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On the road with an Aston Martin

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  • 4 Jan 2024 3:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Bonnes Routes Gite is a fantastic holiday home in the North Dordogne owned by 'petrolheads' Stephen & Stephanie.  They have thought of everything you may need for a good touring holiday including detailed routes of the area and even a choice of car cleaning materials should you feel the need for a quick polish!  With their kind permission this is a link to one of their own drives they took to Monaco.

  • 26 Oct 2023 3:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We left Brixworth behind on Saturday 29th July and headed for Gwenfor Bach in Treletert North Pembrokeshire, a 1-bedroom airbnb bungalow hosted by Kim, which was fully furnished with plenty of food for breakfast.

    Our route took us along the M50 past Ross-on-Wye, along the A40, Abergaveny, Llandovery and Camarthan.  We stopped at Dinefwr castle (NT), which overlooks the River Towy, near the town of Llandielo.   (250 miles.)

    It was raining as we waited the next morning for the Stena Europa ferry from Fishguard at 2pm although the crossing was smooth and we arrived in Rosslare at 5.30pm.  Our next stop was Cosy Cottage, Denistown near Waterford county Wexford, a 2-bedroom airbnb this time hosted by Angela who was on hand when we arrived to welcome us and gave us an insight into the history of the cottage.   (37 miles.)

    On Monday (day 3) we set off for the Hook Head Lighthouse, which is the oldest working lighthouse in the world.  

    We took the Ballyhack ferry across the river Barrow and onto our next stop for 2 nights in Blarney, which was a 1-bedroom airbnb cottage called Humblebee.  We visited Blarney Castle, which used the old tram station to form the entrance and car park, but we passed on kissing the blarney stone as Gill said I talk too much already!!  (131 miles.)

    Tuesday (day 4) we did a round trip to Kinsale at the start of the Wild Atlantic Way, where we headed off for the Dromberg megalithic stone circle at Rosscarberry.  


    On our return to Blarney via Clonakilty, a multi-award winning cosmopolitan and friendly seaside town at the heart of West Cork, we stopped for lunch at De Barras Folk Club, which has a live music venue in the evenings.  We drove through Timoleague and down to the Old Head of Kinsale signal tower, which is the closest point (11.5 miles) to the site of the Lusitania, which was sunk by a German U-boat on 7th May 1915.   (133 miles).

    Wednesday (day 5) was the drive down the Mizen Peninsular via Skibbereen and Schull, and a scary walk over the windswept footbridge to the Mizen Head signal station, which is the most south-westerly point in Ireland.   

    We continued along the R591 past Three Castle Head and up to the start of the Sheep’s Head peninsula with a nice walk to the viewing point.  We took the L4704 to Bantry and on to our next stop for 4 days at Pear Tree House, Kilgarvan, a secluded 1-bedroom airbnb cottage called Shandrum Garden Annex with lovely views.  (188 miles.)

    Thursday (day 6) we set off to drive the ring of Beara starting at Glengarriff, down to Castletownbere and then onto Ballaghboy where there is the only cable car in Ireland which takes you over to the Dursey island, and which looks more like a garden shed with cables going through it.



    The photographs show there was very little traffic on these excellent surfaced roads.

    The R571 took us to Kenmare and then onto the R569 and back to our cottage. (121 miles.)

    Friday (day 7) we drove via Kenmare and the N70 to Parknasilla for a coffee stop at the Parknasilla Resort.  

    This is part of the Ring of Kerry and we spent the next couple of days driving various parts of it. The first drive was via Sneem and the Kerry Cliffs, which offer stunning views across the Atlantic with birds clinging to exposed ledges and waves crashing on the rocks below.  We returned along the N70 and turned right just past Glenbeigh onto a little road by the side of lake Caragh and onto a road that took us over MacGillycuddy’s Reeks through Ballaghbeama Gap.   The mountains peak at over 1000 metres and the road is narrow and winding but nevertheless a good surface.  We made our way on the N71 through Molls Gap and back to our cottage, stopping off at the Kilgarvan Motor Museum, which has an interesting mixture of old vehicles.  (78 miles.)

    Saturday (day 8) we retraced our steps through Molls Gap and followed the N71 to Ladies View a stunning scenic viewpoint of mountains and lakes.  The name stems from the admiration of the view given by Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit.  


