It had been a remarkably dry and mild winter in the southeast.
Yes, I was incredibly grateful to own a large puffy North Face jacket on the days when it went below 9C/48F, but truthfully those days were few and far between. It was likely colder inside our beautiful raised ground floor conversion flat than outside. It was certainly not as dry; remind me to show you the photograph of the windows weeping one of these days. And then remind me of that photograph when I complain that I am not in London anymore!
As you have seen and read in previous posts, one of my favourite pastimes was wandering around my local area with a camera, and only one of those outings ended up with me getting rained on. I didn’t even need an umbrella, the southeast was that pitiful with its weather.
So imagine my mirth when, on the day we decide to drive the 3-4 hours to the Lakes, it’s as if the heavens saw we were about to leave the Midlands have a good time up North… and decided to show us what weather truly is.
How crazy is it that even in the rain, it is still remarkably green?
Driving in the wet was a bit nerve wracking at times, I mean really, who enjoys it? Least of all me as a (left hand side) passenger’s seat driver. I’ve not driven in the UK yet and — of course — I am an absolute genius at it.
In order to avoid the possible traffic due to the construction (widening of the M1), we instead chose to drive up the A1 and then cross the country on the A66, across the top of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and straight on to Keswick and the shores of the Derwentwater.
So as to keep you on my little blog and off wikipedia, I shall do a quick explanation as I understand it of the British motorway naming convention:
Motorway = M+number. M1 and the M25 are the two most well known to those outside of the UK. The M25 is the ring road around Greater London and the M1 the main motorway taking you from London to the North, I believe ending as a motorway at Newcastle. Both are notorious for their traffic.
A-Roads = smaller than motorways, known as trunk roads. They are an Alternate if you may, and much more highway like, as we are used to them in the USA. Some of the A-Roads have been upgraded to be dual carriageway and have proper exits, just like motorways. But the exception is not the rule.
The A1 is the alternate to the M1, running parallel and not having the same congestion and construction problems as its big sister. Sometimes along the way they meet up and you could be travelling on both without even knowing. Clever little road, the A1. A-Roads came before Motorways. And a lot of these A-Roads are ancient, historic routes, both Roman and pre-Roman. Which frankly I think is really cool.
B-Roads = local routes that can range from dual carriageways to single track country roads. Which are super scary to drive on sometimes as people treat them as their personal race tracks. And in the rain?
And that’s pretty much the gist of it. You’ll know what kind of road you are on depending on the letter, and also there’s something to do with the numbers too, but I think it’s time to get to the photographs.
We were driving up on a Sunday and expected very little traffic, which turned out to be the case.
And of course we had to make the requisite stop for fuel. We stopped just outside Doncaster in a wonderfully named place called Adwick-le-Street. It didn’t really look all that lovely from our car:
I’m sure it has more to offer than its petrol station. But I was never going to find out. One, because we were on a schedule, and two, because it was flipping cold out there. These photographs do not show the bloody cold wind that just cut through one’s bones. I barely got out of the car. But the boy, when he got back in, was proper chilly.
The petrol station with requisite Costcutter. We may or may not have picked up some road trip Pringles sour cream and onion.
My view of the petrol station because my coat was in the trunk.
Do I need to go over the whole cost of fuel in the UK versus the US? That right there is the equivalent of $90 for 10 gallons of gas, so stop complaining! And yes, we did in fact put this on the US credit card, so our final total was $105.
Now that you mention it, I think we did get the Pringles.
Our next stop was an unplanned visit to Richmond, a village I’d wanted to visit ever since we lived in Richmond-upon-Thames, just to confirm it was actually there. When living in the London Richmond, I always had to make sure, when doing a search for something like rail travel or a good place to grab a cupcake, that I had the right Richmond.
Good thing I don’t eat that many cupcakes!