Sunday 30 October 2011

Road from Hawes to Kettlewell

Day 2

The decision was to take the short route. Ever since the Drunken Duck incident in the Lakes I've always been nervous about going off the A & B roads. However Neil wasn't very well so I thought we'd risk the Hawes to Kettlewell road.

We passed the Wensleydale Museum although there wasn't a cat-in-hell's-chance of getting Neil to step over the threshold of a cheese museum as he is very cheese averse. So we zoomed on by and headed to the hills.

The road from Hawes to Kettlewell is the type of road where you end up offering prayers to your relevant God to help you get through it. Prayers hit early on for me as the road was narrow and wondered what on earth to do if someone was driving the other way, especially if they were going fast. If you had a crash on this road you'd be lucky to survive as there are hardly any motorists on this road, it is far from civilization and it would be unlikely there would be a decent mobile phone signal to make a call. Seriously you have to take this road at a sensible speed.
You also need a car with a bit of power to get over the hills. 'Lil Princess with her 1398cc engine was struggling getting up the 20% gradient hills. I must have changed gears hundreds of times to negotiate the steepness of these hills. Neil was feeling green at this point and cursing my decision to take the short route.

So the downside of choosing this road is that it can be rather narrow at times, it’s exceptionally hilly and goes through the middle of nowhere. However, and it is a big HOWEVER, this route is fantastic! Despite the grey overcast and drizzly day the views were great and on a clear day they would be fabulous. The dales are amazing - it's like a massive lumpy blanket with its hills and valleys. Up and down, bend after bend, this route was challenging and fun - it was such an absorbing drive.

The one thing you can't miss on this route is sheep. Sheep on the side of the road, in a field, on the side of very steep hills - they are everywhere. Although thankfully there was no sheep road kill to be found. These sheep will no doubt end up as someone’s Sunday dinner, but by God they did they have an idyllic life on these undulating hills.
There was the most beautiful valley with a very rocky river running through it. I spotted a farmer looking out over it at his flock of sheep. I couldn't help but think this farmer was thinking 'what a wonderful and peaceful place this is'. In this frantic world we live in it is nice to know that not too far away we can experience nature in such a beautiful place. There is no need to go off to far flung reaches of the world to find a little bit of heaven. For me this is a little piece of heaven and was my green fix for the year. Having spent most summers for the first 18 years of my life in Galway in the West of Ireland, I do appreciate the countryside, the slow pace and the quality of life.

Anyway back to the road. Yes - hills lots of. Yes - very steep at times. Yes - can't go too crazy with the speed or you DIE!
I loved this road and not too much road kill either as there is not too much traffic to squish the local critters.

We eventually picked up the B6160 and headed off on road kill graveyard to Grassington.

If you have chance to go on this road, especially on a beautiful blue sky day, take a drive on this road - it is beautiful!

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