Boot Inn

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May, 2014

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'I wandered lonely as a cloud, that floats on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once, I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils. Beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze' William Wordsworth.

Think of the Lake District now however, think traffic jams, limited and expensive parking, crowds, queues, full shops, hard to find accommodation etc., but not if you think a little outside the box.

Instead of heading for the honeypot tourist centres, head off to the quieter but equally as picturesque and dramatic Western Lake District, where you are more likely to find Wordsworth's vision.

Eskdale is just one such quiet area, yet it is overlooked by Lake District icons such as Scafell, Scafell Pike and Harter Fell, as dramatic high peaks as any in the area can provide.

Yet it is a peaceful farming valley with little traffic and close to the charming small sea-side towns and villages that border the more remote side of Morecambe Bay.

The hamlet of Boot nevertheless has two small hotels and it was at the Boot Inn that I recently stayed with friends whilst hiking 90 miles around the high peaks.

What a refuge this was.

This smart, whitewashed building has been an Inn since at least the 1600's and it retains some of the quirky aspects that a building of this age provides. Yet it has been refurbished to a high standard of décor and comfort with modern touches.

What's more, all of the nine en-suite rooms have great views of the surrounding fells.The bedrooms are comfortable and modern in design.

The public areas on the ground floor are enticing and pleasant, having wide floor boards and a log fire. The furniture is also comfortable whilst the large conservatory has been allocated to dining.

This leads onto the large beer garden which also has spectacular views all round.

The food is excellent, all locally produced and seasonal. A list of local food producers used by the hotel can be found at the bar. These include rare beef from a farm in the same valley, local free range eggs, Bewley's local Cumberland sausage, superb Cumbrian back bacon and home made black pudding.

There are no frozen chips or processed chicken here, just good, natural, local food.

All the fish is supplied from nearby Ravenglass and it was with that in mind that I ordered a Seafood Platter starter. I wish I'd had my camera with me as it was served on a square slate plate, drizzled with sauces and containing artful mounds of cockles, prawns and shrimp, with a fresh salad and a huge hunk of olive bread. A bowl of warm water was provided to wash off the juices from my fingers. Simply delicious.

The main courses were great too, a hunky beef and ale pie with accompaniments being just the thing for a hungry hiker. The prices are very good for meals of this quality.

The range of real ales on the bar were a treat, all of them on form.

For those not staying here to sample the delights of the surrounding hills, there are a range of attractions within a short drive. The hotel has a discount entry scheme for residents to some of these.

'Ratty' the Ravenglass and Eskdale steam railway is just along the valley and is great for kids and adults alike.

Muncaster Castle with it's Owl Centre is a must, whilst history buffs can explore Harknott Roman Fort at the head of Hardknott Pass.

Just a minute's walk away is Eskdale Mill, a rare two water- wheel corn mill, built in 1578 and open to visitors, with fascinating displays of artefacts.

With bed and breakfast at this hidden gem of a hotel starting at an amazing £30. p.p. you can still be in the heart of the Lake District by car within 20-30 minutes, where you would undoubtedly pay much more.

So, a fantastic place to stay whether you are lacing up your boots, getting astride your mountain bike or pottering around in your car.

This Boot is good for the sole – and other fish!

For more information go to and follow the Sat-Nav to CA19 1TG.


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