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.
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 August 30th – September 1st
It isn’t really Autumn and it isn’t really the Dales – at first. We usually run our Autumn event in October to try and co-incide with the change in the colour of the trees, however with some debate as to when to run our Portugese Tour we decided to bring the ‘Autumn Tour’ forward in the calendar. 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 August 29th
Dinner at the Tickled Trout, Preston.
Day One – Wednesday 30th
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 August 31st
(The Ribble Rally part 2)
We start with a short run along the busy A65 to Long Preston then turn off onto quiet roads to Wigglesworth and onto Gisburn Forest. This really is a forest as you will see as we drive right across it and across the reservoir of the same name. As we climb out of the forest and onto the open fells we will get a fantastic view of the Yorkshire Three Peaks in front of us (on a clear day), and you may also be able to see as far as the Lake District mountains (on a very clear day). We then drop down to the twin towns of High and Low Bentham before we cut across the Lune Valley via the historic Gressingham Bridge. We follow the Lune south to Lancaster for a stop for coffee at Williamson’s Park on the edge of the city.
There may be time to visit the Butterfly House before we return to the open countryside where we climb over the hills again with views over Morecambe Bay. As we climb into the Tatham Fells we get another view of the three Peaks before descending to the Forest of Bowland again. We pass through Slaidburn and Dunsop Bridge on our way to lunch at Whitwell.
After lunch we climb over Longridge Fell which looks down on the Ribble Valley on one side and The Fylde on the other, before we drive through some very quiet lanes in beautiful hills and forests almost like Scotland. Another moorland (main) road brings us back to the Ribble valley with views over Clitheroe from the other side before we head north across country back to our hotel at Coniston Cold.
Day Three Friday September 1st
(The Three Peaks Tour)
Today we enter much more rugged country and the Dales ‘proper’. First we follow yesterday’s route as far as Wigglesworth but this time we turn north to 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.
£1,199 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)
Download booking form here
August 30th- September 1st (THE PASS-OVER TOUR)
Day Four Saturday 2nd
We leave Coniston Cold for the final time and first head south, but not for long, as we soon take to minor roads back into the Dales. (Wharfedale this time), We pass through Kettlewell and stop for coffee at Buckden.
From here we climb over the hill past an impressive waterfall (in wet weather) and down into Bishopsdale. We travel almost the full length of this picturesque valley before turning into the more well know Wensleydale, We pass Aysgarth Falls and 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 3rd
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.
September 2nd - 3rd THE PASSOVER TOUR
£959 3NIGHTS * (inc Friday night 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 (Autumn Dales & Passover) 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.
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