A literary break in Nidderdale, the heart of Yorkshire

nidderdale bunkhouse

Nine literary minded ladies spent a weekend in Nidderdale Bunkhouse.

Our book group has being going for 5 years now and every year we have dreamt of getting away together for a weekend of chat, walking, book talk and maybe just a little bit wine! At last, in 2017, most of us have kids who can be left with dads and husbands who are capable of surviving a weekend with the kids so we decided to go for it!

The next big decision was where to go! We fancied Yorkshire – not too far from our homes in the middle of Derbyshire but far enough away to feel like a real holiday plus the literary connections abound, our minds immediately took to Howarth and the wuthering heights of it’s local moors!  Sadly no one has opened an independent hostel in Howarth but we were delighted to find Nidderdale Bunkhouse a bit further north had space for us on the weekend we required.

So on a cold November night 3 car loads of excited middle aged ladies escaped the family and headed north!

Nidderdale bunkhouse at night is a sight to behold, lit up and welcoming on the the hill after what can feel like quite a long windy road from Pately Bridge.  The bunkhouse is amazing, the kitchen is perfectly equipped for large group catering, with plenty of space at the long table.  The bedrooms are roomy and warm with comfortable beds. For some of our group this was a first bunkhouse experience and Nidderdale couldn’t have been a better first time experience!

Once we had all arrived and settled in it is possible that we may have partaken of a couple of glasses of lovely wine on Friday night 😉 but we all fell to sleep happy and comfy in our cosy beds.

On Saturday we awoke to amazing views down the valley over the Gouthwaite reservoir, with the sun shining on a cold winter morning. What an amazing location! We decided to walk to Pateley Bridge for lunch and as it always is with large groups it took until 11.45 to actually get out of the house!

The walk along the Nidderdale Way is perfect for a group who want to chat and enjoy the view rather than take on serious hills. Skirting the reservoir for much of the way the views are spectacular and the route mostly solid underfoot (there were a few muddy patches but nothing too daunting).

With a vegan and a vegetarian Coeliac in the group we were slightly worried about whether we would find somewhere we could all eat.  But a gluten free sign in the Pancake house window by the bridge filled us with hope and after some discussion with the staff about vegan options we crowded round a table for delicious pancakes served with humour by the very accommodating (and long suffering!) staff.

Wisely some of the party had decided to ferry cars down to Pately Bridge so we were able to drive home in time for cups of hot tea and Strictly Come Dancing on the bunkhouse’s TV whilst the big pan of chilli simmered on the stove.  We did actually manage to talk about this month’s book (Miss Peregrine’s Home for peculiar children for those who are interested) which I think we agreed we all enjoyed. We had planned to watch a movie but somehow those one or two glasses of wine from last night caught up on us and we were all in bed by 11!

Sunday dawned bright but with a bitter wind and whilst one of our party went for a run (what was she thinking?!), the rest of us enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and the hot showers before packing and cleaning ready for our departure.  With departure time set at 1pm it was possible to enjoy a morning of chat, tea and chocolate, followed by a light lunch.

All agreed we had had a fantastic weekend and were so sad to say goodbye to Nidderdale and the bunkhouse (I think we might be back!).

Nidderdale Bunkhouse is on the Yorkshire and Lancashire Map