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Weekend welly: Five of the UK’s best drives

By on 27 September 2013 in Cars

Weekend welly: Five of the UK’s best drives
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At a loose end this weekend, with a half-decent car gathering dust in the garage? Allow TPG to provide some inspiration, with our five favourite driving routes around the UK…

1. BEALACH NA BÀ (PASS OF THE CATTLE), SCOTLAND

Spectacular, this. Absolutely spectacular. Take the A832 from Inverness all the way round the scraggy, blasted coastline of Scotland’s west Highlands, stopping off at the An Teallach Ale Company for a quickie – a family-run microbrewery on the shores of Little Loch Broom.

Stitched Panorama

A memorable, swooping charge southwest to the A896 brings you to The Torridon, an award-winning hotel located at the head of Upper Loch Torridon – and the perfect base camp from which to mount an assault on The Pass of the Cattle, the only true alpine-style pass in the whole of the UK. It’s one of the highest and steepest roads in the nation, its tangle of switchbacks climbing 626m from the shores of Loch Kishorn in just a few miles.


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The perfect steed? Ferrari FF
Its 660bhp V12 will make light work of those vertiginous coast roads, the four-wheel drive ensures a sure footing in a region not known for its predictable weather, and its boot is big enough for a couple of barrels An Teallach Ale…

FF

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2. TEST-DRIVE TRIANGLE, WALES

A Welsh classic, popular with motoring journoes for its comprehensive suite of tarmacadamed challenges. It starts on the A543 (just off the A5) heading north along tight sweeping bends and great scenery. You will then turn right onto the B4501 which takes you on some nice long sweeping bends with views of the Llyn Brenig Lake. This road then leads back to the A5 (going through the village of Cerrigydrudion) and back to where you started.


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The perfect steed: Porsche Cayman S
The best all-rounder of a driving route demands the best all-rounder of a sports car – the latest iteration of Stuttgart’s finest two-seater coupe. Not quite as quick off the blocks as its bigger brother, the 911, but for 30 grand less, with a far more manageable weight balance, thanks to its mid-engined configuration, it’s a no-brainer.

porsche cayman s

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3. CHEDDAR GORGE, SOMERSET

From London, take the A303, then bear right onto the A344/A360 at Stonehenge for superb roads and views. Passing through the medieval market town of Frome, you’ll then commence a thrilling charge west, towards Cheddar, taking the windy B3135 that passes through the UK’s largest gorge. Why not visit the Pony and Trap in Chew Magna for lunch?

cheddar


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The perfect steed? Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera
This V10-engined super-roadster is a lean, high-performance precision weapon, well suited to devouring the southwest’s visceral mix of fast A-roads and narrow B-roads. Naught to sixty-two in 3.4 seconds? Yes please.

lambo

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 4. SIXTEEN FOOT BANK, CAMBRIDGESHIRE FENS

Get to Chipping Ongar via the M25 and head to Saffron Walden via the legendary, undulating, winding B184 – perfect for taking your roadster (and driving skills) to task. The next blast is the B1040, one of England’s longest B-roads running through the panoramic, beautiful Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire Fens. Then the B1098 ‘Sixteen Foot Bank’ dyke – dead straight, bumpy and scarily thrilling with firm suspension.


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The perfect steed? Caterham Seven
The ultimate Sunday-morning backroad blaster, Caterham’s immortal Seven is perfect for this route, thanks to its narrow beam (the B184 isn’t for your Lambo’s of this world) and the fact you’re practically grafted to the chassis means every thrilling bump of the B1098 will vibrate through your very soul.

caterham

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5. THE TWO TICKS, MIDLANDS

This joins up two legendary driving routes. The 18-mile stretch along the B645 to St Neots is a thrilling B-road (only downgraded from A-road status in the mid-Nineties) known as ‘Spa’ among keen drivers, with lots of open, sweeping curves, and epic views across the fenlands. Then tackle the ‘Midlands Tick’. Though mostly limited to 50mph these days, a great mix of quick open bends and cresting corners with blind exits keeps you on your toes. Up the A1, take the A47 to Uppingham, down the B664 to Market Harborough, leaving on the B6047 to Melton Mowbray, exiting on the A607.


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The perfect steed? Bentley Continental GT V8 Convertible
With its long straights, punctuated by sharp bends and quintessentially English villages there are few cars more suited than Bentley’s sprightly new V8-engined grand tourer; the convertible of course. Those sleepy villages will appreciate its novel party trick: switching seamlessly from V8 to V4 mode under light throttle.

Bentley Continental_GT_V8_S_Conv_12

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With thanks to George Chapman, whose Clubman Classics blog is a must for any two-wheeled petrolhead
Some routes adapted from those featured in HR Owens in-house magazine, DRIVE, as published by FMS

Article

Weekend welly: Five of the UK’s best drives

At a loose end this weekend, with a half-decent car gathering dust in the garage? Allow TPG to provide some inspiration, with our five favourite driving routes around the UK…

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Alex is a lifestyle journalist and watch designer (who hasn't heard of the iconic Royal Doak?) who cut his teeth at watch magazine QP, and now writes on watches etc. for titles as diverse as Wired, FT and Men's Health. When he's not creating classic timepieces or penning articles for these illustrious titles, he somehow finds time to edit Drive for H.R. Owen, too. Young Alex is also a proud Blue Peter badge holder and occasional unicyclist.

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