    We continued on to the very popular Muckross House and Gardens, but lunch was taken at the equally lovely Muckross House Hotel before the return to our cottage (77 miles.)

    Sunday (day 9) we headed off to our next home for 1 night, which was in Listowel overlooking the Feale valley (i3014). We took the N71 at Kenmare once again and onto the N72 to Killorglin and onto the R561 at Castlemaine.  This road takes you down by the side of the Slieve Mish Mountains and onto Inch Beach.  Having dipped our toes in the water,

    we continued down the Dingle peninsular and further down to Slea Head.  Continuing round the R559 we passed Kruger’s Bar, Irelands most westerly pub, which was buzzin’,

    and then onto the R549 which lead back to Dingle where we took the Conor Pass (R560) with stunning views and then the N86 to Tralee.  The N69 took us to our 2-bedroom airbnb bungalow in Listowel.  (210 miles.)

    Monday (Day 10) we used the R523 and R521 the next morning to Foynes where there is a Flying boat museum, which unfortunately wasn’t open.  

    Taking the N69 to Tarbert is a continuation of the route and is very industrial and not very scenic but the ferry across the Shannon River took us to Kilimer, onto Kilrush and then down the L2016 to Carrigaholt where there is a lovely beach.  The R487 then took us to the Loop Head Lighthouse where we enjoyed a picnic in the sunshine and an after lunch stroll to the headland, more dramatic and vertical rocks with birds clinging to the ledges.


    We retraced our steps and took the L2009 to the dramatic Kilkee Cliffs, 

     which are more spectacular, in our opinion, than the Cliffs of Moher, then on the N69 to Doonbeg.  

    Our next accommodation was at the Atlantic View Hotel at Doolin overlooking the Cliffs of Moher.  The hotel, B&B only, has 8 en-suite rooms and ours had a good view of the cliffs till sun down.  It was only a short distance to the popular boat trips that take you out to the cliffs and also to the Aran Islands at the mouth of Galway Bay.   (136 miles.)

    Tuesday (day 11) we drove up the R477and onto the N67 around Galway Bay, through Galway and onto the R363 to Cashel House Gardens, which were over grown and the hotel could not even provide us with a cup of tea.  The luxury hotel Ballynahinch Castle via the R342 was, by contrast, very welcoming with wonderful gardens, easy parking and a well stocked garden café.

    We continued our journey on the N59 back to Maam Cross, onto the R336 and then an unnamed road to our stop for the next 3 nights at The Artists Cottage, Connemara, which was a large 2-bedroom character cottage with 2 bathrooms and 2 receptions.  (113 miles.)

    Wednesday (day 12) we had our first rest day and a short drive to Ashford Castle in Cong for afternoon tea in the Connaught room.  Fine views along the lochs and excellent parking outside the castle hotel (39 miles.)


    Thursday (day 13) we headed for Leenane and onto the Aasleagh Falls, which are not very high but provide a nice riverside walk to view the falls.  

     We then drove back along the N59 to Kylemore Abbey, which is an amazing place and well worth a visit.  


    We would have spent time looking around the gardens but unfortunately it started raining very hard just as we came out so decided to leave that for next time and set off back to our cottage.  (81miles.)

    This was where we left The Wild Atlantic Way as we had run out of time on this occasion, but we hope to be back to drive the Northern half before too long.

    £1491 Accommodation (= average £115/night).

    Friday (day 14) we drove to Belfast and stayed with friends for the weekend.   (238 miles.)

    Monday (day 17) took the ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan on Stena Superfast VIII.  We paid a little extra and had one of the 6 suites, which was as well appointed as a club class cabin on Queen Victoria! with wardrobe space for weeks of trips.  We then drove the short distance to The Castle Hotel in Stranraer where we had a lovely view up Loch Ryan and a nice sunset.  (34 miles.)

    Tuesday (day 18) A drive along the A75 to Gretna Green for lunch, a stride along the M6 to Pooley Bridge and onto the A66 to stay with friends for a few days in Thirsk.  (206 miles.) 

    Thursday (day 20) onto home in Brixworth to start planning the next trip.  (168 miles.)

    2230 miles in total

    108.5 gallons of E10 fuel (E5 not available in Ireland since July 2023) = 20.55 miles/gallon

    Average price £1.56/litre, £7/gallon.  

