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2018 ITINERARIES

The TULIPFEST Tour April 23th -29th

Windmills, wooden shoes and colourful fields filled with tulips. That is how Holland looks on a postcard. Spring in Holland is marked by flowers and flower bulbs. The most famous places are Keukenhof and the flower-bulb region but Flevoland is not as well-known even though it boasts Holland’s longest and most colourful tulip route in the Noordoostpolder!

The annual Tulip Festival takes place over several weeks during April and the beginning of May depending on how the winter weather has affected the crop. With our tour in the middle of this period we should see the best of the tulips although the actual Keukenhoff Parade is just before we arrive. As this is obviously the busiest time and the date wasn’t announced until after our planning started it wasn’t practical to include the parade in our tour. Nevertheless we will visit several areas where the tulips should provide a magnificent display and we will follow the designated Tulip Route one day.

 

April 23rd Monday

We take the ferry at 18.30 from Hull arriving in Zeebrugge at 8.45 on Tuesday morning. (Anyone wishing to take a different ferry or the Tunnel is free to make their own arrangements and obviously this will be deducted from the tour fee.)

OVERNIGHT – FERRY


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 24th Tuesday

Arrive 8.45

A short run from the ferry to the town of Bruges followed by a day sightseeing in this lovely town. As it is less than 10 miles from the ferry to Bruges there will be an option for a run to Ypres (40 miles approx) and return via Paschendale.

OVERNIGHT    BRUGES (Hotel to be confirmed)

 

April 25th Wednesday

We will drive north from Bruges along the banks of the canal and head to the coast of the Westerschelde, an inlet of the north sea. We cross the water to the north coast by taking the motorway through the tunnel from Terneuzen and then onto Middleburg and another ‘sea crossing’. This time it is across the ‘Roompot’ via a causeway and man made islands, the first of several similar crossings as we make our way up the coast to Rotterdam. Again we will take the motorway to avoid the city centre and cross the waterway through another tunnel. This brings us to The Hague and a lunch stop at the excellent Louwman Motor Museum.

The afternoon route is just a short run up the coast via Noordwijk to our spectacular hotel in a country estate just outside Haarlem.

OVERNIGHT - DUIN+KRUIDBERG

April 26th Thursday

With nearly 5,000 acres worth of red, yellow and purple flower-bulb fields, Flevoland is Holland’s biggest flower-growing region! The fields can be found in East and South Flevoland and, most importantly, the Noordoostpolder. Every year in spring, there is a spectacular ‘Flower-bulb route’ encompassing over 100km through nearly 2500 acres of flowering fields. The route has become the longest and most colourful route in Holland, and, according to National Geographic, one of the world’s ultimate road trips! We will drive the route tomorrow but today it is just a short run to the famous bulb fields at Keukenhof where you can spend the whole day.

OVERNIGHT - DUIN+KRUIDBERG

April 27th Friday

Today we will drive the Tulip Route, but first we have to circumnavigate the city of Amsterdam to reach the polders on the east side of the Ijssselmere inland sea.

We will stop at one of the many tulip farms/gardens and then continue north through some very pretty villages on the coast where we can have lunch. We return to Amsterdam via the 18 mile long barrage between the North Sea and the Ijsselmere. We will then take the motorway around Amsterdam back to the hotel.

OVERNIGHT - DUIN+KRUIDBERG

 

April 28th Saturday

We again have to get round the city but this time we will go on country roads to the west before cutting across to Hoorn on the eastern coast of the Ijsselmere. We will park the cars in this attractive old town and take a steam tram to the little port of Mademblik. Here we will swap the tram for a boat and sail along the coast to the heritage village of Enkhuizen. After visiting the village and having lunch we return by local train to pick up the cars again. The return run takes us down the inland coast via Edam (of cheese fame) and the equally pretty and adjoining Vollendam.

OVERNIGHT - DUIN+KRUIDBERG

 

 

 

April 29th Sunday

As the ferry doesn’t sail until the evening from Rotterdam it is a ‘free day’. If you would like to go into the city of Amsterdam, the easiest way is probably by train. There is a station near the hotel. There are also Park and Ride services around the city. Alternatively you might prefer a run to the coast at Zaandvoort and the old Grand Prix circuit which is still an active motorsport centre. They do have facilities for various ‘driving experiences’ but they are not cheap and would need to be booked in advance. The run back to the ferry is approx. 40 miles from the hotel but can be done almost entirely on motorways.

FERRY DEPARTS 21.00  Arrives Hull 7.30

Link to download booking form

 

 

The WALES to DALES Tour  June 3rd - 9th

 

This is not a reverse of the 2017 Dales to Wales Tour!

Firstly the Dales in question are the Yorkshire Dales (not Derbyshire as last year), and we go much further into south and west Wales and return along the border into some new territory in Shropshire. However some roads and venues will be familiar from previous tours but there will be some interesting new sections, new points of interest and new hotels.

Sunday 3rd

We will meet for dinner at a new hotel near Worcester. This helps reduce the mileage tomorrow, Stratford was a little too far away, and it also opens up some new areas to visit.

 

 

Monday 4th

We leave the hotel and go straight into the Malvern Hills. We follow the picturesque valley of the Leigh Brook and pass through cider country on our way to the little town of Bromyard. More orchards line the route as we cross the River Wye west of Hereford and enter the Golden Valley which brings us to a coffee stop at Hay on Wye, the Book Town of England.

There isn’t too much time to peruse the plethora of second hand books, as Wales is beckoning. Taking the minor road along the edge of the Black Mountains we head south to Llangorse Lake where a circular route on the hillside gives super views over the lake to the Brecon Beacons. We by-pass the town of Brecon and take to more minor roads into the hills for a lunch stop at the Brecon Mountain Visitor Centre.

After lunch we continue over the hills and then drop down into Sennybridge on the edge of the huge Military Ranges on Myndd Eppynt. We don’t cross the military roads today however as we are heading further west and will take the main road to Llandovery, which cuts spectacularly through the surrounding mountains and forests. From Llandovery though we take to minor roads again and more rugged scenery as we now push further west. We skirt Brechfa Forest and climb to over 1200ft as we cross Myndd Llanybyther before descending into the Teifi Valley below. B roads then take us across country via Newcastle Emlyn as we make our way to the coast.

Our hotel for the night, the appropriately named Cliff Hotel, overlooks the beautiful Cardigan Bay – next stop America (if you miss Ireland)!

Tuesday 5th

Before turning around and heading back east into the heart of Wales we will pay a little visit to the Museum of Internal Fire. This should appeal to the petrol (or diesel) heads but perhaps not so much the ladies, as it houses just about every version of diesel engine ever produced, including the oldest surviving, running, engine, and one out of a Deltic rail locomotive.

From here we head along the coast briefly to Newquay for a coffee stop, before heading across country on mainly B roads, with a few scenic short cuts on minor roads to Lampeter. A main road run then brings us back into the mountains and some stunning scenery before we climb up to the fabulous Lyn Brenig, where the road twists and turns following the edge of the reservoir high above the water, providing superb views and photo opportunities, especially if you make the small detour to the dam at the bottom of the lake. At the top of the lake we loop around the forest and descend ‘The Devil’s Staircase’. This is a short series of hairpin bends but not quite as dramatic as it sounds. i.e. not Hardknott Pass or the Porto do Inferno!

More B roads then lead us to our hotel in Llandrindod Wells, the familiar Metropole which is steeped in motoring history having been a checkpoint on many Welsh road rallies and even RAC rallies of old.

