Sunday, May 06, 2012

Kirkstone and Hartside Passes

As it was bank holiday weekend we decided to go out on Saturday and hope it would be quieter on the roads. We left home and headed over to Clitheroe to fill up. We then followed our usual route to Settle via the minor backs roads of Sawley and Wigglesworth. We didn’t go into Settle instead we turned left onto the A65 and headed towards Kirkby Lonsdale. We passed by Devil’s Bridge, but didn’t stop as we were running late due to an incident at Clitheroe Services. We continued on the A65 and passed over the M6 and then joined the A590 to Kendal. We then got off the A590 as it turned into the A591 and then Ulverston. We then turned right onto the A5074 and headed towards Bowness-on-Windermere. Not many people seem to know about this road and instead use the A590 and A592 to get to Bowness. This of course is good VFRs @ Kirkstone Innfor us as we usually get a fairly clear run. We soon arrived in Bowness and then joined the A592 and headed towards Kirkstone. We then went straight over at the dodgy mini-roundabout junction with A592/A 591. We passed through Troutbeck and into the national zone and then started the climb up Kirkstone Pass. We stopped at the Kirkstone Inn at the top for a brew and some cake. 

We left the Inn and headed down the other side of Kirkstone Pass. I really like this part of the Pass as it is a nice challenge to get all the lines right. We were soon down off the Pass and then following the sweeping A592 as it twisted and turned its way to Patterdale. At this point the road starts to run alongside Ullswater, which it follows for its full length. We then turn away from Ullswater and head over to the A66 and then pass by Penrith. We then join the A686 towards Alston and follow that for a while. We then pass through Melmerby and now the fun starts as we start to climb up Hartside Pass. This is a wonderful and challenging piece of asphalt with tight hairpin bends and some nice fast open corners. We would normally stop at the café at the top but since it wasn’t that long since we were at Kirkstone we decided to carry on and try Middleton-in-Teesdale for lunch.

Helens VFR @ Kirkstone Inn So we continued on the A686 and dropped down the other side of the pass and soon arrived in Alston. We turned right at Alston and headed on the B6277 towards Middleton-in-Teesdale. This is also a very nice fast piece of road and is often deserted, today was no exception to that rule. The snow poles at the sides of the road, gives you and idea of how remote and barren this place is. We soon passed by High Force and then arrived it Middleton-in-Teesdale, we stopped at Café 1618 for lunch.

After a lovely lunch at this highly recommended café we left Middleton-in-Teesdale on the B6276. This road is pretty much a mirror of the B6277 and was as barren and deserted as usual. We didn’t enjoy the road as much as usual as we passed by around seven dead lambs at the side of the road. It was clear that they hadn’t died as a result of a collision with a vehicle. So it’s possible an outbreak of something or the harsh cold April that we have had might be to blame. Anyway we soon arrived in Brough and then joined the A685 to Kirkby Stephen. We filled up in Kirkby Stephen and then instead of heading over to Sedbergh we took the B6259 through Nateby towards Hawes. Again this is a quiet road and for much of it length runs parallel to the Settle to Carlisle railway tracks. We then turned left at the Moorcock Inn onto the A684 and headed into Hawes. From Hawes we followed the B6255 to Ribblehead Viaduct and the turned left onto the B6479 and passed through Horton in Ribblesdale before arriving in Settle. We passed though Settle and then headed back home via our usual route through Wigglesworth, Sawley, and Sabden.