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The Autumn Tour was a very successful way to end the season and gave me the incentive to make plans for 2020! The weather was remarkably kind to us on the first two days with the Lake District Scenery looking its stunning best on Tuesday and the Dales bathed in sunshine on Wednesday. Thursday was OK but the rain came in on Friday.


However, the low cloud wasn’t actually down to road level so although it did obliterate the views of Pen-y-ghent it made some of the other views more dramatic. The Crooklands and Gibbon Bridge both provided excellent accommodation and food and we had a little extra ‘treat’ with tea and scones (with lemon curd!) on arrival at Gibbon Bridge.


Although we went around Pendle Hill which is famous for its witches, and was looking rather sinister blanketed in cloud, it was actually at Muncaster Castle where the witches were more evident!


The only annoying part of the tour was ironically rather like the Alps Tour – “Route Baree”! One minor road was closed on Wednesday but the big disruption to the route was the closure of the full length of the Trough of Bowland. What made it more annoying was that it wasn’t actually closed. Those of us who ignored the signs and carried on, found there was just one man and a mini-digger cleaning out the ditches and his companion waved us through. This was particularly galling to those who followed the diversion signs and ended up doing a 40 mile detour across the M6 and back, because another road was closed on the direct route to Chipping and the hotel. Unbelievable! Fortunately it didn’t seem to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the event and ‘The Last Supper’ was held in a good ‘end of term’ atmosphere.


I didn’t get many photos though as I never seemed to be in the right place at the right time. The Porsche performed faultlessly but now may be put away for the winter, although we seem to be having a bit of an ‘Indian Summer’ up here in Cumbria so I may do a little advanced recce-ing in the next couple of days.

Once again, thanks for some stunning routes - probably the best Autumn tour of the many we have been on with you.  The colours of the bracken going over the moors was amazing and we had 2 or 3 good days of open-top motoring before the rain set in, which is more that we could hope for at this time of year.

Thanks for another great year of motoring, here’s to many more.

 All best wishes

 Helen & Brian Anderton

Hi Mike

Just to let you know how much we enjoyed this years Autumn, Lakes and dales Tour. The scenery at this time of year was stunning- shown off to it’s full advantage by your expert route planning and the good weather.

The hotels, as always, were excellent as was the company.

We look forward to more of the same next year.

Have a bit of a rest and best wishes for Christmas and 2020.



Martin and Carol


Plans for 2020 are going ahead as per the proposed calendar in the last ‘blog’.

Brochures and confirmation of dates and prices should be sent out before Christmas.








PHEW! It has been a hectic few weeks! The ALPINE Tour was an epic in many ways and then it was straight back to organising The Autumn Tours.

In general the Alps Tour went very well after a few ‘teething problems’. The weather was very good in the main, only a couple of cloudy mornings and the top was down most of the time. The rendezvous at Portsmouth worked well and got things off to a good start, but unfortunately we lost one car before we reached the first hotel. The Roseby brothers Alpine stopped with only 20 miles to go with the splines stripped on one rear wire wheel. Unfortunately despite the best efforts of the crew and several others who stopped to help, the wheel wouldn’t come off altogether. We managed to organise some help from a nearby garage but the boys eventually had to admit defeat and resort to a hire car for the next few days. This resulted in them having to cut short their holiday to supervise the recovery of the Alpine. A great shame but they enjoyed what they did and made it home safely.

The route and all the main features more than lived up to expectations. The Millau viaduct was bathed in sunshine as was the following Gorge de Tarn. The Gorge du Verdun, the following day was covered in cloud and there were some heavy showers, but as it was a short day there was time for a coffee while the cloud cleared and most people saw this amazing spectacle in clear weather.

Similarly the Col de Bonnette was shrouded in cloud as we approached the summit, but those who braved the top loop were rewarded with clear views on the other side. The descent was made more interesting when we met a classic rally going in the opposite direction, dozens of MG’s Alpines, Tigers, Alfas etc, etc were obviously tackling the climb competitively. Later we ‘ran into’ a sort of off road 2CV rally. It all happens on a CCT(MK) Tour. 

Those who stayed on for the visit to the Mulhouse Museums were treated to a little surprise. The hotel was in the small town of Eguisheim, which turned out to be a ‘fairy tale’ type of place with mediaeval houses and lots of curious little alleyways – and it just happened to be ‘harvest festival’ when we arrived (the wine harvest) so there was a party atmosphere in the town.


One problem which we did have was that we managed to drink the bar dry of beer in more than one hotel. It was the end of season in some places and they obviously weren’t prepared for the English thirsts. No doubt they expected to have a last minute rush on wine sales. Many of the roadside cafes were also closed. The other ‘down side’ of the whole tour was the painful speed limits the French have now introduced, along with speed cameras in rural areas. 80k, or 50 mph, is the standard limit everywhere. Such a waste of beautiful driving roads, but still a great experience.


Another problem was the dreaded “Route Baree”, an organiser’s worst nightmare. In most cases they didn’t cause too much of a problem but it did cause one big disappointment (for me at least!), we couldn’t use the single track Tunnel des Ecouges, although the diversion did take us through quite a dramatic gorge.

The hotels varied from quirky to quite grand, and the fixed menus were an adventure in themselves, but all added to the experience. The Champagne reception at the final hotel went down well – literally!

I did come away with one resolution though – never to do such a long event again! Dealing with 12 different hotels was hard work.


Once home I barely had time to lie down in a darkened room as there were only 2 ½ weeks to the Autumn Tour, and I had several parts of the route to recce, and everything to type up. It was made worthwhile though as I received a few late entries to bring the numbers up to double figures.

I used the Boxster for the Alps trip (it was the main reason I bought it!) and I have to say it ran faultlessly and was a real pleasure to drive. Even 50 mph up some of those passes is quite enjoyable. I was planning to give the Escort a run out on at least part of the Autumn Tour but I have just realised the tax and M.O.T. have run out and I don’t really have time to do anything about it now – oh dear, I will have to use the Porsche again.








Many people have been pressing me for details
of next year’s calendar. I keep telling them I am
retiring, but to no avail, so I suppose I will
have to do something?

The rough plan at the moment is something like this;





Start Stratford then 3 nights near Ludlow


MAY 17th 21st      WOLDS – WINDERMERE

Start near Hull, The Yorkshire Wolds/Moors/Dales, 2 nights near Whitby (possibly a day on the North Yorks Moors Railway) finishing with 2 nights at Crooklands and a day in the Lakes.


JUNE      I am competing on the HERO Classic Marathon.



Start/finish Crooklands  2 nights at Langley Castle, Lakes Borders and Pennines.

Option to stay on for;


Half day in South Lakeland finishing at the Car’s the Star Show at Holker Hall



Brugges, Luxembourg, Eiffel Mountains, Belgium. 6 nights ex. Ferry.



2 Nights at The Station Inn.



A reverse run of the 2019 Autumn Tours but with perhaps one completely different day. 2 nights at Gibbon Bridge 2 nights at Crooklands.




I have just returned from a somewhat demanding final recce for the ALPS TOUR. A case of the ‘best laid plans etc.’ Fantastic roads, incredible scenery but a series of unforeseen problems with venues closing down or being moved and road numbers and sign posts changed meaning that previous road books had to be redone causing a lot of extra work. This was all in 30plus degrees, wonderful for sitting by a pool all day but not ideal for sitting in a car all day. I am ashamed to admit it I got quite a taste for the fizzy foreign lager that I wouldn’t touch with the proverbial ‘barge poll’ in England. All the problems eventually got solved and the route proved as spectacular as I had hoped. It will be an ‘epic’ tour, but if anyone really doesn’t like heights – er, wrong tour!!

We did the trip in the old reliable ‘workhorse’, the Scirocco, which never missed a beat and averaged well over 50mpg. I took the Boxster for a run on a local motor club tour the following weekend and that didn’t quite manage the same economy – but it is fun. The novelty hasn’t worn off yet. I have even started both the Escort and the Alpine recently, but just can’t find time to drive them. I doubt if I can fit in a competitive rally in the Escort this year although I may take it out on at least one day of the Little Devils Tour. The Alpine is entered in a major foreign event next year so will have to pay a visit to the garage over the winter for another overhaul.

The Little Devils is filling up nicely with quite a few local ex-rally crews taking part. The Autumn Tour isn’t filling quite so quickly and there are plenty of places left at the moment, but with over 2 months to go things could change very quickly.

i.e. if you are thinking about it, don’t wait too long! 


I never got time to finish last month’s blog so I might as well get an early September one in.

The Little Devils Tour went really well and my local pub, The Station Inn did us proud, everyone was impressed with the food and general atmosphere. The weather on Sunday was ideal for the run round the Northern Dales. Although there were a few very big showers the visibility was superb. The same couldn’t be said of Monday. Thick fog hid the views from Kirkstone Pass, the middle part of the route around the north lakes and Eden Valley was not too bad, but the run in to home which should have provided some spectacular views was blighted with torrential rain. Nevertheless the route was still appreciated by all.

