Has summer been and gone? Perhaps a couple of sunny weekends is all we are getting this year.

Well, if the next few months are to see dull, grey clouds and temperatures in the low teens, we'll just have to imagine brilliant blue skies and commit to a diet of barbecues and ice cream.

With that intention, I headed out to Archers Ice Cream, at Walworth Gate, near Darlington, with work colleague Amy Smith on a chilly Saturday morning, our plan being to get in a ten-mile training run for a half marathon we're both doing later this month, and follow it by indulging in some well-earned sweet treats.

As previously mentioned in my Eating Out adventures, I have several friends who have a loose grasp of distances when it comes to outdoor expeditions. Amy, however, seems fine with distances, but directions are another matter.

I should have vetoed the planned off-road loop to Piercebridge and back when she said we were navigating via her mobile phone map, but I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. After a mile and a half, I formally sacked her from all current and future directions.

We ended up on two very busy main roads, on several dubious thistle-covered "paths" along the edge of wheat-fields, almost tripped over a sleeping cat on a farm track, and had to negotiate a series of stiles and gates covered in nettles taller than we were.

Somehow, we made it back to Walworth mostly unscathed, having covered just six miles in an hour and 45 minutes. We could have just walked it faster.

The ice cream parlour, with its lovely, rustic decor and pretty planters lining its outdoor seating, was a welcome sanctuary.

The original Archers Ice Cream Parlour opened at New Moor Farm in May 2004 to add value to the milk in the dark days after foot and mouth. After losing their original herd of black and white cows to the disease, the Archers restocked with Jerseys, using their high fat, high protein milk to make ice cream.

Over the last few years they have re-integrated black and whites, while keeping a large proportion of pedigree Jerseys, which they say creates the ideal grazing herd to produce milk efficiently from grass, so they don’t need to buy in many outside products.

Twenty years on, they are clearly doing something right, given how busy the place was on a dreary, cool June day.

With so many flavours to choose from – including some I had to look up online (I now know what sea buckthorn is) – we decided to ponder further while having a starter of cheese scones.

The scones, warmed up and presented, as you would expect, with proper, creamy butter, were excellent. Not the dried-out behemoths that some places serve up, but light, delicious and superbly cheesy.

Fruit scones and some tray bakes are also available, but obviously, the main business, and why all those families were coming and going, is the ice cream.

Having given ourselves plenty of thinking time, I went for a chocolate waffle cone with chocolate ice cream on the bottom, and raspberry pavlova flavour on the top.

It was great, and after a trying morning, very refreshing. The tartness of the raspberries went well with the sweet chunks of meringue, and the chocolate was super-chocolatey.

It was the right call to have that in the bottom of the cone or it would have overpowered the more delicate flavours in the top half.

Amy's dubious (in my opinion) choices for the day continued with the ice cream – she chose a scoop of rum and raisin, and a scoop of Snickers-flavour.

She thoroughly enjoyed both, which put paid to my scepticism, in particular the Snickers, which had plenty of chocolate/peanut chunks throughout.

The bill, which included a tea and coffee each, came to £23.30, which seemed decent value, especially given the food and drinks rescued us from our scratched, stung and disorientated state. Service throughout was speedy and efficient, and we didn't even get a telling off when one of our many wrong turns brought us right through the farmyard (sorry about this).

By the time we set off back for Darlington, thankfully on four wheels, not under our own steam, we felt almost human again, and ready to take on that half marathon – just hopefully on a well marked route.

Previous Eating Out reviews:

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Archers Ice Cream

New Moor Farm, Walworth Gate, Darlington, DL2 2UD.

01325 300336

Open 11am to 6pm each day

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