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Old 23rd November 2016, 20:45   #1
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Default The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret

"OK." (A deep breath)
"So now I have been approved as a member of the elite club. Team-bhp !!! Woo !!!" (smile)
"But now is the difficult moment. What should I start my travelogues with.", I thought to myself. "It should have a car. I should be driving that car. As is with most travelogues here. And I must remember every tiny detail of that trip. Well, that's the hardest part. My memory."
Travelogues I have written many. Drives I have gone on plenty.
"But it should be something special. Something Exotic !!! What could it be in this damp, wet, over-hyped country that I live in nowadays"
So I came across this site.

http://www.atlantic-highway.co.uk/

And I immediately knew what should it be. My first post. My first travelogue in Team-bhp.

A39, the highway which runs from North Devonshire to North Cornwall is lovingly referred to as the Atlantic Highway. And how many of you have even heard of it ? We know the American counterpart. We know of the beautiful coastline drive in Australia (though not Atlantic). Even the Brits don't seem to be much aware of their own version.

Secret and Exotic as it sounds, still I planned to improvise and design my own version of a Coastal Highway route in England. This route would catch up with A39 after Barnstaple in North Devon and chart the roads closest to the ocean, right along the corners of the country. The roads that stand between the land and the sea.

I planned to reach Portreath, a small beach town in South Cornwall by the end of the day driving down straight from Central London. This route should cover the A39 and a little more of the coastal Highways of England.

I started the day early at around 7 AM (pretty early for a late English Autumn morning) in the new Renault Captur. It was a rented car from Hertz, a leading car rental company. The car had come quite cheap at 12/day.

Driving within London is a treacherous job with the speed limit being a strict 30 mi/hr and I yearned to get out on the highway as soon as I could with that speed. I took the M4 towards Bristol, from where I will go on to take the road closest to the blues. After taking the M5 diversion near I was headed towards the town which almost every Bengali remembers to this day, Taunton. I still half-expected to find some red cricket balls lying around the city. I took and exit on purpose towards the city and drove around the fabled stadium.

So I had already taken a detour from the original route and now I had to get back to the coast. So another improvisation came in the form of the route through Exmoor National Park to make the drive more enticing. And enticing it was. The pictures of the roads through the National Park proves that.

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-14976353_10211207598570287_1884115174472559065_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-14976853_10211207587610013_3709099544634692918_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15016251_10211207599770317_6340025849396407933_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15068369_10211207596650239_7863775703274504203_o.jpg

I still remember how disgusted I felt when i found out how different these 'Gora' National Parks are and how dull compared to our Desi National Parks. National Parks in India mean exotic wildlife, an elephant or two on the roads if not Nilgais and if you are lucky then a tiger or a lion. But I have got used to the English way of christening a bunch of trees as national parks.

As I exited the National Park, I turned towards Barnstaple. That's where the A39 starts and goes south along the coast.

Yes, the roads are beautiful, especially in small stretches near Bideford and Bude. But honestly, it didn't live upto my expectations. And my expectations would be fulfilled to the brim and overflow for the rest of my life when I would travel far south the following day.

Till then, here's how the A39 looks like while you drive.

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-14991370_10211207615690715_1376308744301512607_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15003397_10211207634491185_4338928591263118542_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15016185_10211207615850719_3249371128478623949_o.jpg

Of course it was a beautiful drive ! But not as beautiful as the next day. I stayed up the night at Portreath, a beach town. The AirBNB had an excellent location at the ledge of the hill which hung over the sea crashing down at its feet.

It was 9 PM, when I finally reached Portreath, after making numerous pit stops on the way.

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15025425_10211207649931571_6875440376619971098_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15002447_10211207652491635_5678597911755343093_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15003181_10211207654051674_4368330051874773312_o.jpg

I could not afford to be late as I had to cover around 350 miles today. So I started off towards the next beach on the coast. My target was to cover entire southern coastline or the Cornwall coastline.

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15016206_10211207658411783_5761245618168313899_o.jpg


But before I post more pictures, have a look at the route that I took which definitely says a lot in the Google Maps itslef.

The first destination was Gwithian, a big beach with some imposing hills looking over.

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15002262_10211207664891945_4808147781245176581_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15000079_10211207668772042_3523422088705403848_o.jpg

Next on the coastline was St. Ives, the most commercial beach on the south-west coast. But thankfully Cornwall beaches are nothing like the ones in the south-east which are too commercialised for my taste. The most quaint beach village that I have been to here is again a lesser known fishing village in Devon. The village had an interesting name - Beer ! But that is again another story which deserves another post.