(Hi Mike. 

Just to thank you for a great day, thought I new the roads round Cumbria but you still managed to take us on a lot of roads we hadn’t been  on before. Hope to get on some more runs in the future, see you soon. 

Regards Alan. )

The success of the Little Devils Tour, and the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed myself over the weekend (not necessarily because I go to spend a lot of time in my local), I think I may put more emphasis on this type of event next year. The Alps Tour has been a bit of a nightmare to organise and was making retirement look more and more attractive, but last weekend renewed my enthusiasm for the job.

I don’t intend to put out a 2019 calendar yet because we don’t know how ‘brexit’ is going to affect foreign travel, but I think there will definitely be fewer long events. For instance I am thinking of giving Scotland a rest and the proposed Donegal event may be postponed. The Belgian/Eiffel Tour looks possible as my friend and good customer, Hugo, has done some research for me already!

I will see how I feel after the Alps.






May/June Blog

I haven’t had time for a ‘Blog’ recently. The combined Scottish and Northumberland Tours meant about 14 days on the road solidly, then there was a week recce-ing Wolds-Wales and then a week in Ireland recce-ing a possible event for 2020  -and spectating on the Donegal International rally. In amongst all this I have been organising an over-lapping tour of Scotland for the Ferrari club of Luxembourg, partly for the week we are in Wales. Retirement—I wish!!

Scotland and Northumberland were blighted with bad weather although there were some good days and in general the scenery in Scotland is spectacular whatever the weather. It was just unfortunate that the last day of the Northumberland Tour was in thick mist. My planned ‘grand finale’ over Hartside and Kirkstone Passes was a great disappointment as you could hardly see the car in front. A sumptuous lunch at Langley Castle was some consolation. Let us hope the current sunshine lasts over the next couple of weeks, although I don’t mind if it is slightly cooler. I haven’t taken the Boxster out for a week or two – it has either been too wet or too hot, the old faithful workhorse, the Scirocco did us proud in Ireland and Wales.

We found some fabulous roads in Ireland and some surprising spectacular views which I hadn’t expected, even though I have visited the area before. The north west coast is stunning in sunny weather, white sands and turquoise seas and we found a fabulous hotel right on the beach. Dublin to Donegal a definite for 2020, possibly in May.

Other thoughts for next year is that I may modify the coast to coast event, Whitby to Whitehaven, as Whitby is a long way north for most of my customers, and to be honest Whitehaven is not the prettiest part of the Lake District to finish with. Instead I am looking at something similar but starting further south – Wolds to Westmoreland. The Yorkshire Wolds and through the Dales into Westmoreland – the old name for my ‘Neck of the Woods’.

The Eiffel and Ardennes is still on the cards but may need a bit more research. It might just need a recce trip to the Eiffel Rally.

There may be a large gap in the calendar in mid 2020 as I have entered another major classic rally in  

Spain and Portugal. (Something for 2021………?)

No more news on this years Alps trip. When everything has settled down I hope to get out there for a final recce.


I have just spent the day at Barbon Hillclimb. Beautiful sunshine all day, a 100 car entry, and crowds of spectators –typical, after all the bad weather we have had when I have incorporated it in a tour!

One thing I noticed in both Donegal and Barbon, is that while both attracted huge crowds of spectators, there were a large proportion of them who didn’t seem actually interested in the event. I couldn’t believe how many youngsters (under 40!) spent more time on their phones than actually watching the action, and in very many cases they spent the day with their backs to the track talking to their mates.

In Ireland the spectating was free, so I could see that many people would just be having afamily day out making the best of the occasion, but at Barbon you had to pay to get in. I’m obviously getting old. OK, OK so I am old!


April/May Blog

Well I finally bought that birthday present for myself. It is bright red and a sportscar, but no, I couldn’t quite manage the Dino. In the end I opted for a Boxster mainly because I fancied a convertible for the Alps, and I just happened to find a low mileage one in vivid red. I won’t say that I like it ---- but I have done 2,000 miles in barely two weeks. I perhaps rashly took it on the Downs to Downs Tour the day after I bought it and then had a few days finishing the route notes for Nothumberland. I have got to say that driving the quiet Northumberland roads in a red sports car with the top down in glorious weather was just “living the dream”!

The Downs to Downs Tour wasn’t quite as idyllic, the first two days were rather wet and on Tuesday in particular there was just one big shower – from morning until night. I am always being told it only rains in the North! Well, I now beg to differ! Wednesday was better for the crossing to the Isle of Wight and then Thursday was perfect, showing the Island off at its best. In those conditions I think everyone would have been happy to stay another day and there is certainly plenty to see, but the roads were incredibly busy in places. In contrast some of the Surrey and Hampshire backwaters were relatively quiet but unfortunately the weather didn’t allow us to appreciate the pleasant if very wooded countryside. 

At one point on the Isle of Wight we stopped at a view point to admire the view not only of the coast but also an interesting sports car. It was a Healey 3000 replica with a 5 litre Chevy V8 and was there to star in a Bollywood film --- you see everything on a CCT(MK) tour. 

Since getting home I have taken the Escort out on the MINTEX YORKSHIRE RALLY TOUR. An interesting event based on the old MINTEX rally but totally non-competitive. That is, there was no timing but there were some spectacularly good special stages where you could go as fast as you liked without all the hassle of competition licences, crash helmets, overalls etc. It was upto you – need I say more.

After weeks of aggrevation with the car and not getting it running until the afternoon we were setting off to York, the little …….. ran perfectly, and once we had navigated our way through the centre of Leeds and Bradford on a Saturday morning, we had great fun.  

The event was designed as a sort of show case/demonstration event for cars and crews of 70-80’s rallying. At one point we were in a queue of cars which represented the entire rally scene of this period, with a Chevette, Lotus Sunbeam, TR8, Renault Alpine, and of course Mk1 and 2 Escorts. It was good to see a vast variety of cars, with only a few Escorts but all sorts of rarities such as a Stratos, 2 Ferrari 250SWB replicas, Renault 5 turbos, Hillman Hunters and Avengers and a Safari Spec Beetle. There were also celebrity drivers, some actually driving, others just there for the after dinner speeches. Drivers included Billy Coleman (Philliskirk Mk2 Escort), Cahal Curley (Beetle), Louise Aitken Walker (Toyota Corolla), Robin Eyre-Maunsell (Toyota Celica) and these joined Russell Brookes and Peter Scott for the after dinner entertainment.

It was an enjoyable if somewhat expensive weekend although with all those famous names to pay expenses for and venues such as Harewood Hillclimb and Bramham Park, it was easy to see where the money went, but the organisation did leave a little to be desired. If it had been a competitive event it could have been a shambles with queues and delays and sometimes a lack of information – but there again as an organiser myself I am probably being a little ‘picky’. Just watch this space for details of a “Devils Own Rally Retro” in 2020. I can’t promise famous stages or famous competitors, but I think I can promise a better route.




February Blog


I didn’t want to make an ‘Ass’ of myself driving in the recent snow and ice, so went for a long walk instead.

Nothing much to report this month with the weather so bad, however things should start to move soon. I am visiting Race Retro on Sunday 24th  so if anyone is about I may bump into you. From Stoneleigh I am then going on to recce the Downs to Downs route and maybe some other little diversions on the way home.

The only news on other events is that I have decided to swap the two days around on THE LITTLE DEVILS TOUR in August. This is because we usually get a handful of entries from local car clubs for the Sunday run, and these tend to include some ex-rally drivers who remember the original Devils Own Rallies. Therefore I thought the proposed Monday run was more suitable for them, and the proposed Sunday route was more of a scenic tour, plus it was very similar to last years Sunday route. The actual content of both days is still basically the same as advertised, just swapped round. The Station Inn is now fully booked so future entries will be accommodated at the B+B down the road, so if you are thinking about entering please let me know A.S.A.P. before the B+B gets booked up!

Everything else is proceeding as planned but I do have some spaces available for Scotland and Northumberland. I have no more news about the Alps tour – I am waiting for Brexit like everyone else! All the hotels have been provisionally booked but some seem to want to beat Brexit and are asking for sizeable deposits. I am stalling them at the moment but we will soon reach a point where I will have to ask for a further instalment of the entry fee if I have to pay these deposits.

During the dark nights my mind has wandered to 2020 and while I do intend to slow down a little, the following are in mind;

COAST TO COAST  - Yorkshire Moors to Lake District. (Whitby – Whitehaven)

DUBLIN – DONEGAL via the Glens of Leitrim. (North West Ireland)

THE EIFFEL TOUR – No not Paris – The Eiffel Mountains in Germany (plus the Ardennes in Belgium)   EU permitting!

LITTLE DEVILS DE JA VUE – A complete re-run of the 2018 Devils Own Classic – without the timing, the tests and the forests – a surprisingly scenic route even though most of it was originally run in the dark. (South Lakes).

