After a heartbreaking summer, and losing our cruise that we won, due to the pandemic, we decided to go on a cheap break in September to the North Pennines, a wild, mountainous area that we had never been to before. We had already stayed in Middleton on Teesdale which we loved, prior to arriving at the highest town in England. The roads to get there were a little bit frightening, there was nothing but wild hills and white old farmhouses, every now and then, that may have been abandoned. What an earth were we letting ourselves in for, I thought it was only £99 for 2 nights bed n breakfast and evening meal. We found the place looking quite picturesque, on a quiet road surrounded by fields and rivers and old bridges, absolutely teeming with wildlife. Hares were leaping, herons fishing and deer were grazing, and black grouse occasionally fluttered in front of us where we walked, next to the sheep in a field at the back of the hotel. Inside, the room was ready, and we were surprised to enter a well furnished, old-fashioned room with a four-poster bed and Victorian items on the wall, and a large private bathroom. A view of hills was appreciated, as was the quiet atmosphere. We were booked in for our evening meal and ate a reasonable meal in the bar area, it was nothing special, but the staff were pleasant enough. The next day we went into Alston which was like the quietest town you can imagine, with cobblestones, a few shops and a couple of cafes. I enjoyed the scenery of the church and old houses which glistened in the sunlight, and was grateful for the clean public toilets as we couldn’t use any in the cafe where we had a drink. The shop I really enjoyed was a huge craft shop, which sold all sorts of wonderful art and ceramics and gifts, there was an upstairs and I really enjoyed purchasing some Christmas gifts, I was very impressed. People in the streets were chatting in a friendly manner, and I gathered they enjoyed walking in the hills thereabouts. We, however went south to Stanhope, where we enjoyed a riverwalk, more shopping, and the stepping stones. The locals were so friendly, and a couple persuaded us to visit Blanchland a very pretty popular place in Northumberland, only fifteen minutes drive over some moorland. When we got there we parked up and did some more shopping in another craft shop, before having a super meal in a converted church which was quite busy with day trippers. Soon, after another river walk, it was time to go back to the hotel, and instead of going the same way back my husband followed the Sat Nav. Big Mistake! The weather had turned and we were the only car on some very lonely mountain roads with swirling mist, hairpin bends and hostile scenery. It was terrifying. How had our perfect day out changed so rapidly? I thought to myself. But after harsh words, and tense moments, we were back at the hotel in one piece, rather tearful me being slumped in a chair, being served with a hot chocolate by the very sympathetic owner of the hotel. I would return to the hotel, in the summer certainly. But I would avoid those terrifying mountain roads.