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15042118_10211207675572212_8354350657523418285_o.jpg

The Rum and Crab shack visible in the photo is where we had a jumbo lobster, freshly caught from the sea and a Cornish Ale.

But, the highlight of the trip was now to begin. The most beautiful stretch of road in UK perhaps (given the many road trips I have been on here) is the road that stretches for about 13 miles between St Ives and St Just.

Beautiful green meadows, scenic little farmhouses lay between us and the ocean as we drove along the hilly road. It is best experienced as with every other drive. So its best to leave you with pictures that didn't do much justice to what I saw and felt that evening.

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15042279_10211207686532486_6794606245112296008_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15016213_10211207680812343_1977295837881185431_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-14991015_10211207685372457_1854194744835391398_o.jpg

Cornish pasty is a famous dish here and the traditional Beef stake pasty is the most known of them all pasties. A must try when you are here. You could also run your tongue over the Cornish Ice Cream.

By the time I reached St Just, it was dusk. Its late autumn and I could not blame the sun. But the English weather forced me to cut short my trip. I ended at Penzance though where the sun had already set and there was no point in following the coast anymore but retrace my footsteps back to the city.

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15039481_10211207688092525_8475859298147957344_o.jpg

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15000848_10211207690252579_8015530157080532425_o.jpg

Cornwall is famed for its beauty and there's a term called 'Cornish Beauty'. And you know what that means as soon as you set foot in this beautiful land of hills and seas.

"Hmmm !!! So I am finally done with my First Travelogue. Huffff !!!"



The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-15068531_10211207634851194_300611084523453170_o.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2016 at 10:49. Reason: Taking live :)
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Old 25th November 2016, 10:51   #2
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Default Re: The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th November 2016, 11:08   #3
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Default Re: The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret

Beautiful photographs. Most of them definitely wallpaper worthy. If not a problem, may i ask the high resolution images of these to be shared.


My wallpaper for a long time was the Atlantic highway in Norway. Did not know of this Atlantic Highway.
The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-319176xcitefunatlanticoceanroad2.jpg

In fact I always believed that only Northern England had beautiful roads, i did not know of this beautiful road down south.
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Old 27th November 2016, 08:59   #4
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Default Re: The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret

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Originally Posted by rohitoasis View Post
Beautiful photographs. Most of them definitely wallpaper worthy. If not a problem, may i ask the high resolution images of these to be shared.
Thanks for the kind words. It will be my pleasure to share the originals. Do let me know how I can do that. Google drive ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by rohitoasis View Post
My wallpaper for a long time was the Atlantic highway in Norway. Did not know of this Atlantic Highway.
Wow !!! I had heard of this one but never imagined it to be this beautiful.
The Cornish one is much less dramatic with a typical country flavour.
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Old 27th November 2016, 09:06   #5
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Default Re: The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret

I donot know why but the route pictures somehow has vanished from my post. Must be some mistake on my side. So here goes the 2 pics again to help others who might want to have a look.

The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-route.jpg

Name:  Coastal Route.JPG
Views: 2728
Size:  55.7 KB
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Old 27th November 2016, 20:02   #6
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Default Re: The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret

When I read the heading, I thought you would have driven through either Brighton or Worthing - apparently for nostalgic reasons. Had to be content with spotting them in the map for now.

Thanks for bringing up nice memories. BTW I was looking for some pictures of the car you drove but could not find any. will you please do the honours.
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Old 28th November 2016, 00:20   #7
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Thanks for bringing up nice memories. BTW I was looking for some pictures of the car you drove but could not find any. will you please do the honours.
Makes me happy to hear that I could nudge someone's nostalgia
Sadly, I didnot take any pictures of the car. Now that you brought this up, I feel rather stupid.
However, the car was a Renault Captur (Model - Dyn Nav), Petrol Manual 1197 cc.
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Old 28th November 2016, 09:40   #8
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Originally Posted by hyanglavoyageur View Post
Sadly, I didnot take any pictures of the car. Now that you brought this up, I feel rather stupid.
However, the car was a Renault Captur (Model - Dyn Nav), Petrol Manual 1197 cc.

Never Mind. There is always a next time. You already have a reason to prepare for the next road trip
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Old 28th November 2016, 22:10   #9
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Makes me happy to hear that I could nudge someone's nostalgia
You nudged mine! I lived in Padstow, with my parents, for five years in my teens. On your last leg of the journey, nearest to Lands End, you must have passed through a tiny village called Polgigga, which is the home of my "honorary brother" who I have known since age 17. My parents have passed away some time back, but I still journey to Cornwall to visit my friend and his wife.

