Welcome to Top Gear’s Lap of England
Another epic Top Gear magazine feature from the archives: our quest to find the finest 250 miles of English road...
Posted: 21 Mar 2014
HEXHAM TO PENRITH (A686)
Away from Kielder and towards Hexham to pick up the A686 through the Gilderdale Forest and on to Penrith. You can drive this road at 30mph and have an immense amount of fun. In fact, you're probably better off doing exactly that, because there are a surprising amount of mid-corner bumps and subsequent corners that can casually throw your car into a dry-stone wall. And dry-stone walls are the teeth of the land around here. They bite. It's tight, too, so there's not much room for error. The RS4 breeds confidence - there are few AWD cars that have such a grippy front end and resist understeer quite so well - but even an RS Audi has trouble when all four wheels accidentally become separated from the ground mid-corner. I manage to collect everything - more help from the quattro - and the Audi lands four-square and relatively softly, but there are several seconds of silence, followed by Justin's immortal line: "If you do that again, you won't be allowed Haribo ever again."