PLEASE NOTE; THESE ITINERARIES ARE ‘A WORK IN PROGRESS’AND EVERY DETAIL HAS NOT BEEN FINALISED AT THIS STAGE. SOME ALTERATIONS MAY BE NECESSARY AS WE COMPLETE OUR RECCE VISITS. ANY SIGNIFICANT CHANGES WILL BE UPDATED ON THE NEWS PAGE OF THIS WEBSITE. ANY FEATURES OMITTED WILL BE REPLACED BY SOMETHING OF SIMILAR QUALITY.
ALL PRICES ARE PER CAR i.e. 2 people sharing.
The Cotswolds Tour – Sunday April 3rd
The route for the 2016 Cotswolds Tour is similar to last year, but completely reversed with some of the more obvious locations omitted in favour of more ‘off the beaten track’ villages and roads. All the major features are retained; Bourton in the Water for coffee, Blenheim Palace for lunch and The Motor Heritage Centre at Gaydon to finish. This means you can spend as much time at Blenheim or Gaydon as you prefer. The start will be from the Alveston Manor Hotel in Stratford upon Avon, where accommodation can be arranged for the night before.
The route soon takes us in to quiet bye-ways passing over Lark Stoke Hill with its views of the surrounding countryside on our way to Chipping Campden. We then detour via the Broadway Tower with its superb panoramic views over the Vale of Evesham before meandering across country to the pretty village of Bourton on the Water for coffee.
We then head south before looping around to another typical Cotswold village, Burford and then a short ‘B’ road run to the magnificent Blenheim Palace for lunch.
After lunch we head east and then north through a maize of pleasant country lanes, taking to the higher ground wherever possible to get the best views of the surrounding rolling countryside. Our final run takes us across the busy M40 to the Country Park near Burton Dasset before following the main road to the fascinating Gaydon Heritage Centre where you can spend the remainder of the afternoon. It is only a short run back to Stratford for those staying at the hotel or continuing with the ‘Cymru’ tour tomorrow.
Cotswold Tour – Sunday Only, NO accommodation £59 per car
For accommodation contact organisers: 07795 204533
Cotswold and Cymru Tour - April 3-8th
DAY ONE – AS ABOVE
DAY TWO. Monday 4th
Today we leave Stratford heading west. First we take the country roads via Bidford on Avon before joining the main road to by-pass Worcester. After this short stretch of dual carriageway it is back onto ‘B’ roads as we follow the Severn Valley north. We pass through Wyn Forest and then follow the Severn Valley Steam Railway to Bridgnorth where we will stop at the station for lunch.
From Bridgnorth we head west and across Wanlock Edge into the surprisingly rugged countryside of Shropshire. We pass through Church Stretton and climb over the spectacular Long Mynd looking down into the deep valleys at the side of the road. We then make the long descent to the Welsh Border looking over the flatter land to the Welsh Mountains in the distance. As we head north we pass through Montgomery and into the mountains to the beautiful Lake Vrynwy and our hotel of that name, which is our base for the rest of the tour.
DAY THREE Tuesday 5th
This morning we head south through Newtown and down the main (but twisty) road to Llandrindod Wells and onto Llanwrtyd Wells before continuing further west into the heart of the Cambrian Mountains. We take a winding road through the forest which provides stunning views over Lyn Brianne and then continue via the daunting ‘Devil’s Staircase’ with its 1 in 4 climbs, and complete an almost circular route back to the picturesque Elan Valley. After a stop for tea near the reservoir dam, more quiet roads through forests and valleys bring us back to Lake Vrynwy.
DAY FOUR Wednesday 6th
We are off to the seaside! Well in that general direction. First we cross Lake Vrynwy and head into the forest and our first taste of ‘Hellfire Pass’ or ‘Bwlch y Groes’. This awesome minor road was used for testing early Austin and Triumph cars. We then head south to some to breathtaking views around Lyn Clywedog and a stop for coffee at the Red Kite Kiosk overlooking the dam. Some good driving roads then take us further west with the Snowdon range of mountains ahead. After passing through Machynlleth we follow one of Wales’ famous little railways, the Tallylyn, almost down to the coast. We descend to the lovely Afon Mawddach estuary and then turn inland with fabulous views of the mountains ahead. We follow the road around the estuary stopping for lunch in Barmouth. A short run north then brings us to the spectacular Harlech Castle, The return route takes us through more stunning scenery on our way back to the hotel via Bala Lake.
