A winding drive over heather moorland leads to a cosy inn, where a boutique suite pays tribute to one of Yorkshire’s most famous seafaring sons.
In the age of the staycation, Addingham’s Craven Heifer offers a taste of home away from home, seeking inspiration from Whitby’s adventurous past.
Located in the Craven area on the southern tip of the Yorkshire Dales, the inn draws its name from the Craven Heifer. Famous throughout the country for her huge size - she was over 11 feet from nose to rump - three pubs in the immediate area all pay homage to this legendary cow by sharing the same name. So make sure your Sat Nav is set to the right spot.
The pub-turned-high end hotel and restaurant was celebrating on the evening of our stay, having that week been offered with two AA Rosettes for its food, plus four stars for its accommodation. A top-to-bottom £250,000 refurbishment project completed last August transformed the premises, incorporating the provision of luxury bedrooms individually themed after seven of the Yorkshire’s most famous sons and daughters.
Upon entering the ‘destination food pub’, as landlord Craig Minto described the inn, we are greeted by a bar tender named James, who leaves his post and guides us through a hatch beside the bar to where the seven boutique bedrooms sit.
In the building’s attic sits the Crow’s Nest, designed to echo the voyages of Captain James Cook and, ignoring the anachronism of the room’s name, the suite is splendid.
Although there are no images of the great explorer in the room, a huge map across the ceiling charts one of his great voyages. A telescope, globe, captain’s desk and tot of navy rum, coupled with the sloping roofs and exposed beams, further enhance the sense of being on a seafaring sailing ship.
Privacy isn’t high on the priorities and like the sailors of old, sharing quarters, a bath sits at one end, adjacent to, and watchable from, the room’s king size bed.
But when a free-standing bath sits in one corner of the suite, it’s customary to fill the tub and jump right in. And so it is, when we head down for dinner, we do so sufficiently pruned.
The seven course tasting menu, accompanied by a luxurious wine flight, helped while away the evening in this quiet suburb of Skipton and on a quiet Thursday evening, the dining room is empty except for the two of us.
Serving us was the restaurant’s charming and knowledgeable manager, Maxine, who had moved to the Craven Heifer from the Sun Inn, a sister pub near Edinburgh.
Exotic dishes such as Yorkshire asparagus, crispy quails egg, goat’s curd and salmon caviar offer delicate delights and, although I haven’t quite bought into shellfish foam yet, every item was cooked to perfection. Rare treats such as early summer black truffle balance seamlessly with wild garlic mousse, and as always the wine is top notch. Cheeky twists to traditional dishes such as ham, egg and chips offer an insight into executive chef Mark Owen’s sense of humour.
We rise from the meal, satisfied and tipsy, and head up to the suite.
The following morning the sun breaks over Rombald’s Moor, warm and bright, and after a light breakfast (the creamy yoghurt served in a miniature churn is creamy and delicious), it’s time to head out into the surrounding moors, leaving this gem behind.
Like the great North Star that Cook used to circle the globe, the Craven Heifer is a bright light, leading the way for other boutique village inns.