STEVE ROBSON visits a boutique hotel a few miles up the road from Kirkby Lonsdale
PLUNGING fourteen metres from a limestone cliff which formed 330million years ago, the Thornton Force waterfalls in Ingleton are an impressive sight.
It’s easy to see why the painter JMW Turner was inspired to recreate them.
The thrilling spectacle was one of many highlights on the Ingleton Falls walking trail that meanders upstream along the River Twiss, over the rolling hills of the Twiss Valley and back downstream via the River Doe.
My wife and I picked the 4.3mile hike as a challenge during what proved to be a lovely romantic getaway at the Plough Inn in nearby Lupton.
The boutique hotel sits in a neat spot a few miles up the road from Kirkby Lonsdale and therefore well-placed to visit the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.
Ingleton Falls was one of several recommended walks that showcase some of the finest natural beauty in the country.
Our first stop, it was barely an hour’s drive from Stockport but still a welcome opportunity to unstiffen the legs and get some gulps of countryside air.
It’s a steep climb at times but nothing too difficult with plenty to keep the eyes and ears entertained along the way.
And the reward at the top is exactly the kind of view that makes you feel a million miles from the stress of meetings, emails and traffic jams.
Having walked up an appetite, we were spoiled for choice with a wide range of restaurants and pubs in the area, all ideal for a relaxing Sunday lunch.
We picked the Sun Inn in Kirkby Lonsdale where the food was delicious and the cask ales went down frighteningly easy.
By late afternoon it was time to check-in to the Plough.
A converted farmhouse, the historic pub is renowned as much for its food as its accommodation.
There are six rooms, each separately named and uniquely decorated.
We stayed in Torsin, the largest and normally able to sleep up to five - but as a treat for a couple it was a quite the special experience.
Standout features include a glass table sitting on a giant horse’s head and a bathroom mirror built into an enormous, ornate frame as if it were a Renaissance masterpiece.
While the eye is naturally drawn to some of the more unusual and luxurious decor, the room is also well-appointed.
A comfy corner sofa was perfect for cozying up and losing an hour or two with a book and a nice glass of rioja.
Meanwhile, my other half stuck a Fleetwood Mac record on the vinyl player provided while soaking in the standalone bathtub.
There was even a fancy coffee maker so we were able to enjoy an earlymorning espresso. Bliss.
Our dinner reservation was for 7.30pm but the staff couldn’t have been more pleasant when we lost track of the time and wandered downstairs well past 8’o’clock.
The dining room was abuzz with plenty of other bookings; while the kitchen has a fancy, seasonal menu they also don’t think themselves above putting on special offer nights to showcase favourites such as fish and chips or a burger.
For us though, it was a chance to indulge in full holiday-mode and order a steak.
We decided to try one each of the 28-day, dry aged 8oz sirloin and Himalayan salt chamber 8oz ribeye.
All the meat was 100 per cent sourced from the counties we had enjoyed exploring surrounding the Plough Inn - Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire - and delicious.
Served with a rocket and shallot salad, garlic and herb butter, fries and a glass of merlot, it was the perfect way to be spoiled.
After perhaps one too many nightcaps, we eventually stumbled back up to Torsin for a peaceful night’s rest in the super king-sized bed.
Despite the excess, we somehow managed to get up and use the Plough’s handy location on the edge of the Lake District National Park to head in and enjoy another day’s outdoor activities.
A highly-enjoyable stay, the Plough proved to be both a useful stepping off point to some of the area’s best attractions and a quirky lodging with a quality restaurant.
The Plough Inn at Lupton - a luxury bed and breakfast near Kirkby Lonsdale