DAY FIVE Thursday 7th
The Grand Finale – a longer day but we have saved some of the best driving to the end. First we head north travelling along the edge of the Berwyn mountains and down into Bala, but this time we continue north to the main A5 road. We then follow the A5 to the picture postcard scenery of Betws y Coed and Swallow Falls where we stop for coffee.
After coffee things get more dramatic as we drive into the heart of Snowdonia taking the awesome Llanberis Pass down to Caernarfon for lunch. After lunch we head back inland along the flanks of Snowdon and on to Trawsfynydd where we start our last driving ‘adventure’ over the mountains and onto the upper section of the ‘Hellfire Pass’. It is just a short run down Lake Vyrnwy again back to the hotel and the finish.
COTSWOLDS AND CYMRU TOUR 6 NIGHTS - £1675 per car
Download booking form here
The Mountains and Glens of Ireland Tour July 3-10th
DAY ONE Sunday 3rd
Meet at the splendid LEEMING HOUSE HOTEL on beautiful Ullswater in the English Lake District for dinner.
DAY TWO Monday 4th
We follow the lake north, by-passing Penrith and following the flanks of the Pennine Hills to the secluded Lanercost Priory for coffee. From here we take the main road from Brampton to Longtown and on this occasion pass Gretna Green in favour of some quiet roads on the way through the valley of the River Arran to Lochmaben. We then by-pass Dumfries and take the minor roads north to Drumlanrigg Castle for lunch.
After lunch we head west across country going deeper into the hills and the edge of the Galloway Forest Park. We then follow the shores of picturesque Loch Ken before passing through Laurieston Forest on our way to our impressive hotel near Gatehouse of Fleet.
DAY THREE Tuesday 5th
We need a relatively early start this morning as we have to catch the ferry to Ireland at 11.30. Therefore the first part of the route is down the main road following the shore of Wigtown Bay. At Newton Stewart we make a detour onto minor roads through the forest until we reach the sea at Loch Ryan. A little way up the coast is the ferry port of the same name where we catch our boat to Belfast. The crossing takes about 2 hours, just time to get some lunch. Once in Belfast we make our way to the impressive Titanic exhibition in the old Harland and Wolfe shipyard.
After spending the afternoon here we return through Belfast to our hotel on the Antrim Coast north of Larne.
DAY FOUR Wednesday 6th
Today we head inland to the picturesque rolling hills and valleys of the Antrim Mountains. Going north through quiet country roads we descend Glenshesk to Ballycastle on the coast for coffee. After coffee we climb back through Glentaisie
and then go across country via the ‘tree tunnel road’ to Bushmills where we visit the distillery.
To clear the head after this experience we travel just a couple of miles down the coast to the World Famous Giant’s Causeway. A walk to the amazing basalt columns should give you an appetite for lunch which can be taken at the visitor centre or nearby pub!
If you are still in need of adventure or excitement you need only drive another couple of miles to the awesome Carrick a Rede rope bridge. The bridge only takes you across to a small rock outcrop but it is a breathtaking 80 feet above the waves – and the only way back is over the bridge again.
There is then a ‘gentle’ run down the main road to Torr Head. From here though the coastal road is spectacular with views of Scotland in the distance. The cliff top road eventually descends to the pretty village of Cushendun before we return to the wooded valleys of Glenballyemon and Glenariff. The final run follows the renowned Antrim Coast road back to our hotel.
DAY 5 Thursday 7th
A long driving day today as we head over the border to Eire. We start with a brief run back up the lovely coast road to take in one more glen, Glenarm, before cutting across country to Ireland’s biggest lake, Lough Neagh. We follow the picturesque shore road and skirt the town of Lurgan before cutting across country again. On the way we drive some roads used on the famous Circuit of Ireland Rally before a stop at the ‘Bronte Homeland’ Centre.
