We woke this morning to a perfect day for a drive. Sunshine, blue sky with s few high white clouds and a calm, blue sea. Travelling on a bank holiday is never ideal but we had to get back to work again. James had decided to vary the route and I did not complain as it involved a visit to one of my favourite bookshops, Barter Books in Alnwick. On the A1, the first traffic jam was before we had got as far as Berwick. However, it was short-lived and disappeared after the combine harvester responsible pulled over to let everyone past. The sun was still with us as we crossed the Tweed and had a coffee break at Lindisfarne services. Barter Books is based in the old station at Alnwick and is dog friendly although Flora preferred to sit outside and watch the goings on outside. They have a model railway running around the shop.
All too soon it was time to continue on our way. The second traffic jam was just north of Morpeth, the sky was clouding over and the first rain drops fell. Over the Tyne there were hordes of people heading for the Metro Centre and once we were past the Angel of the North we started to see people who were heading home from the Leeds Festival. The A1(M) continued to be busy and we had another brief stop at Scotch Corner. My childhood memories of this place are a roundabout with a few toilets under the pine trees. Needless to say it now has all the usual eateries and has little to distinguish it from any other service station. Several sections of the A1 are still being upgraded to motorway so there are miles of roadworks and slow traffic between there and Weatherby. Near Ferrybridge power station I was reminded that my younger brother used to refer to the cooling towers as ‘the big vases’ as they were landmarks on our regular journeys back and forth from Scotland to the East Midlands.
We eventually left the motorway and took the A628 through Yorkshire and over the Woodhead Pass where the purple heather and grass verges full of flowers were amazing. I got a fix of the expansive vistas of the uplands and we even had sheep in the road as we cut across to Glossop on a B road. Then it was the A6 via Chapel en le Frith and Buxton. By the time we were heading into Cheshire, the rain was heavy, the cloud low and lots of water on the road. At least the garden did not need watering when we got home.