    Total cost:

    £760 of fuel

    £1491 accommodation.

    Food: Apart from a couple of meals out and afternoon tea at Ashford Castle (£59 each) food was similar price to home, as we were self-catering.


  • 17 May 2023 9:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A long time ago in a time before Covid, 23 Aston Drivers planned a road trip to the Monza Grand Prix of 2020. 3 Years later that trip finally happened in 2022. Somewhere in the middle of all that we created a new club for likeminded Aston enthusiasts.

    The numbers dwindled a little bit in between due to plans that other drivers already had in place. But we assembled 7 Cars and 12 people to drive round Europe and finishing at the F1 Monza race.

    Plans changed slightly over the years as we added in more days to enjoy more of the alpine passes and a rest day at Lake Como.

    The original planned was always to gather at the old Reims Grand Prix track at Gueux in France and explore the old buildings before traveling to Taittinger to who were hosting use for a tour of the Caves and taste their Champagne.



    Taittinger was a great experience and their tour rep was very knowledgeable. We were treated to tales of the locals seeking refuge in the cellars during WW1 and then the Taittinger family feeling the wrath of the Nazi's in WW2 for selling them some sub standard Champagne against their will... The tour was very atmospheric and enhanced by the sub terrain engravings and wall art.




    The wine champagne tasting needed to be put under some control as we were due to drive to Beaune for our overnight stop. So we restricted ourselves to 1/2 glasses for the second and third bottles that were availed to us.



    We set off for the long drive to Beaune were we had a meal booked in the local Le Monge restaurant. This was just a short walk into the centre of town from our local hotel. Where we all managed to secure our cars in a very tight but secure underground car park. We all gathered at the local supermarket to refuel before joining the Autoroute when we realised one of our group was geographically challenged when leaving the hotel and had somehow managed to turn left instead of right. But we had all agreed 2 more RV points on our way to the Swiss border and the high alps.

    Have you ever parked your car in the empty corner of the car park and returned to find it surrounded? Well we all know our Aston's are attractive but somehow we managed to attract 2 interlopers at the swiss border while waiting for our geographically challenged peer. Despite parking clear of any other cars 2 slipped into our little huddle...



    The Alps followed, despite forecasted bad weather we seemed to be getting weather much better than we had reason to expect. This continued into the Alps.



    We headed towards Andermatt via the Grimsel and then the Furka passes.

    We stopped for a quick catch of our breaths at the Rhone Glacier where we bumped into some fellow Aston drivers and a rumour that AML were in the area photographing the new DBS Volante F1 Edition. We soon stumbled into them a few miles up the road. Along with a 707 DBX escort vehicle.



    We of course had the obligatory stop at James Bond Strasse. Where some enjoyed the experience of re-enacting a certain pose.


    Onto Andermatt and a deserved rest stop before we spent the next day re-tracing our steps around the Furka and Grimsel and following on to the Susten pass as a clockwise loop back to Andermatt. 




    We had a booking on the Gelmebahn Funicular but we recived the news overnight that the railway with a 107% steep climb to the top of the mountains was closed to do a small rockfall that day. So we swapped our plans around a little a spent extra time exploring the Rhone Glacier and the internal tunnels that you can explore for a small fee.









  • 17 May 2023 9:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We called into the Gelmerbahn to collect our refunds and marvelled at the steepness of the track and the brave amongst us took a walk across the steel rope bridge. Actually scarier than it looks. The views down to the waterfalls were great. But the amount of movement in the bridge was not to be disrespected.





    We then took a light lunch in Innertkirchen before heading off to the Susten pass. This was another real delight and felt very different to the other two passes and was much faster and more flowing for much of its length.


    A little bit of climbing offered the chance for a great picture.

    The evening came and we all headed into Andermatt to enjoy a typical Swiss meal of Cheese Fondue at the well respected Ochsen restaurant. To say it was a funny night would be an understatement as we battled to get our heads round sharing the fondue pots. When some realised the fantastic taste of the burnt cheese at the bottom of the pot I thought we might have a wresting match on between drivers.

    Morning soon came and the drive to Como. But we still had mountain passes to explore. We had decided to drive down the St Gotthard and then back up again via the old Tremola Road. Before visiting the Sasso San Gottardo Museum. The old cobbled road was in great condition for most of its route. But I have no idea why a cyclist might find it fun.


