AMELIA Johnson and Dennis Peacock had always had a soft spot for the White Lion Inn at Cray, so when it came on the market they didn't have to cogitate very long about taking the plunge.

They made an offer before it even went to auction, something of a spur of the moment thing for them both, said Amelia, who recalled how Dennis arrived home in York to tell her he'd bought the place.

They were already proprietors of Mason's Bar and Bistro in the city, which they had run for seven years and still do, having now employed a manager, so they were not novices to the trade.

"We'd seen it a few times when driving in the Dales, so were familiar with its location. We love the place and thought it needed a bit of love and attention," said Amelia.

They were right - for it had been left a bit like the Marie Celeste.

"That's exactly what we said," said 25-year-old Amelia. "It had been closed about 18 months and everything had been left as it was, so it was a bit damp and things had been nibbled at.

"A lot of the stuff was not usable, but we kept everything we could to ensure we retained its character so we didn't make any structural changes."

They have reduced the number of letting bedrooms from 14 to nine so that they can add ensuite facilities.

They have kept the bar essentially the same with its open fire - the room is made for the eating tables - while a room off the bar has been transformed into a snug with Chesterfield sofas and a log burning fire.

The revived inn opened its doors to the public just before Christmas and the response has truly cheered Amelia and 27-year-old Dennis who have been very pleased with the response from locals in nearby Buckden and its environs.

Walkers crossing the stepping stones at Cray Gill have ventured in for refreshment and guests have come from far and wide, just recently a group arriving from New Zealand.

The inn, regarded as the highest pub in Upper Wharfedale, is open all year and pets are welcome at no extra cost.

It is ideally situated for those wishing to explore the Yorkshire Dales, with Skipton and its castle being only a 30=minute drive to the south, Aysgarth with its waterfalls are 20 minutes North and the Wensleydale Creamery 20 minutes to the Wwest.

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