Lancashire Automobile Club Ltd
Drive it Day 2017
St Georges Day Run 23rd May
It might be worth first giving a little explanation of what Drive it Day is all about. The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) decided many years ago that the profile of classic vehicles (in the widest sense) should be raised with the British public and our political masters.
In truth the importance, and shear value, of the classic car industry is worth tens if not hundreds of millions of pounds to the British economy. So whilst the FBHVC lobbied both Parliament and Brussels on our behalf members of the federation have done their bit organising events on the annual Drive it Day.
The Lancashire Automobile Club has been a member of the FBHVC for many years and organises a very successful run every year taking in the abundance of fine driving roads in Lancashire. The event is a Touring Assembly and as such is untimed with no awrds. We have seen routes starting in the Whalley Blackburn area taking in roads to the west, north, and east. This year we decided to go south for a change.
Almost 80 vintage and classic cars entered the event which was supported by Blue Butts Classic Cars, Hagerty Motor Insurance and Bowker BMW and Mini. Each entrant received a traditional Rally Plate, tulip style Route Book and a Route Information book. The latter containing snippets of information about the places the cars passed through on their 100mile journey.
We were blessed with great weather the whole day, not something we were expecting given the previous weekends washout!
The route started from Blackburn Northern Sports Club, with a bacon bap, and looped north towards Hurst Green then northeast over Pendle and on to Colne. We then went into ‘new’ territory through Trawden and south over Widdop Moor before turning west to a coffee/lunch halt at the Duke of Wellington on the Grane Road.
After a brief halt the route went south then west to Belmont and into the Anglezarke complex before turning north to Top Lock, and Brindle to return to the start where a light buffet awaited them. There was a collection for the young Formula 4 driver who was seriously injured at Donnington Park recently and the entrants gave generously. The Club will top up the collection to a nice round figure – many thanks to all who contributed.
Thanks must go to all the marshals who helped under the direction of our Clerk of Course, Anthony Taylor, the sandwich makes, Eileen and Carolyn, and of course all the entrants who brought their magnificent vehicles for all to enjoy.
If anyone wants to see, or purchase more photographs from the event simply go to Brian Taylors site White Dog Photography www.whitedogphotography.co.uk and simply click on this link then select 2017 motorsport galleries to see all the pictures (by the way if you look on 2016 motorsport galleries there are pictures from our 2016 events).
To get the pictures simply follow the directions at the bottom of the first web page. Brian doesn’t personally charge but asks that you donate an amount you feel appropriate to Cancer Research UK. You don’t just get your pictures you are helping the fight against Cancer.
You then contact Brian direct with the picture numbers you require and he gives you a link to the files at full resolution.
Getting in Touch with your Wild Side
All pictures and maps are on the picture gallery for the event.
The Highland 3 Day Classic Tour has been held virtually every year for the last 20 years and I have to say that it strikes me, from all the comments, cheers, laughter and ‘rib digging’ that has gone on over the last few days, that 2016 has been the best one yet. There are many people better qualified than me to confirm that, as we were ‘newbie’s’ completing this event for the first time. It has to be said that the support and guidance we received from many of the ‘old hands’ present was fantastic. So, a great big thank you from us, to all of you for making this Tour an amazing experience.
Clearly, this is one of those events where once you have done it….you are hooked and want to come back for more! (We were registered for next year’s event before we had even finished this one)!
There were 18 cars registered for this tour, they included everything from Alfa to Volvo including, BMW, Rolls Royce, Audi, Mercedes, mini, Jaguar, on to Porsche, MGs and Healey,not to mention a daffodil and a luminous lime green Fiesta driven by Mike (the tour organiser) don’t ask!
Whilst I must confess the event does require a ‘modicum’ of stamina due to early starts and challenging drives, it was overall a fantastic tour to be part of with even a little bit of time to visit the Highland Stone Pottery shop (thanks Kirsteen). Mike and the team’s organising skills are second to none. Marvellous hotels, excellent food stops, challenging road events and the all round good fun was wholly down to the organisation and huge efforts made by the organisers. I know we are not the only ones who want to say ‘Thank you’ to everyone of them (Mike, Catherine, Owen, Tracy, John and David)
As I have already said, there was some serious driving to be had on this Tour, with an excess of a 150 miles covered on each day.