Wednesday 6th

Today we head east again and enter the Welsh Border country. We follow the valley of the River Lugg through rolling hills to Knighton before heading north to cross the awesome Long Myndd where the single track road climbs out of the valley hugging the steep hillside. If you dare look, there are spectacular views below and at the summit there is a fantastic panorama of the Shropshire hills, before the dramatic descent through the ‘Devils Mouth’ and Burway Hill into Church Stretton, where you might need a coffee.

Hopefully refreshed and recovered, we make a small detour into the hills east of Church Stretton before heading further north into flatter country on our way towards Welshpool. Here we follow the upper reaches of the Severn Valley making several small detours over hills and through forests as we zig zag our way north to eventually reach Chirk Castle where we will have a late lunch.

The final leg still has some surprises as we pass the famous Pontcysilite Aqueduct, go through Llangollen and then climb over the alarming sounding World’s End road. This road climbs out of the Vale of Llangollen through a wooded hillside, past the imposing rock formations of Trevor Rocks and Craig Arthur to the hairpin bend and ford at World’s End. The road continues to climb onto an open plateau where, on a good day, the Wirral Penninsula and Merseyside are visible ahead.

We don’t go this far however as we loop around the mountain and skirt Wrexham to pass through the almost un-pronounceable Rhosclanercrugog and then head east cross country past Cholmondley Castle to our new hotel, Crewe Hall, just outside the town of Crewe.

Thursday 7th  

A slightly different day today with not so much spectacular scenery to start off with and even some motorway driving. There just isn’t an easy way to get between the Liverpool and Manchester conurbations, the M6 over the Thelwall viaduct being the simplest route. The afternoon route brings us into some more attractive countryside in the Ribble Valley and around Pendle Hill.

We start with a short run to Jodrell Bank, the famous radio telescope, where you can spend sometime in the fascinating visitor centre before having coffee.

Now the awkward bit! We head north through the Cheshire lanes before joining the M6 motorway for approximately 20 miles. Whilst it may appear we are still in the Greater Manchester ‘sprawl’ as we skirt Wigan and its elusive pier, we will soon turn off into some quite rugged countryside around the Rivington Reservoir and then climb over the open fells above. We then turn north passing through forests and past more reservoirs on our way into the Ribble Valley. The lunch halt will then be in the little village of Barley in the shadow of the imposing Pendle Hill, famous for its stories of witches.

From Barley we loop around over the hills and descend back into the Ribble Valley with panoramic views of the rolling countryside ahead. We cross the Ribble and meander through quiet lanes, following the Leeds – Liverpool Canal for a while before reaching our hotel on the edge of the Dales at Coniston Cold near Skipton.

Friday 8th   The BAR T’AT and BRONTE Tour

A slightly different tour today, hence we have opened it up as a separate event for local entrants. ‘Bar t’at’ is Yorkshire for ‘without hat’ from the song, On Ilkley Moor Bar t’at, so with or without hat we will be visiting Ilkley Moor and the area made famous by the Bronte sisters.

First we have to visit the Dales proper, heading north from Coniston Cold to that quintessential Dales village, Grassington. We then head east onto Hebden Moor and past Stump Cross Caverns before looping round Flat Moor, which doesn’t really prepare you for the steep descent into Pateley Bridge. From here we head up Nidderdale running alongside pretty Gouthwaite reservoir. At Lofthouse, beyond the head of the reservoir, we climb steeply upto Pott Moor with views down the valley we have just left. We then descend past more reservoirs on our way into the market town of Masham, where we will stop for coffee and a visit to the ‘Black Sheep Brewery’.

Fortified, but hopefully not too fortified, we then proceed southwards through the wonderfully named villages of Grewelthorpe and Kirkby Malzeard before climbing up to the open spaces of Dallow Moor.  A little detour then takes us past the fascinating rock formations at Brimham Rocks before the steep descent into Summerbridge. We pass more reservoirs as we go through Blubberhouses village at the foot of the pass with that name, although on this occasion we don’t go over the pass, but instead we loop across Fewston Reservoir and head down into the town of Ilkley itself. We climb out of the town on the flanks of the famous moor (unfortunately the road across the moor is not passable) and then drop down to the outskirts of Keighley. We don’t go into this less than attractive town as we follow the River Aire to Silsden and then cut across the valley to the built up area which is the heart of Bronte country. First we cross the Keighley and Worth Valley steam railway at Oakworth, which featured in the film, The Railway Children. (The camera work in the film was amazing as somehow they made it look like an idyllic countryside setting without showing any of the surrounding dark satanic mills!). We have to drive through the now mainly derelict mills to get to Howarth and the Bronte Parsonage Museum. The village is quite quaint with steeply cobbled streets and lots of cafes and pubs for lunch. The railway engine sheds are at the foot of the hill for anyone energetic enough to walk down – and back up!

The afternoon run takes us back into open countryside as we pass the ‘Salt and Pepper Pot’ monuments on Earl Crag before we climb over Carleton Moor with panoramic views of the Ribble Valley below. It is then just a short run across the valley back to our hotel and the finish.

Link to download booking form

BARBON, BAY WATCH and LITTLE DEVILS Tours

This year we have extended the Barbon weekend to give the option of a 4 day tour to make it more worthwhile for those travelling any distance. There will still be the option of just doing the weekend, or just the Little Devils Tour on its own without accommodation. However for those wishing to stay on for the extended tour accommodation will be provided for the four nights. Hotel accommodation is very limited in the area that weekend so we have made arrangements with our local pub, the Station Inn at Oxenholme for the whole tour. There are a limited number of rooms here also but there is a very good B+B (The Glen) just across the road. This means we can provide all the accommodation for £599, BUT there will still be the £49 fee for the Devils Tour and entry to Barbon. Total for the whole tour = £648

Saturday July 7th  Barbon Hillclimb

We meet at Barbon Hillclimb before lunch and then park our cars on display in the ‘infield’ of the picturesque hill climb course over looking the Lune Valley. We can then spend the afternoon watching competitors tackling the hill climb course up the drive of Barbon Manor. This year we are attending the National Championship event which will include ‘full blown’ single seater racing cars as well as historic and club cars.

Accommodation is not included for Saturday night but can be arranged at a local pub or B+B. (All the bigger hotels are already fully booked.)

Sunday July 8th  The LITTLE DEVILS Tour

We will start from the Station Inn at Oxenholme (less than 10 miles from Barbon where accommodation can be arranged), and head straight to the picturesque Killington Lake with a back drop of the Howgill Fells. We then drop down towards Sedbergh with the hills ahead, before turning onto the narrow little ‘Fox’s Pulpit’ road which climbs high above the Lune Valley, with closer views of the Howgills and the Lake District Mountains. (We pass Fox’s Pulpit which is a small outcrop of rock where James Fox is said to have preached to the masses).

From here we follow the railway and motorway through the Lune Gorge before making a loop around the remote Bretherdale Valley and onto Shap Fell,  where we actually drive between the carriageways of the M6 motorway. We then make another detour into the edge of the Lake District for a stop for coffee at the isolated Haweswater Hotel perched spectacularly above the Lake (reservoir) of that name.

From Haweswater we will head east via Eamont Bridge, Lazonby, Culgaith and onto Appleby for lunch. After lunch we have the meat of the ‘rally’, back into real Cumbrian rally country with gravel roads (non-damaging!), fords, narrow bridges and farmyards to finish back at the Station Inn where bar-snacks will be available.

