I relived some great memories while putting together my Top 10 beautiful roads story for the Countryfile Magazine website.
I first drove the glorious A68 through Kielder Forest in a motorhome alongside the much-missed Toyota GB PR Lynda Shewan, having joined her in feeding the drivers and mechanics on the gruelling RAC Rally. The first year was for a story in Auto Express, the next time just for fun. I remember thundering along the road at dawn having already doled out bacon-sandwich breakfasts, making sure we got to the next stop in time to set up for lunch.
Richard and I fell in love with the A832 in September 2001. We had been going to meet friends in Palm Springs, but our flight was cancelled following the 9/11 attacks. Instead we got in my What Car? long-term test Peugeot 206 CC and headed north. I remember staring, speechless over the landscape, feeling all my stress fall away, my sense of proportion restored.
My father’s family are from Wethersfield and Finchingfield on the B1053 through Essex, although I’m a Romford girl myself. He tells me the poverty there in the 1930s was shocking, but it’s hard to imagine now.
The A5 through Snowdonia reminds me of family holidays to Conwy and the locale. Low cloud always hid the summit of Ben Nevis from us, but I clearly remember day trips to Conway Castle, Betwys y Coed and the Swallow Falls.
I sampled some of the other roads on press trips to drive new cars; others were recommendations from colleagues. The one I haven’t driven, but must, is the Coastal Causeway along the coast of Northern Ireland. It looks like a slice of heaven.
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