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Regular readers of this page will see that the Calendar for 2016 has now been fixed and the itineraries are published. There may be a little ‘tweaking’ to do but most tours will go ahead as advertised. The ‘Drive it Day Tour’ may evolve into something a little different …..? There may even be an extra tour, a couple of ideas are simmering in the ‘Kirk Consciousness’, but for the time being I am sticking to the plan of a fairly quiet year this year (2016) then something a bit more spectacular in 2017. At the moment I am thinking of another trip to the French Alps as it will be my Alpine’s 50th birthday, so I thought an Alpine-Alpine Tour might be appropriate.
Watch this space.


The Alpine is sulking at the moment, despite being tucked away in the garage during all the recent bad weather, it refused to start the other day. Maybe it is just determined to have a rest after completing all but one of my tours last year (2015) and a few other tours, but it did seem to go ‘off song’ on the Autumn Tour. It seems to be a fuelling problem, maybe just the webers out of tune or possibly dirty petrol? I have no plans to go topless anywhere at the moment so it can have its rest for the time being. 















Meanwhile the Escort has made a little progress and I am hopeful that it will be able to take over some of the tour duties in 2017. Its original ‘reason d’etre’ was as a competitive rally car but with the amount of money it has cost to restore I am not sure I will want to thrash it through forests and dirty farmyards in the future….. although I don’t know! Somebody recently gave me a photo of the car on the last rally it did (finished 4th overall) and it looked so good it rather rekindled the enthusiasm again – what the hell, its only money, and I would rather use the car than sit in a field with hundreds of others just admiring it. 

 The other thing that ‘gave me the bug’ again was marshalling on a rally in Grizedale Forest last weekend. (The weather was glorious, after days of pouring rain and gales, there was bright sunshine but the lakes mountains were covered with a dusting of snow to make a spectacular back drop to the rally). 


Two things struck me whilst marshalling. One was the extreme diversity of competing cars from £200k state of the art Fiestas to a SAAB 96, a couple of Hillman Avengers, a Mini and an unbelievably ‘tatty’ Suzuki Swift. The other thing that was noticeable was the number of drivers who were of my generation, not all young ‘whizz kids’. I did wonder who had the most enjoyable day, the guys in the expensive Fiestas, the best one only finishing 3rd, or the guy who looked as though he had just come down off the fells after tending his sheep, and drove his battered Suzuki into a firm last position? The whole Suzuki was probably worth less than one of the tyres on the Fiestas. Ironically the outright winner (by one second!) was a PROTON --- mind you it had Mitsubishi 4WD running gear and a 2.4 litre fuel injected Ford engine. An enjoyable day and food for thought.


 One event that isn’t in the calendar is my usual ‘Birthday Bash’ the STUFF THE TURKEY TREASURE HUNT on December 29th 2015. The usual format of cryptic clues and a short scenic run based at the Station Inn, Oxenholme. I had run out of ideas and different routes and did consider resting the treasure hunt, but as ever it is back by popular demand. (I have a cunning plan). Well, it would be a boring birthday otherwise! See below.


Merry Christmas and a Happy Touring New Year





In Association with








ENTRY FEE  £10 per car 

includes coffee and mince pies.





MIKE KIRK   07795204533  BEFORE MONDAY 28TH.

e-mail – mikekirkrallying@aol.com




1.1 The STUFF THE TURKEY is a non-competitive  “Touring Assembly” for all road going  classic cars of any age. All vehicles must be correctly registered, currently licensed with a valid MOT Certificate, and be in roadworthy condition. Trade plates are forbidden. Cars may be scrutineered for compliance with the RTA prior to the event.

1.3   The event will run on Tuesday, December 29th, 2015.

1.4   The event will be exempt from the General Regulations of the RACMSA Ltd .

Entrants need not be members of any MSA recognised motor club, nor possess an MSA Competition Licence. Drivers must posses a current and full driving licence, and have valid insurance in accordance with the requirements of the Road Traffic Act.


2.1 The total route is approximately 30 miles, starting and finishing at the STATION INN, Oxenholme. 

2.2 There will be no timing. However, Entrants will be expected to reach the Finish by 5.00pm.

2.3 Entrants will be given detailed route instructions at the start of the event.  The onus on finding the correct route rests with the Entrant. The route will be defined by abbreviated instructions explained in the route notes, and ‘cryptic clues’ should be answered on the way around.


