Spattered in mud and famished after a 20-mile slog around the Yorkshire Dales, the journey to our hotel seemed to last forever.
But it was worth the wait – even when we arrived later still... after I mistakenly drove us to the wrong hotel.
Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants, owned by Chatsworth’s Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, has two hotels close by – The Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey and The Devonshire Fell, a few miles further up Wharfedale, at Burnsall.
The pretty village of Burnsall is set around a bridge over the river, with the hotel slightly uphill and having a stunning view across the valley, dry stone walls and sheep to the fells beyond.
The Devonshire Fell has a cosy ambiance, with just 12 rooms; staff were friendly and welcoming, despite our slightly shambolic appearance.
We were soon revived with a powerful shower and coffee – which tasted even better as fresh milk is offered in all rooms, a small but welcome extra.
Rooms are generously-sized and comfortable, especially the two suites. All have been recently re-styled by the Duchess.
Ours, Threshfield, had two bathrooms, a lounge - which can double as a second bedroom for children – two walk-in wardrobes and had homely touches including a selection of books on the windowsill.
Heading downstairs, the decor has nods to old and new. The stairwell is lined with vintage Shell adverts from the 1930s, promoting the glamour of driving on the open road.
If you have time, guests are able to head down the road and use the Devonshire Health Barn at the Devonshire Arms.
Facilities include a pool, spa pool, sauna, steam room and beauty therapy treatments.
But, after our long day exploring Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough, food and beer were in order.
The bar stocks a range of local ales and an array of wines picked to go with courses on the menu – if unsure, ask for advice.
The bar and adjoining conservatory has comfy sofas from where you can sit and look out onto the Dales countryside before being taken through to your table in the restaurant.
Food is artfully-presented but filling. Smoked salmon and moules mariniere were our choices to start followed by tender beef in red wine jus, and gamey-tasting rabbit pie.
There is a range of other interesting dishes.
How about tripe, black pudding, chorizo, peppered red wine and mixed leaves; or artichoke and walnut cream horn?
The Devonshire Fell’s menu opens with the line: “Our belief is that cooking is first all about the quality of ingredients.”
Meats come from local suppliers and some of the vegetables and herbs are from the hotel’s own kitchen garden.
Our meal did not disappoint.
Neither did the equally delicious breakfast.
It was all we needed to get set for another day in the countryside...