There will probably be something else but I don’t know what yet. Maybe Shropshire and Welsh Borders? Or a re-run of one of the original HIGH ROADS TOURS.

As for the ‘fleet’; the Alpine still hasn’t seen the light of day yet, and the Escort is currently having a check over with a view to doing a competitive event next month. Also during the dark winter evenings my mind has wandered to the Alps Tour and the thought of doing it in something a little more appropriate than the Scirocco…….. no not the Alpine. Been there and done that!

I may buy myself a belated birthday present?

Well, I can dream can’t I ? (the top one is probably a fantasy rather than a dream, but the bottom one, hmmmm?)


The first load of old bull for 2019 

Thank you to the surprising number of you who sent me Birthday cards - I’ve never had so many! I was also amazed that so many of you were surprised I was 70, although I did suspect there was perhaps a ‘tongue in cheek’ element to some of the remarks. All I can say, it isn’t due to an easy paper round, but perhaps 30 years as a Civil Servant wasn’t too taxing - or it may be that alcohol is just a good pickling agent. Suffice to say I haven’t retired yet.

I did say to people on the ‘Stuff the Turkey’ treasure hunt that it might be my last as I was planning to retire when I was 71. Unfortunately someone spotted the flaw in that. As the ‘Turkey’ is usually the day before my birthday I will still only be 70 next year! Dash! Or words to that effect.

As for the treasure hunt itself, it was reasonably successful with 14 starters. This year I used a new format where instead of giving everyone a set route, I merely gave them all a map with the rough location of the clues marked on it. As you would expect though it wasn’t quite as simple as that, as there wasn’t an obvious route around the clues in any particular order, so it was down to the individuals to devise the best/shortest/most practical route. This didn’t totally phase the normally ‘fancied’ crews but some of the less experienced ones were completely lost from the word go. This wasn’t my intention but I had to make it hard enough to get a result. Somebody once got a full score. However one crew retired after only getting 3 clues after going through the same village 4 times – you might wonder why they didn’t try somewhere else!? And 2 crews arrived at the finish before I had had my lunch, but had only got 7 out of the 47 points available. I was actually quite relieved when the winners arrived back well before the deadline and scored 44 out of the 47. This vindicated my plan as no one could then say it was too difficult. In fact previous winners came 2nd and 3rd with 40 and 35 points respectively.

On a slightly less encouraging note, I now have several more places available on the Scottish Tour, as several promised bookings have not materialised – so if you are thinking about it, please let me know before I have to cancel the hotel rooms – which will be sooner rather than later.

The ALPS Tour still looks healthy although I could possibly take another 1 or 2 but again I will have to start finalising hotels soon. It is impossible at this stage to know how, or if, the dreaded Brexit is going to affect things.  As things stand there should be no major problems unless there is a dramatic drop in the exchange rate after March 31st.

There are still a few places on most of the other tours.

The weather has been so grey* recently and the days so short I haven’t been out and about much and the cars haven’t come out of the garage. The poor Alpine hasn’t been started for months, so that is my New Year’s resolution, get it going on the first nice day of 2019. I have started the Escort regularly – just because it sounds great in the garage. Once a boy racer etc. – did I really just turn 70?





New Year’s Day was nice and sunny! See above.

Some views you will see on the Little Devils and/or Autumn Tours


 Merry Christmas

To all CCT(MK) customers and friends, past, present and future.


As I have mentioned before we are becoming more like a club with a ‘hard core’ of regular customers who I like to think have become firm friends – with each other as well as me! Several people have commented on “what a nice group of people you get on your tours”………………hmmm. The enclosed brochures are almost surplus to requirements I am amazed to say! Half the events on the calendar are very nearly full already.

 There are 12 couples confirmed for the Alps in September. I could take a couple more but you will have to be quick! Similarly there are 12 provisionally booked for Scotland with 5 more just for Northumberland. As ever it is hotel availability which is the governing factor on numbers. I also have ten provisional for Wolds to Wales, and currently have ten rooms booked at the final hotel Chateau Rhianfa, so I will need to know if there are any more likely takers for this tour.

PLEASE NOTE – THE WOLDS-WALES TOUR is July 8th to 13th  The tour starts on Monday night (8th) and finishes on Saturday night (13th), both nights included.

The Little Devils Tour will just be 2 days based at the Station Inn again but we won’t be visiting the hillclimb at Barbon.

For those who live near enough, or fancy a night in the Lakes, there will be the ‘Stuff the Turkey’ treasure hunt on Friday 28th December. (The day before my 70th birthday!!).  A 30 mile scenic run around south Cumbria with some cryptic clues to answer as you go. A chance to get the ‘little grey cells’ working again after the inertia of Christmas. This is based at my local pub and I may be able to organise accommodation for anyone interested.

Full details for most tours are now on the ‘itineraries page’.

I am already thinking about 2020 – so no retirement yet. Belgium, (the Ardennes), and Germany, (the Eiffel mountains) and Ireland, (Donegal) are the subjects for my winter researching this time. After that I might just take some time to tick off items on my own ‘bucket list’. I think there is still some serious rallying to be done!









ENTRY FEE  £15 per car

includes coffee and mince pies.









07795204533  BEFORE WEDNESDAY 26TH.    

e.mail – mikekirkrallying@aol.com



1.1 The STUFF THE TURKEY is a non-competitive  "Touring Assembly"/Treasure Hunt for all road going 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 Friday, December 28th, 2018.

1.4   The event will be run under a ‘Waiver of Permit’ issued by Motorsport UK.

Entrants need not be members of any recognised motor club, nor have a Competition Licence. Drivers must hold 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 at the HEVERSHAM HOTEL 97/495834 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 There will be no designated route but entrants must find and answer cryptic clues, the location of which will be shown on a marked map issued at the start.


3.1 Entries will be accepted on the day upto 12.30 pm, 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 £15 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 The start will be from 11.30 to 12.30. After 12.30 I will be on my way back to the Station so late entries cannot be accepted this time. The finish will be when you get there but clue sheets will not be marked after 5pm.

4.2 Cars may leave the The Heversham Hotel any time from 11.30 am, subject to paying entry fee and obtaining route information.


5.1 Clerk of the Course;   MIKE KIRK,      01539 728832

     Secretary of the Meeting; MIKE KIRK

      Results; MIKE KIRK   (see below)


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


7.1 There will be awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall, based on the highest scores (see 6.1 above!)

7.2 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.








I haven’t had time to do a ‘blog’ recently, it has been all go from the Scottish tour onwards. The Autumn Tour followed very quickly and then immediately after, I took part in my local serious rally, i.e. seriously competitive. I am pleased to say that all events went well and I am now getting my breath back – just in time to start preparing things for next year. (Retirement is still on hold! – for now).




Both the Scottish Tour and the Autumn Tours were blessed with remarkably good weather and the Autumn colours were spectacular, although I don’t seem to have managed to get many good photos. Obviously it wouldn’t be Scotland without some rain and it just seemed to come when we were crossing to the islands, but once we were there it was just typical Scottish weather – if it is not good just wait half an hour and it will change. 



Bowland and the Dales provided even better weather with just a little morning mist to spoil some of the views but most days ended in sunshine. The Gibbon Bridge hotel proved a real ‘hit’ with all the participants and it will have to be included in something next year. The landlady even owned a very nice Derby Bentley. The 2019 Autumn Tour has been advertised as 4 days at the Crooklands but I am already thinking of a new plan to have one or two nights at Gibbon Bridge – watch this space.

Other plans are also moving on, I have already booked Coul House for next year’s Scottish Tour and am now busy fitting the rest of the itinerary around that. I am also looking to add an event to the calendar as ‘The Little Devils Tour’ based at my local pub worked very well last year, so I think we will do something similar, however after several years of bad weather and then one of too good weather, I think we will abandon the visit to Barbon Hillclimb. Therefore I need to find a suitable date and some additional routes. As a consequence of all this 2019 brochures have not been designed, let alone printed, yet. It almost seems un-necessary to produce a brochure as I have 15 provisional entries for both the Scottish and Alps Tours already, and 8 for both Downs to Downs and Wolds to Wales. I will eventually send out brochures, hopefully before Christmas, with confirmed dates and prices.

As for my venture in to ‘big time’ historic rallying (Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club’s Devils Own Rally, a round of the Historic Rally Car Register national championship) I could fill a whole other ‘blog’.

Suffice to say, despite wondering if I was still up to tackling a major national event, with a night section, including famous forest roads as well as lots of little by-ways with fords, floods and generally rough surfaces, (Kirk PLUS roads!) I thoroughly enjoyed it and was still buzzing for days after.

My friends are now completely bored with the subject so I won’t bore you any more. But it was good! I was particularly pleased that even with less than perfect lights on the Escort (we weren’t allowed extra spotlights), my old eyes coped remarkably well and we came away with a modest, but generally satisfying, 17th overall out of 65 starters, and 3rd in class. It took 3 washes to get the exterior of the car clean again and I am still working on the less accessible parts! But it was good!!