    I don't think anyone knew quite what to expect inside the museum as it was dual purpose. Part of it was telling the history of the mountain and the rest of it was telling the story of how the Swiss Army used it to mount Howitzers aimed into the valleys below to prevent an invasion force reaching the top of the pass.

    The size of the Crystals they recovered during its construction were amazing. The interior varied from dark and damp to warm and dry inside the accommodation areas. A steep rail lift took you to the machine gun positions and the Howitzers.





    The museum was well worth a visit as it is quite unique.

    We then headed down to mountains and towards our Hotel at Lake Como. We hit some terrible traffic around Lugano. Some headed off the motorway and trusted their Sat Navs. Others toughed it out on the motorway. We ended up at the lovely Hotel Villa Belvedere within 20 mins of first to last arrival.

    The hotel was right on the water and offered the most amazing views out. We all headed into the village for an evening meal while 2 drivers headed to the airport to pick up partners.

    Saturday was a rest day and most people took boat trips to Bellagio and some well earned rest and tourist shopping. One couple hopped the waterbus and train to Monza to watch qualifying.






    Some of us spotted the Villa Del Balbianello used as a convalescent clinic in Casino Royale on our travels.

    Race day soon came and we had transport organised to drop us off and collect from the circuit. Needless to say we were dropped off somewhere near and picked up again somewhere else entirely. But great communication with drivers made it less stressful on the day than anticipated.

    Queues getting in and the quite ridiculous system of buying food and drink tokens before you then queued up again for food and drink did put a little bit of a spoiler on the day. The race was all lined up for a frenetic finish before a slow bunch of marshall's ensured the race finished behind the safety car. Max seemed happy about that on this occasion though.







    Sunday night marked our final meal together and everyone saying goodbye before setting off in different directions. Some heading home quickly, some slowly, some squeezing in a few days in Monaco and Nice before heading home.

    All in all we all had an amazing time and have definitely made new and lifelong friends. 23 cars might just have been too much to handle. 7 Cars was a great group and great atmosphere at all times..

    Thanks to everyone that made this possible. For myself and Pam this was a trip of a lifetime.


    Steve & Pam

  • 17 May 2023 8:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    After leaving Como we all headed our separate ways. We headed north towards the Stelvio on Monza +1 .


    Quite a long drive from Como, the route along the lake looks amazing but is quite tedious to drive. Narrow and traffic filled. Once north of Lake Como traffic drifted away and we started to make good progress. We took the opportunity to give the car a bit of a wash and we arrived into the mountains and started to really enjoy the drive. 


    Reminding us of the dangers of over driving these roads, we soon came across these two wreckers. A Porsche on one and a UK new gen Vantage on the other. 


    Just before we reached the summit you get great opportunities for some photos. We also came across a group of German Lotus owners and had a good chat. How lovely they get to access these roads so easily?


    2.75 times the altitude of Snowdon. Car was faultless and was really enjoyable. Not feeling heavy or ponderous. The good tarmac and wide roads helping. 


    These roads often attract commercial photographers who picture every car and bike that goes up and down the mountain. You look up the location, time and date when you get home and buy the picture if you like it. 


    This one is mine. Cost about €15 to buy. 

    Kanyarfoto - Locations Europe


    The car is parked here just below the summit café. Showing the roads going down towards Austria. 

    There is the opportunity to take a funicular to the higher café but the cost was quite ridiculous. 



    We stopped overnight at a Ski Hotel near to the bottom of all the hairpins. About a 15 minute drive from the summit. Several other drivers cars were present at the hotel. Quite a few bikers and nutter cyclists also present. 


    Our destination on Monza +2 was Berchtesgaden via the Grossglockner pass. Another very long drive as including the "High Alpine Road" means a bit of a detour. But when would we next be in the region? We had to include it. 


    I wasn't expecting the Toll on the Italian side. No wonder the bikers where nowhere to be seen till after this toll. They ride over from Austria/Germany and summit, ride down and do a U turn at the Café just past this toll booth...  


    Summit on the Italian side, just before the short tunnel. Their is a café here and gift shop. Immediately after the tunnel there is another Café & shop. But its a little bigger. The Austrian side is probably the better stop. This is a great road, well worth including on any trip. But very hard to get great photos as few places to stop and nowhere that gives you the bends as a back drop.  