In the afternoon we cut through the mystical Mountains of Mourne back to the Irish Sea and Carlingford Lough. We follow the coast west before a long cross country drive over the border and south through Kingscourt and Kells to our hotel just outside Dublin at Naas. This is the first of three nights at the delightful Killashee Hotel.
DAY 6 Friday 8th
After all the driving yesterday, today is a much shorter day, which if you prefer can be even shorter! For the motoring historians we start with a run around part of the old ‘Gordon Bennett’ race circuit. This was one of the first motor races in the world before the establishment of Grand Prix races and was run on un-metalled public roads. Today the roads are all surfaced! And it is difficult to imagine what it must have been like to hurtle down these long straights in an Edwardian type car on ‘pram wheels’ at amazing speeds. (I am sure the ‘Garda’ will not approve if you try to emulate these heros of old!!). On the route there are interesting stops such as the Stradbally Steam museum and the Irish National Stud. If you prefer you can make a relaxing day by just visiting the stud which is only a few miles from the hotel.
DAY 7 Saturday 9th
A final and spectacular day’s driving in the Wicklow Mountains. We criss cross the hills on some famous rally roads such as Sally Gap, have lunch on the coast at the town of Wicklow and return through the picturesque Vale of Avoca before climbing over the mountains again passing the stunning Loch Tay and on to the Poulaphouca Dam at Blessington Lake not far from our hotel.
DAY 8 Sunday 10th
Just to finish things off in true Irish style we will try a drop of ‘the Black Stuff’ with a visit to the Guinness Factory in Dublin before catching the afternoon ferry from Dublin to Holyhead. Check in 13.45 arrive 17.45 (If anyone prefers to stay near Holyhead before driving home we can arrange accommodation.)
Mountains and Glens Tour 7 nights and ferry £2459 per car.
Wicklow Mountains Tour
Start on evening of day 5 above. 3 nights and return ferry Holyhead-Dublin £999 per car.
Download booking form here
THE HIGH ROADS TOUR July 31st – August 4th
We have had to make a change to the HIGH ROADS itinerary. The LANGLEY CASTLE HOTEL is fully booked with a wedding on Thursday 4th August, therefore I have brought the whole tour forward a day. We will now start at the HAYCOCK HOTEL on SATURDAY night July 30th and finish with 2 nights at Langley on Tuesday/Wednesday. Everything else is as advertised, just a day earlier.
(There is an added benefit - the Great Central Railway doesn't run on Mondays - we will now be there on Sunday!)"
DAY 1 Sunday 31st July
Dinner at the atmospheric HAYCOCK HOTEL in the pretty village of Wansford.
DAY 2. Monday 1st
We start by heading south to the attractive and ancient town of Oundle before turning north again to pass through pleasant country roads on our way to the spectacular Harringworth viaduct – the longest in Britain. From here we continue to the shores of Rutland Water and then cross country to the great Central Railway at Quorn for a coffee stop.
From here we continue across country avoiding Leicester and Loughborough going via Staunton Harold and on to the main A50. A short run down the main road brings us to a more picturesque route north into Derbyshire and our hotel in beautiful Dovedale on the edge of the peak District.
DAY 3 Tuesday 2nd
Today we cut right across the Peak District on some interesting roads through tunnels and fords before descending into Bakewell, famous for its (jam) tarts! After a coffee stop we continue north to Millers Dale and spectacular Monsal Head and then further north to the equally picturesque Edale. We then briefly follow the shores of the Ladybower Reservoir before climbing over the moors above Sheffield.
We pass several more reservoirs in this remote area before descending to Holmfirth of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ fame, where we can have lunch.
After lunch we cut across the stark and imposing moors of the Pennines which seem very remote despite being in between several industrial towns. We will then stop for tea in Howarth (of Bronte fame) before continuing north with panoramic views of the Ribble Valley ahead. Our hotel for the night is at Coniston Cold near Skipton on the edge of a pretty lake.
DAY 4 Wednesday 3rd
It is straight into the heart of the Yorkshire Dales today and increasingly spectacular scenery. Within barely a mile of the hotel we turn onto quiet picturesque roads which bring us on to the moors above Settle where there are views of the lake District mountains ahead – on a clear day. We then descend abruptly in to Settle through some narrow cobbled streets and follow the River Ribble north. Not for long though as we soon turn off back into the hills again, skirting one of the Yorkshire three Peaks, Pen-y-ghent, on our way to a breathtaking road running along the edge of a ravine before dropping steeply into Littondale. A short run down Littondale brings us to Wharfedale where we turn north again and stop for coffee in the little village of Buckden.