The roads and views were amazing. Yes, we did stop to take photographs, how could we not, with views like this. We were not the only ones to take photos, thanks to Owen for this brilliant shot taken on Day 1. I must confess, that I was so busy concentrating on Tulips I couldn’t always appreciate the views (mind you there were one or two who travelled so fast they didn’t even see Scotland! Not that any speed limits were broken, of course)
Stuart did all the driving in our 50 year old Daimler V8 and it is fair to say he was more than pleased with her performance. He says, “The old girl was well behaved and the car was even better” (Thanks for that!). We did lose a wiper arm in high winds on Day 3 but that was much preferred to Mike’s Healy which was taken home on a low loader after losing the clutch on the Hill Climb, hence the lime green Fiesta for the rest of the tour!
Day 2: As you can see from the map, day 2 took us high up in to the Scottish highlands where the population is about as sparse as waitresses at the Jury hotel in Inverness. A short navigation event preceded the longest journey of the event. The east to west cross-country drive was mainly a single-track affair but the further west we travelled, the better the scenery seemed to get. The approach to Lochinver was absolutely stunning with mountain formations looking more like Sugar Loaf in Brazil without blue sky of course.
The Inver Lodge Hotel is a true diamond in this part of the world with a top draw lunch provided in very comfortable surroundings overlooking the bay. After lunch we made our way down towards Ullapool with scenery looking more and more like the set from a Hobbit movie.
Now, some of the regulars to this event had baulked at the idea of going to Scotland without visiting Applecross, so Mike dutifully added in an optional leg for Day 2. Not easy to judge how long this would take but as some found out, it was a long haul and with most of it covered in cloud. Some about turned and headed back without taking in a tea or coffee from the busiest pub in Applecross. For those that made it, the rewards were indeed a nice cup of coffee and the dubious prospect of having to re-traverse the cloud covered hairpins of Applecross where lampless cyclist’s believe in their divine safety along with a few day-trippers. The return back to the Jury Hotel in Inverness was a little testing at times with Google suggesting an 8hour 40min drive without including the daily navigation event!
Day 3 followed the line of the Great Glenn. The weather remained kind to us and only short, hard bursts of rain occurred to challenge the one wiper Daimler.
Now for some of the ‘fun events’. As already alluded to, amongst all the fabulous driving was a daily Navigation task set by John Hartley. I am not saying we had a lot to learn but…it can be disconcerting to find you are the only vehicle travelling North on a single track road amongst another 17 travelling South! Not to mention finding out that what you thought was a perfect, first time navigation test run, actually had 10 miles of road and track missed out!
At this point, we really must thank Andrew Ogden for his patience and knowledge, providing lessons to several new members on how to map and then traverse the navigation routes. It also helped greatly when we found out what Via and Boogie Boards are along with ‘spot heights’! Thanks to you John and David, we definitely got better as the days went on.
Day 0 (Thursday) included The Forrestburn Sprint and Hill Climb Test curtesy of the MSCC (where Mike lost his clutch!) and Day 1 at the Grampian Transport Museum at Alford. We had never participated in one of these before and neither had Janet and Steve. This event showed them in their true colours (competitive speed freaks). Janet positively threw her car around the bends, screeched to a halt on the stop lines and roared off to get the Trophy! (sadly, she did not get a real trophy (there are no prizes for winning) so this photo will more than make up for it! (one for the album Janet!)
The competitions are all just part of the fun. Not wanting to show off (but going to anyway) we managed to win one event as well…….It matters not that it was the silly hat competition, we still won one event on the Tour and no one can take that away from us!
All in all the Highland Tour has been a superb experience; I really cannot praise the whole event enough. We have made some fabulous new friends that I know we will keep in touch with. I think most of us will be back again next year and we will certainly be bringing other people that we know that will enjoy and add to the event.
If you are one of those who has never participated do put it on your ‘to do’ list, I promise….you will not regret it!
Lynda and Stuart (fondly known as George) Mason
Colin and Dawn Hare
The dates for 2017 are Wednesday 20th September if you want overnight accommodation at Hetland Hall near Dumfrise Day 0 starts on Thursday morning first car off 09:00 heading up to Helensbourugh on Thursday 21st for the start of the 3 day tour on the Friday 22nd up to Dundonnel for two nights Friday and Saturday then back to Helensborough for the 24th Sunday evening then home on Monday to recover.
More details will be posted on www.highlandtour.com in December.
You Know you should come! Mike
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