Let It Go: A Bentley-Themed Winter Road Trip


Imperfections are mended by hand before the fabric is sent for finishing, with each tweed featuring an orchestration that turns the head of variables: natural, artistic, scientific and geometric. Think about it if you are lucky enough to choose from Mulliner’s selection of tweeds.

We descend south down the scenic A7, whose wide but winding 30 mile stretch to the English border is the kind of road where the Formentor shines. Here, the driving modes are best customized with the engine / transmission in Cupra mode, four-wheel drive in Sport and adaptive dampers, steering and engine sound (both virtual and real) all in Comfort. So traction is rugged, variable-rate steering at its most natural, handling tidy, ride tuned, and noise limited to a harmless, contained growl.

It pulls sharply from 2,000 RPM to the 6500 RPM redline, and the lag is more than manageable. The DSG is mostly obliging in automatic, offering quick up and down changes, and the paddle response is just as intelligent.

More freeway, then a four-lane road through the Southern Lakes leads us to Ulverston, home of Cumbria Crystal. Boss Chris Blade takes us straight into the hot and bustling workshop and goes back two millennia to a process barely changed since the arrival of the Romans. It’s convenient from start to finish.

Crucibles inside a pair of ovens glowing at 1240 degrees Celsius contain molten crystal from a special recipe of sand (70%) and lead oxide (30%). Glowing gobs of liquid glass are handled by blowers who take 15 years to train. I understand why: in choreographed pairs, they move between stations, spinning, shaping, cutting, cooling, warming, molding and blowing glass, from luminous orange to clear amber.

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