A Lakes pub has been declared the North West’s best at a prestigious award nicknamed the ‘rural Oscars’.

The Crafty Baa pub in Windermere scooped the regional winner award for ‘Best Pub’ at the Countryside Alliance Awards.

The awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food and farming, enterprise and heritage through small hard-working businesses.

In their fifteenth year the awards have become the definitive rural business award to win and are driven by public nomination, offering customers the chance to tell judges why their favourite businesses are worthy of national acclaim.

This year saw record numbers of nominations with organisers inundated with more than 18,000.

Notes from the deciding judge described the Crafty Baa, which is situated on Victoria Street in Windermere, as: “Brimming with a wide variety of craft beers and drink, this pub offers its customers a friendly smile to complement its quirky atmosphere."

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said: “I want to say a massive congratulations to the Crafty Baa for winning Best Pub in the North West in the Countryside Alliance Awards.

“It truly is a fantastic local pub and it’s an absolute testament to the hard work and creativity of the team there that they’ve deservedly won this award.”

Also successful at the awards was The Gather, a community-owned and run café and shop in Ennerdale Bridge, which was crowned regional winner in the ‘Rural Enterprise’ category.

In describing ‘The Gather’, the judge noted: “The Gather provides a welcoming meeting place for locals and visitors alike. With over 50 volunteers manning the shop, cafe and events space, there are plenty of chances to engage and enjoy the community they are part of.”