Morpeth to: Lowick
I was heading up from London, on a break in Northumberland, heard it was a lovely place and I had been recommended an Inn, in a place called Lowick nr Berwick upon Tweed. Just North of Newcastle upon Tyne, I took the A697 off the drudgery and speed cameras of the A1, still heading North, it was a beautiful day and the dramatic Northumberland landscape opened up in front of me. (This section to the Wooler B6525 junction is approx. 50-60 miles) There are some wonderful long straight sections on this road mixed up with swooping bends and tight hairpins. The landscape is breathtaking and rugged, but beware, although a good surface, at fast speeds the road demands all your concentration. I did only notice one camera and that was a 30mph through one of the small villages, Long Horseley. North of this village is probably the most exciting and fastest (if you're so inclined) sections. Eventually, I came into Wooler and, took the B6525 East back towards the A1 and my destination. Again this road was outstanding, with even less traffic, apart from the odd car and tractor. Approximately 8 miles to Lowick now and after negotiating and absorbing, possibly the most outstanding ride I've ever had, I turned off at Lowick (B6353) and was ready for the wonderful hospitality I received at The Black Bull, Lowick. The entire trip is very much recommended.
Harlow to: Baldock
Although not a biker, I drive a Caterham and enjoy the same types of roads. Excuse the copying to start with. Take the A414 from Harlow to Chipping Ongar which has some good bends but a few double white lines. At the Four Wantz roundabout (BP garage) turn left onto the B184 to Great Dunmow, when you get to the T junction after about 7 miles turn right on to the A1060 Chelmsford. Then after about a mile turn left back onto the B184. Go through Great Dunmow High street, it's a bit narrow but loud pipes do sound good. As you leave Dunmow turn right onto the B1057, which is on a left hand corner. This road will take you all the way to Finchingfield. The road surfaces are all pretty good and there are some good corner combinations with a left hander that just gets tighter and tighter between Dunmow and Finchingfield. When you get there, there is a good biker friendly pub on a big green that gets really busy in the summer. At the green, turn left onto the B1053 to Saffron Walden. This road is mostly empty even in the summer and has a few fast sections but plenty of corners with varied visability - there are several villages to be passed before arriving at Saffron Walden. When you arrive at the top of the High Street, turn left following signs to Bishop Stortford then right at the small roundabout and then straight over the first mini-roundabout and left at the second mini-roundabout (almost immediate) onto the B1052 heading West. At the T-junction, turn right onto the B1383 and first left (1/2 mile) onto the B1039 to Barley. There is a 30mph limit as soon as you turn onto this road - but opens up when you've past through Wendens Ambo. Keep going until you reach Barley, where you pass under the arch for the Fox& Hounds. Optionally, turn right here onto the B1368 and head to Flint Cross (take care here as there is typically a fatality each month between car drivers - nearly found out the hard way) where you take a right/left dogleg to Newton where the Queen's Head beckons. Otherwise, turn left onto the B1368 towards Hare Street where you turn right onto the B1038 to Buntingford. Then take the well known A507 to Baldock.
Spalding to: Melton Mowbray
Almost worth moving to East Anglia so you can blast to Donington. From the A16/A1073 crossroads turn towards Spalding, then left over a bridge and right at the petrol station (easy to miss this turn). 30 limit for a mile or so, then left at the t-junction. This soon becomes a 50 limit, then you're out over the fens. Watch out for the sharp r/h bend at Pode Hole, then fast and staight to Pinchbeck, over the humpback bridge and sharp left. Some beautiful twisties and straight-line stuff, another 90 right at Twenty then flat, fast and bumpy all the way into Bourne. Watch out for some VERY deep dykes both sides of the road. Straight across the lights at Bourne and watch out for speed traps on the slight rise out of the village. Out of the limit and sharp right and up hill through some woods then a long downhill striaght, followed by some lovely twists before the 90 right into Edenham. The speed limit here has been altered so watch it, another popular spot for 'hairdryers'. A short blast of twists with a slight rise and fall then the two rights and 90 left into Grimthorpe, 40 limit. The 90 right as you leave the village is VERY steep uphill, and you can power on early as the speed limit ends there. A set of glorious twists and striaghts past Grimthorpe Castle, then a 90 right and GO FOR IT all the way to Corby Glen. Fast, wide sweeps and few juctions to worry about. Corby Glen is now 30 limit so beware. Up the hill out of Corby Glen, out of the limit past the Grantham turn (another great road), then right, downhill and left under the railway bridge. Then it's fast and twisty all the way to Colsterworth and the A1, just a couple of rights to watch out for. Cross the A1, 30 through Colsterworth then flat to Stainby (30). Long straight out of Stainby with a tricky right kink then striaght to Buckminster. 30 through here then it's pure Joey Dunlop all the way to Melton, with just three very short 30 limits through villages, all with very sharp entries and exits. For a change, coming back from Melton use the A606 to Oakham, past Rutland Water and on to Stamford. Much wider and smoother, therefor faster, but not so much fun in my opinion. And if you're not knackered after that, you weren't trying hard enough! Cheers and be safe.
Henlow to: Hockliffe (On the A5)
Very nice road with a good surface for 99% of the time. Mostly wide open corners which can be taken at 80+ but a few that might catch you out. Some towns/villages to go through - so respect the speed limits and don't piss people off. If you don't want to do the whole lot, you can go as far as the Clophill roundabout on the A6 then come back. You can also come off the A507 onto the A5120 through Flitwick and onto Houghton Regis. Another nice piece of road.
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