Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Where we stayed

Apart from the first night in Sennen we didn't book our accommodation more than a few hours in advance. Usually we arranged it earlier the same day.

We used a variety of means to find a place to stay. In many cases we phoned or visited the local Tourist Information Centre. In other cases I used my phone or handheld computer to perform a Google search. In just one case (Chepstow) did we simply spot the hotel as we went past.

Here is a list of the places we stayed:

0. Sennen, Cornwall
Sunny Bank Hotel, Sea View Hill, Sennen, Cornwall TR19 7AR
01736 871278

Small hotel less than a mile from Land's End. A locked garage was made available to store our bikes. We went to eat in the First Inn in England about half a mile away in the middle of the village, but were too late to obtain food.

1. Camelford, Cornwall:
Penlea House Bed & Breakfast, Station Road Camelford PL32 9UR
01840 212194

Pleasant comfortable guest house on the edge of the town. Cycle storage was in a locked garage. We walked for 5-10 minutes into town to eat.

2. Bampton, Devon:
The Swan Hotel, Station Road, Bampton, Devon EX16 9NG
01398 331257

A rather run-down pub in the centre of town with virtually no customers and rather tatty rooms. However we were made very welcome and were offered a safe internal courtyard to store our bikes. We ate in the excellent and rather upmarket Quarrymans Rest pub a few minutes walk away.

3. Chepstow, Monmouthshire:
Chepstow Hotel, Newport Road, Chepstow NP16 5PR
01291 626261
http://hotels.yell.com/wl/servlet/xmlbrochure/index.do?hotelid=33961 (third party site)

A standard business hotel. The manager suggested we store our bikes in the first-floor ballroom, which was absolutely fine. We ate in the hotel bar.

4. Ludlow, Shropshire:
The Church Inn, The Buttercross, Ludlow Shropshire SY8 1AW
01584 872174

Very attractive historic pub with nice rooms in an extremely central location next to the church in the very heart of Ludlow. The downside was that they had absolutely nowhere for us to store our bikes, which meant we had to leave them locked to the church railings in an alleyway behind the pub, which caused us some concern. We ate dinner downstairs in the pub.

5. Northwich, Cheshire:
Pickmere Country Guest House, Park Lane, Pickmere, Knutsford, WA16 0JX
01565 733433‎

I found this by searching for "guest houses" on my phone's Google Maps application. This was quite a find. Pickmere is a suburban village a few miles north of Northwich on the route north. We were all taken aback by quite how beautiful this house was, both in the public areas and in our rooms. We stored our bikes in a locked shed at the back of the house. We ate in one of two pubs close by.

6. Milnthorpe, Cumbria:
The Cross Keys Hotel, 1 Park Road, Milnthorpe, Cumbria LA7 7AB
015395 62115

A comfortable pub with rooms in the middle of the village. We were offered the use of a function room to store our bikes. We ate in the bar downstairs.

7. Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway:
Hamilton House, 12 Moffat Road, Dumfries
01387 266606

The tourist information in Penrith found this for us (the TIC in Dumfries was closed on Sundays). A large and smart guest house in a residential area of Dumfries. We stored our bikes at the back of the house, which was outdoors but which seemed safe enough. We were recommended to eat at a nearby Italian restaurant.

8. Largs, Ayrshire:
This was one of the two places where we had to split into two groups. This is where four of us stayed:

Broom Lodge, 5 Broomfield Place, Largs, Ayrshire KA30 8DR
01475 674290

This was a small, simple house in a great location right on the sea front close to the centre of Largs. We stored our bikes in the locked garage. We had a five minute walk to the town centre for our evening meal. We were too late to eat at any of the bars so had a curry instead.

They only had enough rooms for four of us, but the landlady happily found another guest house around the corner for the remaining two of us.

9. Inveraray, Argyll:
This was the other place where we had to split into two groups. This is where Geoff and I stayed:

Creag Dhubh, Inveraray, Argyll PA32 8XT
01499 302430

This was on the edge of this tiny town, about half a mile south along the A83 and overlooking Lock Fyne. The place was immaculate as if it had only just been refurbished, and our room had a beautiful view over the loch. We stored our bikes in the garage.

There seemed to be a good supply of accommodation in Inveraray, and the other half of the group had little difficulty in finding a place near the town centre, with a pub nearby where we all had dinner together.

10. Fort William, Inverness-shire:
Stronchreggan View Guest House, Achintore Road, Fort William, Inverness-shire PH33 6RW
01397 704644

A modern guest house in a long line of guest houses along the main road into Fort William, facing Loch Linnhe. We parked out bikes round the side of the house, but they seemed safe enough. We ate a very large and filling three course set meal in the dining room, which saved us a trek into town. The landlord gave me a lift to Morrisons to buy wine to drink with the meal.

11. Beauly, Inverness-shire:
The Priory Hotel, The Square, Beauly Inverness-shire IV4 7BX
01463 782309

A small hotel in a convenient location right in the middle of town. We stored our bikes in a yard at the back of the hotel, which was less than ideal but probably safe enough. We ate in the hotel bar.

12. Lairg, Sutherland:
Lairg Highland Hotel, Main Street, Lairg, Sutherland, IV27 4DB
01549 402243

A rather spartan hotel in the centre of the town, in the process of renovation but comfortable enough. We stored our bikes in a locked garage at the back. We ate in the hotel restaurant.

13. Bettyhill, Sutherland :
The Bettyhill Hotel, Bettyhill, Sutherland KW14 7SP
01641 521352

This was the only place we found in the CTC's End-to-end B&B list. A large and very spartan hotel with an atmosphere closer to a youth hostel than a hotel. We stored our bikes in an unlocked storeroom outside. We ate in the hotel restaurant.

14. Wick, Caithness:
Queen’s Hotel, 16 Francis Street, Wick, Caithness, KW1 5PZ
01955 602992

Small hotel just south of the centre of town, close to the station which was handy the next morning. We stored our bikes in a locked garage. Dinner was in the hotel restaurant.

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