What a brilliant start to the 2016 motoring year.
We experienced all the seasons, enjoyed fantastic scenery and the company of a good group of like minded people.
Thank you for organising it so well.
We look forward to meeting up again for the Ireland Tour.
Best wishes Ruth and Ray
Once again another superb tour, excellent hotels and food, the route planning and road book were imaginative and without fault. The hard work you put into your tours cannot be over estimated! Chris and I look forward to seeing you and friends in Scotland. Best regards Chris & Derek Tucker.
I think I can say the COTSWOLD AND CYMRU TOUR was a success.
The weather was a bit ‘iffy’ at times but the visibility was generally good and the Welsh scenery looked its best at all times. The quiet smooth flowing roads were also very popular and the Lake Vrynwy Hotel made an excellent base. Look out for “DALES AND WALES” in 2017!
If the tour was a success, the repairs to the Alpine weren’t quite so successful!
The fuelling problem experienced in France
last year occurred again on more than one occasion. The general consensus of opinion is dirt in the system?? I am seriously considering buying another car – not that I would ever part with the Alpine – but it is covered up in the garage at the moment while I reboot my enthusiasm for it!!
STOP PRESS – EXTRA EVENT
I have just been out ‘topless’ for the first time this year and the sunshine has inspired me to organise an extra event! I had been thinking of a ‘Drive it Day’ tour, but as there are so many around the country I thought it may not be worthwhile, especially with the state of our local roads. However it was brought to my attention
that I did a ‘Barbon and Borders Tour’ acouple of years ago in connection with Barbon Hillclimb, so as I am free for the Barbon weekend this year, I thought, ‘Why not?’
For those unfamiliar with Barbon – or hill climbs, Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club and Liverpool Motor Club run two speed hill climbs every year, at Barbon Manor just outside Kirkby Lonsdale. The course is up the short (1/2 mile) but very picturesque manor drive through scenic parkland overlooking the LuneValley. It makes a good day out for everyone, petrol heads or not. All sorts of cars compete from single seater racers to historic racing cars and rally cars.
The hillclimb is run on Saturday June 11th so the plan would be; visit the hill climb and display our cars on Saturday and then do a tour on Sunday. (Displaying your car gets you a free entry to Barbon – otherwise £8 per person!)
THE BARBON AND BOWLAND TOUR
Cars will meet on Saturday at Barbon as above. Accommodation can be arranged for non-locals and then a 120 mile tour will start from the Crooklands Hotel on Sunday morning. The route will go south through the LuneValley and on to the Trough of Bowland. A small scenic loop will then take us to the Wild Boar centre for coffee.
From here the route would take in Longridge Fell with views over the Fylde and RibbleValley, before climbing back over the fells to Slaidburn and north again through GisburnForest. Lunch will be at the Watershed Mill in Settle.
A slightly shorter afternoon run takes us up to Ribblehead Viaduct, then on to Denthead, down Dentdale and over Barbondale, passing the hill climb course on our way back to Kirkby Lonsdale. A short run through some familiar back lanes will then bring us back to the Crooklands.
Entry Fees ; £30 PER CAR (2 PEOPLE) to include; coffee at start, souvenir medal and rally plate AND Entry to BARBON HILLCLIMB on Saturday provided the participating car is displayed at the venue.
ACCOMMODATION ; Contact organisers. MIKE KIRK 01539 728832
CROOKLANDS; FROM £90.00 B+B
HEAVES HOTEL £85 B+B
MARCH ’16 (Just!)
The sun has come out – for a while at least, and some of the bridges and roads in the Lakes have been re-opened at last. (In time for the Easter holiday, and some are only temporary repairs, but it is progress of sorts.)
Having taken part in several tours organised by other people recently I am pleased to say that everyone makes mistakes!! No further comment would be appropriate.
The Alpine performed faultlessly and even completed a couple of days recce after the RACE RETRO show and tour. A subsequent recce trip in Wales with the Golf was also very successful but our decision to return home via the M6 wasn’t quite so successful.