After coffee we turn into the lesser known Langstrothdale where we follow the river to the head of the valley and then climb over the hills into the deep valley of Sleddale. The long descent brings us into Hawes and Wensleydale where you might like to stop at the creamery for a ‘nice bit of Wensleydale’. From here it is straight on to the famous Buttertubs Pass and over into Swaledale. We follow Swaledale west passing rocky waterfalls before climbing over the moors to a spectacular panoramic view over the Eden Valley.
We will stop for lunch down in the valley before continuing through Kirkby Stephen and Brough. We are now back in the Pennines and go through Middleton in Teesdale to a wonderful driving road which takes us north along the Pennines towards Britain’s highest market town Alston. We don’t quite go as far as Alston but you may like to call off on the way at Britain’s biggest waterfall, High Force. Before reaching Alston we turn off onto a minor (Kirk) road which takes us over into the next valley, Weardale, and the old mining town of Nenthead. A slight detour brings us to the fascinating Killhope Mines Museum where we can have a stop for tea.
There is then only a short but beautiful driving run over the top of the moors to our fantastic hotel, Langley Castle.
DAY 5 Thursday 4th
Northumberland, Castle and Coast.
Our first ‘obstacle’ today is Hadrian’s (Roman) Wall as we head north east and skirt Harwood Forest and descend into picturesque Coquetdale. We pass through Rothbury and stop off at the fabulous Cragside House for coffee. Cragside was the first house in Britain to be lit by electricity and is situated in acres of landscaped gardens and woods.
We continue over the hills to Alnwick, passing the castle used in Harry Potter films and then cross country to the Northumberland coast at Seahouse, renowned for its Fish and Chips. A little way up the coast is the impressive Banburgh Castle where we will stop for lunch.
After lunch the return route takes us across the A1 and west to the Cheviot Hills on some good deserted driving roads through fabulous unspoilt scenery. As we make our way south we can stop off at the Otterburn Mills craft centre for a spot of tea! The final leg takes us along the edge of Kielder Forest and back over Hadrian’s Wall to our own castle hotel.
DAY 6 OPTIONAL
There will be an optional return route for those living in the Midlands/South West (or even London). From Langley there is a fantastic driving road across to Alston and then over the fabulous Hartside Pass, after which you can join the M6 south, or continue down Ullswater and over Kirkstone Pass and join the M6 further south. If you wish to break your journey accommodation can be arranged at the Crooklands Hotel near Junction36.
HIGH ROADS TOUR 5 nights £1499 per car
Download booking form here
THE 2016 SCOTTISH TOUR September 12-20th
We were going to ‘rest’ our Scottish Tour in 2016 having done it for at least 15 years and explored every combination of Highlands, Islands and other places! However there still seems to be a demand for something north of the border so we have put together a tour which incorporates a lot of the best bits from previous years, plus some bits we may only have used once in the past. We have also a combination of favourite hotels and some new ones which we are confident will not disappoint.
DAY 1. Monday 12th
We meet at Leeming House on the shores of Ullswater in the English Lakes for dinner. (This will give anyone visiting Goodwood the previous weekend time to get ‘up north’).
DAY 2 Tuesday 13th
We start by following the lake north to Penrith and then make our way through the picturesque Eden Valley to a stop at the secluded Talkin Tarn for coffee. From here we go across country on slightly more major roads, by-passing Gretna Green on this occasion and then we take the ‘old’ road to Scotland. This is what was the main A74 from Carlisle to Glasgow but is now superseded by the Motorway and is a wonderful fast very quiet road. We will go as far as Moffat where we stop for lunch.
After lunch it is back on to more ‘rugged roads’ as we climb the impressive ‘Devil’s Beeftub’, a huge hollow valley with a history of cattle rustlers and other dubious deeds! This takes us past the source of the River Tweed (a rather disappointing area of boggy moorland!) and then we descend through the forests to Biggar. From here the route is slightly less scenic as we head into more populated areas around Falkirk, but it is worth the effort just to visit the Kelpies. These are enormous metal horses heads on the canal side. We can then go just around the corner to the equally amazing Falkirk Wheel for a stop for tea. (A ride on the wheel is optional).
