A state of emergency had been declared in the CCW offices. The tea and coffee so vital for keeping Nick Larkin caffeinated were in plentiful supply, but our stash of cheese and crackers to nibble on had virtually run out.
Regular readers will know I’ve a soft spot for the brightly coloured dairy snacks, but it can’t just be any old spot of supermarket fodder. Which is why our £500 Puma found itself being pressed into action for another important mission – sniffing out the nation’s finest cheese, no less.
A few months ago the search for savoury snacks took X147 OBV out to Cheddar to stock up – but I now reckon it’s not the best option out there for keeping the likes of Nick from going hungry.
So I took a tip from Wallace and Gromit and ventured up to Yorkshire instead – home of Wensleydale, of course. The fact that the dairy has some of the nation’s greatest driving roads on its doorstep had absolutely nothing to do with it. Honest.
Two hours after pointing the Puma’s pert nose on to the A1 it was happily scurrying through the tiny villages of the Yorkshire Dales, where it really did come into its element. The sharp, snappy steering and the beautifully controlled cornering manage to make Peterborough’s roundabouts fun; but up north on some proper roads the enjoyment factor was on another level.
The only place it struggled was on the initial section of the Buttertubs Pass, which clings perilously to the scenery before dropping 1700ft into Hawes, the picturesque market town where Wenseleydale has been made for centuries. As the 1.4-litre Zetec engine fizzed its way past 4000rpm on the long slog to the summit, I wondered how much of a difference having the extra 300cc of the original Puma would’ve made, but in the corners and on the downhill sections I’d say our cheaper car is just as good at the grins-per-gallon factor.
Nor did I have any worries about bits of trim falling off or electrics packing up. I’ve come to expect the Puma to chuck a couple of maladies our way on these big adventures, but this time the mischievous central locking and various other troublesome bits decided to behave themselves, with only a slightly paranoid windscreen washer sensor triggering a dashboard warning light.
’The verdict’s still out if the team will enjoy Wensleydale’s cheeses...’
Maybe the fresh air up north’s been doing it good.
More importantly it reached the Wensleydale Creamery intact, ready to cart the precious supplies back to the office. After some important product testing – which involved loitering a little too long around the free samples – I deduced that the Wensleydale without any additional flavourings was just what we needed, plus a sizeable batch of the in-house oak-smoked cheddar. The latter’s something I’d happily drive two hours to fetch – it’s really something.
The Puma’s taken some of Britain’s toughest roads in its stride, but the verdict’s still out on whether the team will enjoy Wensleydale’s cheeses as much as Cheddar’s. If they don’t, I’ll just have to take the Puma out and sniff out something better.
No pressure, then…
Made it! David lands at the Wensleydale Creamery just in time for a spot of dairy shopping.
X147 OBV pauses for breath at Ribblehead, where the Settle to Carlisle railway line crosses Batty Moss.
David and the Puma ventured to Cheddar last year to sniff out cheese – will Yorkshire’s be any better?