Happy New Year
2015 certainly looks promising so far! A bumper entry of 16 cars tackled the ‘Stuff the Turkey’ in somewhat icy conditions. O.K. that was technically still 2014, but the start of this year’s calendar. A little mist on some of the higher ground meant that the scenery couldn’t be appreciated at its glorious best, but the route as a whole kept everyone entertained. Some icy patches on north facing slopes caused some concern but only one car actually got into difficulty.
The 1928 Humber of Roger Harrison failed to make one short sharp climb but as he was blocking the road, following crews had to come to his rescue by carrying grit from a nearby salt bin. Everyone got through safely even if they had plenty of stories of ‘derring do’ at the finish.
The treasure hunt was won, not for the first time, by the proprietors of the Heaves Hotel, Miles and Cathy Whitelock, on a score of 47 out of 50. ‘Best Classic’ went to the Humber on 20 while the ‘Best Topless’ went to Malcolm and Janet Grisdale in their Midget on 40 points. ‘Furthest travelled’ went to Neil and Sue Williams, all the way from Liverpool – in a Subaru not the Anglia or RS. (I think there may have been someone from London in one of the 2 Andy Gibbs teams – 45 and 43 points). I must be getting soft in my old age, too many people were getting too many clues! Although, as is often the case, some clues that I thought were obvious were missed, and my most ‘devious’ ones were answered by all the front runners. All in all, not a bad way to spend my birthday. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photographs as I was forced to stay in the pub awaiting any un-solicited gifts of alcohol!? The one below was taken by Phil James, a reporter for a local newspaper who braved the conditions to get some shots of the cars, even though most were everyday road cars.
As for other events, I am pleased to say that the KENT-COTSWOLDS is already in to double figures – but we can take more. The SUMMER MONTE also has enough bookings to date to make it viable, but a few more would be better. THE WESTERN ISLES tour still has plenty of spaces, but I would like to know A.S.A.P. if you are thinking about this one, as hotel rooms aren’t as plentiful in some parts of Scotland and the hotels will want confirmation of numbers very soon. All the other tours have some bookings so things are looking good.
I have had a some spare time over Christmas and my mind started to wander to 2016. How about Ireland again? I have a ‘cunning plan’ to develop the highly successful 2013 tour of Southern Ireland adding some extra route along the south coast (Kinsale, Cork) and an extra day in the Wicklow mountains. We would use most of the excellent hotels used last time but perhaps have one night near Tipperary rather than Bunratty.
Sunset over the Kent Estuary(Morecambe Bay) the day after ‘Stuff the Turkey’.
A Happy New Year
TO ALL OUR FRIENDS AND CUSTOMERS
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN 2014
WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN 2015
EARLY NEWS FOR 2015
Since the brochures were posted out, a little earlier than some years, I have had to make a few amendments to itineraries and costs.
THE GREAT NORTH ROAD TOUR is £699 for 3 days/nights
£899 for 4 days/nights
THE WESTERN ISLES TOUR
Unfortunately Leeming House isn’t available for the optional extra night but the Crooklands may be an alternative.
THE SUMMER MONTE TOUR has been extended by one day to allow more time in Monte Carlo. The general feeling was that if you were going to drive all that way there was no point in turning round and starting a long journey back straight away.
Also, because we now arrive in Caen on Saturday there is no afternoon ferry so we will take the overnight ferry to Portsmouth. The cost of a cabin (2 berth/bunks) will be included in the price which should offset any hotel costs in Portsmouth. However because of the extra night in Menton the overall cost will now be £2899.
I am pleased to say bookings are coming in at a steady rate and the Kent to Cotswold Tour is certainly looking viable already. I will soon have to take my winter holiday in Kent and get the route notes done! The Summer Monte is also looking very popular with almost enough bookings already to make that viable. I plan to do a route survey in early summer. (My Summer Holiday!) There is no point going now as some of the roads won’t be passable.
