By Paul Leeson
I have never really explored the UK except for a very gloomy caravan holiday when I was a kid where it rained so much we had to leave a week early.
So I felt it was about time to see what roads and scenery was like beyond Watford.
What we saw really surprised us and it certainly is not grim up there. Stunning scenery from rugged coastlines in Wales to mountain passes that compete with the best of Europe. We rode on some great roads, met great people and I would put this road trip up there with the best of them.
I could bore you with all the road details but I won’t. Instead I’ll tell you that Wales from the South, along the west coastline and then on to Snowdonia with it’s cracking passes is made for bikers. The roads are perfect and the scenery is stunning.
We then headed for the Lakes. The condition of the roads here are not great but the scenery is. Some great passes and fantastic views, so great for a leisurely scenic ride. The roads can also be heavy with tourists in their cages which can be a pain in the arse.
Next on the list was Northumberland via the Pennines and over the high fell roads which then leads to a road network obviously designed by the Romans with long straight roads. These offered a roller coaster ride with countless blind summits some of which will have you in the air with your guts in your throat.
The coastal road in Northumberland on the other hand was a bit shit and basically leads tourists to the castles along the route, you may glimpse the sea / coast only once or twice on this road. Although the castles and the coast when you get to them are great if you like castles.
We then set out sights for the Yorkshire Moors. This place is really made for hikers, ramblers and cyclists. The scenery is stunning and I can see why it’s voted as one of the top 10 destinations in the world. As a biker though it’s a warren of thin 25% gradient roads. In saying that the very small section of road over the moor offers a bit of relief and fun and great views over the moors. Oh and the pub we went to along with the food was great.
After negotiating and finding our way out of the Moors, we then headed to the Yorkshire Dales. This is the biggest surprise. Sweeping roads through picture postcard villages and one of the most pristine landscapes I have seen. Some Highlights included Buttertubs pass and then as you head out to the South the B6160 as well as so much more. The Tour De France runs here in July (2014) and we more or less followed the whole route so if you watched that and you will see what i am rambling on about.
Lastly before heading home, we headed to the Peak District. Entering from Holmfirth and following the A6024 the roads are great, then heading up the B6105 to Glossop we then met the Snakes Pass (A57) which is about 20 miles long and is an edge of your seat ride with stunning scenery to glance at.
That’s it, we then came home and got on with our mundane working lives.