The entry fee for the BARBON AND LITTLE DEVILS TOUR is £49 per car. This includes entry to Barbon Hillclimb for car and crew (if displaying), lunch and coffee but not accommodation. As stated above, hotel accommodation will be difficult to find on Saturday night, but bed and breakfast will be available at The Station Inn or The Glen B+B opposite. P.O.A.

Link to download booking form

For those intending to stay on for the Bay Watch Tour, hotel accommodation will be included for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at The Station Inn. (Four nights Dinner, B & B £599)

Monday/Tuesday July 9/10th  The BAY WATCH Tour

Monday

Today we start from a new hotel and head straight into the picturesque Lythe Valley, famous for its Damson Blossom (in season) and then head across country to Gummers How. Here there is a splendid view down the length of  Windermere and over the ‘steamer’ terminal at Lake Side. We then cross the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway as we loop around the southern lakes and into the infamous Grizedale Forest. From the forest we descend to the shores of tranquil Esthwaite Water and into Beattrix Potter country. We go around the Lake and by-pass Hawkshead before climbing over the hill to Coniston Water, where we stop for coffee above the lake at Jumping Jenny’s café next to Brantwood House.

From coffee we follow the shores of Coniston Water and then cut across to Grizebeck Hill which provides spectacular views of the Duddon Valley and Black Combe. We then climb the flanks of the remote Corney Fell, but this time we don’t go all the way to the summit, instead we double back to take in more fabulous views of the Duddon Estuary. The main road then takes us back to Grizebeck where we turn off again to follow the estuary south towards Barrow in Furness. Avoiding the town we cut across inland to the impressive Furness Abbey Hotel for lunch. The Abbey ruins are accessible via just a short walk through the hotel grounds.

From lunch we actually drive through the Abbey grounds as we make our way across to Morecambe Bay and follow the coast road inland again. Another detour takes us through Little Urswick which then enables us to cross Birkrigg Common, where on a clear day you get superb views over the Bay. After descending to the coast road again you may like to stop for an ice cream on Bardsea Beach, before another loop inland takes us along the ridge above the interestingly named Poaka Beck Reservoir. The reservoir is on one side of the ridge while there are more views of the Bay on the other side. As we turn downhill into the town of Ulverston we get more views of the bay and the Lake District Hills, and the impressive Hoad Monument overlooking the town. A brief run through the town and back along the main road brings us back to Haverthwaite where we turn off towards Grange over Sands. As you would expect we don’t stay on the main road for long as we take to the quiet ‘back’ lanes which drop us down to Cartmel racecourse. We will stop for tea in the quaint little village famous for its ‘Sticky Toffee Pudding’.

Mindful of the fact that you may now be full of pudding, the final leg is a very short run back to the hotel. However, there is a little sting in the tail as we climb over Cartmel Fell and make the steep descent of Tow Tops – a series of hairpin bends overlooking the Winster Valley. It then really is just a short main road run to the hotel.

Tuesday

We continue the Bay Watch theme but first head inland via the Lune Valley and past Barbon Manor again, before heading south to Ingleton, and then on minor roads overlooking the Bowland Hills and a stop for coffee at Goat Gap near Clapham.

From here we cross the busy A65 and head south onto quiet roads towards the Ribble Valley and pass through Gisburn Forest and cross Stocks Reservoir. More little back roads with fabulous views of the surrounding hills bring us to the secluded Whitwell Inn for lunch.

After relaxing in this atmospheric ancient hotel we have to drag ourselves away to the hills again. We loop around Little Bowland with its Wild Boar Park and views of the Bowland Forest before entering the actual Trough of Bowland. ‘The Trough’ is actually a valley through the Lancashire Hills and from the Jubilee Tower at the summit we get more spectacular views over Morecambe Bay. We then drop down into the Lune Valley and cut across country back to the Kent Estuary, still part of Morecambe Bay. As we descend the hill into Arnside we get a surprise view of the impressive viaduct crossing the estuary with the Lakes Hills in the background. Following the estuary back to towards our hotel we make a final stop at Levens Hall with its famous topiary gardens and traction engine collection, for tea. The hotel is just a few minutes up the road.

click to download booking form

THE WESTERN ISLES TOUR   September 21st – October 1st

This tour is already fully booked BUT there is a reserve list.
(The final numbers are dictated by the number of hotel rooms available on the islands)

Friday September 21st Overnight Crooklands

Saturday September 22nd

Old A6 to Carlisle, lunch near Dumfries. Dalveen Pass,

OVERNIGHT WESTERWOOD HOTEL, CUMBERNAULD

Sunday September 23rd

Falkirk Wheel and Kelpies, Coffee at Glen Eagles, Glen Quaich, Kenmore.

OVERNIGHT PITLOCHRIE DUNDARACH HOTEL

Monday September 24th

Glen Shee, The Lecht, Tomintoul, Inverness.

OVERNIGHT COUL HOUSE

Tuesday September 25th

Bonar Bridge, Laxford Bridge, Kylesku, Lochinver.

OVERNIGHT COUL HOUSE  

Wednesday September 26th

Morning Ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway, Isle of Harris. Afternoon on Harris.

OVERNIGHT CABARFEIDH HOTEL (later bookings in Royal Hotel) 

Thursday September 27th  

Lewis and Harris

OVERNIGHT CABARFEIDH HOTEL (As above).

Friday September 28th

Morning on Harris, afternoon ferry Stornoway to Ullapool

OVERNIGHT COUL HOUSE*

Saturday September 29th

Loch Ness, Glenfinnan, Ardnamurchan. Ferry from Kilcohan to Tobermory. Isle of Mull

OVERNIGHT WESTERN ISLES HOTEL (Later bookings Park Lodge)

Sunday September 30th

Tour of Mull

OVERNIGHT WESTERN ISLES HOTEL (As above)

Monday October 1st

Ferry from Fishnish to Lochaline, Coffee Kingairloch, Glen Coe, Rannoch Moor, Callander, Campsie Fells.

OVERNIGHT WESTERWOOD HOTEL

Tuesday October 2nd

Motorway around Glasgow/Edinburgh and make your way home.

ESTIMATED COST 11 nights and ferry - £2999 per car. (includes Crooklands before start).

*OPTION for shorter version finishing at Coul House on the 29th. £2399

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The AUTUMN Tours  October 15-19th

As mentioned in a recent ‘blog’ we ‘discovered’ the Gibbon Bridge hotel on the 2017 Autumn Tour when we stopped there for coffee. Everyone was so taken with the place I promptly booked it for a tour base.

It is difficult to explain where the hotel is situated as it is not near any major town or on any major road but it is not too far from the M6 motorway and is reasonably accessible from any direction. It is also in an area we haven’t used much before so opens up some completely new routes.

Autumn in Bowland

Monday 15th 

Meet for dinner at Gibbon Bridge. OVERNIGHT – GIBBON BRIDGE HOTEL

Tuesday 16th

One advantage of being so remote is that as soon as we leave the hotel we are into spectacular scenery as we climb the flanks of Longridge Fell. As we drive along the ridge we have panoramic views of the Fylde plain ahead of us before we loop around the reservoir and back along the eastern side of the fell. We then drop down into the Ribble Valley and cross Ribchester Bridge. The main A59 takes us down to Roach Bridge before we meander through the villages of Gregson Lane and Brindle and make our way out onto the moors and surprise views over Anglezarke reservoir and onto Rivington Reservoir. We cross this reservoir and stop for coffee at the Great House Barn

After coffee we climb over the fells to Belmont and yet another reservoir overlooking the town of Bolton. Turning north we skirt another Lancashire town, Blackburn,  going through Samlesbury Bottoms and Mellor as we return to the Ribble Valley. Running along the edge of the valley we reach Sabden and climb to the ‘Nick of Pendle’. This is literally a ‘nick’ or gap through the side of Pendle Hill and gives uninterrupted views over the Ribble Valley and Clitheroe below. We loop around the imposing mass of Pendle Hill to have lunch in its shadow at the little village of Barley.