3.1 Entries will be accepted on the day but a phone call or text to 07795 204533,

 24 hours beforehand would be helpful. E-MAIL; mikekirkrallying@aol.com

The entry fee will be £10 per car which will include; coffee, and mince pies at the start. Bar meals will be available all day at the Station Inn.


4.1 Cars may leave the Station Inn any time from 11.30 am, subject to paying entry fee and obtaining route information.


6.1 Clerk of the Course;   MIKE KIRK,      01539 728832 

     Secretary of the Meeting; MIKE KIRK 

      Results; MIKE KIRK   (see below)


7.1 The organiser’s decisions will be final ---- however un-solicited gifts of alcohol may be taken into account.


8.1 There will be awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall, based on the highest scores (see 7.1 above!)

8.2 Subject to sufficient entries there may also be awards for the best ‘classic car’, and best ‘topless car’ i.e. an open top car that is driven with the hood down all day regardless of the weather.

8.3 ACCOMMODATION   Contact organisers.

















Well, that’s it, another year’s tours finished, and plans already underway for next year. The last two tours of 2015 couldn’t have been more different – weather wise at least.














Apart from the ‘tail end’ of a hurricane one morning in central France, the Summer Monte Tour was “topless” all the way. The hotels and meals were universally praised and I was surprised at how many well travelled people hadn’t experienced the spectacular scenery of the southern Alps and Gorge de Verdun. Even our friends from Belgium and Switzerland were impressed and expressed a desire to return. I think regulars, Brian and Helen some it up best though;










“Well, we’ve been on some brilliant tours with you over the years but the scenery on the Monte one just about beats them all! We’ve been all over the world and seen a lot of stunning sights, and we wondered if we were getting a little blasé, but the Gorges and Passes you took us over certainly had the “Wow!” factor – and seemed to get better and better each day. Just too big to fit into the photos! Add to that some lovely French hotels, splendid weather for our first foray into open-topped motoring, and some excellent food and company – what more could we want.

Best regards Brian/Helen.
























In contrast the Circuit of Cumbria was blighted with the worst weather conditions possible for a scenic tour. It is one thing to drive in pouring rain so long as you can see something, but fog and mist and low cloud just defeat the whole object! Fortunately there were a few clear spells over the four days and newcomers to the area were suitably impressed with what ‘God’s OwnCounty’ has to offer. Some new roads and variations on past themes also kept the regulars interested and there was certainly an ‘end of term’ atmosphere amongst the group – all planning to do more next year!? Roger and Marie who completed a ‘full house’ of 2015 tours summed it up;

Hi Mike
Many thanks for the 7 tours we took part in this year, starting in March
with the Devils Diamond Tour and ending in October with the Circuit of
Cumbria. We always have such a good time and it would be difficult, almost
impossible to find better.
We look forward to the 2016 season.
Best wishes
Roger and Marie

So, it looks as though I am fully committed to a programme for 2016. There have been a lot of suggestions, and I have taken these into account. It would be impossible to do everything that has been talked about and certainly some past tours warrant repeating. However, at the risk of disappointing some regular customers, I do not intend to run any major European events in 2016. I will be sticking to ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND and WALES.

I already have 2 trips to Ireland planned and was considering ‘resting’ Scotland after 15 consecutive years, but popular demand means I will be doing it again, albeit at a different time of year. Wales was already in the plan and of course England and particular the North is ‘my own patch’ and I am sure I can come up with some new ideas. With some events already confirmed I felt a major event at the end of the year would not only create a lot of hard work but may compromise entries on existing tours.  But I am working on a European tour for 2017 ---

Therefore, the 2016 Calendar looks like this;


1 day in Cotswolds, 1 Welsh Borders, 3 , Central Wales.
Gaydon Heritage Centre, BlenheimPalace, SevernValley Railway, Long Mynd, Lake Vyrnwy, Snowdonia.


A circuit of Ordnance Survey sheet 97 – Kendal and Morecambe


MAY 21-29th  JEC TOUR OF IRELAND -  Jaguars Only
Dublin, 4 nights in Killarney, Ring of Kerry, South Coast, WicklowMountains. Guinness Factory, National Stud.