We have just returned from our final route noting trip to Scotland for the forthcoming WEST COAST 250. Most things went as planned but I have had to revise the itinerary a little as far as visiting the Isle of Mull is concerned. The original plan was to reach Mull via the Ardnamurchan peninsula and the Kilchoan ferry. I had gambled that the ferry would be bigger than it was the last time I used it, nearly 20 years ago. In fact it was bigger this time, whereas before it only took 9 cars – it now takes 12! As there are 18 cars on the tour this would prove a problem. If there were any number of other cars using the ferry we wouldn’t necessarily get all our group across on two ferries – and there are really only three we could hope to get to in time. Therefore rather than risk somebody being stranded, and putting everyone under pressure, I have re-routed by the Lochaline-Fishnish ferry – which not only takes 36 cars at a time, but is also much more frequent. The re-route isn’t much longer than the original but it means a 16 mile drive up the island once across the ferry. The same logistical problem applies to the return crossing, but anyone who wishes to make an early start will have the option of using the Kilchoan ferry, the rest can return via Lochaline. Neither ferry is bookable in advance and the two routes meet up conveniently before the little Corran ferry.

One thing I noticed on our visit is how popular the much advertised North Coast 500 tour has become. Everywhere was heaving with foreign tourists and the number of camper vans has almost become a traffic problem. It was the peak season and just before the August Bank Holiday, so hopefully it won’t be quite as bad when we go. (And as you would expect, we will use some quieter less obvious routes where possible.) Lewis and Harris were not quite as dramatic as expected but we did a thorough recce and explored just about every road to give participants the best options. We also looked into the possibility of crossing to Uist and Benbecula but again ran into a logistical problem with the ferries. It probably won’t be viable this trip, but maybe another time……….


The poor old Alpine has taken a bit of a back seat recently, especially since the heat wave finished, but the Escort has been out regularly. I did a local classic car run organised by Wigton Motor Club which was all on ‘my own patch’, but I liked the sticker on the back of a Morris 1000 (see photo). Martin Oates and myself  also took part in another competitive event, The Blue Streak Targa. This time we weren’t so successful.

A five minute penalty for going the wrong way around a test dropped us from 3rd in class to next to last, BUT, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and we definitely made a splash – (see photo below). I have already entered another 2 events, the Wearside Classic, at the Nissan plant in Sunderland in a couple of weeks, and our local Devils Own Rally which starts the day after the Autumn Tour. Cutting it a bit fine, but the ‘Devils’ starts from the showfield opposite the Crooklands hotel, where the tour finishes. I am not sure if this will finally get the ‘bug’ out of the system or simply rekindle the enthusiasm, there is nothing like growing old gracefully, and this is definitely not like growing old gracefully.







Start in Buckinghamshire through North Downs. Tour of South Downs and 2 nights on THE ISLE OF WIGHT.



Start Crooklands, The Dukes Pass, Glen Coe, Kingairloch, Loch Ness then 3 nights at Coul House.


Central Highlands, Kylesku and west coast, Pass of the Cattle, Aviemore, Glen Eagles, Forth Bridge.


Option to continue with;



Duns, Jim Clark country, overnight on east coast near Berwick. Kelso, Kielder, Bamburgh, and Wooller, 2 nights near Morpeth. Optional return via Hartside Pass to Crooklands.


Start in Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire Wolds, Trent Valley, Peak District Cheshire, North Wales, finish on Anglesey.


As previously advertised but with extension to take in the Schlumpf, Museum at Mulhouse.


4 nights based at Crooklands. It may incorporate 'The Little Devils Tour'.




I have just returned from an amazing couple of weeks in Germany and France.

The first part of the trip was to visit the Eiffel Rally Festival in Germany. This three day event is not a rally as such, merely a demonstration event, BUT,  some drivers were demonstrating faster than others. There was a fantastic array of historic rally cars ranging from a Trabant, an Anglia and various Escorts, to Pikes Peak spec Quattros and RS200’s. There were prototype bi-motor Golfs and SEATs, an original, Acropolis winning, Roger Clark Mk1 Escort, a Lotus Cortina, Lancia Deltas by the dozen (well maybe half a dozen), a Lancia 037,  a Stratos and a rare Beta Monte Carlo, the only one missing was a Fulvia. Britain was represented by a couple of 6R4s and a couple of TR7 V8s, and a Chevette. There was even an Austin A35 on display on the ‘rally mile’ through the centre of the event base at Daun, although we never actually saw it competing. There were also celebrity drivers, Stig Blomqvist (RS200), Timo Salonen (205T16) and Jimmy McRae (Chevette). There was also someone signing autographs called Mike Kirk --- land, of  East African Safari fame.

The whole thing started with a shake down stage on Thursday (none – competitive!!?) and there were already crowds of literally thousands of people even if it was a work day. By Saturday it was manic, but with parking 1 euro and beer tents and burger (sausage) stalls in every field, (beer 2 euros) it wasn’t surprising. Fantastically well organised and with every car ‘going for it’ it was a perfect petrol head day out. Glorious sunshine, a beer in hand, and rally cars roaring past  - what more can you ask for.

The ‘stages’ all consisted of a looped course which was tackled twice – or three times, or even four if the drivers were enjoying themselves! As it wasn’t a competition it didn’t matter, no maximum for going wrong at the split! I have never been a huge fan of Citroens, particular the lumbering space ship like old DS21’s, but I have got to say one of them was the star of the show. On one stage there was a water splash, kept full by the local fire brigade in the bone dry conditions – it was Germany. The aforementioned Citroen took the water splash flat, perhaps before he realised there was a 90 right with trees on the outside following it. He promptly decided to cut the corner which threw him up on to 2 wheels. A DS is a big car to get on two wheels but somehow he got round the corner and carried on at un-abated speed. On the very last stage of the event the same Citroen decided to do about 4 laps where everyone else had done two and just to spice things up he attempted a ‘doughnut’ right in front of us. This was spectacular enough but when the next car, a quick Opel Kadette, came round the corner as he was only half way through his doughnut it all looked like a recipe for disaster. Somehow they missed each other and it was good end to the day’s ‘sport’. The memory that will stay with me for a long time though is the sight of two Group B Quattros chasing each other bumper to bumper down a closed public road – could it ever happen in Britain?

The second part of the trip was to recce part of the Alps tour for next year. As this involved a long motorway run south we decided to split the journey at Mulhouse and have a day at the French National Motor Museum – formerly The Schlumpf collection. As it was still a long way to Mulhouse we broke the journey with a visit to the Technik Museum Speyer. This place was truly amazing and somewhat over shadowed Mulhouse. The Technik museum is huge and doesn’t just feature cars, there is everything to do with transport and a bit more. There are massive Chinese and German steam locomotives, planes and boats and even a submarine, and you could actually go inside most of them. One of the most spectacular exhibits was a Boeing 747, yes, a Jumbo, standing high above the ground on a ‘plinth’. There was a spiral staircase up into it and you could even go for a wing walk (there was a fence to stop you falling off). There was also a ‘helter skelter’ to get back down – we took the stairs. The car collection included cars of all ages but also several dragsters, a tractor pulling tractor, fire engines and a modern Chinese truck called a Foton, which looked remarkably like the last British built Foden.

When we eventually got into the Alps we found some very interesting roads. Some like the Col du Rousset we had done before on the Summer Monte Tour but the Gorges de Bourne and the Col de Romeyere and the following tunnel, were a real surprise. I won’t spoil the surprise, you will have to wait until next September to see what I mean. We still have some parts of the route to check but this will have to wait until next year now, although I think I have driven all the roads at some time in the past. The weather was also a bit of a surprise, 38 degrees one day, luckily I was being chauffeured in a modern Jag with very efficient air conditioning.

As a result of this first recce I have had to alter the itinerary a little to make the mileages each day a little more manageable and to make the visit to Mulhouse more relaxed. This in effect gives us an extra ‘rest day’ but will put the price up a little.



Mileages in itallics are approximate, we will be driving them next year. Other mileages have been checked recently.

DAY 1 Cross Channel – Portsmouth –St Malo.

DAY 2  Dinan – Loire Valley  o/n Saumur (Anne d’Anjou)  Mixture of ‘country’ roads and main roads  190 mls

DAY     3 South through Vienne valley to Brantome o/n Chabanol Hotel.  Main roads 190 mls

DAY 4 Dordogne, Rocamadour, Millau  o/n Cevenol.   Main roads 220 mls


DAY 5 Millau Bridge, North through Gorge de Tarn and Ardeche to Valence, Hotel Clos Syrha. Minor roads  150 mls

DAY 6 Col de Rousset, Sisteron, Digne les Bains o/n TBC. Mixture of main roads and mountain passes. 210 mls

DAY 7 Gorge de Verdun  Mountain roads   80 mls

DAY 8 Free/Rest day (Optional Train Ride?)