From Falkirk the final leg takes us back into ‘wild’ countryside through the Carron Valley, past the reservoir with the Campsie Fells behind. We then climb over ‘World’s End’ before descending to Scotland’s only lake. The Lake of Monteith – all the others are of course lochs.) It is only a short run then through Aberfoyle to our hotel on the side of Loch Ard.
DAY 3 Wednesday 14th
Today it is straight into the wonderful scenery of the Trossachs as we cross the fabulous ‘Dukes Pass’. This switchback road takes us past Loch Venecha and on to Strathyre and Glen Dochart as we head north to a coffee stop at Bridge of Orchy.
We are then in the dramatic scenery of Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe. After seemingly endless moors we drop down between the intimidating mountains of the glen. We continue through Glen Coe village to the shores of Loch Leven and then cross the Ballachulish Bridge and the Corran Ferry on to the Ardgour Penninsula. The next road is arguably one of the most scenic in Scotland as we follow the shores of Kingairloch to a fantastic remote little restaurant for lunch with a magnificent backdrop of mountains and loch.
If you can drag yourself away there is more to come. We climb over the mountains to look down on a stunning view over Loch Sunnart. After driving around the head of the loch we make our way through the forests to the shores of the Atlantic! We turn inland again on our way to Glenfinnan, passing the striking Monument to the Clans and the viaduct made famous in Harry Potter films. Finally we drive down the side of Loch Eil to our hotel at Neptunes Staircase. This is the flight of lochs joining the Caledonian Canal to the sea at Fort William under the shadow of Ben Nevis.
DAY 4 Thursday 15th
Today’s route is all around Loch Ness, but first we follow the Caledonian Canal to the poignant Commando Monument. Before reaching Loch Ness we make a detour through Glen Garry with a viewpoint looking down over Loch Garry and on past Loch Loyne before we turn back down Glen Moriston to the shores of Loch Ness. We will have a coffee at Fort Augustus at the bottom of the loch.
From here we take the lesser known road around the east side of the loch which climbs to a fantastic viewpoint looking down an almost hidden valley with Loch Mohr in the distance. From this isolated little loch we turn down a wooded ravine back to the shore of Loch Ness which we then follow north again for a short while.
Failing to see ‘Nessy’, I presume!? We make another detour via the almost unpronounceable Loch Duntelchaig, and back into the forests before descending into the city of Inverness for lunch.
After lunch we follow the shore of Beauly Firth and then make a large loop south through wooded valleys west of Loch Ness and back to the town of Beauly. From here it is only a short run north to everyone’s favourite hotel, Coul House.
DAY 5 Friday 16th
A ‘free day’ if you wish - or you may like to venture into some new territory, or at least an area we haven’t used for a long time. The main road north takes us past the remote Aultguish Inn and Loch Glascarnoch to the spectacular Corrieshalloch Gorge. We can stop here and take a walk over the breathtaking suspension bridge 200ft above the narrow gorge and the impressive Falls of Measach. A coffee might then be welcome down the road at the Dundonnel Hotel on Little Loch Broom.
We then follow the coast road along Loch Broom to Gruinard Bay and Loch Ewe which played an important part in World War 2. From Poolewe we turn south and inland to Loch Maree where we can have lunch. At Kinlochewe we turn off the main road into more familiar territory as we head through the Torridon mountains which tower above the road on both sides. From Torridon it is only a short but spectacular run to the very pretty village of Shieldaig with its beautiful loch. For a change we will now cut across country through the mountains rather than taking the longer route via Applecross and we will join another familiar route through Loch Carron.
There is then just a fast run through Glen Carron and Achnasheen back to Coul House.
DAY 6 Saturday 17th
Some ‘new territory’ today as we head east from Inverness. Just outside the city we have an early coffee stop at the Culloden Visitor centre. From here it is further east, by passing Nairn before we turn south through the forests and down into whisky country. Lunch will be at the Glen Livet Distillery where you can have a tour of the facilities.
