Welcome to the first of a series of “Open Road” posts in which I’d like to share with you some of our favourite routes, destinations and views from the beautiful area in which we are lucky enough to live – all of which are easily accessible by Campervan.
For this one I actually used one of our hire fleet campervans, and I’m almost ashamed to admit that this is the first time I’ve driven one of our own campervan conversions any distance. As one of the questions I’m often asked is “Will I be able to drive it?” I thought I’d also try to describe what it was like making the switch from my normal road car – as a (young) middle-aged, female, competent but unenthusiastic driver with many years experience of driving a manual but most recently the owner of a 4×4 automatic.
In short I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. Only very slightly bigger than a car (no issues with road positioning), fantastic high-up driving position (great views over the dry-stone walls), nice light handling, amazingly accommodating engine and very efficient (almost too efficient!) brakes. I was confident in minutes, even on fairly narrow, winding and hilly roads – and even managed to park easily in the supermarket car park!
So my answer is a resounding “yes” – any driver with average experience should have no problem.
The other question I’m sometimes asked is “Can I fit a child seat?”. As I took my three year old son along for the ride, I can answer that yes, we have successfully fitted a child seat – it really depends on what type of seat you have so worth giving us a call in advance if this is important for you.
So, on to my route. For this one I chose to leave the pretty market town of Settle on the B6479 towards Stainforth. Bypassing Stainforth village itself I continued on this road for around 8 miles into the Yorkshire Dales National Park, to the next village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale. A typical Yorkshire Dales village, Horton-in-Ribblesdale is a popular base for walkers, many of whom are completing the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge Walk over Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. Being within the limestone area of the Yorkshire Dales, Horton-in-Ribblesdale is also popular with cavers, pot-holers and anyone looking for beautiful countryside. The village also offers good parking facilities and, for those seeking less strenuous pastimes, a range of cafés and inns should you fancy a stop for a coffee or lunch.
On this occasion I kept going for another 6 miles or so to the junction with the B6255. At this junction you get the most fantastic views in all directions (Yorkshire weather permitting of course!). Right in the middle of the 3 Peaks and with the imposing 400m long Ribblehead Viaduct (carrying the famous Settle-Carlisle railway) against a backdrop of Whernside, this too is a popular place to stop for a while, either for a walk or for refreshments at the Station Inn.
At this point you have a choice – turn right along the B6255 to travel the 11 miles of beautiful road to Hawes (I may cover this in a future “Open Road” post as both the road and Hawes itself are worth the time), or do as I did and turn left towards Ingleton, following the road for 7 miles past the White Scar Cave – the longest show cave in England – down into Ingleton village itself. Again a popular base for 3 Peaks walkers, Ingleton offers good parking facilities and many opportunities for refreshments as well as having its own impressive viaduct and a pretty Waterfalls Walk for those walkers seeking something less challenging than the 3 Peaks Challenge.
Ingleton lies on the A65, giving the choice now of turning left (as I did) to complete the loop back to Settle, or turning right to travel on to destinations such as Kirkby Lonsdale (which will certainly feature in a future post), the Lake District, or even further afield.
That’s all for now – I hope you enjoy the unique scenery, history and atmosphere of the amazing Yorkshire Dales as much as I do.