DAY 9 Col de Bonnette, Col de Vars, Col d’Izoard o/n Briancon (Park Hotel). Mountain roads and big passes   130 mls

DAY 10 Col de Lauteret, Col d’Ornon into Vercors Mountains. o/n Villard de Lans, Hotel de Paris. Mixture of main roads and mountain roads and some motorway.   112 mls

DAY 11 Gorge de Bourne, Col de Romeyere, Gorges de Guires, Vercors Massif, Cold de Granier, Aix les Bains. Haut Jura  o/n near St Claude. Mixture of mountain roads, passes, tunnels and main roads.  150 mls

DAY 12 Cross country to Mulhouse. o/n Mulhouse. Mixture of main and country roads  150 mls

DAY 13 Visit Schlumpf Museum and Railway Museum. o/n Mulhouse.

Option for ‘free day’ or train ride.

DAY 14 Through Vosges Mountains to Chaumont and o/n Foret d’Orient. Mainly main roads     173 mls

DAY 15  Champagne country, Epernay, Reims GP Cicuit  o/n nr Fismes. Mainly main roads but some ‘country roads’ through Champagne area.  115 mls

DAY 16 Choice of return channel crossings. Mainly motorway 130 mls to Calais



13 nights bed and breakfast, for 2 people sharing, 12 Dinners, plus outward* ferry to St Malo - £3899 subject to exchange rates and final costings.

 *(Return crossing not included). 

2019 EVENTS 


April  8-11th Downs to Downs (and deeper on down)
                    Start in Buckinghamshire through North Downs. Tour of South Downs
                         and 2 nights on THE ISLE OF WIGHT.

May 19-26th  Scotland and  North West  250
                    Start Crooklands, The Dukes Pass, Glen Coe, Kingairloch, Loch
                         Ness then 3 nights at Coul House.
Central Highlands, Kylesku and
                         west coast, Pass of the Cattle. Aviemore, Glen Eagles, Forth Bridge.

Option to continue with;

May 26-30th Borders  and Northumberland Tour
Duns, Jim Clark country, overnight on east coast near Berwick. Kelso,
                   Kielder, Bamburgh, and Wooller, 2 nights near Morpeth. Optional return
                   via Hartside Pass to Crooklands.

July  8-12th    Wolds to Wales
                   Start in Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire Wolds, Trent Valley, Peak District,
                      Cheshire, North Wales, finish on Anglesey.

September 16-30th Tour of the Alps
                   As previously advertised but with possible extension to take in the
                        Schlumpf Museum at Mulhouse. 

October 25-27th Autumn Lakes and Dales
                     4 nights Based at Crooklands. It may incorporate ‘The Little Devils




The Barbon, Bay Watch and Little Devils Tours went off very well even if the numbers for Monday and Tuesday were a little depleted, but the whole event was held in swealtering conditions. So much so that on Saturday at Barbon we had to take shelter under the trees but on Tuesday the visibility was perfect and the Yorkshire Three Peaks made a fantastic backdrop to the route. My local pub, The Station Inn, did us proud and the ‘craic’ was good throughout.


I thought 2018 was going to be an exceptional year with several tours fully booked almost before they were advertised. Scotland this year was fully booked before I had even got my brochures printed. It seems 2019 is going to be very similar. I already have 15 provisional bookings for the Alps Tour in September ’19, and 10 for Scotland. Hotel availability is the limiting factor and I think I am getting near the maximum already, so if you haven’t shown interest in either of the above tours but are thinking about it – do not hesitate. Make a provisional booking NOW. No deposit is needed at this stage. I am going to France later this month to do some research so on return I will have a better idea of the exact route and prices. I will then ask you for deposits. 

In the meantime I took the Escort out for another play on the Lake District Classic Rally and had a fantastic day. The car performed really well and the crew didn’t do too bad either, finishing 10th overall and winning our class! As some ‘young whippersnapper’ commented “The old dogs have shown the young pups how to do it!”. Well, it wasn’t quite like that – most of the competitors might have been a little younger than us but they were hardly young pups. Nevertheless it was very satisfying and prompted me to enter another event in August. Before then I will be  taking both cars to the Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club “The Car’s the Star Show” at Holker Hall on the 15th of this month.






April  8-11th Downs to Downs (and Deeper on Down)

Start in Buckinghamshire through North Downs. Tour of South Downs and 2 nights on THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 




May 19-26th  Scotland North West 250

                   Start Crooklands, The Dukes Pass, Glen Coe,

                   Kingairloch, Loch Ness then 3 nights at Coul House.

                   Central Highlands, Kylesku and west coast, Pass of the
Aviemore, Glen Eagles, Forth Bridge.

    Option to continue with;

May 26-30th Borders and Northumberland Tour

Duns, Jim Clark country, overnight on east coast near Berwick. Kelso, Kielder, Bamburgh, and Wooller, 2 nights near Morpeth. Optional return via Hartside Pass to Crooklands. 

July 8-12th         Wolds to Wales

                   Start in Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire Wolds, Trent Valley,
                  Peak District
 Cheshire, North Wales, finish on Anglesey. 

September 16-30th     Tour of the Alps

As previously advertised but with possible extension to take in the Schlumpf Museum at Mulhouse.

October 25-27th Autumn Lakes and Dales

4 nights Based at Crooklands. It may incorporate ‘The Little Devils Tour’.





Costa del Wales – but not so much the Dales. We couldn’t have had better weather for the Welsh part of Wales to Dales, in fact one crew put their hood up because it was too hot. For the rest it was ‘topless’ all the way. Friday morning setting off into the heart of the Dales was a little more overcast and distinctly cooler at first, but by the end of the day we were sat on the terrace at the Coniston Hotel enjoying the view of the lake – and a beer or two.

Several ‘regulars’ said it was one of the best routes they had done but some of the ‘Kirk’ roads came as a bit of a culture shock to the newcomers. I am afraid you don’t have to go far off the main roads anywhere in the country to find potholes these days but if you have never ventured onto the back roads before, the condition of some may come as a surprise – but it also depends on the car! Some can cope better than others but I am not saying which. Unfortunately we lost the 1938 AC due to a combination of the roads, cable brakes and ‘knee trouble’, whilst the three Morgans, one at least on their very first tour, persevered to the end with the other dozen or so cars. (We started with 18). 

The Museum of Internal Fire near Cardigan opened up specially for us and even started most of the exhibits and it proved very popular with everyone – most ladies included. The Royal Oak in mid-Wales provided a well received Ploughman’s lunch and The Long Myndd, Worlds End and the Yorkshire Dales provided the interesting driving, despite some awkward road closures and resultant diversions. Some of the more enterprising crews managed to ‘blag’ their way through but others followed the misleading diversion a long way off route. We fell foul of the ‘health and safety’ brigade but managed to get back on route quickly.

As promised/threatened I took the Alpine on this tour. It hadn’t been run since before Christmas so it needed a little preparation and a shakedown beforehand, but I was very pleased with how it performed. It never missed a beat – apart from slipping overdrive, snatching brakes, vague steering – oh, and a broken anti-roll bar bracket. Otherwise it was great, really good fun, although going topless makes all the difference. I will obviously have to bring the Escort out for THE LITTLE DEVILS TOUR as that is based on an actual rally route. (There are still some places available if anyone wants a last minute entry.) 






There was a lot of talk about next year during the week and a demand for some details and dates, so here is the first draft of the 2019 calendar;









        Start in Buckinghamshire through North Downs. Tour of South
      Downs and 2 nights on THE ISLE OF WIGHT.


May 19-26th  SCOTLAND NORTH WEST  250

        Start Crooklands, The Dukes Pass, Glen Coe, Kingairloch, Loch
        Ness then 3 nights at Coul House.
Central Highlands, Kylesku and
        west coast, Pass of the Cattle,
Aviemore, Glen Eagles, Forth

        Option to continue with;

          Duns, Jim Clark country, overnight on east coast near Berwick.
        Kelso, Kielder, Bamburgh, and Wooller, 2 nights near Morpeth.
        Optional return via Hartside Pass to Crooklands.


July 8-12th         WOLDS TO WALES

      Start in Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire Wolds, Trent Valley, Peak District

     Cheshire, North Wales, finish on Anglesey.


September 16-30th     TOUR OF THE ALPs

     As previously advertised but with possible extension to take in the
     Schlumpf Museum at Mulhouse.



      4 nights Based at Crooklands.




I will never think of Tulips in quite the same way again. Those at the Keukenhof were far more spectacular than the ones in my Road books! I am not particularly a ‘flower person’ and gardening is definitely not my ‘scene’, but I couldn’t help but be

impressed by the display in Holland last week. Just when you thought you had seen every combination of colours you went around a corner and saw something different. Stunning! I wasn’t sure if the visit to Keukenhof would fill an entire day – but it did for most people, and it was fortunately less than 15 miles from our hotel.