After lunch we take to one of the most dramatic roads in the Highlands. We pass through Tomintoul, one of Scotland’s highest villages on our way to the Lecht Ski resort. From the summit of the Lecht road you get fabulous views over the Cairngorm mountains before the rapid descent to Cock Bridge.
We then turn east again into an area we haven’t often visited. Leaving the mountains behind we stop for tea at the charming little Grampian transport museum at Alford. It is then only a short run to our hotel situated in is own wooded grounds.
DAY 7 Sunday 18th
More new territory for most people. We complete an anti-clockwise tour of the north east coast above Aberdeen. Our first port of call will be at the tiny village of Pennan hidden away at the foot of the cliffs in its own sheltered bay. This was the location for the cult film; “A Local Hero”.
We drive west from here through the coastal towns of Macduff and Banff and the village which gives its name to the famous Scottish fish ‘soup’, Cullen, of ‘Cullen Skink’ fame.
We continue to Fochabers for lunch at the Baxsters Soup visitor centre. The afternoon run takes us past the Glenfiddich Distillery (visit optional) and on through some wonderful quiet driving roads back to the hotel.
DAY 8 Monday 19th
We meander through country lanes on our way south through pleasant rolling countryside until we cross The Water of Aven and start to climb through the forest. We pass Bridge of Dye and reach the summit where the view point overlooks a fantastic panorama stretching to the North Sea. We descend from here to a coffee stop in the tiny village of Fettercairn.
We then head west along the foot of the mountains, passing through Edzell (which may or may not have some connection with the Ford of that name??). We join major roads near Blairgowrie but cut across country to avoid the city of Perth, going through Glen Almond instead, and onto lunch at the famous Glen Eagles Hotel.
Well ‘fed and watered’ there is only a short run down to the Forth Bridge and on to our hotel outside Edinburgh.
DAY 9. Tuesday 20th
We have to start our last day by negotiating lots of roundabouts to get through Livingstone and out into open country again. We are soon into the Pentland Hills and some good driving roads take us south to a coffee stop at the New Lanark World Heritage Village and Falls of Clyde.
From here it is south on some roads which may be familiar as we head down to the the spectacular Talla Reservoir and St Mary’s Loch before passing through Ettrick Forest and pass Alemoor Reservoir on our way to lunch at the Johnston’s Woollen Mill in Hawick.
From Hawick we take a different route, using the main A7 for once. Whilst being a major trunk road it is relatively quiet and provides some good driving through surprisingly dramatic scenery in places. At Langholm we turn off onto a minor road which takes us across the hills to Newcastleton with views as far as the Solway Firth – on a clear day. From Newcastleton we cut right through the middle of Kielder Forest where you can have a comfort break on the side of Kielder Water before we head south across Hadrian’s Wall to our sumptuous final hotel, Langley Castle.
DAY 10 OPTIONAL Wednesday 21st
There will be an optional return route for those living in the Midlands/South West (or even London). From Langley there is a fantastic driving road across to Alston and then over the fabulous Hartside Pass, after which you can join the M6 south, or continue down Ullswater and over Kirkstone Pass and join the M6 further south. If you wish to break your journey accommodation can be arranged at the Crooklands Hotel near Junction 36.
2016 SCOTTISH TOUR 9 nights £2,399 per car
SHORT TOUR 5 Nights - DAYS 1 to 4 Finish at Coul House, Inverness, own route home. £1,259 per car.
EAST OF SCOTLAND TOUR
4 nights DAYS 7-9. £1,149 per car.
Start with dinner, Saturday evening, day 6. Continue to day 10.
Download booking form here
THE AUTUMN LAKES TOUR October 13-16th
As much of the 2015 Circuit of Cumbria was run in very poor visibility we think it might be worth using some of the route again in 2016. But, as ever we will try to make it different. Some of the previous route will be reversed and we have added some new sections as well as a completely new day in the South Lakes/Furness Penninsula.