Three hours in a queue near Stoke rather spoilt the trip and meant we missed our afternoon pint at the local! I still haven’t decided on a new road car but almost bought another rally car – fully prepared having already done a run to Rome. The vivid green clashed a little with the Alpine and a missing front wheel rather put me off.
The Escort has made a little progress. All the welding is done and it is being prepared for painting but it is still some way off being on the road.
I am pleased to say all tours are filling up. There may still be one place left for the Mountains and Glens of Ireland and there is still room on the JEC Irish Tour May 21-29, any car will now be accepted. There are still a couple of places available on the High Roads Tour but I would need to know soon as the hotels are getting booked up – similarly with Scotland.
The trip to RACE RETRO with my old friend, Mr Capstick, might have paved the way to an interesting tour next year. We may be doing an “intense recce” in early 2017 in an area we have never been to. The Alpine tour is still a strong possibility but may be postponed to 2018 – then I might retire in 2019, just 20 years since my last retirement!
Apologies to regular readers for lack of a ‘blog’ for some time. This has been due to the terrible weather and the consequent problems with local roads meaning I haven’t been out and about much recently. So, there hasn’t been much to report. I am pleased to say we have just had a few nice days so I have commenced my route noting for this years tours.
Ireland seems to have caught the imagination this year and bookings are already in double figures. There is currently only one place left on the Mountains and Glens Tour, but there are still quite a few places left on the JEC Ireland Tour, May 21-29th. It was intended to be Jaguars only but as the other tour is virtually full, we will open this one to anyone interested, although Jaguars will get first preference.
There are still places available on the first tour of the year, Cotswolds and Cymru (don’t forget you can just enter the first day if you wish) and the tours later in the year are slowly getting booked up. As the Scottish Tour is quite long this year and I know many people have done a lot of the route before, I have decided to give people the option to do either the first half only, or just the second half. Of course you can still enter the whole event.
With all the bad weather and roads closed around the area I have had plenty of time to think of warmer climes and start looking ahead to 2017. The 2016 calendar is deliberately a little more ‘conservative’, as last year was a bit too busy for comfort. So with the success of the Summer Monte Tour I am looking at something similar for next year. I mentioned earlier a possible ‘Alpine Alpine’ tour (2017 being my Alpine’s 50th birthday) and I have since looked into the idea in more detail. It would use some of the best bits of 2015 but instead of going all the way to Monte Carlo we would double back through some of the high Alpine passes. I won’t go into more detail at this time as it is not unknown for competitors to poach ideas!
The ‘DRIVE IT DAY’ TOUR (Tour of 97), April 25th. Is on hold for the time being. This is because the route was to be entirely on the O.S. Sheet 97, which is unfortunately the area badly hit by the Cumbrian floods, so it is difficult to plan a route at the moment. Some roads are likely to be closed well into the summer. It is actually the bridges which are causing the problem – health and safety gone a little over zealous maybe. I do have a ‘cunning plan’ however, utilising a route mainly on major (but quiet) roads which I have checked out already – but I am not sure if this will appeal to the lovers of ‘Kirk Roads’? It might be “THE 100 MILE TRIAL” (115 actually), using roads from Kendal to Brough, then into the Pennines with a lunch stop at High Force, and a return run over Hartside Pass and Shap Fell. All very good driving roads and a very easy route to follow – any takers? To make it worthwhile travelling up to Cumbria, there may be a Yorkshire Tour on the Saturday as well – a quick ride around the other day proved that the roads aren’t as badly affected over there.
The current problems shouldn’t affect the Lakes Autumn Tour as hopefully most roads will be open by then, but if not there is plenty of time to devise a route around any them.
The Alpine has just had its pre-season check over and a new electric fuel pump has hopefully cured the fuelling problems I experienced at the end of last year. (In France I put it down to vapourisation in the hot weather, but when the same problem occurred in Cumbria in October I decided that it was something else!). The car now seems to be going better than ever. Not much more news on the RS though, I had hoped it might be seen out on a tour later this year – I am not holding my breath! I still haven’t bought a new road/recce car, the old ‘oil burner’ Golf had a major service and seems to be working as efficiently as ever, so while I fancy something a little more exciting I have no need to rush the decision of what to get. A VW Scirocco is high on the list as it combines a bit of style with performance and practicality – but a Porsche Boxster or Cayman is also on the list purely for fun (and I have always wanted a Porsche) but maybe not so practical ---- until I retire!?