In contrast, the ‘Tulip Route’ around the growing fields was more than 50 miles away on the other side of Amsterdam. This proved to be one of the problems of the whole tour. There was just too much motorway driving involved. The hotel and the meal in Bruges proved to be an un-expected success but the motorway run north through Rotterdam was not. In hindsight it may have been better to have used the Newcastle-Ijmuiden (Amsterdam) ferry – but the general feeling beforehand was that Hull was much more convenient. It may have been for the journey on this side of the North Sea, but not on the other side. Our base hotel near Haarlem was only a few miles form Ijmuiden, but even so, I think a second hotel further inland would have made things more accessible, and  cut out the motorway driving. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. However I think the Keukenhof and the spectacular Louwman Museum made up for any short comings. Apologies to those who feel otherwise.

If anyone is interested I have already thought of a better way of doing a similar tour, maybe in 2010?

I am pleased to say that I not only have a full entry for Wales to Dales next month, but also a real classic one. Recently the trend has been towards modern sports cars, there was even a BMWi8 in Holland. The W-D entry includes AC’s, Morgans, Mercedes and even a Beetle.

I will have to bring the Alpine out for this one. It hasn’t turned a wheel since Christmas so it will be interesting getting it going.

Plans for 2019 are progressing and I have some new ideas which I will announce later, but the Alpine Tour has already 11 provisional entries.



A week after returning from Holland I took part in the Berwick Classic Rally. Two days, 3 regularities on private roads and 19 tests. Apart from suspected fuel vapourisation towards the end (it was a hot day) the Escort ran well and we were pleasantly surprised with 15th overall (out of 60) and 2nd in class. Fantastic weather, superb roads and good company – just what I like to hear after my tours! It has encouraged me to enter some more events and given me some ideas for new routes in Northumberland for next year.

Last Sunday in complete contrast I joined the ‘polishers and pamperers’ at a local car show, “Total Retro”. This is not normally my thing, I prefer to drive my cars rather than sit in a field comparing wheel nuts with a lot of ‘anoraks’, but I was invited by my local club, Kirkby Lonsdale, to exhibit the RS on their stand. I discovered that ‘retro’ has a whole new meaning to a younger generation. There were very few real ‘classic cars’ but lots of modified hot hatches, but I have to admit that since the Escort was re-sprayed I have become a bit of a ‘polisher’ and like to keep it looking as smart as possible. Fortunately the Berwick event was held in dry dusty conditions, I don’t know whether I will be quite so enthusiastic about polishing after the first wet and muddy event!





The CREWE Q TOUR got the season off to a reasonable start last month, although there was a disappointing entry. I had planned it as an ‘Introduction to CCT(MK)’ but everyone that turned up were ‘regulars’. This was perhaps just as well as some of the best laid plans designed to impress newcomers didn’t actually happen. The hotel itself was very good, the food was excellent and the service impeccable, but some of the promised ‘frills’ and extras didn’t materialise, and worst of all there was no draught beer!!! Luckily none of this detracted from the enjoyment of the tour and I think the small but select group were quite happy.

The tour itself ran perfectly and the weather was surprisingly good. The visibility in the Peak District provided some spectacular views and most of the meal/rest venues worked well. The afternoon tea in Cheshire proved very popular. “The best Strawberry Jam I have ever tasted” said my navigator, before he did his hamster impersonation and fell asleep – again! The visit to the Crewe CW1 Bentley showrooms proved better than expected, especially as we had hoped to arrange a factory tour (but that is another story). There was an interesting array of cars and the optional extras at anything up to £20k for a luggage set were just mind-blowing.

A much bigger group is off to Holland next week for the TULIPFEST TOUR and then I have a bit of a break in May before the WALES-DALES in June with an even bigger group. (I could probably squeeze one more car in as far as Crewe. The last hotel is fully booked.)


I am already looking at a few ideas for next year and will announce a calendar in the next month or so. The Alpine Tour is almost certainly on in September, there will probably be a Scottish Tour in May – maybe including Northumberland and/or some different islands. I am also working on something completely new for an early introductory tour in March/April. AND, I recently heard that the Mount Murray Hotel on the Isle of Man is being rebuilt, hmmm? (It burned down shortly after we last used it!) but we might leave that until 2020?


As mentioned last month we escaped the worst of the ‘Beast from the East’ while we were in Holland, but to make up for it I got caught up in the ‘Mini Beast’ or ‘Beast 3’ a couple of weeks later.

I took the Escort out for a run on Knowldale car club’s Mini Miglia Tour. There were blue skies and sunshine as we left Crooklands and everything was going fine until we got up into the Dales near Kirkby Stephen. We then met a group of cars going in the opposite direction and were informed that the ford ahead was blocked by a car that had gone off. Knowing the area pretty well I  decided we didn’t need to turn round and could avoid the ford via some other back lanes which would get us back on route in Kirkby Stephen. No problem – until we got north of Kirkby and headed towards Tan Hill (the highest pub in England!). The weather started to deteriorate as we climbed higher but we were about half way there before the road was completely covered in virgin snow. i.e. no tyre tracks. We pressed on and were making progress until I had to stop because I could no longer see the dry-stone walls at the side of the road. There was a complete ‘white out’. Having stopped it was impossible to get started again on the gradient, so we had to attempt to back out. This was not easy as the back screen was completely covered with snow and there was no sign of the edge of the road as the snow had filled in behind us. I had to reverse with my head hanging out of the open driver’s door. This was OK for about 2 minutes, after which my glasses were completely covered in snow! It was a slow journey back to the previous junction and even when we managed to turn round the descent back to the main road was a bit of a ski run. The slightest touch of the brakes resulted in a helpless slide so it was a case of taking the line of least resistance and hope nothing was coming the other way. Fortunately one or two other cars had attempted the route but had wisely stopped in a dry patch under some trees. We told them not to bother trying to get any further and headed for the lunch halt at Hawes. Car number 1, Jim Porter (yes, Roger Clark’s navigator) in an MX5 actually got over Tan Hill and put a photo on line to prove it. Mind you, he was running 25 minutes in front of us.

Ironically when we got to Hawes we were informed that there had been a route amendment to tell us not to go to Tan Hill, but the marshals with the amendment were positioned just after the ford – which of course we hadn’t gone through.

During lunch the weather went from dry and sunny to near blizzard and back again and we debated whether it was worth carrying on. The finish was down in Lancashire at Banny’s Fish and Chip restaurant in Colne. It seemed a long way to go for fish and chips when there was no guarantee we would not run into more bad weather. However another amendment was issued as we left Hawes Creamery, cutting out the ‘Coal Road’ between Garsdale and Dent, so we decided to carry on as far as Ingleton and see what the conditions were like further south.

The run over Gisburn Forest and down in to Lancashire was great, beautiful sunshine and a good route, so we carried on and were enjoying ourselves when un-believably there was another minor blizzard. We could almost smell the fish and chips by now so carried on and arrived in Colne in perfect sunshine again. The fish and chips proved to be well worth the effort and we made our way home via Skipton and the A65, only to run into another ‘white out’ at Kirkby Lonsdale. The ‘beast’ was obviously doing its own tour! We managed to get home safely just before more snow came around Kendal. Definitely a very interesting day – I must get a heater in the Escort though.


On arriving home, my navigator, Mike Davies, suggested visiting the local for a pint to round off the day. What a good idea! He suggested I park up the Escort and he would pick me up in his modern Ford. Therefore once in the warmth of the house I shed a few layers on the basis that his car would have a heater and the pub is usually comfortably warm. As we downed our first pint another blizzard struck ‘upper Oxenholme’ and Mike decided it would be a good idea to leave his car in the car park for the night. I am not sure if this was on safety grounds or just because he had got a taste for the beer. Whatever, it meant I had to walk home in just a light non- waterproof jacket as I had left all the winter clothes at home! It was one of those days. 

The Escort is now in the garage being prepared for its first competitive outing on the Berwick Classic in May. In the meantime while the weather has improved I have taken to going for long walks – but even then I have found a Kirk Road!!




We have just returned from a reasonably successful, if somewhat cold ‘recce’ of the TULIPFEST TOUR. We avoided the heavy snow in England but had to cope with gale force winds and temperatures as low as minus 6 during the day.

The landscape looked spectacular in places, especially when crossing the inland seas which resembled the Arctic, but it was too cold to get out and take photos.

I did manage one or two from the car though. 

In some places there were scenes reminiscent of old Christmas cards as people were skating down the canals and around the edge of the lakes.

We also visited the very impressive Louwman Museum and the Hoorn Stoomtram – see photos.















Well, I do have one more room available for Wales to Crewe but the Coniston Hotel is now fully booked for the final two nights and there isn’t anything else near by. The Metropole at Llandrindod Wells is also fully booked but I have managed to split the group roughly into two halves with one half staying at what I think will be a very nice alternative in nearby Builth Wells. So, if anyone would like to do the first half of the tour upto and including Crewe Hall, please let me know as soon as possible.

