I’m quite good at this choosing hotel business – we have found another star here. Admittedly it is pretty much the only place you can stay in Ravenstonedale, but the official Dales Highway route actually bypasses Ravenstonedale, finishing for the day at Newbiggin under Lune. With no pubs there, that wasn’t an option.
The Black Swan is an impressively smart hotel and restaurant for a village that has just a handful of houses. They have Bitburger lager and Thatchers cider, and Black Sheep Ale AND Bitter – all of which, if you know your drinks, is impressive. The room is lovely – the biggest bed so far – a bath (I think the first we have had), the same Sedbergh Company Toiletries as the Dalesman, and enough room for a couple of chairs around the fireplace.
They have a tiny shop too, that Prince Charles opened as part of ‘the pub is the hub’ initiative. Not great for supplying ingredients for a packed lunch, but they did have pies and pasties.
Dinner was really tasty, but the main word to describe it is large. Now I am a seasoned walker, I am amazed at how much I can eat. I am still almost always hungry. But this had me beat. I had steak, venison and ale casserole with dumpling and chips. Loads of flavour – proper home cooked style. Neil had ham hock. In reality, Neil helped me eat my casserole, ate half his ham hock, and the rest of the ham is in our sandwiches for tomorrow. Which seems to me like a win win situation.
Black Swan Ravenstonedale – another recommendation.