Start in EnglishLakes, S.W. Scotland, Glens of Antrim, Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Experience, Mountains of Mourn, Gordon Bennett Circuit and WicklowMountains. Guinness Factory, National Stud.


Start Peterborough, Rutland Water, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, Northumberland and Hadrian’s Wall


Start Lake District, Borders, Falkirk Wheel and Kelpies, Forth Bridge, Glen Eagles, N.E. Coast, Pass of the Cattle, Loch Ness, Glenfinnan, Dukes Pass, finish in Northumberland.

4 nights at Crooklands. Some parts of 2015 Circuit of Cumbria reversed with interesting additions, and day in North Lancs, Trough of Bowland area. 



The photos below show the (slow) progress being made on the Escort and a signpost that proves CCT(MK) Tours reach the parts that others don’t.

















It has been another busy few weeks with trips to Ireland, France and the Grand Yorkshire Tour. Ireland was just a ‘fun weekend’ at the LURGAN PARK RALLY. Lots of sideways Escorts and a few other modern rally cars. Unfortunately I left my camera in the hotel! So no pics.

France was the recce for the SUMMER MONTE TOUR which we did in a heatwave, 38 deg. C some days. It was a case of windows closed and air conditioning on. We found some spectacular roads though. I always thought the famous Col du Turini was the most awesome road in the Alps but now the vegetation seems to have grown up to hide some of the bigger drops. The hairpins are just as tight though. However the Col de Rousset and Mont Ventoux more than made up for that.


The only problem for the tour is the ongoing situation at Calais. On our trip we had no problems whatsoever and even caught an earlier train through the tunnel because there were no delays. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that this will be the case in September so by unanimous decision we have changed the route to start by crossing from Hull to Zeebrugge, then miss out the first day from Calais and pick up the intended route at Reims. Everything else is as planned.


The GRAND YORKSHIRE TOUR started in style with a good entry from Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club making up the numbers on the first day. It was quite an ‘eclectic’ group of cars that stopped at Tan Hill for lunch. Everything from a 1926 Invicta to 3 Lancia Stratos (what is the plural of Stratos – Stratii. Stratosses???) and a modern Volvo C70. The rest of the week was blessed with good weather except for heavy rain over Blubberhouses Pass – when I had the top down!


Now I have 4 weeks off  -- I wish. Just 12 days of road book for Monte to type up, and I had better get the Circuit of Cumbria typed up as well, as there is only a week between returning from France and starting the last tour of the year. The Cumbria Tour is filling up nicely and there is likely to be a local contingent again so if you are thinking about it – get your entry in now and don’t be disappointed.


PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR are slowly coming together.


One day in Cotswolds based at Stratford, then across Long Mynd to Welsh Border and 3-4 nights at Lake Vyrnwy.



Start in English Lakes, overnight S.W. Scotland. Ferry to Larne, 2 days in Glens of Antrim (Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge and Giant’s Causeway), then south via Titanic exhibition to Mountains of Mourne, 2 nights in Wicklow Mountains, return ferry from Dublin to Holyhead.


Start Peterborough, via Rutland to Peak District, overnight Buxton, then Lancashire moors to Settle, north through dales and 3 nights at Langley Castle with tours out to Lake District and Hadrian’s Wall.


Watch this space!







A particularly busy May and computer problems have meant a lack of ‘blogs’ for a while, but things are hopefully somewhere back to normal.

The JEC Lincs Tour of Scotland went very well and had generally good weather but the Western Isles Tour which followed close behind had mixed, or should I say Scottish weather. Torrential rain met us on landing on Mull and the Pass of the Cattle was shrouded in thick fog. Fortunately though there was never a day with completely bad weather and the northern run around Shieldaig and Torridon was glorious, only spoilt by foreign drivers in hire cars and camper vans. What a difference a few weeks make, Traffic was not a major problem for the JEC Tour but last week it was horrendous in places. I think hire companies should give people a ‘Highway Code for the Highlands’.

