Blacko itself is fairly high up so the route starts with this amazing sense of space and freedom as you head onto the Dales. There's no dual carriageway along this entire route so patience is called for if you find yourself behind someone a little slower than yourself - but who wants to speed past these amazing views? Plenty of people actually, so although I stick to a steady 50mph I find I'm regularly pulling over to let those with more pressing engagements zoom past. The weather isn't always as glorious as it appears to be on the day Google took their pics, but by the time I was heading home on Tuesday there was a breathtaking sunset in progress and it's a wonder I didn't end up embedded in a dry stone wall as I tried to take it all in.
I spent a lot of my life commuting around the M25, specifically the "always rammed with traffic" section between the M40 and the M3 and I'm sure it won't come as any surprise at all to hear I don't miss it one little bit. Even the M6 is blissful by comparison, especially once you're north of the M55.
|Devil's Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale|
Next up is Settle and, if you're on this route for the first time, then I'm going to insist you take a diversion and visit this lovely little town. It has an absolutely gorgeous little town square and a very handy petrol station and car park - so there's no excuse not to visit! Many's the time I've stopped and bought an impromptu picnic from here ready for an alfresco dinner later on along the route. Plus it's right next to Giggleswick, a place name that can't fail to bring a smile.
Back on the A65 and it's not long before you spot Ingleborough looming large and flat in the distance. The village of Clapham at its base is another reminder of the rush hour chaos we left behind in the South East. This Clapham does have a station, but it's a little less busy than Clapham Junction and a whole lot prettier.
|Kent Estuary from Grange|
After that it's just a hop, skip and a jump along the A65 to the M6 and over it on to the A590 which soon has me back home in lovely Grange. There was a time when the journey home was more stressful than a day in the office, but not any more, and for that I shall be eternally grateful.