‘Staycation’ Drives – Cumbria to Southern Scotland
Whether you believe in the old definition of ‘staycation’ (staying at home) or the seemingly modern variant (not travelling abroad), it seems likely that holidaying in our cars in the UK will be the most likely vacational relief from the strictures of pandemic lockdowns!
In this series of blogs we are highlighting some parts of the UK that you deserve for a vacation and your car deserves for a good shake-down drive.
This time we’re driving from East Cumbria to Southern Scotland.
As anyone who lives in the area will know already, the roads and scenery in this part of the world are great. You don’t really need a route map, such as the one we have created above. Take your car, explore and be amazed.
Our suggested route is a full day of driving that can be incorporated into a tour or just driven for its own sake. From south to north, we start at one of our favourite Petrolheads Welcome watering holes in Cumbria and end at one of our favourite ‘Visit’ venues in the Borders Region.
It’s 135 miles of sweeping bends, stunning hills, reservoirs and overtaking possibilities… plus a few cattle grids and no doubt some caravanettes and pedallists to be mindful of.
After a restful night and a fulsome breakfast at the Fat Lamb at Ravenstonedale in east Cumbria, we set off driving north on the A683 and then A685 through Kirkby Stephen. At the village of Brough, ignore the A66 main road (unless you’re in a hurry) and join the B6276 to continue north. The road soon opens out on to the rolling moorlands of Teesdale with picturesque reservoirs nestled into the scenery to our right.
Joining the B6277 at Middleton-in-Teesdale is another deliciously open road towards Langdon Beck, shortly after which look for a right turn, across a cattle grid, signposted St. John’s Chapel. After 5 miles, join the A698 (right turn) towards Stanhope.
Shortly after passing the Derwent Reservoir on our left (cafe and loo stop) the road joins the A68 and crosses the main A69 at the Styford Roundabout. We stay on the A68 for our scenic enjoyment.
This road takes us through the Northumberland National Park (on our right) and the Kielderhead National Nature Reserve (on our left) to the Scottish border and parking area. This is probably a photographic must stop for travellers not living in the UK.
The road continues to rise and gives terrific views out across the Borders Region.
We’re now only an hour’s drive from Duns, the home of the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum… a must for classic motorsport fans.
Stopping here for an hour is the absolute minimum. Better still, find somewhere to stay nearby and make your visit a much more relaxed one. When we visited here in 2020, we stayed at Doxford Hall, about 45 minutes south towards the Northumberland Coast.
Regular readers may recognise some of the roads and places mentioned above. We featured some of them in our 2020 blog and video “Touring in a Pandemic…seriously?“, although the route we took then wasn’t quite as scenic as the one described here. However, as we stated at the outset, you pretty much can’t go wrong when it comes to enjoying the roads and the scenery in this part of the UK.
Now go and explore… and enjoy!
Some Petrolheads Welcome places to stay (and visit).