At least these mainly foreign tourists should be given some advice on the basics of driving on single track roads, i.e. “Use passing places to allow overtaking”, There are huge signs saying this in places but they are ignored. Worst of all though is the habit of swapping to a passing place on the right hand side of the road when meeting oncoming traffic. I don’t know if this is just habit because they are used to driving on the right, or just ignorance, but it is down right dangerous at times.

I travelled in style on the JEC Tour, in a friends Jaguar but managed some topless runs in the Alpine on the Western Isles. The Alpine is running superbly now after a tune up and a new manifold gasket (must remember to get some new brake pads!!).

It is all go again now with preparations for the Great North Road Tour, a trip to Ireland (holiday) and then a trip across France (working holiday). Then it is the Grand Yorkshire Tour (nearly fully booked but maybe room for a little one!) and then the Summer Monte (still places available). I am pleased to say that the Autumn Tour of Cumbria (October) is also already filling up. 

I am definitely planning a smaller calendar for next year!




A mix up with bookings on the first night of the Western Isles Tour resulted in a change of hotel to a very spectacular castle – we may be using this again, see above centre.







The first real tour of the season exceeded everyone’s expectations, both with the weather and the scenery. Most participants were surprised at how scenic rural Kent and Sussex were and the venues visited on route were the icing on the cake. I think Jan and Ann sum it up best;

“Mike ,

Again you managed to produce a well organised ,and planned Tour , which we enjoyed very much .

How did you manage the privileged parking at Gaydon, and Blenheim and get the good folks at Crofton Beam engine to open for us ?
I overheard one of our group comment about Crofton that " its not the sort of place they would have stopped at but glad they did and found it very interesting ", which shows you made a good choice .

The tea and Tour of Goodwood House was a master stroke and then to join it all up with thatched village after thatched village was the icing on the cake.

Thanks, hope to see you again soon Regards Jan and Ann Ziomek”


I had to take the Golf to Kent as the Alpine was having a little ‘tune up’ which wasn’t finished in time. It was just as well as we had some taxi-ing to do, and the Golf probably used about a third of the fuel the Alpine would have done (before the tune up). It is now running sweetly again and should be out for the Western Isles Tour. The Escort just seems to keep wanting more and more new panels! But we are getting there.


I did a lot of ‘market research’ for next years tours while in Kent as there were a good number of regular customers present. Brittany in some form seems popular but I may have other ideas. I will send out a questionnaire later in the year – I don’t want to distract anyone from this year’s calendar – there are still plenty to do. Having said that I think Roger and Marie are in line to break or at least equal Brian and Helen’s record of six tours in one year!





March (Just!)


I think people must have known something I didn’t! It was a rather disappointing turnout for our first event of the year, The Lakeland Spring Classic, but as it turned out it was probably one of the wettest weekends of the year. So perhaps everyone had better long range weather forecasts than me? Nevertheless, the hardy group that did tackle the event seemed to thoroughly enjoy the challenges of Hardknott and Wrynose Passes and the Trough of Bowland despite the deluge. There were a few sunny spells, particularly on Saturday when things brightened up and the cloud lifted, in time for lunch near the beach at St Bees, although despite our best efforts, no one could see the Isle of Man across the Irish Sea. It is possible on a clear day. And of course the sun came out for the last few miles to the finish at the Heaves Hotel in time for our cream tea.

In contrast, the previous week, I made a recce visit to Scotland in beautiful weather.

Whilst there I visited “The Kelpies”, amazing metal horses heads standing as high as an electricity pylon above the canals in Falkirk.


Also in contrast to the Lakeland event, the next tour to Kent is fully booked with 20 cars. There are still a couple of places left for Scotland in June but anyone interested will have to be quick as the hotels are almost full. Everything else is going along steadily and plans for 2016 are already starting to ‘simmer’ in the Kirk consciousness. More on that later!



Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club have postponed their Devils Own Classic Rally until October. It is likely that our Circuit of Cumbria Tour will now include the planned Tour following the new rally route. Exact details to follow. However CCT(MK) will still run a tour on the weekend March 28/29th.
Today we follow part of the route of the postponed ‘LITTLE DEVILS TESTS’ on some typical rally roads through the picturesque Cumbrian countryside. We will skirt the town of Kendal on some minor roads before cutting across country into the Lythe Valley. After crossing Gummers How with its view over Lakeside (Windermere) we will have a coffee stop at the excellent LAKELAND MOTOR MUSEUM. We then head into the Western Lakes and cross Corney Fell with views out to sea and the Isle of Man (on a clear day!) before a stop for lunch at St Bees on the west coast seaside.
The afternoon run takes in some lesser know roads around the Whitehaven area before we return to the Lakes where we cross the unfortunately named ‘Cold Fell’ and then go via the spectacular Wastwater Screes and a stop for tea before tackling the highlight of the day. The twin passes of Hardknott and Wrynose with their hairpin bends and 1 in 4 gradients, bring us back to Windermere and the run back to the finish at the Heaves Hotel.
ENTRY FEE = £45 per car (2 people) includes entry to Lakeland Motor Museum and afternoon tea. Dinner at the finish will be available on request.
(As originally planned for Saturday)
The day starts with a tour over some of the roads used by the Devils Own in its heyday. First we visit familiar territory a few miles down the road from Kirkby Lonsdale, Ribblehead and its famous viaduct. We then continue down Ribblesdale with views of Pen-y-ghent on or way to coffee at the Watershed Mill in Settle. From Settle we take the old main road over what was once an infamous climb, Buck Haw Brow. This road is now by-passed and the hill poses no problems to modern traffic. We then cut across country to more remote countryside and some traditional road rally roads. As we climb across the fells heading south we get wonderful views over Gisburn reservoir and forest to Pendle Hill in the distance.
After crossing the reservoir we emerge from the forest and climb over the hill into the lower reaches of Ribblesdale turning west again in another picturesque village, Waddington. After a short run we reach our lunch stop hidden away down a country lane.
Suitably fortified we set off for the next climb over Longridge Fell with views over the Lancashire coastal plain on one side and the Forest of Bowland hills on the other. We descend steeply to the Bowland side, meandering through several villages and getting nearer to the hills, each little road giving more views of scenery reminiscent of Scotland. After passing through Dunsop Bridge we enter the ‘Trough of Bowland’, a cross between a deep valley and a mountain pass and a famous rally section. As we climb out of the valley we reach the ‘Jubilee Tower’ on the hill above the city of Lancaster. Here there are stunning views across Morecambe Bay – weather permitting. We approach Lancaster with the prominent Williamson Monument ahead before turning north again and back into the Lune Valley. The last section home could perhaps be described as a the ‘Lonsdale Belt’ as we follow the River Lune, more or less, back to Kirkby Lonsdale with the un-mistakable silhouette of Ingleborough always ahead.
ENTRY FEE = £59 per car (2 people) includes morning coffee and evening meal at the finish.
Accommodation for any combination of nights – Friday to Sunday is available on request at either the Heaves Hotel, (finish for both nights) or at the Crooklands Hotel (4 miles away).
Just when I thought I was stumbling into the 21st century it all went wrong. My apologies to everyone who received begging letters from the Ukraine, and thank you to those who enquired after my wellbeing.
I actually ventured no further than Kent! Just prior to starting my Kent – Cotswold recce I purchased an i-pad, thinking this would keep me in touch with the world while I was away. How wrong could I be!? On arriving at my first port of call my mobile phone went completely dead, so I only had the i-pad to communicate with. Barely 24 hours later it would appear I was ‘hacked’ and the i-pad would no longer send or receive e-mails. It wasn’t until several days later when I used a land line to ‘phone home’ that I discovered what had happened. The following weekend was spent trying to put everyone’s mind at rest and restore some order to my system. Unfortunateley I seem to have lost most of my address list, so apologies to anyone who didn’t receive a mail explaining the situation. But if anyone is about to send off the funds requested, they will be quite welcome in Kendal never mind the Ukraine!
On a happier note, the recce went very well. Despite the bitter cold weather there were some beautiful sunny days and I found areas that far exceeded my expectations as far as scenery was concerned. I was pleased with the whole route and the venues I visited, so with an entry of almost 20 cars already it looks good for April.
All the other tours are filling up slowly but if anyone is thinking about Scotland please let me know very soon as some of the hotels are already badgering me for confirmation of numbers. I would hate to cancel the spare rooms only to have some late enquiries.

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