The JEC LINCS Tour of Sotland (May) is almost fully booked but I am sure if you have a Jaguar and would like to join the tour we could accommodate you. At the moment there is just one place left.
We have just had our first snow in the Lakes but while the mountains looked very pretty it didn’t come to anything lower down and at the time of writing it is back to rain. I did give the Alpine a very short run out the other day just to make sure everything was still working. It is due an M.O.T. but it isn’t exactly ‘topless’ weather at the moment so there is no immediate rush! The Escort has made a little more progress but is still some way off being finished. ‘My’ restorer has said he won’t incur any major expenses over Christmas, or as he put it it, “Do you want to buy yourself a lot of Christmas presents now (meaning body panels) or just let me carry on with what I have got until the new year?” We agreed the latter!
See you all next year!
It should have been a quiet time after the Ferrari Tour but things haven’t quite worked out like that. I have had a busy time sorting out the 2015 calendar and getting the new brochures printed and I am now working on the website updates. The new brochures are back from the printers and should be in the post in the next couple of weeks, after we have refreshed the database.
I am also working on my ‘birthday bash’ – The Stuff the Turkey Treasure Hunt at Christmas, and involved with plans to celebrate 60 years of Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club. In amongst all this I even did ‘a turn’ as guest speaker at a newly formed local classic car club. and I have already got twelve bookings for next year. The JEC Tour of Scotland has ‘taken off’. We currently have one space available, so if you have a Jaguar you would be welcome to join us, but don’t worry if you don’t have a Jag., I am doing a separate Scottish Tour open to everyone. However it would help if everyone was so early with their bookings!!
New for 2015 are KENT to COTSWOLDS, THE GREAT NORTH ROAD TOUR*, A GRAND TOUR OF YORKSHIRE and THE SUMMER MONTE. Details will be on the website soon.
The Great North road Tour is a new idea not on previous lists. As most of my customers are from the south I thought it would be a convenient way of ‘luring’ them north without having to travel too far to the start. The start will be north of London on the A1 but the route will obviously not be entirely on the main road, it will criss-cross numerous times to take in more picturesque and quiet routes. Sherwood Forest, Rutland Water, Yorkshire Dales, Durham and Northumberland will all feature, and an option to visit Edinburgh at the end.
On the car front, the Alpine is having a well deserved rest tucked up in the garage, while the Escort makes steady progress. The chassis and floor have been fully repaired (not too mention the roof), there are just the front wings to repair, then it will need a complete re-spray, and then putting back together again. Oh dear! Retirement seems to get further away as I write. I will just have to settle for a winter holiday – but it will probably end up being a recce.
I have sold my ‘project Alpine’ which has been taking up garage space for longer than I care to think --- but I have been looking at another one! Fully restored rolling shell with full FIA roll cage which would mate up nicely with my spare Holbay engine – hmmm, it just depends really what else it needs to finish it. Could be another endless project? In the meantime I have bought an original Monte Carlo Rally Alpine, white with a black hardtop – it looks the business – in its display case on top of the television, alongside a rally Lancia Fulvia, a Stratos and a Roger Clark Escort. I have since seen the actual original white Monte Carlo Alpine for sale – a snip at 60K.
Talking of Monte Carlo, I am looking at extending the Summer Monte Tour by a day so that we can do some extra route on the way down and still have a couple of nights on the Mediterranean. I am trying to do this within the advertised price!! More news later.
I am not involved in any tour connected with the actual rally this year, although there is a tour being organised from Glasgow to Reims on January 28th. See CCHMSC website for more details.
Well, I survived the ‘invasion’ of German Ferraris. It was hard work but luckily I had an excellent team of helpers who made sure things went as smoothly as possible. There were a few early hic-cups but these were mainly due to ‘cultural differences’ and the sheer numbers involved, 70 people and 37 cars. Fortunately the weather was very good and the scenery looked at its best in the early Autumn colours. It was quite a spectacle everywhere we went. Most places had never seen that many Ferraris all together and we estimated that it was the most expensive car park in Europe when we stopped at each hotel. There were the inevitable breakdowns but ‘my team’ coped admirably, even sourcing one of only 2 tyres of a particular type in the country, and getting it couriered up to Inverness in time for the car to complete the route. Electrical problems on another car were
beyond our scope but we got him to the main dealers in Edinburgh and he completed the route in a hire car. At least one driver was so taken with the Scottish kilt that he bought one and wore it during our run over the Pass of the Cattle. I was relieved that the wind at the top didn’t lift him up like a parachute and blow him away!