The Autumn Tours are also filling up and there are a limited number of rooms left at Gibbon Bridge for the first 3 nights, so again, if you are thinking about it, book now to ensure a place. This only leaves the Barbon and Bay Watch Tour not fully booked so far, although the Station Inn is getting full and I will soon have to make arrangements with the B+B opposite. 

In view of the way things have ‘taken off’ this year, and the difficulty of finding hotel rooms, I will soon announce the calendar for 2019 and start taking bookings!

I have already 6 people interested in the Alps Tour so it is definitely ‘a goer’. I am going out to recce some of the route in August. I need to check some dates before I announce a calendar but I am looking at various ideas, some old some completely new. 

Oh dear! That is retirement on hold again. My current ‘cash book’ is nearly full and I once threatened to retire before I had to start a new one………… 

I have just heard that the London – Lisbon Rally is running again in 2019, hmmm. Unfinished business??  Better do some more tours to pay for it.



The Q Crewe Extra Tour

(A new event not in our 2018 brochure)

MARCH 22-25th

An Introduction to CCT(MK)




Visit Bentley’s CW1 House Showroom

Friday tour of Cheshire and North Wales

Saturday tour of Staffordshire and Derbyshire Dales

£599 per car,  i.e. 2 people sharing.


One day tour, no accommodation - £49

(Friday or Saturday)







The idea for this tour has been simmering since last November when I visited Crewe Hall and Bentley. However I could not announce anything until I got some more information from the Bentley factory. I was originally looking at organising a group tour of the factory as a focal point of the tour as a whole. However since my previous visit it seems Bentley have changed all their arrangements for factory tours and now limit them to one group of six people per day. As I was hoping to get 10-12 bookings for my tour, i.e. 20+ people, this just wouldn’t work. However as a small consolation we can visit the factory show room at CW1 House where you can drool over every available Bentley model and maybe even get your cheque book out!


Therefore the itinerary will be;


Arrive Crewe Hall late afternoon for drinks reception, tour of the hall and evening meal.


Early start (9am ish) and short run around ring road to Bentley CW1 House.

10 am –ish start tour into North Wales. We will head cross country to Ellesmere (of the meres not the port) where we will have a stop for lunch. Then we skirt Oswestry and cross Offa’s Dyke on our way into some quiet little lanes in the Welsh hills. A long B-road run then takes us east again to skirt Shrewsbury and a stop for afternoon tea at country house hotel hidden away in the back lanes of Shropshire.

A relatively short run then brings us back to Crewe via the Millmeece Pumping Station – which unfortunately isn’t open to the public today.

Approx. 130 miles.



Today we head east, first through the built up areas Alsager and Biddulph but we are soon up onto the moors as we pass Rudyard Reservoir and Tittsworth Reservoir on our way to Morredge with fantastic views all around. We then head south to a coffee stop at Froghall before we pass Alton Towers as we climb back to the moors and Dales. A lovely cross country run then brings us to picturesque Dovedale for lunch.

The afternoon run takes us via the pretty village of Tissington, but this time we won’t go through the ford (it is still March and we cannot guarantee it will be passable!). We then head north with a detour via the interesting Manifold Valley, before we zig-zag our way across the higher grounds of the Dales, which again afford spectacular views in all directions. After descending to Wildboarclough we stop for tea at the delightfully named ‘Tegs Nose’ visitor centre overlooking Macclesfield.

The final run takes us south again via Bosley Reservoir and the view points above Congleton before a main road run back to Crewe and our final dinner.


Approx. 120 miles.




I have had lots of belated Christmas presents – lots of cheques for tour deposits! Bookings have been coming in at a very satisfying rate.  Thank you very much everyone!

As previously announced the Western Isles Tour is FULLY BOOKED, but now also, Wales to Dales and The Tulipfest Tour are getting booked up. I may be able to take more but I need to know A.S.A.P, particularly for Holland as I need to book ferries as well as hotels.

There is still plenty of room on the other tours. I have no more information on the extra tour at the beginning of the year. I am still waiting for information from other people.

I am also considering a “SCOT EXTRA TOUR” for those people (and anyone else interested) who missed out on the WEST COAST 250. It wouldn’t obviously be the same route, as the same problems with hotels and ferries would apply. Instead it would be a five day event in the Borders, Southern Scotland and Northumberland.

After the Northumberland Tour last year someone suggested it was so good I should do it again, possibly in the reverse direction, so that is what I am considering, with the addition of the first part of the ‘big’ Scottish Tour. The planned itinerary would be something like;

START – SLALEY HALL HOTEL, Northumberland.

DAY 1 – Crag Side House, Bamburgh Castle, Cheviot Hills, Overnight Slaley.

DAY 2 – Kielder Forest, Ettrick Valley, (Old) Forth Bridge, Overnight Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld.

DAY 3. – Falkirk Wheel, Kelpies, New Forth Bridge, Glen Eagles, Loch Tay. Trossachs, overnight Westerwood.

DAY 4. – Lanark Heritage Village, Dalveen Pass, Forest of Ae, North Pennines, overnight Slaley Hall

DAY 5. Alston, Hartside Pass, Kirkstone Pass, Windermere, Lythe Valley, Levens Hall, Overnight CROOKLANDS HOTEL.

Approx. cost £1549 per car. 6 nights, dinner, b+b.

Date, subject to availability of hotels – September 2nd -8th (it may be a week earlier or later).

This is all subject to availability and the amount of interest, so if you are interested could you please let me know as soon as possible so I can get things moving.


More jam than Hartley’s again! The ‘Turkey’ was run on a beautiful sunny day, the best we had had all over Christmas – but the following day there was a total ‘white-out’.

In the end 14 cars entered and 13 started, there being a little confusion over how many cars some people had entered and under how many different names, plus some ‘no shows’, made up for by the usual ‘on the day’ entries. Confused so far? Most people soon were.

After a copious supply of mince pies (and even some apple pies) at the new start venue, the Heversham Hotel, there was a 20 mile route to finish at the Station Inn at Oxenholme. However, this wasn’t the finish, much to many peoples dismay. I think perhaps I put too many clues in the first half, 51 in total, and people were feeling the strain. As always the Turkey has more than one leg. (It would fall over otherwise!). There was a second leg around Killington of only ten miles before competitors could adjourn to the bar. (This also gives me time to mark the first sheets – and consume any beer that might be sent in my direction – it is on my birthday after all – well the day before, this year).

The first leg consisted of mainly conventional clues and at least one person got every clue – not necessarily the same person, but somebody got them all, proving that none were too devious. As ever, those clues I thought were really easy seemed to cause the most problems, while my most cunning efforts were found by more people than I expected. E.g. ‘Boss of the sheep’ was missed by quite a few people. It was simply ‘Ewe Master’ on a feeding bin in the field, while ‘No smoking barrels’ did catch more people but not everyone. The answer = KEEP OFF THE LOG STOCKS (sign at entrance to woodland). Lock, stock and two smoking barrels – get it!?

‘Oh deer John has been abandoned’ was found by nearly everyone – the John Deere Harvester in the field – but someone put -  ‘a bag of rubbish’!? (perhaps they were referring to their answers!?)

The added twist to the second half was that alternate crews got red or yellow clue sheets. Left leg and right leg. They both had the same clues but the circular route was in opposite directions on each. I think this got several people confused as I suspect at least one ‘yellow’ crew followed a ‘red’ crew and was upset that nothing fitted. Surprise, surprise! Also a couple of people lead each other astray when they didn’t read the instructions properly and managed to find almost correct answers to wrong clues that were in the wrong place, and then tried to make the route instructions fit. Now you are confused – but not as much as they were.

Despite all this it was still quite a close finish with some new names knocking the regulars off the podium.



Missing Christmas present;

Santa never brought it again!











As I have mentioned before we are becoming more like a club with a ‘hard core’ of regular customers who I like to think have become firm friends – with each other as well as me! However we are not an exclusive club and newcomers are always welcome. Several people who did their first events this year commented on “what a nice group of people you get on your tours”………………hmmm

2018 brochures should be in the post before Christmas to give you time to make plans for the new year while digesting the festive excesses. However, the brochures are almost surplus to requirements, I am amazed to say! Half the events on the calendar are either full or very nearly full already. I am even getting provisional bookings for the Alps in 2019!

Scotland is definitely fully booked even after extending it to16 cars, There are already 3 people on the reserve list but all the others have paid their deposits so it is not really worthwhile accepting even more reserve entries. I would like to take more but there just aren’t the hotel rooms available in some parts and one of the ferries is quite small, so I don’t want to have to leave anybody behind on the quayside! But see below.

The Tulipfest Tour and Wales to Dales are both in double figures but there isn’t quite the problem getting extra accommodation as there is in Scotland. Nevertheless it would be wise to book earlier rather then later as there may be a limit. (Some of the Welsh hotels are getting full and it may be necessary to use additional hotels for later bookings).

