worse one of the whole trip - but somebody has to be last, and to be fair to them I did ask for a quiet room and it was.


The Hotel is right on the main road - see the yellow sign

Burnhead - directly on Hadrian's Wall near the Milecastle Inn  - www.burnheadbedandbreakfast.co.uk/

Probably the best stay of the trip and marvellous value. Everything was good about here and I couldn't find a single thing to say bad about this place. It's about half a mile away from the pub - uphill, but it's downhill all the way back. The owners - Christine and David give a great welcome, a fresh pot of tea and cake in the room. Despite going on holiday the next day Christine took time to wash my smelly clothes for me - all included in the price of B&B and a packed lunch. To top it all off they had an archaeologist staying while he worked at Vindolanda - great conversation at breakfast.


Burnhead B&B - a little jewel

Alston - www.alstonhouse.co.uk

Quite an expensive stop, but the room was big clean and newly refurbished. The bar area was quiet, full of big tables and a big TV for the football. Very friendly and good service. The food was basically pub grub, but expensive pub grub. OK but overpriced.


 On the main road, but it wasn't too busy

Dufton - Hall Croft B&B

As I was walking over the Pennines the owner phoned me to ask when I would be arriving. About 10 minutes after, he naffed off to go singing in the local choir, leaving us in the house. On the plus side I sat out in the garden, in the sunshine having a beer. No keys, no crime - a nice peaceful village. If you like the smell of dogs then this is the place for you!. The room was fine, the bathroom a bit pokey, and the breakfast was good. The owner didn't know when to leave the room though and kept blathering away over breakfast. It was ok though and adequate for what I needed. A short walk up the road was the local pub which served good beer, good food and attractive barmaids! - (they didn't actually serve barmaids)


The B&B had lovely gardens to sit out in

Days Nine to Eleven - a friends house in Stanton - the cheapest stay of the trip - perfect - I had to cut the grass though.

Ennerdale Bridge - http://www.foxandhoundsinn.org.uk/

A bit of an enigma this. The owner has a monopoly in the village as he owns the hotel as well. Why he is in the hotel business is beyond me as he has all the charm of a wet lettuce, and doesn't give a monkeys about his guests - which strikes me as odd as they pay the bills. But anyway the Fox and Hounds was my choice and I struck lucky as it was the nicer of the two places to stay. I arrived a bit wet and was greeted by the lady who was single handed running the place (the chef had left as he hadn't been paid!). She did her best and was very good. The room was fine, freshly decorated and comfortable. No drying facilities, despite having a boiler room the owner doesn't let anyone use it. Someone had run amok with the silicon gun in the bathroom as well. The food was ok, but the atmosphere was flat as the place was made over to be a restaurant with rooms - but it doesn't work. None of the locals will drink in the village as the owner has alienated all of them! But the saving grace was the packed lunch the next day - a warm veggie pasty - very tasty. The stay was OK but they could do so much more, and it's expensive for what it is.


....and that is the end of that - I hope you enjoyed the walk. Now I have to plan the next one.

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