A6/Penrith - Carlisle
|A592, B5305, B6413, M6, B6263, A69, A7
|Route outline (key)
North of Penrith, the A6 (still non-primary) runs parallel to the M6. Junction 41 (B5305) was the northern terminus of the M6 Penrith bypass originally, and a spur of the A6 ran down to this - this is now downgraded to B5305, and the A6 doesn't get a mention from the m/way advance direction signs ("Wigton B5305" I think); however, the roundabout sign at the end of the slip road gives the right hand direction as "Carlisle A6". For most of the way the A6 follows the route of the Roman Road from Brougham (south of Penrith) to Carlisle with remains of the Roman fort of Voreda (sometimes called Old Penrith) in a field alongside the road at a farm named Castlesteads to the north of Plumpton.
For 12 miles the A6 now runs pretty straight, through a couple of small villages. The only traffic using this road presumably is local traffic accessing these villages, buses, cyclists and any traffic being diverted off the A6 if the M6 is blocked. This probably shouldn't be an A-road (see B3181 north of Exeter etc), but probably is because its the A6 and needs to be there to preserve zonal boundaries (see also A55/A5 on Anglesey).
At Old Town just south of High Hesket is a stretch of dual carriageway, this of course dates from when the A6 was a trunk road here were 2 petrol filling stations and The Astra Transport Cafe now all closed. High Hesket itself was bypassed in the 1930s but the bypass is single carriageway. Between Low Hesket and Scalesceugh Hall are stretches of S4.
We meet the M6 for the final time at junction 42 south of Carlisle and regain our primary status. Its about three miles into the city centre, and the A6 here is a good, reasonably wide road. I suspect it may have had three lanes in places many years ago. (The A6 on the outskirts of Carlisle is signed as primary - 686Carl)
The northern terminus of the A6 is its meeting with the A7 at the gates of Carlisle Citadel but when road numbers were first allocated the A6 ran along English Street and met the A7 outside the Old Town Hall where the street becomes Scotch Street but this was soon changed when the A7 was rerouted along Lowther Street, Scotch Street became the A6122 and the A595 (Castle Street) was extended along English Street to the citadel or court houses. Most of English Street, Scotch Street and Castle Street are now pedestrianised and the A7 now only uses a small part of Lowther Street. Actually since The Crescent was restored to two way traffic it is uncertain if the southern part of English Street and Devonshire Street are still part of the A7 and may now be the A6.
(As a footnote, it would seem to make sense (and look nicely symmetrical) if the A6 continued along the A7 to the M6 terminus, and then the A7 started from there to carry on to Edinburgh - after all, the M6 doesn't become the M7 at junction 43 as it passes to the north side of Carlisle.)