My taster day at The Coniston Hotel in Skipton had finally arrived.
There’s such a friendly atmosphere here and everyone quickly got to know one another over Prosecco and canapés. Michael Bannister, Chairman of the hotel, introduced himself and made us feel extremely welcome.
Following an introduction about the history and development of the estate and hotel, from Nick Bannister, son of Michael, we were assigned to teams and whisked off to do our first activity, archery.
Since it had been years – too many to mention – that I had last attempted to shoot an arrow, I was a little rusty to say the least, and it saddened me to learn that my elbow bent inwards! However, the instructors were really helpful and within no time I was hitting the target every time. I was feeling quite proud when I was told I looked like a professional archer.
Whilst I was waiting for the other members of my team to take their shots, I soaked up the stunning scenery. There was something extremely therapeutic about doing the archery, which I wasn’t quite expecting.
We were soon being chauffeured to the shooting ground, a fabulous spot on the estate with a beautiful Clubhouse, with a café and open fire, where you can relax before or after your shoot.
There are 38 stands in total and we got to test out several of them with various types of clays that emulated rabbits, pheasants and partridge.
As soon as we were introduced to our instructor, Charles, we made our way to the first stand, with a little trepidation I may add.
Sadly I don’t think I will become the next champion clay pigeon shooter as I only hit an unimpressive 4 clays out of 16, however, it was still great fun.
We were then escorted to the up and coming spa, which is currently well underway. The site is huge and the views are just spellbinding, overlooking the lake and hills in the distance. The development will include an indoor swimming pool, treatment rooms, thermal suite, dance studio, gym, dining areas, outdoor infinity pool and terrace. I can’t wait to return in the autumn to test out all of the facilities and treatments, of course.
Falconry was our last activity of the day. The Falconry Centre is wonderful and surrounded by glorious countryside. Although we were restricted by time, I got to see many of the magnificent birds and experienced the barn owl flying to my glove. Mark, the expert falconer was very entertaining and educated us on the birds. This is definitely one of my favourite activities and I would certainly love to experience it again.
To complete our afternoon at The Coniston Hotel, we were invited to Huntsman’s Lodge, a large, vibrant restaurant where we enjoyed a mouthwatering afternoon tea with the rest of the groups.
I was very reluctant to leave The Coniston as its warm atmosphere and friendly team of staff made us feel so welcome. Without any doubt, I will be back.