We then do another loop back to the Ribble Valley and the pretty village of Bolton by Bowland and follow the northern side of the valley through more villages such as Grindleton, Waddington and High Hodder on our way back to Gibbon Bridge.

OVERNIGHT – GIBBON BRIDGE

Wednesday 17th

Much of today’s route is completely new and could be described as a ‘Fall in the Fylde’. However we start with reasonably familiar scenery as we head straight out to the Trough of Bowland, although we don’t go straight over ‘the Trough’. Instead we make a detour through some little country lanes to Dolphinholme (don’t be too disappointed if you don’t see any –Dolphins that is) and then climb back upto the Jubilee Tower at the summit of the Trough road where on a clear day you get spectacular views over Morecambe Bay. We then turn north and into even smaller country lanes as we negotiate the hairpin bends of Littledale before descending to the village of Caton and a stop for coffee at the Crook o’ Lune.

After coffee we return to the hills overlooking Lancaster and make our way south to Galgate where we cross the A6 and enter much flatter countryside. We make a little detour around Glasson Dock, once a busy port at the end of the Lancaster-Kendal canal. It is now caters more for leisure sailing but there is still some evidence of its industrial past. Quiet, flat lanes bring us to Pilling and the heart of the Fylde before we take the main road into Knott End for lunch. Lunch will be at a hotel on the banks of the Wyre estuary near the foot passenger only ferry across to Fleetwood.

After lunch we follow the Wyre through Hambleton, St Michaels on Wyre, and Catterall, where we cross the A6 again and head into more hilly country as we climb upto Oakenclough Fell. We follow the fellside road south with more views over the Fylde and make a loop around the picturesque country park at Beacon Fell. There is just a short run through the little village of Chipping on our way back to the hotel.

OVERNIGHT – GIBBON BRIDGE

Thursday 18th

We say goodbye to Gibbon Bridge and make our way to another of our favourite hotels, the Crooklands. First we head out into the Forest of Bowland again via the strangely named but very scenic, Cow Ark, where the surrounding hills and forests could be mistaken for Scotland. Some roads actually designated as ‘Quiet Lanes’ take us to the little village of Slaidburn where we can stop for coffee by the river.

We then climb over the remote Lythe Fell which gives excellent views of the Three Yorkshire Peaks and on a clear day as far as the Lakeland Hills. From here we double back over the fells and descend through Gisburn Forest, with views over Stocks reservoir and Pendle Hill in the distance. The Ribble Valley then brings us back to Clapham, where there was a railway junction, but not that one! We will stop for lunch here.

The afternoon run takes over spectacular Kingsdale with its breathtaking descent into Deepdale and the pretty village of Dent. The next dale, partly in Cumbria, Barbondale, brings us equally dramatically into the Lune Valley. The drystone walls defy gravity as they hang on to the almost vertical hillside. A short run across the Lune brings us to Crooklands

OVERNIGHT – CROOKLANDS HOTEL

Link to download booking form

 Friday 19th   AUTUMN in EDEN

Today is spent entirely in Cumbria and in particular the lovely un-spoilt Eden Valley. We start by going immediately into quiet back lanes which soon give views across to the Lakeland Mountains and then onto Killington Lake with fabulous views over the Lake to the Howgill Fells. All this within less than ten miles of leaving the hotel. From Killington we take the main road down ‘The Black Horse’ with views ahead over Sedbergh and into the Garsdale valley. We pass through Sedbergh and into the picturesque Cautley Valley before turning back along the main road over Ash Fell with panoramic views all round. We will then stop for coffee at a charming little garden centre.

After coffee we go straight back into the hills and the wild open countryside around Sunbiggin Tarn, before crossing over the hill to Great Asby where we get wonderful views down into the Eden Valley. Passing through Appleby we head towards the Pennines before returning towards the Eden and follow the river north to Langwathby and Lazonby. The road runs through gently rolling wooded hills on the way to Armathwaite where we cross the river and the Settle Carlisle railway as we turn west to join the old A6 road. This takes us south again to the town of Penrith which we by-pass by going along Beacon Edge which affords views over the town to the Lake District Hills. We then stop for a late lunch at the impressive Lowther Castle and gardens.

The afternoon run then takes us back into the Eden Valley, crossing one of our favourite fords at Kings Meaburn before climbing out of the valley to Shap village and over the infamous Shap Fell and down towards Kendal. We circumnavigate Kendal by going via Burneside and down the Kendal by-pass which gives views over the Kent valley to Farleton Knott ahead. A final little detour takes us through some more lanes over the River Kent and back to the Crooklands.

Link to download booking form

CIRCUIT of the ALPS   September 2019

The itinerary will be confirmed in mid 2018, but the proposed plan is something like this;

Cross Channel – maybe Portsmouth –St Malo.

Day 1-2 Cross country to Dordogne.

Day 3 South to Millau Bridge

Day 4 North through Gorge de Tarn to Dignes les Bains

Day 5 Gorge de Verdun

Day 6 -7 Some of the highest Cols in Europe.

Day 8  Grenoble to Valence

Day 9  Vecors Region

Day 10 North through Jura Mountains

Day 11 -12 Cross country to Troyes

Day 13 Champagne country and Reims

Day 14 Choice of return channel crossings

Subject to amendments after recce.

COST TBA BUT BOOKINGS CAN BE TAKEN NOW TO RESERVE A PLACE

Approx. £3500 per car (excluding ferries/tunnel and subject to exchange rate)

 

 

ITINERARIES 2017

PLEASE NOTE

These are provisionally itineraries and more information will be available as we complete our recce visits.

EAST ANGLIA TOUR March 30th – April 2nd

It is some time since we visited East Anglia so we thought we should have another look and see if we can come up with something new. Rather than start in the heart of the area we thought we would make it easier for most of our regular customers by starting near the A1. However after due consideration we decided it would be better to start later in the morning but a little nearer to our ultimate destination. The start will therefore be at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

Day One - Thursday 30th

Meet for coffee at the Imperial War Museum at 10 am. After coffee and distribution of paperwork we will have a tour of the museum. This should take us to lunch time so there will be the option to have lunch at the museum also before starting the route.

From Duxford the route takes us south east into Essex briefly, passing through the delightfully named villages of Castle Camp, Helion Bumpstead and Steeple Bumpstead. We then turn north east into Suffolk and make our way towards Bury St Edmunds. There will be a ‘tea stop’ at the spectacular Ickworth House before we skirt the town and head off through country roads and more picturesque villages such as Walsham le Willows and go past the source of the Little Ouse river. A final cross country run brings us to our hotel for the weekend outside the city of Norwich. 

Day Two - Friday 31st

Today we start by heading south from the city on quiet country roads through the pleasant villages of Trentshall St Mary and Pulham St Mary before turning east through the small towns of Bungay and Beccles. We then head north into the Norfolk Broads. These expanses of water are best visited by boat but we will zig-zag our way through on dry land (only taking to the water once!), as we make our way to the coast for a coffee stop at the little seaside village of Winterton on Sea with its vast sandy beaches.

 

We then follow the coast northwards through Mundesley and Cromer to a lunch stop in Sherringham. The afternoon run takes us inland again through Holt and south to Melton Constable where we pass the deer park and make a short detour to the Thursford Collection. This is one of the biggest collections of traction engines and fairground organs in the country. From here we follow the River Wensum and a short run on minor roads around Norwich back to the hotel. 