DINNER CROOKLANDS – Thursday 13th
DAY 1 Friday 14th
A mixture of the 2015 route in the heart of the Lake District with a new ‘twist’. First we leave the Crooklands Hotel and head across the Kendal by-pass and then take the minor road to Crook. We then head north towards Kirkstone Pass with the Lakes Mountains ahead. We don’t go over the pass this time though as we turn back down to the shores of Windermere. We then go through Ambleside to one of the most photographed places in the Lakes, Tarn Hows with the backdrop of Coniston Old Man and Wetherlam. We will stop for a coffee on the edge of the lake before turning back to the narrow lanes of Great Langdale where we drive right to the foot of the jagged Langdale Pikes. As we climb out of the valley upto the lonely Blea Tarn we get wonderful views of the head of the valley and the mountains behind.
The first ‘challenge’ of the day is the almost impossible hairpin turn onto the Wrynose Pass road. The second challenge is the pass itself. It is more of a steady straight climb though than the sister pass of Hardkott with its many hairpin bends. We descend to Cockley Beck and this time turn left into the Duddon Valley rather than tackle the second pass. We continue down the picturesque wooded valley all the way to the market town of Broughton for lunch.
After lunch we turn back into the mountains and run along the flanks of Coniston Old Man with views of the Duddon Estuary, before we drop down to the shores of Coniston Water. We head south along the lake and then turn across country through some little lanes on our way to the fabulous Lakeland Motor Museum for a tea halt.
The return run takes us over Gummers How which gives us views down the length of Windermere before we enter the Lyth Valley and make the climb over Scouts Scar with a panoramic view over the Kent Estuary (Morecambe Bay), before returning to the Crooklands.
DAY 2 Saturday 15th
Today’s route is a reverse of the first part of last year’s Circuit of Cumbria and takes us straight to the seaside at Arnside, with lovely views over the Kent Estuary to the Lakes Mountains. From Arnside we go across country to Kirkby Lonsdale for a coffee stop in the town square.
After coffee we head north through the lanes to the very picturesque Killington Lake with the Howgills in the background. We pass through the Lune Gorge with the Howgills on the opposite side and on through Tebay. As we cross the hills we look down on the Eden Valley with the Pennines behind before we pass through Kirkby Stephen and then climb the flanks of the Pennines towards Tan Hill. However we don’t go as far as Britain’s highest pub this time but turn across to Stainmore where we can once again look down over the fantastic view of the Eden valley. We will stop for a late lunch/afternoon tea at a castle just outside Brough.
From Brough we head west through quiet lanes and cross the busy A66 onto the Warcop Army ranges before passing through the old county town of Appleby. We then head south through the Eden Valley and across to Shap, where we take this spectacular main road over the fells to Kendal. All that remains is a run through the country lanes around Kendal back to the Crooklands.
DAY 3 Sunday 16th
A new route – the Bay Watch Tour! Today we go into Kendal itself in order to take the road which climbs out of the town to the summit of Scouts Scar (the opposite end to Friday), where we get views over the town to the Howgill Fells behind, and views of the Lakes hills ahead as we descend. We will go through the northern end of the Lyth Valley again on our way to Windermere where we take the ferry across the lake. The route now takes us through ‘Beatrix Potter Country’ and past the pretty Esthwaite Water on our way to Hawkshead, and a coffee stop on the east side of Coniston Water at Brantwood House.
From coffee we head south all the way down the lake. At the southern end we cross Friday’s route and head for the Duddon Estuary again. From Duddon Bridge we take the Corney Fell road but only for a short distance before we turn back towards the main road with wonderful views of the estuary ahead. Once on the main road we return to Duddon Bridge and this time head down the Furness Penninsula. We follow the coast down almost to Barrow in Furness before taking some very minor roads that cut across to the atmospheric ruins of Furness Abbey where we can have lunch.
The afternoon run takes us through the lanes to the ‘Coast Road’ with views across Morecambe Bay to Morecambe itself. We follow the coast north before turning inland and onto Birkrigg Common. From the top of the common we get even better views across the bay and as far as Ingleborough – on a clear day. After an optional ice cream stop on Bardsea Beach we make our way down the main road back towards Kendal before turning off to the enchanting little village of Cartmel – ‘the home of sticky toffee pudding’. We can stop for tea and perhaps sample the local delicacy?
3 Nights Fri - Sun £749
4 Nights Thurs - Sun £899
Download booking form here