London to: Devon
Forget the usual M3/A303 route which is clogged with slow-moving holiday traffic in the sunny season. Instead treat youself to the A30 which runs almost parallel and is far more fun. There is little traffic, less plod and towns and villages that make you think that you have travelled back in time.
Crianlarich to: Glencoe
This is one of many absolutely brilliant runs for those of us lucky enough to live about the middle of Scotland. It's a favourite circular run for locals, but can be done one way if you're touring or visiting. Best to avoid the main summer months, since it can get a bit busy with cars & coaches, and watch for Mr Plod (unmarked cars & bikes). Total distance as described below is about 120 miles I think. The route's all single carriageway A-roads, mainly good surfaces, with decent grip - not too many muckspreaders around, but watch for loose gravel at farm exits.
Starting at Crianlarich, the A85 to Tyndrum is a fairly quick, wide, road with some good open bends. Tyndrum has a couple of decent eateries, plus what's reputed to be the most expensive petrol in the universe. Take the A82 to go over Rannoch Moor and on through Glen Coe itself - if you don't have to stop and look at these hills, you're not human! Do watch out for hillwalkers wandering about on the road, though. Once through Glen Coe, there's food and fuel at Ballachulish. Take the A828, which is an interesting twisty road along the side of Loch Linnhe. Last time through (November 98), the surface was starting to break up in parts, so a bit of care was needed with cornering lines. At Connel, take the A85 along the side of Loch Etive and Loch Awe to return to Tyndrum & Crianlarich - again, a decent bit of road with a mix of tight corners in the first half or so, followed by more open straights and bends later.
Niton to: The Needles or vice versa
Longish, 15 miles with nice staight bits and fun bendy bits. It starts at a fine pub in Niton and runs along the south west coast of the Isle of Wight. Fine sea views all the way along and the chance to stop off in many small villages on the way! You may know it already as it passes the site of the I.o.W motorcycle club's May bank holiday bash. definately worth doing if you are over here. Both ways are fun, it depends if you want to start at the pub or finish at it.
Wantage to: Swindon
What, another good road in Oxfordshire (see B4494)? This one is relatively slow and only a few miles long, but a real test of handling. Do not attempt to go fast on a Pan-European! The key section runs from Letcombe to Ashbury, past the famous White Horse (a great place to stop and picnic). Try it carefully on your first visit. It's VERY tight and twisty, swooping up and down enough to make you seasick, and has nice gravelly apexes, bumpy patches and barbed wire fences everywhere to add spice. But it's very satisfying when you get it right. Mid-week off-peak is best, and unfortunately should be avoided on Sundays, when the road fills up with hikers, cyclists, grannies etc.
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