Yes, there is some wonderfully dramatic scenery on that route!

Somehow, over all the decades, to my family before we moved there, and to me after I left home (moved to London), the focus was always on Cornwall, and despite the number of times I must have passed through it, I hardly know Devon at all. One exception to that was trying to schedule a walk on Dartmoor on my returns to London.

I suggest that you do some travelling around Cornwall's South Coast too. My favourite part was the Southern peninsular called The Lizard.

Yes, the coastal areas close to London are very different, both geographically and in culture. Still, though, there are many rivers in what is called "The Thames Estuary," and some beautiful rural locations.
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Old 29th November 2016, 06:21   #10
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You nudged mine! I lived in Padstow, with my parents, for five years in my teens. On your last leg of the journey, nearest to Lands End, you must have passed through a tiny village called Polgigga, which is the home of my "honorary brother" who I have known since age 17. My parents have passed away some time back, but I still journey to Cornwall to visit my friend and his wife.

Yes, there is some wonderfully dramatic scenery on that route!

Somehow, over all the decades, to my family before we moved there, and to me after I left home (moved to London), the focus was always on Cornwall, and despite the number of times I must have passed through it, I hardly know Devon at all. One exception to that was trying to schedule a walk on Dartmoor on my returns to London.

I suggest that you do some travelling around Cornwall's South Coast too. My favourite part was the Southern peninsular called The Lizard.

Yes, the coastal areas close to London are very different, both geographically and in culture. Still, though, there are many rivers in what is called "The Thames Estuary," and some beautiful rural locations.
Sorry to hear about your parents !
It seems you spent the most beautiful years of your life in one of the most beautiful and tranquil places on earth
Lizard was on my list this time itself but unfortunately my crammed up schedule together with the early sunset ruined my plans this time. I will surely be there very soon.
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Old 29th November 2016, 06:59   #11
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Default Re: The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret

Nice thread and nice pics!
And Cornish Pasties are yummy indeed.
The moors of Devon in Cornwall are fabulous and I love the Cornish countryside with all those old "Wrecker's Bays" and things - childhood memories fuelled by "The Famous Five" of Enid Blyton and "Biggles" etc.

Just for info another beautiful "Atlantic Highway" to consider driving, is the Great Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland, all along from Belfast to Londonderry through some gorgeous coastal views - which includes some lovely Golf courses and scenic sights too, like Ballygally, Cainrdhu, The Royal Portrush (Rory McIlroy"s home course) and of course the Giant's Causeway etc.

My wife and I did that route in a nice little Fiat 500 some years ago and played some golf too while about it. Cairndhu Golf Club is a real GEM! Especially the par 3, second hole which requires a really fierce whack into the wind with a driver. And with the added challenge of landing in the "drink"...since the sharp drop to the sea is right there.

And the Bushmills Distillery tour which is an added attraction!

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Old 29th November 2016, 08:51   #12
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Thanks for the kind words. It will be my pleasure to share the originals. Do let me know how I can do that. Google drive ??
Would really appreciate if you could share these via google docs to my e mail ID rohitoasis@gmail.com.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hyanglavoyageur View Post
Wow !!! I had heard of this one but never imagined it to be this beautiful.
The Cornish one is much less dramatic with a typical country flavour.
Oh yeah my friend. You should see the other images i keep of this road as my desktop. Few of those below.
The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-112.jpg
The Lesser Known Atlantic Highway - An English Secret-roadatlantic.jpg

This along with Stelvio pass in Italy and Trollstigen in Norway are always my desktop as these are few roads i wish i could ride around in my lifetime. Probably somewhere close to my retirement i sure would do that.
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Old 29th November 2016, 23:30   #13
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Lizard was on my list this time itself but unfortunately my crammed up schedule together with the early sunset ruined my plans this time. I will surely be there very soon.
Take a relaxed multi-day trip to enjoy some of these areas of Cornwall where you will be spending time on single-lane/two-way roads!

You should also avoid the peak season around the spring/summer public holidays. Once, when suggesting a late-August visit to my friends, I got the response, "Thad! You should know better than to even think of coming here at that time!"

I am not that fond of Cornish pasties --- but I have a huge appetite for Cornish clotted cream. I once stunned a dinner party into shocked silence by eating a whole pound (453 gr) of the stuff with fresh strawberries. Also delicious with scones and jam (Cornish Cream Tea).

Thank you again for prompting happy memories!
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