     This is the second café stop. Only about 1/2 mile apart. 



    Tunnel entrance to the Eagles Nest.


    The Golden Elevator. You can imagine the names of some of those who frequented this place in the 30's and 40's era. 


    Views from the top.


    Believe it or not, it only had one fireplace and no sleeping rooms. The man himself kept a house in the Garrison grounds at the foot of the slopes. 

    Berchtesgaden itself was lovely and a nice place to spend a day or two. Decent restaurants and bars in town. 

    Monza +3  & 4 meant heading to Baden Baden. But many will know I had a funny noise in the car by this point that would later be diagnosed as a dodgy rear wheel bearing. I was also starting to get low on tyre tread despite having 5mm on the rears when leaving Cheshire. The Swiss Alps had taken their toll. When planning one of these trips, take notice of tyres and if needed plan in the tyre change on route. I hoped Munich would yield tyres. 


    We swung into Munich and headed to the AM dealership. Dirk Pannier was amazing. His team took a good look at the car, despite the noise being very loud by now and concerning me quite a lot his team was unable to detect any play in the wheel bearing. Their opinion was tyres, they were worn badly by now. But still had tread. They searched everywhere for tyres. Even the Pirelli centre didn't have any. One of the issues was Vanquish have a bit of an odd size. But as it was September they all mostly had Winter Tyre stock only. 


    The drive to Baden Baden was a long motorway slog, made terrible by rain and a 4 hour traffic jam. We arrived so late we had supper in a fuel station in town. At least they made the food fresh, much better than a UK affair. 


    Morning brought more rain. Torrential rain. So a beautiful coffee shop came to the rescue until the rains stopped. Then we did a little shopping in the excellent centre district. Then the afternoon was int the Spa, we came out to pure sunshine. 

    To our delight the Town fair was also on that evening and we were treated to local street artists, street food and lots of music. 


    We had a lunchtime RV with the legendary Paul Bollinger, fellow Aston Martin enthusiast at Ramstein Airbase. It had been a long time since I'd been to a PX. They used to be the cheapest shop in the world when I was serving in Germany in the 80's & 90's but sadly exchange rates have killed all that. 

    Monza +5  & 6 was our final stop at Bruges.  Land of chocolate, medieval city and beautiful buildings. A sort of mini Venice with all its canals. A great place to spend a couple of days unwinding, enjoying the local food and wine. 


    The final run home was nearly 500 miles. I was worried about the tyres and the bearing is getting noisier still.


    The trip computer says it all really. 

    The tyres were probably not legal by the time we got home. But the car was brilliant. The wheel bearing was replaced as part of winter maintenance.

    I'm already planning the next big trip. But I fear it will not be until 2025 as I have far too many things in the diary for 2024 already. 

    Next time round where will it be? Pyrenees, Iberia and France I feel deserves our attentions. 

  • 15 May 2023 6:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This section of road was part of a longer trip from Leon to our evening hotel at Las Mestas but really only becomes interesting for 12 miles after leaving La Alberca.

    La Alberca is a picturesque village with National Historic Monument Status with many half timbered buildings, so could make a good place for a break.  Though parking seemed at a premium when we passed through. 

    Leave La Alberca heading South on the SA-201 towards Las Mestas

    The first section of the road climbs up through tree lined gently sweeping roads to a viewing spot at Mirador del Portillo the highest point.

    From there it gets really fun as the road descends steeply with numerous switch backs (we have no power steering so required full lock on some bends).

    After about 10 miles the road becomes the CC-167 as it enters a different district.  

    Carry on to the T-junction and take the CC-166 left towards Salamanca.

    Shortly after the junction you will see a yellow sign directing you left to the Hospederia Hurdes Reales. Our home for the night with great views and safe undercover parking.  

    Or simply carry on along the CC-166 through more sweeping valley roads before joining the EX204 at the T-junction.  From here you can turn left towards Salamanca or in our case right towards Coria.  

  • 17 Apr 2023 9:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is a route that we enjoyed during a weekend driving holiday in Mid Wales. It ends at the Brigands Inn which was used as our base for the weekend. There is ample safe parking here and it provides the start to many good driving roads in the area.  We started from Denbigh but of course you could join it anywhere along the route. 

