To celebrate our first year as a married couple, Angela and I have come back to stay at the Inn At Whitewell.
A place we both adore, and where twelve months ago we became Mr and Mrs Malpass.
We married on the Ninth of October 2014, on a wonderfully Autumnal (favourite word) day. Travelling to the Inn the day before to spend the eve of our Wedding playing Parlour games (we hosted a Murder Mystery for our guests) and relaxing before the big day.
So for our anniversary we've taken a similar approach. Arriving on Wednesday 7th and staying for two nights before celebrating with family over lunch on Friday afternoon.
As with our Wedding we've brought along our three silly dogs - who are more than welcome as guests at the Inn At Whitewell too - with the intention of going for a lovely long walk around Whitewell, Dunsop Bridge, and the River Hodder on Thursday. It's a stunning part of the World, accurately described as an "area of natural beauty".
We had a lazy start to our mini-break. Waking late and enjoying a walk on the sea front with the dogs before breakfast. After a bowl of slow-cooked oats I went out for a few miles on my bike, while Angela spent some quality time with her horse followed by a quick swim.
It was gone one before we sat down to lunch and started packing up the car but we weren't to be rushed today. The drive out to Whitewell is lovely with stunning scenery. After our leasurly morning we finally checked in to our room at about half past five.
Knowing that Angela is pregnant and I dont drink, instead of a bottle of Champagne we were generously given some Molton Brown smellies!
With a few hours to kill before dinner we went for a quick walk around the grounds with the dogs. It was a gorgeous evening and gave the guys a chance to blow off some steam.
Dinner is served between seven thirty and nine. So of course we were sat at our table by seven. Keen as mustard! This is a meal we had both been looking forward to for some time. Soup of the day was pea and ham, but we decided against it. Instead we'd order a Peanut Butter Cheesecake to share for dessert!
For main Angela had Pork Belly (an absolute must here), and I had the Sirloin Steak with chips. A first class meal if ever there was one. You really cannot fault the food or service at the Inn At Whitewell. It's exceptional, and was a huge part in our decision to get married here in the first place. As I don't drink, food is my way of celebrating! And the food here is truly a celebration of good, honest English cooking. The dishes are hearty and cooked using traditional methods. Right down to the soups and pâté!
With dinner done we headed back to the room to read, get an early night, and enjoy some quality time together with no responsibilities or a care in the world.
I had the Sirloin Steak with chips. An absolutely first class meal.
There's nothing quite like waking up after your first night at the Inn At Whitewell.
You're so completely absorbed in the bed you don't so much wake up, as slowly realise you aren't still dreaming. It's difficult to imagine comfort quite like it anywhere else!
When we eventually came round we took the dogs outside for a quick run, as in the Coach House we have access to a private garden. There was a low mist hanging around the foot of the hills, but as we got dressed and headed up to breakfast the sun began to break and it was looking to be a glorious Autumn day. Then it was Kettle on and tea and coffee's brewing as I planned our walk.
After studying the map (read: Consulting my iPhone) we decided to try and tackle a 7 mile loop over farmland, hills, and stepping stones. It's listed as an "advanced" walk in the guide. A route that will "test your map reading skills with some steep sections of off road tracks".
We had a wonderful day together in complete isolation from the outside World. It was just us and our dogs, with the occasional cow and sheep for company. It was bliss.
The scenery around The Inn At Whitewell was as stunning as it was the day we married.
And just like twelve months ago we were treated to a beautiful rainbow!
We arrived back at the Inn tired and more than ready for lunch!
Our planned seven mile walk turned into almost ten thanks to a combination of my map-reading skills and a second set of stepping stones that weren't as easy to navigate with three pups.
During the entire walk we only met one other person, and passed perhaps two vehicles. One of which was a tractor working at one of the many farms we passed through on our travells.
The day was spent wandering through idyllic English Countryside. Over hills, through fields, and crossing the occasional ford.
Sandwiches would've been a welcome addition to my backpack but the thought of tucking into some five star food when we got back spurred us on those last few miles!
The Cheeseboard is a thing of beauty!
I decided to have a prawn salad for lunch, and Ange went for a sweet potato soup. As delicious as they were neither satisfied our post-walk hunger completely and we hit the cheeseboard not long after!
We spent the afternoon relaxing in the room. I started editing the 100's of photos taken during the day, Ange read Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, the dogs slept.
Just before we went up for dinner I had the most luxurious bath with our new Molton Brown goodies and felt like a new woman afterwards.
That evening I just had to try the Fish Pie. The dish the Inn At Whitewell is perhaps most famous for. And with good reason, it's incredible. Stuffed full of Prawns and Haddock in a rich, creamy sauce finished under the grill with a topping of gooey cheddar cheese.
Ange went for the fish goujons with string potatoes and we shared another peanut butter cheesecake for dessert!
I'm not known for my romantic gestures, but there's always an exception to the rule! Our first year anniversary is a special occasion, and as I hadn't bought Angela a card, I decided to write a small poem to accompany one of our favourite pictures from the Wedding.
We're also obviously extatic to be expecting our first child and I wanted to do something to relate that to our anniversary too.
What an incredible way to end our first year as a married couple.
After breakfast (of which I had five courses: Including toast, croissant, mewsli, porridge, and natural yogurt) we headed out for a small walk around the local fells. I think the dogs were grateful we didn't have to do any more stepping stones! The poor little guys were a lot less spritely than yesterday, although Monty was as bouncy and active as ever!
At midday we were joined by any family that could make it for an anniversary Lunch.
It was a shame not everyone could join us. Their company was greatly missed, but it was lovely to have the people there who could to celebrate with us.
Ange and myself had been avoiding one particular dish during our stay, and also one of our favourites. The Lamb. That's because it was the meal we had on our Wedding day, and we wanted to save it for our anniversary lunch.
Next year it would be great to get more of the family together! We plan on doing the same and staying at The Inn At Whitewell for a few days around the 9th October. Everyone is welcome! So book time off, get it in your diary now, and join us and our plus-one this time in 2016!
Goodbye Whitewell. We've had an amazing few days, and we'll come back soon Monty. We promise.