All in all it was quite an experience – but I might limit numbers on future events!
More news later when I have fully recovered.
Just a quick ‘blog’ this month as I get ready to host 38 German Ferraris on a tour of Scotland next week.
The Holland and Harz Tour was almost more successful than expected! The weather was generally good, the hotels and food were excellent and apart from an incredible number of ‘Umleitungs’ (diversions) the routes worked well. I thought Britain was bad for closing roads at a whim, but it seems EU Health and Safety must rule everywhere as we had roads closed almost every day and I think the record was 3 or was it 4, in one day. Luckily everyone managed to find their way around without too much trouble. In most cases it didn’t spoil the intended route except for the little rope ferry which we had kept as a surprise. Luckily one person’s determination to get through the road works (i.e. he moved the barriers) encouraged most people to persevere and experience this little gem of a river crossing. It must have made the day for the otherwise rather bored ferry man. At one point he had a Porsche 912, a brand new F-Type Jaguar and an MGB filling his tiny ‘raft’.
The VW Autostadt was as amazing as expected
and we even had a cruise on the canal. There was more to see than could comfortably done in a day, although the individual brand ‘pavillions’ were a little disappointing (except for Bugatti), not much more than rather average show rooms. On the other hand the car towers and the museum were excellent.
Everyone enjoyed the train trip up the Brocken Mountain regardless of whether they were steam buffs or not, and a rather eccentric museum/fun park entertained another day.
On the down side I have decide to cancel the Autumn Tour as there weren’t enough bookings to make it viable and the planned base at Kirkby Lonsdale didn’t work out. At least some of the route (Forest of Bowland) will probably be incorporated in a new event in March next year. See below.
I am trying to firm up dates for next year, see below, and a new brochure should be published before Christmas.
PROVISIONAL PROPOSED CALENDAR 2015
DEVILS DIAMOND 60 TOUR
Celebrating 60 years of Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club. A tour on some classic Cumbrian Rally roads and a chance to watch the Classic Devils Own Rally.
KENT TO COTSWOLDS (5 days)
Romney Marshes, South Downs, Salisbury Plain, Cotswolds, Stratford upon Avon.
JAGUAR ENTHUSIAST CLUB TOUR OF SCOTLAND (7 days)
Start Nothumberland, Jim Clark Rooms, Falkirk Wheel, Glen Eagles. Loch Rannoch, Loch Ness, West Coast, Rest and Be Thankful. Loch Lomond and Trossachs. Return run to Leeming House
May be repeated as ‘open’ event following same route later in month.
WESTERN ISLES TOUR
As Jaguar tour above but including the Isle of Mull.
GRAND TOUR OF YORKSHIRE (7 days)
Dales, Moors and Wolds, Start at Crooklands. 3-4 nights in York with free day in York. Castle Howard, Sledmere House, Whitby, Buttertubs, Blubberhouses (some of the routes featured in the 2014 Tour de France).
SUMMER MONTE (11-12 days)
A repeat of the 2014 tour following the route of the Monte Carlo Historic Rally
Calais, Reims, Valence, Massif Central, French Alps to Monte Carlo. Col de Turini, return via Route Napolean, Millau Bridge, Dordogne, Loire Valley.
CIRCUIT OF CUMBRIA (4 days)
Every ‘Kirk Road’ in the county of Cumbria! Barbondale, Garsdale, Stainmore, Gummers How, Corney Fell, Wastwater, Cold Fell, Crummock Water, Ullswater,
A new area around Whitehaven. Caldbeck, Solway Coast, Gretna, Kielder Forest, Alston, and Hartside.
