This years St Georges Day Tour start from Blackburn Northern Sports where some 140 entrants in 70 cars enjoyed a bacon butty before setting out on their travels. The Lancashire Automobile Club took the opportunity to invite the Blood Bikers along to present a cheque for monies raised at the raffle at the Barry ‘Whizzo’ Williams Sportsmans lunch held late last year.
The route was quickly into open country travelling to Gt Harwood and on to Pendle Hill and Sabden before turning north towards Barrowford and on to Skipton.
Then it was north again towards Kettlewell before turning west to pass Malham Tarn via some interesting ascents taking in some great views. A brief stop at the Helwith Bridge Inn where the entrants were welcomed with a roaring fire and a cake stall raising money fro the local school. Then the route descended via Waddinton and Stoneyhurst College to cross the River Ribble at Ribchester before returning to Blackburn Northern Sports for light refreshments.
The route totalled some 90miles with the first entrants returning about 2.30pm. A really good event with some fabulous cars.
This video shows our 2014 event which started and finished at Mitton Hall near Whalley. As well as shots from the start the entrants can be seen at Stoneyhurst College and traversing the Trough of Bowland.
Howard Greenwood of the Pendle Movie Makers emailed the club with details of a film of the 1963 Manchester to Blackpool which he has put on YouTube. It’s over 17 mins long!
The film is fascinating for many reasons. The cars on the run are all vintage and at least one is steam powered.
Of interest to us now is what is going on in the background. At the time they were the modern everyday cars. Now, they could be entrants!
“This standard 8mm transferred film shot on 21st April 1963, shows a wide range of cars from yesteryear on a rally from Manchester to Blackpool. There are many makes of cars at least one of which is steam driven. Iv (SIC) manged to save this old film as much as possible, but due to damaged sprocket holes at the begining the picture has a tendency to jitter slightly but clears up shortly after. This film is a must for all vintage car enthusiasts and to the people of the Lancashire Automobile club who arranged this event back in 1963.”
Howard Greenwood ( A Member of the Pendle Movie Makers Group )
Last year at home in northern California our friends Paul and Lily English invited us to join them on the 2014 Highland 3 Day Classic Tour. Without hesitation we said yes. What were we thinking? We didn’t know an Austin Healey from an Aston Martin and thought a Tulip diagram was about flower anatomy. The prospect of driving hundreds of miles on the wrong side of the road in someone else’s cherished car seemed quite daunting. However, our motto is “Carpe Diem” and after flying into London and spending a few days getting over jet lag we headed north in a rental car.
Motoring up the M6 in bumper to bumper traffic in a downpour was a white knuckled introduction to driving in the UK-we thought the traffic was bad in LA! Once off of the motorway we felt particularly incompetent negotiating the endless series of roundabouts. The subtleties of English signage seemed to escape us as we developed vertigo in the roundabouts never certain which exit to take. Our performance did not bode well for the upcoming tour.
We finally arrived in Broughton and received a warm welcome from Mike and Catherine. They introduced us to their beautiful MGBGT which would be our ride on the Highland Tour. Luckily for us, Mike did not seem at all concerned about loaning the MGB to a couple of classic car neophytes that he had just met. We loved driving the car and the fact that it is an automatic (while heresy to purists) meant that we avoided the additional cognitive challenge of shifting gears.
We headed north into Scotland relieved that the recent election had kept the UK intact.
During the next four days we met many friendly members of the Lancashire Automobile Club who made us feel welcome. The Tour route drove through some of the most beautiful country we have ever seen. The Isle of Skye was particularly stunning and included a walk to the Fairy Pools. We stayed at unique and charming hotels and enjoyed regional cuisine including haggis, black pudding and Cranachan. Tessa evolved from being a chronic back seat driver to a skilled navigator who took to the challenges like a pro. I really enjoyed the driving tests, happy to have not crashed the car while avoiding the pylons. We started to feel rather smug (as if we knew what we were doing) when strangers would speak admiringly of the(our) MGB.
The tour ended in great form with the Ceilidh in Dunkeld. Modeling a kilt in front of the group was educational and has made me rethink my wardrobe.
Our drive through Scotland left us with many great memories and we are very thankful to Paul and Lily for expanding our horizons and especially to Mike, Catherine and everybody involved in organizing the Highland Tour for their hard work, generosity and kindness.
Jeff and Tessa Thomas
What a difference a day makes! Wall to wall sunshine from start to finish on this now well established event, brought out the sun cream for those with soft tops, and quarter lights open for those in tin tops.
Starting again from the Art Deco Midland Hotel Morecambe, on the Lancashire Riviera, with distant views over the bay towards the Lake District hills, nearly seventy cars lined up for the ‘off’ on a super route eastwards, via all sorts of interesting features, including the two ‘Thankful Villages’ of Nether Kellet and Arkholme, thankful, because in the first world war, all the young men of those villages who enlisted returned home safely, no doubt a rare occurrence in those terrible times. Arkholme is a doubly thankful village, as all their young men returned from the second world war as well. It does make one reflect, and we do have a lot to be thankful to those young men for.
The Fat Lamb at Ravenstonedale again provided a pit stop, and route control, and a rare sight was all the ladies queuing for the loo!! There was only one, (see photo) whereas the boys had plenty to go at!! But standing room only! Thereafter village after village had decorated for the Tour de France which had passed through the area a week earlier, before taking to the high ground, still in the tyre tracks of the ‘Tour’ boys, it was hard work in a car, it must be difficult on a bike. However, even the Police in Leyburn had entered into the spirit of the French Invasion, with Tour shirts and bunting decorating the ‘Cop Shop’
Lunch at Akebar Park gave drivers and passengers the opportunity to get fed, and have a natter with old chums before the afternoon session. Less hilly than the morning, but taking in many new roads as the cars made their way to Scarborough, eventually reaching the ‘Coast’ at Sandsend, where the North Sea provided it’s Sea Fret bank of cloud, but it was offshore and didn’t get in the way. Passing through a busy Whitby to Scripps Garage at Goathland for another check point, after which it was a short drive to Dalby Forest, for a sedate meander through the trees, unlike the rally days of the past, where cars screamed through on unsurfaced roads
The final control and finish was at East Ayton Lodge Hotel where the Lady Mayor of Scarborough, Councillor Mrs. Pat Marsberg together with Mayoress Mrs. Hilary Groves welcomed all finishers and presented each with a finishers certificate and medal. Ladies Who Loo Award winners were, the Mayors award: Anthony Lund and Margaret Polley with an Austin A110, a car owned by Anthony for forty two years. The Presidents award went to Leslie and Jane Ellis, in their Morgan +8.
The event was sponsored by Bowker BMW and Mini, and club member Tony Wood, of Blue Butts Chequered Flag Classic and Specialist Cars, who also completed the event. As ever the unsung heroes of all motoring events are the marshals, and route organisers, without whom nothing would take place, our grateful thanks go to them.