From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|To:||near Thornhill (NY016080)|
|Length:||8.4 miles (13.5 km)|
It starts at a roundabout on A5094 where it is the first exit. After passing straight on at a second small roundabout you have the chance to turn left, signposted to Egremont, Barrow and the A595. Following this is a stretch of road with cars permanently parked on the right-hand side causing as serious a bottle-neck as this part of a remote county experiences. Continuing on the left-most of a three-prong fork in the road you climb a hill whose summit used to be graced by the NSL signs, which have now moved a further quarter of a mile beyond the staggered junction leading to Kells on the West and Mirehouse and A595 on the East. The move was made to make it easier for trucks from the chemical plants near Kells to cross and reach the A595.
Driving past the NSL sings, you are faced by a short, but steep section of hill with a sharp left-hand bend close to the top, sadly known locally for the number of serious and fatal accidents as drivers coming in the other direction lose control on the adverse camber of the bend.
The next mile and a half are at national speed limit on the top of St Bees Head the westernmost point of Cumbria, though still about a mile inland of the headland itself. Another off-camber left-right bend leads to a straight drop down to the 30 signs at the corner into the pretty village of St Bees. Views to the left over the valley and ahead over the Irish Sea make this a popular stopping point for tourists photographs.
Once in the village you are faced by three 90 degree bends, left-right-left as you drive past the Priory Church on the right and St Bees public school on the left. Near-misses are common on these bends, especially the first as it also has a local road leading to the beach on its right-hand apex. Crossing the beck and level crossing for the Cumbrian Coast Line you pass in quick succession three pubs, the pedestrian access to the local school, the inland route to Egremont, another pub and then a hill to the NSL signs.
South of the village the road passes between fields with high banks separating them from the road, through a steep-sided but short valley and another junction to Egremont then a sharp left over the bridge over a beck. The road then zigzags between more fields before a right-hand turn to Beckermet (emphasis on the KER) and another sharp left bend immediately before it meets A595 at the junction known locally as Ironbridge. There hasn't been an iron bridge there in the last 20 years, and the remaining bridge butress on the opposite side of the 595 to the junction has been recently (2009) taken down.
In all a nice little coastal route, sometimes used by traffic trying to get to Sellafield, but generally quiet. There are good views inland to the Lake District National Park and fells and seaward, though the Isle of Man can only be seen when heading North.