The last two tours went off well although both were blighted by one day of bad weather. The High Roads Tour started off well in Derbyshire although fog on the Cat and Fiddle didn’t bode well for the day. Things brightened up though and some new customers enjoyed the day. Later on we had the worst possible weather on the day with the most spectacular scenery. Thick fog and torrential rain completely obliterated the spectacular scenery around the western lakes. I was amazed that most people completed the challenge of Hardknott and Wyrnose Passes with grins on their faces and comments such as “wasn’t that a challenge”. It certainly was! I was not so enthusiastic as the rain got under the hood, ran down the hood supports until it overflowed onto the steering wheel, over my hands and down my arm until it dripped onto my legs! Oh the joy of classic motoring! Of course the sun came out afterwards for the last 30 miles and the rest of the tour was done topless – well, hood down and in shirt sleeves.
The recent Solway South West Tour was equally successful but again pouring rain on the first morning on Arran and a rather dull day around the Wigtown peninsula interrupted what was otherwise perfect weather for classic motoring. Some new routes through the Galloway Forests had everyone in ‘rally mode’. It was almost surreal being at the back of a convoy which consisted of a Volvo Amazon, a Porsche 911, an Aston Martin DB6 and an AC Ace all being driven enthusiastically on some superb roads including the wonderful Dalvene Pass – a real drivers road.
The Cally Palace hotel proved to be an excellent stopover and I think we will be visiting again in 2015. Talking of which I have the following in mind for next year.
On the car front’ the Alpine has done sterling service on all the tours this year after a new clutch and general overall in May. The gearbox is leaking oil and the carbs need setting up again, but apart from that it is going well, still fun to drive (except perhaps in a Lakeland Monsoon!). The Escort now has a roof! I am not sure if I mentioned but it was a convertable for a while!! My ‘restoration man’ wasn’t keen on doing the chassis repairs until he investigated what horrors were hidden by the vinyl roof. And, yes, there were some horrors. The guttering on both sides was completely rotted away as was part of the roof itself. It was decision time. Restore or scrap. With the rise in values of all classics, and Escort RS’s getting rarer, plus the amount of money I already had invested in it, it just had to be restore. We are now back to the stage when I first took him the car, all the chassis and inner wings to repair. Looks like I won’t be retiring for some time as I try to keep my cars in the manner to which they have become accustomed.
My ‘summer holiday’ proved to be a little hectic. We completed the route noting for the Holland and Harz Tour making adjustments to the itinerary on the way. A new itinerary will be published as soon as I have finished this report. We did an anti clockwise* route through Holland to the Dambusters area, then the Harz Mountains, Rinteln, Wolfsburg and back through Holland to Assen and finally Amsterdam. Well, not actually finally, that was the work completed and then we trekked south to Ypres for the European Championship Rally. Several days were spent in blistering hot sun watching all the action before we then had to return to Amsterdam via Brugge and Zandvoort. We stayed in a hotel overlooking the old Grand Prix circuit and then had a day in Amsterdam before catching the ferry home and back to business.
*This was because the original clockwise route would have got us to Rinteln at the weekend and the Wolfsburg Autostadt Tours are only held on week days. So it was either change the ferry dates which would have complicated everything, or reverse the whole tour.
On the whole I must say that Holland exceeded expectations. There weren’t exactly any ‘Kirk Roads’, (although there is one little surprise which I won’t spoil now), nor was the scenery spectacular, BUT, the small towns and villages were all very attractive especially along the coast or on the inland seas. The one exception was a place I had intended to stay, but the hotel and the town itself were not very attractive, hence the detour to Assen, which co-incidentally has a famous racing circuit. (Mainly for bikes). Talking of bikes, everything you have ever heard about Holland and bikes is true – and more so. You need eyes in the back of your head and everywhere else. They take giving cyclists priority to the ultimate! That said we found plenty of quiet country roads where the cyclists have their own separate carriageways so the motoring was still enjoyable. We also sampled the ‘park and ride’ system in Amsterdam which definitely looks preferable to driving in the city.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to actually have a ride on the Brocken Railway, although we did have time to get some photographs, it all looks very interesting, if you are a rail ‘buff’. Neither did we have time to actually do a factory visit at Wolfsburg although we did visit the site and get some relevant information.