    • Take the A543 out of Denbigh towards Bylchau
    • At Bylchau follow the road around and turn left Signposted Llyn Brening and Cerrigydrudion onto the B4501, you will pass Llyn Brening on your left carry on through Pont Yr Alwen.    Caution, this part of the route is littered with speed cameras on tall poles.  Follow this road to the A5. 
    • As you meet the A5 at the small village of Cerrigydrudion turn right and stay on the A5 for approx 6 miles to Pentrefoelas.  This road is perhaps better known for accessing the Evo Triangle but if you have tired of that route carry on along the road.
    • Just through Pentrefoelas  turn left onto the B4407 sign posted  Ysbyty Ifan, pass through this village and about 9.5 miles after you have left the A5 turn left onto the B4391 towards Bala.
    • Proceed to the end of this road and turn left onto the A4212.  Caution, this road has many deeply recessed drain hole covers, do not drive near to the kerb. 
    • You will pass a lake on your right Llyn Celyn.  Proceed further down this road to Bala where you turn right through the town and continue along the A494 (Lake Bala will be on your left).
    • Continue along the A494 passing through Rhydymain . You then have a choice:
    • Carry  on to the roundabout at the end of the A494, from here you can continue on the A470 towards Machynlleth and to the Brigands Inn at the junction of the A470 & A458
    • If you have anything but the widest lowest of cars (there is a narrow bridge along the route) you can look for a left turn just before Bont Newyd signed B4416 towards Brithdir. This is a pleasant road through woodland that cuts off a large corner and rejoins the A470 further along where you turn left to eventually arrive at Mallywyd where you will find the Brigands Inn on the roundabout.

  • 17 Feb 2023 9:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Spectacular views. Sweeping Bends. Switch-back climbs. Stunning scenery.

    That's what the so-called 'Evo Triangle' is all about. It's no wonder that car magazine reporters and photographers spend so much time around here.

    The roads of North Wales are generally a little less crowded than those most of us are used to, so it's always a treat to find some spare time to seek out and enjoy them.

    We based ourselves at the Bron Eifion Hotel for a scenic driving weekend, beginning with the Evo Triangle...

    Start by meeting for a coffee at the Dragonfly Tearoom on the A5 at Pant Dedwydd. You're half way along the bottom of the triangle so you can turn right or left out of the car park.

    If you've turned right, look for your next right turn on to the A543. This is a terrific winding section that takes you out into the wilds. Take care. This section is notoriously dangerous for the unwary. So much so, that there are both speed cameras and average speed cameras installed. That's not something you see much on an open country road such as this!

    Your next right turn is on to the B4501 shortly after passing the Sportsman's Arms pub on your left.

    This next section includes some lovely sweeping tree-lined bends and open vistas, especially as you pass Lyn Brenig (lake) on your left.

    The area is also popular with low-flying aircraft. We were over-flown by a classic Jet Provost, something else you don't see everyday!

    A short 20mph section sees you enter the village of Cerrigydrudion where a couple of right turns put you back on the A5 and aiming towards another cuppa at the Dragonfly Tearoom before you set off to do the whole thing again in the opposite direction!

    The circuit takes about 20 minutes, but there are some great places to stop and take in the views or photograph your friends going by.

    Another local landmark that's worth a further drive is the Ponderosa Cafe, high on a hill overlooking the stunning scenery of the famous Horseshoe Pass. The drive along the A452 from Llandegla to Llangollen is enjoyed by many petrolheads so there's always something to see and wave at  .

  • 15 Feb 2023 12:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As anyone who lives in the area will know already, the roads and scenery in this part of the world are great. You don’t really need a route map, such as the one we have created above. Take your car, explore and be amazed.

    Our suggested route is a full day of driving that can be incorporated into a tour or just driven for its own sake. From south to north, we start at one of our favourite AstonOwners watering holes in Cumbria and end at one of our favourite ‘Visit’ venues in the Borders Region.

    It’s 135 miles of sweeping bends, stunning hills, reservoirs and overtaking possibilities… plus a few cattle grids and no doubt some mobile homes and pedallists to be mindful of.