 

 

Day Three – Saturday April 1st

Off to the seaside again, but this time the Suffolk coast. We skirt the town of Bungay again as we head to Southwold for coffee. From here it is just a short run around the estuary to the atmospheric village of Dunwich, most of which has now been washed away into the sea. From here we turn inland and some more country roads on our way to lunch at the ancient village of Laxford where one of the pubs is one of very few in the country to not actually have a bar. Don’t panic! The beer is served straight from the barrel in the tap room.

In the afternoon we meander through more country lanes to the village of Eye before heading north back to our hotel.

Day Four – Sunday April 2nd

We head west today, but not out of East Anglia. First we head towards the forest and moors of Breckland before turning north to Swafham. We go through the town to the ancient fortified village of Castle Acre where we stop for coffee near the ruined Priory. We then go north west to another attractive village, Castle Rising with its impressive castle before we by-pass the Royal Estate at Sandringham. Instead we turn north east to reach the coast at Wells by the Sea (which isn’t exactly by the sea!) and stop for lunch at the spectacular Holkham Hall. This 18th century stately home has a 300 acre deer park and a mile long lake.

After lunch we turn inland for a little detour to great Walsingham and then back to the coast at Blakeney. From here we turn south again and follow minor roads back to the hotel.

OPTIONAL DAY FIVE – MONDAY 3rd

As our hotel is just down the road from Hethel it would seem rude not to visit the LOTUS factory. If enough people are interested we can arrange this – for an additional fee.

COSTS  4 nights. Dinner, bed and breakfast, Thur-Sun.

 

£1249 per car, i.e.  2 people sharing room.

OPTIONAL LOTUS FACTORY VISIT   £39 per person.

Download booking form here

 

DALES TO WALES   MAY 21ST -27TH

The Dales on this occasion are the Derbyshire and Staffordshire Dales making it easy to combine routes here and across the Cheshire Plain to Wales. 

SUNDAY 21st START - Dinner at the IZAAK WALTON Hotel in Dovedale. 

Day One -  Monday 22nd

First we head east to the pretty village of Tissington where we drive around the village green and onto minor roads which take us across to Carsington Water. We loop north to go around this expanse of water going through Kirk Ireton before looping back on moorland roads to the fascinating Tram Museum at Crich for a coffee stop.

From Crich we head north past Ogston Reservoir and across the hills east of Chesterfield going over “Big Moor” and Burbage Moor. We descend to Hathersage via Burbage Rocks and take the main road to Castleton for lunch. After lunch there is the spectacular climb over Winnats Pass where the road threads between rock faces as we climb to one of the Peak Districts highest peaks, Mam Tor. We pass the Blue John caverns and head through the stunning scenery near Rushup Edge before dropping down into the more built up areas of Chapel en le Frith and Whaley Bridge. The main road then takes us back to Buxton with views over the picturesque Goyt Valley. We go through the town and loop eastward to the equally picturesque Millers Dale and Cressbrook to the picture post card setting of Monsal Head. We can have tea here overlooking the famous view of the viaduct.

The final run takes us back on country roads to our hotel in Dovedale.

Day Two – Tuesday 23rd

We leave beautiful Dove Dale and head west on some narrow but very scenic roads on our way to the village of Butterton with its unusual combination of cobbled street and river/ford! (An alternative route will be available if we have heavy rain). The open moors of Staffordshire then bring us to Longnor before we cross the hills again to a coffee stop at the famous ‘Cat and Fiddle’ pub.

From coffee we travel down most of the spectacular pass of the same name before turning off into the forest above Macclesfield. We join the main road past Bosley Reservoir and avoid the built up areas as we cut across the Cheshire Plain to the impressive Jodral Bank telescope. We then skirt Northwich on our way to lunch at the amazing Anderton Boat lift. This massive structure is the Victorian equivalent of the Falkirk Wheel -  “like a giant three-storey-high iron spider”.

From lunch we head further west back into the countryside and on to the more picturesque Delamere Forest. We then head south through quiet country lanes, passing Cholmondley Castle on our way to our hotel outside Whitchurch, just over the border in Shropshire.

Day Three – Wednesday 24th

Today we cross into Wales at the un-pronounceable village of Rhosclanercrugog? before heading north to Minerva. We then turn into the mountains and cross the open moors before passing the impressive rock formations of ‘Worlds End’ and as we descend from here we get wonderful views down into the Llangollen valley. Down in the valley we make our way to the amazing Pontcysilite Aqueduct for a coffee stop. (The brave and more energetic may like a walk across the vertigo inducing structure!).

After coffee we pass through Llangollen itself and stop to look around a fascinating little motor museum on the banks of the canal. Frome here we head north again over the fabulous Horse Shoe Pass and head towards Ruthin where we turn onto more minor roads which take us into the infamous Clocaenog Forest. (Famous for RAC rallies of old and used on the 2016 RALLY GB – we will stick to the tarmac though and not venture onto the gravel tracks). After cutting through the heart of the forest we will stop on the shores of tranquil Lyn Brenig for lunch.

After lunch we take a loop north before turning south again with views of the Snowdon Mountain range ahead. We then cut across country to Bala and go over the mountains back to Lake Vrynwy via the breathtaking road which runs high above the Tanat valley.

Day Four – Thursday 25th

The route today takes us back to Bala, but as you would expect not on the same road! We use another mountain road before passing through Bala and on to picturesque Lyn Celyn. We then cut across country to Betwys Coed for a coffee stop.

It is then back into Snowdonia, passing the Swallow Falls and Capel Curig to the top of the Llanberis Pass. We don’t go down the pass on this occasion but carry straight on down the spectacular valley road to Beddgelert. We continue south through the Aberglaslyn Pass and south to the fascinating village of Portmeirion for lunch.

After lunch we approach the town of Harlech on the coastal road which provides magnificent views of the castle above. We then follow the coast to Barmouth and the Mawdach estuary before turning inland to Dolgellau and on to Machynleth. Here we take a minor road up into the mountains again where we get spectacular views in every direction – on a clear day! A stop for tea at a remote little inn in a deserted mining village breaks the journey across the mountains back to Lake Vrynwy.

Day Five – Friday 26th

We go further south today, meandering through minor roads on our way to the impressive Powys Castle for coffee. From here it is a good main road run to Newtown and on to Llanidloes. We then follow the shores of the beautiful Lyn Cilwedog for some time before turning into the Hafren Forest. This little road continues for some miles through woods and over moors before we join the main road through spectacular scenery to the little village of Ponterwyd for a stop for lunch at the summit of the beautiful Vale of Rheidol. 

After lunch it is back onto minor roads as we climb to the remote but picturesque Nant y Moch Reservoir. We follow the reservoir to a spectacular little mountain road which affords views as far as Barmouth Bay before descending steadily to the coast. We pass through Machynleth again before tackling the southern half of the “Hellfire Pass”. This awesome climb then brings us to our final mountain road back to Lake Vrynwy and down the west side of the lake to our hotel for a farewell dinner.

COSTS – DALES TO WALES  6 nights, dinner b+b, per car £1899

DALES ONLY   Sun-Tues 3 nights dinner b+b  per car £799

WALES ONLY   Tues – Fri 4 nights dinner, b+b per car £1175

 
Download booking form here

 

BARBON AND LITTLE DEVILS TOUR June 10/11th

This is one for the ‘petrol heads’ – i.e. real motoring enthusiasts.