The Ypres Rally was pretty spectacular. There were modern and historic cars in separate events and the crowds were un-believable. Even on the Wednesday night for the Historic ‘Shakedown’ (one stage run as many times as the competitors liked to practice and shake down their cars), there were hundreds of spectators everywhere and the main service area was in the middle of a village with live music and stalls selling beer and bangers!
It was the same the following night in a different village for the Modern cars shakedown, except that this time the stage finished in the village square with a couple of artificial hairpin bends made from straw bales. The course was so tight that the police ‘opening car’ had to shunt to get round. Needless to say none of the rally cars shunted. Handbrake turns and power slides were the order of the day! This was again also accompanied by loud music, running loud speaker commentary, (which we didn’t understand a word of), copious supplies of beer and hot food. The village was literally taken over by the rally in mid afternoon. Local residents had to move their cars off the streets to allow the rally cars to set up their service areas. The official Peugeot and Skoda Teams took over the car park and forecourt of a local animal feed mill much to the confusion of their lorry driver who couldn’t find anywhere to park, but still took it all in good spirit! The action carried on well after dark and I suspect some of the spectators may have had sore heads the following morning (Friday! Not the weekend.)
The sad thing is I just couldn’t see anything like this happening in Kendal or Kirkby Lonsdale or anywhere else in this country (except the Isle of Mull). In the U.K. we seem to try and hide motorsport away from the public in the fear we may upset someone – every where else in the world they make it an event for everyone to enjoy. (On the flip side – I did miss most of the World Cup hype in England while I was away.)
We didn’t see too many classic cars on our trip, except on the Ypres Rally, but we did spot an unusual car in Amsterdam. It was something like a cross between a TVR and a C-Type Jag! (Answers on a postcard?).
"Another superb Scottish Tour and even after completing four of these tours with you around Scotland you still managed to find some new
"Kirk" roads! Impeccable organisation and faultless road book combined to make this a very relaxing holiday. Already looking forward to your 2015 tours." DEREK AND CHRIS
We had a really good time on the Sky High Tour, thanks for all your great organisation!
Looking forward to September (Holland and Harz).
Richard and Ann
Hello again Mike,
Thanks again for organising a really good tour of Scotland, we have to consult our diaries to remember all that we did and all the things we saw , and we saw and ate a lot!
Jan and Ann
It was a great tour Mike which we thoroughly enjoyed. The roads were particularly great, especially for someone from the south,
as was the scenery, hotels, food and company.
Many thanks for a great job.
PAUL and JANET
What more can I say!? Other than thanks to everyone who took part for making the tour an enjoyable event – even if there were a few ‘stressful’ moments – for me.
In theory I now have a month’s break until the High Roads Tour (still a couple of places available but don’t leave it too long), but in practice I will be busy recce-ing the Holland and Harz Tour – my summer holiday. We are going to visit the Ypres Rally, a round of the European Championship, on the way back, so not all work. And of course we will have to try out some of the hotels and have a test ride on the Steam Train, visit the Auostadt etc. etc , and sample the beer. The things I do for my customers!!
I am already getting enquiries about 2015 so should have some sort of draught calendar sorted in the next month or so. Ideas ‘simmering’ in the Kirk Consciousness include; a Summer Monte (through the Massif Central and the Alps to Monte Carlo roughly following some old rally routes), a Grand Tour of Yorkshire (The Wolds, Moors and Dales all in one tour), Kent to Cotswolds (via the Downs) and maybe a completely different Scottish Tour (South West to North East).
It will also be the 50th anniversary of Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club so there will no doubt be a local event as part of the celebrations.
Keep watching this space.