Dungeon Ghyll? Just follow this road…

Published 11 August 2013

For most of my childhood in the 1980s, family holidays meant camping trips, initially in Britain and then later on in France. These holidays always required a lengthy journey, sitting in the back of a car, bored – these, of course, being in the days before in-car DVD systems and portable video game consoles.

One of the few sources of entertainment was the latest copy of the AA Handbook which was always stashed in the car. In it I’d stare for ages at the maps of motorways and lists of commercial radio stations. Oh and the pages detailing road signs.

Give Way. Stop. No Overtaking. No Parking except on alternate Sundays. I knew them all.

And I knew where to expect them. On roads and motorways.

It’s been a few years since those journeys devouring the AA Handbook, but I still know my road signs. Having passed my driving test helps in that respect. And that means I know where to expect them.

Directional sign pointing you to a place that’s X miles away? Ah yes, it’s on a white background, all spelt out in the classic “Transport” font. Oh and you’ll find it on a road. That cars can drive down.

Unless you’re in Langdale in the Lake District if this example of a sign is anything to go by. The sign in question is on a footpath near Chapel Stile; admittedly a path that comes off from a small road. But it’s still a path – barely wide enough for two people to walk abreast on, yet alone drive a Ford Focus down.

The whole impact of the sign is to make it look like it’s a massive practical joke. That the sign was stolen by slightly drunken students, carried to the spot and dumped there to much hilarity; the impression aided by the fact that the sign seems to be casually leaning against a tree.

Still, the sign is, at least, accurate, Dungeon Ghyll was indeed two and three quarters of a mile away. Just don’t go there by car because if you do, all the AA Handbooks in the world are not going to help you get out.

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