Saturday afternoon will be spent spectating (and displaying your car) at the Barbon Speed Hillclimb organised by Liverpool Motor Club and the local Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club. There will be a wide range of cars ranging from single seaters to vintage  cars and rally cars contesting the short but picturesque climb in the grounds of Barbon Manor overlooking the Lune Valley.

Sunday will be a tour following some classic Devils Own Rally routes through north Cumbria and into the Yorkshire Dales. To get the real atmosphere of the old road rallies (whilst NOT competing!), there will be a few stretches of un-metalled but non-damaging roads and a few private roads used as rally tests in the past. The route of approx. 130 miles passes through some spectacular scenery and there will be a lunch halt at roughly half distance. A meal will also be available at the finish.

Accommodation can be arranged for Friday/Saturday/Sunday as required.

FOOTNOTE

The Devils Own Rally organised by Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club was first run in the 60’s and became one of the biggest and toughest events of its kind. By the 70’s it had been included in the prestigious ‘Motoring News Championship’ which attracted the best drivers of the time, including; Tony Pond, Russell Brookes, Nigel Rockey and even Prince Michael of Kent in 1973. In the late 80’s, road rallies had become ‘politically incorrect’ and difficult to organise to cope with the speeds of modern cars, so ‘The Devils’ was rested. In 1995 it was resurrected as an Historic Road Rally and has run as such ever since. (Mike Kirk was Clerk of the Course for the first 11 years and is still involved, although hoping to compete again in 2017). Last year, 2016, the event, under ‘new management’ achieved Historic Rally Car Register Championship status and was hailed as a huge success.

 

 Download booking form here

CARDIGAN TO CORK  June 26th-July 2nd

Day One – Monday June 26th

We start from a hotel near Ross on Wye where accommodation can be arranged for the night before, from Ross we cut across country to Abergavenny and head into the Brecon Beacons. We skirt the foothills of the mountain range before taking to some spectacular minor roads through the heart of the Black Mountains. We then travel along the picturesque Tywl valley to Camarthen and a stop for lunch.

We now make a detour to the coast to visit the fascinating Museum of Speed on the famous Pendine Sands, home of many land speed record attempts. From here we head north through pleasant countryside to Cardigan for our first overnight stop.

Day Two – Tuesday 27th

The ferry from Fishgaurd doesn’t leave until mid afternoon so we have time for a run across Myndd Preseli, the highest point of the Pembroke National Park where on a clear day you might just be able to see Ireland. We descend to Haverfordwest and then travel along the south coast to Britain’s smallest city, St Davids for lunch. It is then just a short run to Fishgaurd for the ferry. We arrive in Rosslare in the early evening so all that remains is a short run to our hotel near Wexford.

 

Day Three – Wednesday 28th

From Wexford we loop south to the sadly named ‘Forlorn Point’, a headland on the Atlantic, or Celtic Coast. We then follow the coast along Waterford Harbour to a stop at the John F. Kennedy Homestead, the ancestral home he visited in 1963.

We then head north to the pretty, but un-pronounceable village of Craiguenamanagh, for a coffee stop on the riverside. From here we head through Thomastown and Carrick on Suir to the Comeragh Mountains and the home of Bulmers Cider, Clonmel. We will spend the night here at the sumptuous Minella Hotel.

 

Day Four – Thursday 29th

A day of beautiful rolling hills as we make our way through the Monavullagh Mountains and over the delightfully named, Knockmealdown Mountains, and a spectacular descent to Clogeen. We then go through the Ballyhoura Mountains and Glenanaar Forest before we head south to Cork. We by-pass the city and meander across country  to the coast again and our hotel for 3 nights on the hill above the pretty harbour village of Kinsale. 

 

 

Day Five – Friday 30th

Today we start with a short run back towards Cork City but again we avoid the centre and loop around to Blarney Castle. Here you can have a coffee and kiss the Blarney Stone!

From Blarney we head north into more mountain country, this time the Beggeragh mountains. We weave our way through quiet country roads and on to Killarney where we will have lunch on the stunning lakeside.

After lunch we take the main road south. This is no ordinary main road however as it forms the famous  ‘Mols Gap’ rally stage and gives fantastic views over the Killarney Lakes, passes through tunnels and squeezes through the rock cutting which gives it its name. We then descend to the pretty harbour village of Kenmare. We then follow the shores of Bantry Bay for a while before cutting across country back to Kinsale. 

Day Six – Saturday July 1st

From Kinsale we head along the coast westward past Old Head and on to Timoleague. We will stop for coffee at the enchanting little model railway village in Clonakilty before going further west to Skibereen and the rugged coastal route around Dunmanus Bay and back to Bantry for lunch.

From Bantry we take a different route inland to the Pass of Kemaneigh through the Shehy Mountains and the Bongare Forest Park. Our return route to Kinsale takes us down the valley of the River Lee.

Day Seven – Sunday 2nd

We leave Kinsale for the last time and again head towards Cork but this time we by-pass the city to the south and take the little ferry to Cobh Island. Here we will visit the atmospheric Titanic Exhibition (Cobh harbour was the last port of call for the Titanic), After coffee we leave the island via the bridge to Middleton and then take the main coastal route east to Dungannon. From here we return to minor roads along the coast to Tramore and then pay a visit to the Viking Triangle in Waterford. There are various museums and visitor centres here including the famous Waterford Crystal. It is then just a short run back to Wexford for our final night.

Day Eight – Monday 3rd

Early ferry from Rosslare to Fishgaurd.

CARDIGAN TO CORK  8 nights dinner, b+b and ferry  £2599

 

(Sunday night Ross on Wye extra)

Download booking form here

The Borders & Northumberland Tour  August 1st - 8th

Having run Scottish Tours for the last 15 years we felt last year that we had run out of ideas and maybe it would be good to rest Scotland for a year. Such was the demand for something north of the border that we hastily put a few of the ‘best bits’ from previous years together and it resulted it what many people regarded as the best Scottish Tour ever. Well – we can’t beat that, so this year (2017) we are going a little bit lower key – and a little bit lower down! There are still some parts of South West Scotland we haven’t explored and it is a while since we have spent any time in the Borders, so that is where we will be going this time, with a little bit in the English lakes and some time in Northumberland. It should therefore still be a very full and interesting tour.

(We are looking at something a little more ‘exotic’ for next year, 2018, in an area we definitely haven’t been – there is always a cunning plan!)

Monday July 31st   Dinner at the Crooklands Hotel

Day One August 1st

We start from one of our favourite hotels, The Crooklands, just off the M6 motorway south of Kendal. We will cross the motorway and head straight into the Lake District National Park, passing through the picturesque Lyth Valley before crossing Gummers How which looks down on the southern end of Windermere. A coffee stop will be taken at the excellent Lakeland Motor Museum. We have been here many times but there is always something new to see.

From the museum we go via country lanes to Grizebeck Hill which affords spectacular views over the Duddon Estuary to the imposing Black Combe. We traverse the flanks of Black Combe via Corney Fell, where, from the summit, on a clear day you can see the Isle of Man. We will descend to the coast and have lunch at Muncaster Castle.

The afternoon run then takes us past the stunning scree slopes at Wastwater and on to the unfortunately named Cold Fell which gives us views out over the Irish Sea. We pass through Ennerdale (NOT Emmerdale!) and run alongside the beautiful lakes of Lowes Water and Buttemere. We then climb the awesome Newlands Pass and drop down to Keswick. A final main road run brings us to one of the best views in the lakes as we descend to the shores of Ullswater and our hotel for the night, another of our favourites, Leeming House. 

