As many of you know, I was fortunate to live in Lancashire for a few years before my recent move to Gibraltar, where my husband James is from.
My time in the North West was wonderful. It was where I saw a different side to the UK after only having been in the South. I found the people more engaging, the towns and cities more proud of their community and culture and it’s also where bought my first car!
At the time James was working in local government and I had just started as a full-time blogger. His job entailed a lot of meetings in the area and in West Yorkshire. I would often travel with him and do a bit of sightseeing and writing while he was busy. Huddersfield, Leeds and Wakefield were the usual ports of call.
To get to West Yorkshire, we would have to drive down the M61 and then onto the M62. The M62 boasts the highest motorway altitude in England and is surrounded by what I can only describe as sheer beauty. Yorkshire folk don’t call their county ‘God’s own country’ for nothing, as I discovered. It’s hard to describe the beauty of the rolling hills, valleys and moors and how eye-catching the towns and villages dotted around them are.
You may be asking yourself ‘how could she have seen this from the M62?!’ Well, of all the car journeys we took to Yorkshire, we only managed to fully stay on the motorway about half the time. Traffic, mist, road closures . Yes, Yorkshire is awash with all of these. So we spent a lot of time driving down ‘A’ roads and country lanes. And it was just as well that we had a decent vehicle because the local roads weren’t always a smooth ride. The word ‘tricky’ doesn’t do them justice.
As any driver in the UK will know, the dreaded annual MOT inspection can be a pretty stressful experience. I’ve always fallen into one of two camps. Either I thought it best to take the MOT and then deal with any issues if the car failed, or get a good annual car service before the MOT. In recent years, I’ve gone for the latter, and it’s really paid off.
Getting a good car service in my view is like going for a thorough medical check-up. You find out what needs doing, either now or shortly, and you address any actual or potential hazards before they become urgent. Plus you minimise the chances of suffering an unexpected critical problem in the near future.
Many of our motorway-avoiding journeys across West Yorkshire took us onto the A638 and A644 via Dewsbury, which is a minster town by the River Calder. We had dinner (or ‘tea’!) there a number of times en route. We also discovered a couple of much needed reliable garages on a couple of particularly cold winter afternoons when we needed urgent help with our car. The experts at Ossett Tyre House, who also offer car servicing in Dewsbury, are particularly great.
The best thing about driving on local roads is always the surprise element when you’re off the beaten track. Sure, taking the long and often winding route home can be a tad annoying. But it gives you the unexpected opportunity to see places and meet people you had no idea you would encounter when you got up that morning. But take my advice – and it’s from someone who drove 100,00 miles in 2 years while up North. Get your car regularly serviced, especially before your MOT. You’re pocket and your stress levels will be the better for it!