Let it blow: A Bentley-themed winter road trip

Let it blow: A Bentley-themed winter road trip

Imperfections are hand-mended before the fabric is sent for finishing, each tweed comprising a head- spinning orchestration of variables: natural, artistic, scientific and geometric. Think of that if you’re fortunate enough to pick from Mulliner’s selection of tweeds.

We peel south down the scenic A7, whose broad but weaving 30-mile stretch to the English border is the kind of road where the Formentor shines. Here, the drive modes are best customised with the engine/transmission in Cupra mode, four-wheel drive in Sport and the adaptive dampers, steering and engine sound (both virtual and actual) all in Comfort. Thus, traction is robust, the variable-rate steering at its most natural, the handling tidy, the ride settled and noises limited to an inoffensive, restrained growl.

It pulls strongly from 2000rpm right to the 6500rpm redline, and lag is more than manageable. The DSG is mostly obliging in auto, dishing out rapid shifts up and down, and paddle response is equally smart.

More motorway, then a helter-skelter dual-carriageway through the South Lakes leads us to Ulverston, home of Cumbria Crystal. Boss Chris Blade spirits us straight into the searing, bustling workshop and back two millennia to a process barely changed since the Romans landed. It’s hands-on, start to finish.

Crucibles inside a pair of furnaces glowing at 1240deg C hold molten crystal from a special recipe of sand (70%) and lead oxide (30%). Incandescent gobs of liquid glass are wielded by blowers who take a full 15 years to train. I can see why: in choreographed pairs, they move between stations, turning, shaping, cutting, cooling, warming, moulding and blowing the glass, from luminous orange to amber to clear.