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Lakes & Dales 3: Dales, Peaks & a corner of the Cotswolds

Originally we’d planned to stay an extra day to head to the Borders and Kielder Forest. However work commitments, and Sunday’s original forecast (subject to wide-ranging degrees of accuracy), led us to cut the jaunt a little short. Keen to avoid a saturated and miserably damp end to our mini-break, we decided to take advantage of Saturday’s finer skies, to enjoy the ride home a day early.

Not least, the planned journey home (a reverse of Thursday’s planned route), gave us the opportunity to get into the Dales first thing. Another great breakfast first thing set us up for the day and we headed out a little before 09h00. A little chilly to start, the cool morning temperature was easily compensated for by the clearer skies and dry tarmac.

We’d skirted around this section on Thursday to avoid Storm Albi; just as well as whilst it was great to get up into the hills today, the height and technical twists would have been horrendous in the storm two days earlier.. A few photo opportunities at the top, followed by fabulous curvy roads, Yorkshire villages, streams and farm-life. An hour and a half in, we dropped down, along the last valley and into the pretty town of Skipton, pausing for a well deserved coffee.

On to Halifax, skirting Bradford and passing through Huddersfield we eventually picked up sections of our original route north. A slightly different set of roads through the Peak District, better weather transformed the formerly grey landscapes; quintessentially north English countryside to either side. Eventually the rain began and not light drizzle either. We dried off at a little pub in the North Midlands and after a fond farewell to Andy, PP and I headed onto the last leg. Weather upon us, we deviated from the planned route through Stratford, opting for a straighter stretch to Bicester, then onto Alyesbury for a final coffee.

Despite the weather - and we'd be keen to avoid September for further returns to Cumbria - it’s been a great final mini-trip to this year’s travels. Now we're back to Sunday morning blasts and brunch over the autumn and winter.... we’ve already started planning next year’s adventure to the Balkans!

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