The Alpine’s first trip out will be at RACE RETRO at StonelieghPark at the end of the month. No, I am not having a stand, but will be taking part in the HERO RETRO TOUR on Saturday (just to see how the ‘professionals’ do it!?), then I will be visiting the show on Sunday, so I will give you a wave if I see you there. Afterwards I am staying on for a day, route noting in the Cotswolds. Two weeks later I will be taking part in a local club’s ‘MINI MIGLIA TOUR’ around ‘my own patch’ just for a bit of fun before my season starts for real, so there should be plenty to report next month.
Looking further ahead ----- I am working on plans for something special for 2018, which may involve a serious recce trip early in ’17. More news on that later, suffice to say I am still not retiring – yet, but I may put all my efforts into one or two major events rather than a full programme……………..
P.S. I am aware that the colours on the photographs on the website have gone a little ‘strange’ and we hope to rectify that at some point.
Compliments, hot off the press!
We wish you a merry Christmas and healty and succesfull motoring 2016!
We will look to the tours you organise next year and let you know (January) the ones we will join you.
P.S. Just to let you know the Monte tour was superb (organisation,hotels, roads,views, company and price!), (don' t misunderstand me, your other tours are always from the same high level, once have to go touring with another company to compare!)
Vivienne and Hugo
EXTRA FLOOD BLOG!
Thank you to all who expressed concern about my well being during the recent Cumbrian floods. I am relieved to say that I live on high ground well above Kendal – and the local pub is even higher! So no problems!
I hope to get my 2016 brochures in the post next week whatever the weather, but bookings have already started to trickle in. No event looks favourite so far, they all have equal interest, and there may be a challenge for the most tours in one year, as someone has booked 4 already with a provisional booking for the 5th
The JEC IRISH TOUR in May is not an ‘official’ National JEC event, BUT it is being organised on behalf of the JEC NORTH LINCS Group. Members of other JEC groups and Jaguar owners in general are quite welcome to join the tour however.
The HIGH ROADS TOUR has been moved forward a day i.e. it now starts with dinner on SATURDAY night, May 30th, with the actual tour starting on Sunday. Everything else is as planned just a day earlier. There will be the option to start on Sunday without the overnight stay at the Haycock – at a suitably reduced price.
PS – The sun has come out!
We have had to make a change to the HIGH ROADS (August 1-7th) itinerary. The LANGLEY CASTLE HOTEL is fully booked with a wedding on Thursday 4th August, therefore I have brought the whole tour forward a day. We will now start at the HAYCOCK HOTEL on SATURDAY night July 30th and finish with 2 nights at Langley on Tuesday/Wednesday. Everything else is as advertised, just a day earlier.
(There is an added benefit - the Great Central Railway doesn't run on Mondays - we will now be there on Sunday!)"
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER NEWS UPDATE
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
TO ALL CUSTOMERS/FRIENDS – AND FUTURE CUSTOMER
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;
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.
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;
TOUR DATES 2016
APRIL 3-8th COTSWOLDS AND CYMRU
1 day in Cotswolds, 1 Welsh Borders, 3 , Central Wales.
Gaydon Heritage Centre, BlenheimPalace, SevernValley Railway, Long Mynd, Lake Vyrnwy, Snowdonia.
APRIL 24th DRIVE IT DAY – TOUR OF 97
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.
JULY 3-10th MOUNTAINS AND GLENS OF IRELAND
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.
AUGUST 1 -7th HIGH ROADS TOUR
Start Peterborough, Rutland Water, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, Northumberland and Hadrian’s Wall
SEPTEMBER 12-20th SCOTTISH TOUR
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.
OCTOBER 13-16th AUTUMN LAKES
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.