Day Two August 2nd

From Leeming we follow the lake north and by-pass the town of Penrith and take the old A6 road north before crossing over to the tranquil  Eden Valley. We follow the valley north and skirt the city of Carlisle as we make our way to Gretna Green for coffee. 

Now over the Border we continue north using the now very quiet old main road to Glasgow, superseded by the motorway which now runs parallel. After Lockerbie we take to more minor roads on our way to the Forest of Ae where we pass secluded lochs on the way to Auldgirth for lunch.

After lunch we make our way out into open moorland and then back into the forests and a stop for tea at the lovely Clatteringshaws Loch. From here we descend to Newton Stewart and then take some very minor roads over the hills to our impressive hotel for the next two nights, The Cally Palace.

Day Three - August 3rd

This morning we head back into the forests and within a few miles of the hotel are in surprisingly remote and mountainous countryside on the edge of the vast Galloway Forest Park. We pass through Newton Stewart again and then into Glentrool Forest where we pass the pretty Loch Ochiltree. As we climb to the north we get panoramic views over the surrounding forest before we turn west to the coast. We now take the main road north to Girvan with superb views out over the Irish Sea and the cone shaped island of Ailsa Craig which produces the granite used for making curling stones.

After a stop for lunch on the coast we continue south on the main road through Glen App and past the ferry ports at Cairnryan. Avoiding the ferry traffic we turn inland again and take the minor road following ‘The Water of Luce’ to Glen Luce. Now we cross onto the Wigtown Penninsula (or the Machars) where we follow the coast for a while before cutting across country to Wigtown, the ‘Book Town of the North’.

We will have a break for tea before looping around Wigtown Bay and return to our hotel via the main road.

Day Four August 4th

Leaving ‘Cally Pally’ we go through Laurieston Forest on our way to the picturesque Loch Ken. We follow the shores of the loch northward and pass through New Galloway on our way to Thornhill. We cross the busy A76 and take the superb driving road through the Dalvine Pass which snakes between the mountains and climbs steadily into the Lowther Hills. At the summit we turn back for lunch at the mining centre at Wanlockhead, Scotland’s highest village!

The afternoon run is relatively short as we turn east again to cross the M74 and skirt the Tinto Hills on the way to Peebles and our hotel a few miles down the road in open countryside, The Cardrona Hotel, where we spend the next two nights.

Day Five August 5th

South to the Borders today.

We start with a run over the spectacular Talla and Megget Reservoir road which climbs into the hills and then suddenly makes a stunning descent to the shores of the Talla Reservoir. We then have a more gentle run down the very scenic main road to Moffat for a coffee stop.

From Moffat we head south on minor roads before cutting across the hills to Langholm where another spectacular run brings us to the edge of Kielder Forest. This time we don’t go into the heart of the forest but instead follow the route of the old Waverley Railway, the northern part of which has been re-opened as a commuter line into Edinburgh. We don’t go quite that far though as we stop for lunch in Hawick.

The afternoon run takes us back into the hills and past the pretty and intriguingly named ‘Alemoor’ reservoir into the picturesque Ettrick valley. We follow the valley north to Selkirk and then the main road back to our hotel via a stop for tea at the nearby Traqhair House which looks more like a French chateau than a Scottish country house.

Day Six August 6th

Jim Clark Country today.

Our penultimate day starts by dodging the golf balls as we cross the course north of Inverleithen. We climb through the un-spoilt Moorfoot Hills and skirt the Lammermuir Hills to Haddington. We then cross the busy A1 to visit the fascinating Museum of Flight at East Fortune.

After a look around Concord and a coffee we head back to the Lammermuir Hills and head south past the Whiteadder Reservoir on our way to Duns with panoramic views over the patchwork quilt like countryside of the Tweed Valley. We stop for a visit to the atmospheric Jim Clark Rooms in Duns, a monument to the famous Grand Prix driver. We then have a short run to the impressive Paxton House for lunch.

After lunch we pay a brief visit to Berwick on Tweed before heading south to Wooler with the beautiful Cheviot Hills ahead of us. We pass Chillingham Castle, famous for its wild cows, and make our way to the fabulous Alnwick Castle made famous in Harry Potter films. There is then just a short run over the hills to our hotel near Rothbury.

Day Seven August 7th

Our last day finishes with a spectacular drive back into Cumbria, but first we loop north around Rothbury and the pretty Coquet Valley to the stunning foothills of the Cheviots. We then cross the imposing Otterburn Military ranges and stop for coffee at the Otterburn Woollen Mill. From here we cross the moors and pass the edge of the mighty Kielder Forest on good driving roads before crossing Hadrian’s Wall and down to Haydon Bridge. We stop for lunch at the fabulous Langley Castle. 

The afternoon run is the ‘grand finale’ of the tour  with a run down the full length of the A686, voted by the AA as ‘the best drive in Britain’. This takes in the fantastic Hartside Pass with its Stelvio-like hairpin bends and views over the Eden Valley as far as the Solway Firth. We descend into the valley and the final run back along Ullswater to our hotel, Leeming House again.

Borders & Northumberland Tour  8 Nights, dinner, b+b £1,999

Download booking form here 

 

The Autumn Dales Tour 24th – 29th October NEW DATE  

We have reverted to our normal October date as August didn’t really work for an Autumn Tour. The Coniston Cold Hotel was so well received on our High Roads Tour this year that we decided it would make a good base. We also start from a new hotel just off the M6 at Preston so it is less distance to travel ‘up north’ for most people. This also opens up some new routes in the Ribble Valley

 

START – TUESDAY OCTOBER 24th 

Dinner at the Tickled Trout, Preston.

DAY ONE – WEDNESDAY 25th

We leave the hotel and cross the M6 to follow the Ribble Valley eastward, we meander through the delightfully named villages of Salmesbury Bottom and Mellor Brook before crossing the Ribble at Ribchester Bridge where several Roman Roads meet at the remains of the fort in the village. We continue north through Longridge and make a circuit of Beacon Fell which gives panoramic views over the Fylde as we make our way to the secluded village of Chipping for a stop for coffee.

 We then return towards Longridge climbing over the edge of the fell of that name and passing several reservoirs before we drive down what appears to be the entrance to a stately home. However, we turn off before entering the impressive Stoneyhurst College and loop round to cross the Ribble again near Great Mitton. We then pass through the ancient town of Whalley and climb the flanks of Pendle Hill and then pass through the ‘Nick of Pendle’ which is literally a gap or ‘nick’ in the top of the hill, where we get views over the Ribble Valley and the town of Clitheroe. We then go right around the imposing northern edge of Pendle Hill which on a dull day can really conjure up images of witchcraft and mysterious happenings. Hopefully it will be a nice day and everything will look very pleasant and inviting so that we can stop for lunch in the pretty village of Barley.

In the afternoon we head out across the moors to Elslack where there are spectacular views all around. We then descend into the Ribble Valley again and make our way into the Forest of Bowland. This isn’t really a forest anymore but a very picturesque area nevertheless and we can stop for tea in the tiny village of Sawley with its ruined Abbey.

After tea it is a relatively short run back across the rolling hills to Paythorne Moor and over the Leeds-Liverpool Canal to Gargrave and or hotel at Coniston Cold.

 

DAY TWO THURSDAY 26th  

(THE THREE PEAKS TOUR)

Today we enter much more rugged country and the Dales ‘proper’. First we follow the Ribble towards Settle. We by-pass the town on minor roads around Clapham and then cut across the A65 to the quiet hillside road into Ingleton with views back across the valley and ahead to the Lakes Mountains. We go through Ingleton and then take a very minor road into Kingsdale. This is a very popular ‘pot holing’ area and we follow the river to the head of the valley and then climb the flanks of Whernside (one of the Three Peaks) before we get a dramatic view down into the aptly named Deepdale. We go down into Deepdale and pass a spectacular waterfall as we make our way into Dentdale and a stop for coffee in the village of Dent.