    After a restful night and a fulsome breakfast at the Fat Lamb at Ravenstonedale in east Cumbria, we set off driving north on the A683 and then A685 through Kirkby Stephen. At the village of Brough, ignore the A66 main road (unless you’re in a hurry) and join the B6276 to continue north. The road soon opens out on to the rolling moorlands of Teesdale with picturesque reservoirs nestled into the scenery to our right.

    Joining the B6277 at Middleton-in-Teesdale is another deliciously open road towards Langdon Beck, shortly after which look for a right turn, across a cattle grid, signposted St. John’s Chapel. After 5 miles, join the A698 (right turn) towards Stanhope.

    Shortly after passing the Derwent Reservoir on our left (cafe and loo stop) the road joins the A68 and crosses the main A69 at the Styford Roundabout. We stay on the A68 for our scenic enjoyment.

    This road takes us through the Northumberland National Park (on our right) and the Kielderhead National Nature Reserve (on our left) to the Scottish Border and parking area. This is probably a photographic must stop for travellers not living in the UK.

    The road continues to rise and gives terrific views out across the Borders Region.

    We’re now only an hour’s drive from Duns, the home of the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum… a must for classic motorsport fans.

    Stopping here for an hour is the absolute minimum. Better still, find somewhere to stay nearby and make your visit a much more relaxed one. When we visited here in 2020, we stayed at Doxford Hall, about 45 minutes south towards the Northumberland Coast.

    Now go and explore… and enjoy!

  • 25 Jan 2023 8:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our tour of Derbyshire’s Peak District is a day out of about 55 miles driving.

    Naturally, we’ll take in the famous Cat & Fiddle Road and the Snake Pass, so hold on for a great ride!

    We’re starting from the south at Macclesfield and ending in Glossop, 15 miles due east of Manchester.

    You can easily spend much longer enjoying the local scenery and visitor attractions, or simply by driving it in both directions.

    We start in the market town of Macclesfield and pick up the A537 towards Buxton. This is the famous ‘Cat & Fiddle Road’ that has for many years been popular with bikers, sports car drivers and TV car reviewers. No doubt there are now also plenty of cyclists to watch out for. Sadly, it also has the reputation of being Britain’s most dangerous road for which it has earned the name the ‘Widow Maker’. You have been warned!

    The spa town of Buxton is an ideal coffee stop and opportunity to take in its Georgian and Victorian architecture. You can also top up your in-car supply with a bottle of the town’s famous drinking water, but perhaps too good for the washer bottle!

    From here we veer northward on the A6 and turn right at a roundabout before Chapel-en-le-Frith on to the A623 signposted Chesterfield. Look out for the brown sign at a sharp right hand bend saying ‘Blue John Cavern’ and ‘Edale’. Turn left here and follow the road round to the right where it opens into lovely moorland countryside. You’re now well and truly in the beautiful Peak District. 

    An alternative (and an extra 30 miles round trip) is to turn south on the A6 and head for Chatsworth House. Chatsworth has been the home of the Dukes of Devonshire since the mid-16th Century and is another day out in itself… and a popular one all year round. It can be found off the A6020 between Bakewell and Baslow.

    After about 4 miles, this winding road becomes the A6187.

    At this point you can divert north to visit the county’s famous limestone caves of Blue John fame. Stalactites, stalagmites, colour and history. Well worth a detour, albeit it can be popular in the tourist season and with parties of school children, resulting in limited parking.

    After another 4 miles along the A6187, look for a left turn with traffic lights signposted Bamford and Ladybower. This is the A6013 which, after passing Ladybower Reservoir, leads to the Snake Pass (A57). Turn left at the T-junction signposted Glossop. The reservoir has plenty of parking spaces alongside on both the A6013 and A57 sections.

    The Snake Pass is one of the UK’s most famous road. It’s famous for being a spectacular twisting ribbon of tarmac with some great views. It’s infamous if you’re a merchant who needs to use the road in winter as it’s one of the first to be closed by the onset of winter weather.

    After skirting alongside the reservoir, the tree-lined road rises to emerge on the moorland that makes this road so popular. Enjoy!

    After about a dozen miles you descend into the town of Glossop and the end of this terrific drive.

    If you’ve visited this part of the world and want to add some comments below, please feel free. We love to hear the views of our fellow Aston Owners!

    You can find out more about the area at the Visit Peak District website.

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