When I was a little girl all holidays involved a journey along the Great North Road. The very name evoked feelings of excitement for this was the main road from London to the north of England. It had been the route for mail coaches going to Edinburgh and it passed through many towns and the route became well provided with coaching inns with such wonderful names as the Ram Jam Inn. Dick Turpin, the famous highwayman was supposed to have ridden the two hundred miles from London to York overnight. What child would not have a sense of adventure setting out on that road even if instead of pistols I was armed with nothing more lethal than a shrimping net!
Sadly the old Great North Road is no longer a journey of such romance. It has been largely replaced by the much more prosaic A1 or the even more prosaic A1(M). Instead of mail coaches there are juggernaut thundering along and coaching inns have been replaced by Little Chefs.
Today I (with two of my cousins) travelled along a great length of the A1(M), sadly to attend a funeral but we got to our destination near Newcastle rather early having allowed ourselves plenty of time so that we wouldn’t be late. We decided to do a small detour to visit the Angel of the North which stands proud above the A1(M) guarding travellers. It is a truly dramatic piece of art and I feel it brings a new sort of romance to that stretch of road.