TO completely mangle the famous Samuel Johnson quote that when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, I would contend that when one is tired of the sight of sheep on a grass roof, one must also be wearied of living.

And so it was that I found myself stood alone in the carpark of Cross Lanes Organic Farm Shop and Cafe, beside the A66 near Barnard Castle, exclaiming, as a grown woman (and farmer's daughter) "sheep!!" as though I'd never seen such a creature before. It's safe to say that the sheep, as sheep tend to be, were considerably less enthusiastic, having no doubt seen, and heard it all before.

Sheep on the grass roof of the cafe and farm shop

Sheep on the grass roof of the cafe and farm shop

Cross Lanes is a family business owned by Peter and Sue Coverdale, and sits opposite the B6277 junction to Barney. The roof is a living meadow, and is grazed by sheep for a few months a year – but they were not in situ on either of my two previous visits. Understandable on one occasion, which came after a snowy walk with friends at Cotherstone, and ended with us pushing cars, including our own, out of the junction and back onto the A66.

Happily, there were no such meteorological obstacles on Saturday, as I stopped off in search of breakfast on my way to Carlisle. Chalkboards beside the door explain the system is table service in the cafe, while those sitting outside must come in to order, although those both inside and out seemed to be placing orders at the counter from what I could tell.

The boards are a feature of the cafe, giving details of their local suppliers, and explaining how everything is home-made and cooked fresh to order, with vegetarian, gluten free and dairy-free options available. Cross Lanes can boast zero food miles for its home-cured bacon, sausages, kebabs, burgers, bread, cakes and scones – and also for its 100 per cent grass fed beef, lamb and rare breed pork, supplied by Simon Hare from Brignall.

The menu offers breakfast items until 11.30am, hot breakfast sandwiches until 3pm and a selection of "classics" from 12pm to 3pm, such as a steak burger (£11.50) and falafel salad (£7.95). Wood fired oven pizzas are served from midday, and there are daily specials. On Saturday these included cream of celery and fennel soup (£5.50), home-cured ham, fried egg and chips (£8) and beef kofta kebabs (£10.50).

It being 10am and having broken a personal rule never to leave the house without breakfast, it seemed like the right thing to do to go for the Cross Lanes Breakfast (£9.95), which comes with bacon, sausage, fried egg, mushrooms, black pudding, beans, tomato and toast.

A full English breakfast (minus black pudding) at Cross Lanes Organic Farm Shop and Cafe

A full English breakfast (minus black pudding) at Cross Lanes Organic Farm Shop and Cafe

Having spent two solid weeks eating full English breakfasts of varying qualities while walking the Coast to Coast a couple of years ago, I wouldn't usually get the full works (although I did ask for no black pudding on this occasion) as I now largely associate them with blisters, rain and the crushing disappointment of ending up on the Ullswater steamer after a terrible wrong turn on the fells above Patterdale.

But these memories were wiped clear by what was served up by the friendly, efficient staff at Cross Lanes. From the flavoursome bacon, to the dense, meaty sausage, to the runny egg, to the perfectly-cooked mushrooms, the whole thing was absolutely spot on. The portion was big but not so big as to be unmanageable, and went down well with a small break for a cup of tea.

For those who believe the functionality of tea pots to be of high importance (I do), I bring good news. This one was a lovely pourer, with not a drip in sight.

On the off chance that my car broke down in some trans-Pennine wilderness and I needed to fend for myself (although in reality my breakfast was enough sustenance for 48 hours) I also ordered a slab of carrot cake to take away – you really can't be too careful. Happily, I made it to Carlisle and back home with no such incident, and the deliciously sweet cake was big enough to provide tea-break snacks for three whole days.

The bill was £15.40, but walking out to say hello to the sheep on the roof was priceless.

Cross Lanes Organic Farm,

Cross Lanes

Barnard Castle

(Sat-nav use DL12 9SL)

Cafe open 9am to 4pm, Mon, Wed and Thurs, 9am to 4.30pm Fri and Sat, and 10am to 3.30pm Sun. Closed Tuesdays.

01833 630619

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 9 Service 8 Surroundings 8 Value 8