- Created on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:27
There was no sun over the Sun Inn that day – only heavy dark clouds and steady rain – but inside the inn there a truly warm and sunny welcome from Steve, Sarah and colleagues.
We three travellers were heading for a few days in Scotland and had booked into the Sun Inn for a night to break the journey. The Sun, owned and run by Lucy and Mark Fuller since 2006, is a 17th century inn overlooking St Mary's church in the centre of Kirkby Lonsdale.
Our plan had been to leave early the next morning but we were so captivated by this pretty little market town that we lingered longer than planned. And, had we realised just how comfortable our stay would be at the Sun we would have lingered much longer there too.
My cosy room overlooking the sparrows on the roof tops opposite my window was so comfortable that had I been able to pack it up and put it in the car to take home I would have done so. Decorated in browns and beiges the room was squeaky clean, as was the ultra-modern, gleaming and stylish bathroom. In the room a selection of local magazines and a welcome tray complete with homemade cookies and, what a treat, fresh milk. In the bathroom toiletries from the Bath House, a local shop specialising in all things deliciously scented.
The bar and dining room had looked enticing and it wasn't too long before we had drifted downstairs for a pre-supper glass of..! That evening the bar was rather crowded. So instead we opted to eat in the main dining room (much of its furniture made by Lucy's talented father). We were all intrigued by the idea of eight-hour cooked lamb with spring vegetables. Delicious it was too. We only had to look at for it to fall softly apart on our plates. We also gave high awards to our starters – smoked mackerel pate with gooseberry chutney, ham hock terrine with piccalilli and my chicken livers on brioche with chestnut mushrooms. No doubt the puds would have been fabulous, and the Inn's legendary cheese board was tempting, but we had no room left.
Breakfast the next morning served by Mark (Lucy was away at a meeting) was terrific. Breakfast it has to be said is probably my favourite meal of the day. And this one was really special: delicious local bacon and eggs, sausages, etc, preceded by a smoothie and home-made granola.
Even in the rain we three had been enchanted by Kirkby Lonsdale, conveniently located for the Lake District, Lancashire and Yorkshire Dales, but luckily by the next day we were able to explore in gentle sunshine. As the hotel is next door to St Mary's church that was our first port of call. The little church dates back centuries and behind it a path leading to Ruskin's View.
Actually it could just as easily have been called Turner's View for the artist JMW Turner was inspired to apply paint to canvas to capture the idyllic scene of the river Lune and valley. Ruskin instead took to prose to capture its beauty. And it is beautiful. The Lune wanders through meadows foaming over rocks in its path and beyond those meadows the dark green of distant hills on which sheep grazed.
The little town is a warren of tiny cobbled alleys and lanes leading to courtyards with evocative names like Salt Pie Lane, Swine Market, Jingling Lane, Horse Market, Old Coach Road. Grey stone houses date back to the 18th century - we each found one that we would have moved to tomorrow. And in the town itself useful shops like hardware, butcher and cheese shops rub shoulders with the likes of the lovely Bath House, antique and gift shops.
We left the Sun Inn and Kirkby Lonsdale with reluctance. Tel: 015242 71965; www.sun-inn.info