The Barbon and Little Devils Tour has been extended this year to take in the Bay Watch Tour, making it 4 days in total and therefore a bit more worthwhile for anyone travelling any distance.

There are actually a couple of events not in the brochure or on the website, yet.

For those who live near enough, or fancy a night in the Lakes, there will be the ‘Stuff the Turkey’ treasure hunt on Thursday 28th December. A 30 mile scenic run around south  Cumbria with some cryptic clues to answer as you go. A chance to get the ‘little grey cells’ working again after the inertia of Christmas. This is based at my local pub and I may be able to organise accommodation for anyone interested.

I recently visited a hotel belonging to the ‘Q’ Group as a look at alternatives to the group used in the past. This may lead to an extra event in late March early April, probably only 2 days but with a visit to a very special venue and accommodation at the impressive Crewe Hall hotel. At the moment I am waiting for more information from ‘the venue’ so cannot set a date or make a definite itinerary. Watch this space. If this original plan doesn’t work out there is a possible alternative based elsewhere but on a similar date and/or I am contemplating an extra shortened version of the Scottish Tour for those who have missed out on the main tour. This would probably be in August, depending on hotel availability and demand.

I spent all of last Saturday (i.e. from 8am to 4pm) in and around Grizedale Forest marshalling on the Grizedale Stages forest rally. The organiser drinks in my local pub so there is not much chance of avoiding a job on the event. Despite the length of the day and the cold weather it was a very enjoyable. It must be one of the most scenic events in the country, especially at this time of the year with the last of the Autumn colours and a dusting of snow on the mountains and even a ferry crossing over Lake Windermere. The competitors probably had little chance to appreciate this as they fought for every second through the forests. There was an amazing array of cars, everything from ‘state of the art’ R5 Fiestas and a prototype R5 Proton Iriz (no I hadn’t either – but it went on to win!), the usual Mk1 and 2 Escorts, a fabulous Chevette HR and even a Saab96 and an original mini. Many of the competitors had come over from Ireland especially for the event and they seemed to love it. It was a good atmosphere and the ‘post mortem’ in the pub afterwards was quite enjoyable too.

Merry Christmas

To all CCT(MK) customers and friends, past, present and future.




in association with Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club present
Stuff the Turkey Treasure Hunt/Classic Car Run
on Thursday December 28th

Start Heversham Hotel at 11.30am

Finish Station Inn Oxenholme

Entry fee £15 per car
includes coffee and mince pies.

Crypic & ‘Observational’ Clues along a 30 mile Scenic Route

Prizes for Classic and/or ‘Topless’ Cars

N.B. To book an entry phone or text, Mike Kirk 07795204533 BEFORE Wednesday 27th


The Autumn Tour finished spectacularly with superb weather showing off the stunning Lakeland scenery at its best. The run up to Wasdale Head for lunch was incredible. I have never seen it look so impressive. This was in contrast to thick fog in the Pennines the previous day, which spoilt things a little, although High Force looked very dramatic.


Ironically, the day before that had also been a beautiful sunny day giving wonderful views of the Three Yorkshire Peaks. So you win some and you loose some.

Another plus point was our first coffee stop of the tour at Gibbon Bridge Hotel near Chipping. This was so well received I have already booked it for a few nights on the Autumn Tour next year. This will mean a completely new itinerary to that advertised but will open up some new routes. More details when I have spent a few dark winter nights pouring over the maps.

Similarly, because the Crooklands isn’t available for the July Barbon/Little Devils Tour I am investigating a new hotel, although the itinerary shouldn’t need changing too much.

I would like to say that the 2017 season ended on a high, however a 2 hour wait for dinner on the last night rather took the edge off things. The Dunkirk Spirit prevailed though and I think everyone went home reasonably happy. It didn’t seem to put anyone off my tours as I was receiving bookings for next year every day of the trip. The Western Isles Tour is now definitely fully booked, to such an extent that I will have to ask for early deposits to secure a place. (I will contact everyone concerned). I have been desperately trying to find more hotel spaces to accommodate all those who have provisionally booked so far. The existing group will have to be split into two hotels on the Isle of Harris and on Mull.

At the moment there are no plans to use MacDonald Hotels next year and I am going to have a meeting with an alternative group later this month (November). This may result in an extra event on the calendar. Several people were disappointed that there wasn’t originally intended to be another tour for nearly six months (late April), so if my meeting is successful, I may organise a re-union/introductory tour, perhaps in March, at a new hotel, just to get the new season underway. Watch this space!


Hi Mike

Just a line to say how much we enjoyed the Dales and Passover Tour, the scenery was fantastic, particularly the last day when we did the Lakeland passes.

As with all of your tours the planning and imagination you put into them really shows in the finished article.

We look forward to doing more tours with you next year.

Regards, Martin and Carol



Thanks for your organisation and route planning, excellent as ever.

Richard and Marjorie


After loosing my camera, buying a new one, then finding the old one on the back seat of the car (senior moment!), the proof of the Escorts existence is in the photos below. I am pleased to say that despite a couple of days when it was reluctant to start in the morning, like its owner,  the Escort got round the whole of the Autumn Tour without any problems and was fun to drive. The photos below show before the Autumn Tour, straight out of the paint shop, and after the first few days of the tour at the waterfall in Deepdale, already dirty!




After all the months of preparation it was a relief to actually get the PECOS-PORTO TOUR underway. It was sunshine all the way (apart from a few foggy mornings) and the scenery and hotels all lived upto expectations, particularly the VIDAGO PALACE.





In the end I gave everyone the option of driving over the heart stopping PORTO-DO DIABLO, Hells Gateway. The ‘Gateway’ is perhaps not the most nerve wracking part, but the road upto it definitely concentrates the mind with huge drops and ‘fresh air’ hairpins. I think 4 or 5 cars made the effort but as it was at the end of a long day, the majority settled for the easier short cut.





I even had a paddle in the Atlantic in a beautiful little cove next to our penultimate hotel.I made sure I was out of sight though – people have been known to take compromising photographs in the past!




There were a few little problems finding the hotels for some people. I had suggested that on this occasion sat-navs would be useful – but only if you put in the right information! I have to admit an error on my part one day caused a problem which was confounded by road works and a missing motorway bridge (being rebuilt). The hotel could be seen on the other side of the motorway with no obvious means of getting there. Fortunately, the locals, including the police, were very helpful and everyone got there eventually and as compensation each room had its own garage!

A couple of ‘free days’ in Porto gave everyone chance to relax and enter into true holiday mode with river cruises and wine sampling proving to be the order of the day, while the PALACIO DE FREXIO Hotel provided a very comfortable base for those who preferred a little pool side sunbathing.


A million thanks for your Pecos and Porto Tour and of course the bottle of Port.
Those who chose not to take part certainly missed a cracker!!!
See you soon. Roger and Marie




Hi Mike
Just to say thank you for the rally

(PECOS-PORTO) which we both enjoyed. A range of hotels was appreciated but the favourite was the Palace.
An enormous amount of work must go into arranging a tour like the Peco, none of which we took for granted.Looking forward to tulip navigation in the Tulip Fields.

 Kind regards,
Martyn and Carol



I am delighted to say I have got my Escort RS back form the restorers at last. The good news is it looks fabulous – the bad news is, it needs a few teething problems sorting out after 4 years off the road. I got it back on the Friday after returning from Portugal on Monday, and rather optimistically entered The Devils Own Rally the following day. Four years of not being turned didn’t do the fan belt any good and it broke a mile from the start. We couldn’t source one anywhere that day so had to retire and take up marshalling on what looked to be a cracking event. Ah well, roll on next year. I also cancelled my entry to the Mull Rally the next weekend, whilst the fan belt was easily fixed on Monday, there were too many other little niggles which put me off going all that way without a little more ‘running in’. All in all though I am very pleased with the car, not only does it look good but it sounds good and goes better than I remembered! It may be out on the Autumn Tour. The other bad news is I have mis-placed my camera so can’t produce any photos as evidence of its existence.

The Alpine is currently having another clutch fitted (and the wiper motor overhauled – rather essential equipment in Cumbria at this time of year.)



I am pleasantly surprised at the response to my proposed calendar. I already have 8 provisional entries for the TULIP FEST TOUR and 9 for THE WESTERN ISLES TOUR. It does mean however I am already busy booking hotels and planning routes before the 2017 season is over.

The plan for Holland remains as published last month, (main hotel already booked) while Scotland has been a little more difficult. Amazingly many hotels are already booked a year in advance and there isn’t a lot of choice in some places. Therefore I have had to change the dates to fit in with what was available. I think 12 cars will be the maximum entry on this tour – and with 9 provisional, if you are interested, get your name down now!

PROPOSED ITINERARY (One hotel to confirm)

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 21ST      Overnight Crooklands


 Kirkstone Pass, Leeming House for coffee, old A6 to Carlisle, lunch near Dumfries.

Dalveen Pass, New Lanark Heritage village.