After these very narrow roads we take the ‘main’ road to Sedbergh and then north through the picturesque Cautley Valley with its waterfall, Cautley Spout. (Unfortunately you need very wet weather to make the waterfall look impressive – and I am sure we would prefer dry weather!) We then cross the Settle-Carlisle Railway as we traverse the “Tommy Road” into Mallerstang. We follow the railway down the valley (although I don’t think steam trains run on Fridays – but you never know!) and on into Garsdale. Here we turn off onto the infamous ‘Coal Road’. This tortuous little road climbs high above the surrounding Dales before descending the “Corkscrew” hairpin bends back into Dentdale where from the station which serves the village, 4 miles away, you get fantastic views down the length of the dale. We turn the other way this time and climb over Dent Head going under its impressive viaduct before we turn into Ribblesdale and pass the most famous viaduct of them all, Ribblehead. An ice cream and a photo might be an appropriate excuse for a break here.

We then continue down the higher reaches of the Ribble Valley passing another of the Three Peaks, the un-mistakeable table top of Ingleborough, and then turn off to climb the flanks of the final peak, Pen-y-ghent. From here we drop down into the remote Littondale where we have lunch.

After lunch we make a spectacular climb out of the valley and pass the impressive Yew Cogar Scar on the other side of a ‘bottomless’ ravine. The final run takes us past Malham Tarn and through the village back to our hotel. 

DAY THREE FRIDAY 27th  

We start by following yesterday’s route as far as Wigglesworth before heading west past the expanse of Gisburn Forest. We then turn off onto some quiet lanes in remote countryside not unlike Scotland with views of the surrounding hills and the Fylde coastal plain ahead. We will stop for coffee below the Longridge Fell before climbing the flanks of the fell where we get wonderful views down into the valley and the ‘forest’ of Bowland. (Not really a forest but a very picturesque area.) We descend into the valley once more and take a minor road past the Wild Boar Park with views of the Bowland hills ahead. We continue through the valley to Slaidburn where we turn north and cross the wild expanse of Lythe Fell with views of the Three Peaks, The Lakeland Hills and you may get a glimpse of Morecambe Bay – on a clear day. We then cross into Littledale where you get good views of the Bay before we drop down into the city of Lancaster. We stop on the edge of the city for lunch at Williamson’s Park with its impressive monument and Butterfly House.

After lunch we follow the Lune Valley towards Kirkby Lonsdale keeping to the minor roads above the river before making a small detour via Hutton Roof which gives a different view of Ingleborough and surrounding hills. There will then be a stop in the charming little town of Kirkby Lonsdale where we can have tea at the brewery.

The final leg takes us north to Killington Lake and then onto the main road over Kendal Fell which affords views over the Kent Valley to the Lakes Hills and Morecambe Bay. A few miles on minor roads with similar views bring us to our new hotel for the night, the popular Crooklands.

£1199  4 NIGHTS, D,B+B* per car, i.e. 2 people sharing

(Coffee, and/or lunch and/or tea will be provided, details to be confirmed)

 

October 28-29th THE PASS-OVER TOUR

DAY FOUR   SATURDAY 28th

We leave Crooklands and go straight into the lanes around Killington Lake before descending to Sedbergh again. This time we travel the full length of Garsdale and into the more well know Wensleydale. We complete a circuit of the pretty Semer Water to a coffee stop at Aysgarth Falls. We then climb our first pass, the Buttertubs, which takes us over to Swaledale and a breathtaking descent into the valley. We continue along the western end of Swaledale to climb over the remote moors above Nateby where we get a fantastic panoramic view over the Eden Valley and Cumbria with the Lakes Mountains again in the background. We then head north through Kirkby Stepehen and stop for lunch near Brough.

From lunch onwards it is all main roads – but what main roads! Real driving roads! We pass Selset reservoir on our way to Middleton in Teesdale and then onto High Force where you might like to make an optional stop for the short walk to Britain’s largest waterfall. More superb driving across the top of the Pennines brings us to England’s highest market town, Alston. After negotiating the cobbled streets we take another fabulous driving road which brings us to the summit of Hartside Pass where we stop for tea. The view from the café at the top is simply awesome stretching as far as the Solway Firth.

The descent of the pass is equally awesome with ‘Stelvio’ like hairpin bends and the constant view down into the beautiful Eden Valley. It is then just a short run down the lovely Ullswater to our hotel right on the shores of the lake, Leeming House.

DAY FIVE SUNDAY 29th

(THE PASSES)

The Pass-over Tour was first run in the late 90’s after an O.S. colleague and myself sat down one day with the maps of the Lake District to see if it was possible to visit all the Lakes and drive all the passes in one day. After much deliberation we decided it wasn’t possible in one day – but the PASS-OVER 2 DAY CLASSIC was born. Today we will drive ALL THE PASSES, but not visit all the lakes – I still haven’t found a way of doing that!

Briefly, so as not to give too much away, the route is as follows;

We follow the shores of Ullswater and drive over KIRKSTONE PASS to the shores of Windermere. We then drive WRYNOSE and HARKNOTT passes before heading north past Wastwater and Ennerdale to WHINLATTER PASS, overlooking Bassenthwaite, then straight into NEWLANDS PASS and Buttermere. The ‘grand finale’ is HONISTER PASS, along Derwent Water and back to Ullswater.

October 28-29th THE PASSOVER TOUR

 

£559  2 NIGHTS *   (D, B+B) per car, i.e. 2 people sharing 

(Coffee, and/or lunch and/or tea will be provided, details to be confirmed) 

** £1699 COMBINED TOURS 6 NIGHTS

Download booking form here

 

THE PECOS AND PORTO TOUR September 19th – October 1st

It isn’t possible to do a detailed itinerary at this stage but we will be doing a recce next April and may have some more details before then. Please check the ‘NEWS’ page. The proposed itinerary in brief, is as follows;

Day One Tuesday 19th September

Sail from Portsmouth 17.15 

Day Two Wednesday 20th

Arrive Santander 18.15. Overnight SANTANDER

Day Three Thursday 21st

Drive over the Pecos Mountains. Overnight LEON. Approx. 150 miles

Day Four  Friday 22nd 

Drive through Spain to south west.

Overnight PUEBLA de SANABRIA        Approx 175 mls

Day Five Saturday 23rd

Drive south through Sierra de Nogueira via Villa Real.

Overnight PORTO                            Approx   160 mls

Days Six - Eight Sunday 24th – Tuesday 26th  

Free/rest days. Possible organised tour of Duerro Valley and vineyards.

Overnight  PORTO

Day Nine Wednesday 27th

Drive north through Sierra de Geres via Ourense

Overnight  SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA                Approx 180 miles

Day 10 Thursday 28th

Drive along coast via A CRUNA to Viveiro

Overnight VIVEIRO                                 Approx 175 miles

Day 11 Friday 29th

Drive along north coast of Spain with a detour into the mountains.

Overnight RIBADESELLA               Approx. 180 miles (40 on m-way)

Day 12 Saturday 30th

Drive through Pecos to Santander, sail 20.30   Approx 120 miles

Day 13 Sunday October 1st

Arrive Portsmouth 19.45

Optional overnight in Portsmouth.

 

Download booking form here

 

 



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