FEB BLOG

  Coniston ‘Cold’ Man

 This is a follow up to the previous ‘blog’, as things have progressed. Not only is the first tour of the year fully booked but the 2nd one is going the same way. I unfortunately had to turn away several prospective customers for the first tour simply because at least 2 hotels had no more rooms available, I normally book 10 rooms at this stage and hope I can fill them but on this occasion I have filled 12. It is a ‘catch 22’ situation knowing just how many rooms are going to be needed.

The same situation is developing with the 2nd tour, The Heart of England Tour. My initial 10 rooms are almost full but on this occasion I may be able to get more — if you let me know in time.

Up to now there is no problem on event no. 3, Peaks and Dales, but there are only 3 places left for Scotland, and the same situation applies there as at least one hotel has no more accommodation.

It is a difficult, but not too disappointing position to be in, but I never like turning away potential customers.

We made the trip to Gaydon for the HRCR Open Day, and I have got to say I was amazed at the number of people there. Well, at least upto lunch time, after that it thinned out dramatically and was deserted by 3pm. I was surprised though, that despite the amount of interest we got, I only met one CCT(MK) customer. I was there primarily to promote the Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club’s Little Devils Tour, but just happened to have my calendar printed on the back of the Devil’s flier! The second reason for the trip was that we intended to carry on from Gaydon and do the route notes for Cotswold to Coast. We managed upto coffee of the first day before we ran out of daylight, and with reports of extensive flooding further south and bad weather forecast for the week ahead, we decided to beat a hasty retreat home instead, That means we will have to go back to complete the route – probably on Race Retro weekend. These things just have to be done.

Grizedale revisited a month after the ‘BIG’ snow.
Glad I wasn’t in the Porsche then.

PS   Anyone fancy a trip to Monte Carlo in May.

 

I have entered the DÉJÀ VU MONTE tour again and the organisers have informed me there are still places available.

It is a non-competitive tour using most of the famous Monte Carlo Rally Stages, organised by the famous Irish rally co-driver, Beatty Crawford who now lives in France, so the entry is mainly made up of Irish crews, so the ‘craic’ is guaranteed to be good.

See; déjà vu motorsport.com for details.

 

 

 

 

JANUARY BLOG

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Well, things have got off to a good start – the first tour of 2024 , THE COTSWOLD TO COAST is now FULLY BOOKED! There is plenty of room on all the other tours so far but please let me know as soon as possible. The problem is not how many cars I want to take, it is how many bedrooms are available at all the different hotels. Also it seems this year hotels want money ‘up front’ to confirm bookings a lot earlier than previously, therefore I need to know numbers earlier.

The Road ahead 2024?

Apologies to anyone who has recently been trying to get information off the website, I am afraid a proposed update didn’t go according to plan. Technology!! I think everything is OK now – if it isn’t you won’t be reading this!

Just had my first run in the Porsche for ’24. Kirkstone Pass, Ullswater, Greystoke, Hartside, Eden Valley and Lune Gorge. (Little Devils Tour). Cracking day but 3 degrees C was a bit too cold to get top down, or even to get out to take photos.

Blencathra and Litle Mell Fell

Orton Scar

I will be at HRCR Open Day this Saturday representing KLMC and The Little Devils Tour, but I will be able to answer any questions about my tours  – and take bookings, if you are there.

DECEMBER BLOG

Merry Christmas
To all friends, and customers old and new and future.

(NOT GRIZEDALE)

 The 2024 Calendar and price list is now confirmed and the itineraries should be published on the appropriate page by now. Booking forms can also be taken from this website.

————

I am considering giving up motorsport after two disastrous outings. The first, The Lombard Bath Rally/Tour is recounted on the October ‘blog’ . The other was the Grizedale Forest Stages Rally.
I got coerced into marshaling on the Grizedale Stages rally – the organiser is a drinking friend in the local pub. It just happened to be the day we got all the freak snow in Cumbria. We were just doing the ‘IN’ control at midway service in a caravan park near the forest. Leisurely start at 9am, weather fine, un-eventful run into the lakes. The service area had a covering of snow when we got there but by the time the first car was due at 11, it had put down 6 inches, and was getting worse. The organisers had to abandon the event after just 2 stages as even the road sections were getting blocked.

What silly Asses going out in that weather.

We (Martin and myself) checked in the first dozen or so cars and then it became obvious they were all going to be out of time, if they could reach us at all. My ‘friend’ said we could stand down but nobody should attempt to leave the service area as the road was getting dangerous. All in all a total waste of time!

At about 3pm everyone started to leave regardless. It took us an hour to get to the main road as 50+ rally cars and vans with trailers etc attempted to make their way out on the now highly polished track, only to join the spectator traffic already on the main road at the bottom of a long hill. My ‘friend’ then told us we might get out but there was no point as the main Ambleside – Windermere road was blocked.

We did eventually get out with the help of a local farmer and his pick-up and a length of chain. (I was in the Scirocco – big wide tyres etc) We made it to Ambleside fairly easily but then joined a massive queue. The local radio kept issuing reports that the road was blocked all the way to Kendal, but the traffic seemed to be moving, even if it was literally 1 mph. We only got stuck once, mainly due to two ladies in front of us getting stuck, but after about an hour the snow plough/gritter came and we got going again.

The road from Windermere to Kendal had been cleared by the time we got there at midnight, but we were stuck in a continuous stream of traffic doing little more than 20mph even on the Kendal by-pass. Mind you it was still a bit tricky with a good covering of snow, so any faster would have been tempting fate.
We eventually got home at 2am – just a 12 hour journey, only to find a kind neighbour had parked in my space – so I had to abandon the car on double yellow lines for the night. Not that you could see them for the snow.
I haven’t seen my ‘friend’ yet!!

NOVEMBER BLOG

In an attempt to please some of the people some of the time, I have re-jigged the calendar a little and can now announce some actual dates. I have swapped the April and May tours around so that THE COTSWOLD TO COAST will now be run from April 14th to 18th. It will start from the Chesford Grange near Leamington Spa, (where we finished our first tour last year) on Sunday night for dinner. There will be an overnight stop on the way south and then two days near Bridport at the YPES MOUTH hotel. The route will finish in Bradford on Avon near Bath on Thursday 18th. i.e. 4 days. 5 nights.

As well as a change of date, the Heart of England Tour will be a day longer. Provisionally it will start in Crewe on the 5th of May before three nights at Fishmore Hall in Ludlow. The extra day will allow us to do a run south through Cheshire before using some familiar roads in Shropshire such as the Long Mynd – downhill, i.e. the drops on the driver’s side!

The Peaks and Dales Tour is also ‘sorted’, JUNE 16TH – 19TH, starting at Crewe again, but then 3 nights at the fabulous Gibbon Bridge Hotel with two days out in the Dales.

I am still working on the Scottish Tour in September. Provisional dates are below but it may depend on availability of hotels. I am considering shortening the route by one day (or two), once again this depends on hotel availability. However. The planned finish will be at Powfooot, as last year, as this is relatively near the M6 for the journey home. (A more interesting route through the Lakes can be provided). I will be working on this in the next couple of weeks, so – watch this space.

Full itineraries to follow.

Extra lights and still managed to go off. Long story!*

Our ‘end of term jolly’ to the Lombard Rally Bath turned out to be a total disaster. We came home early because we had only been booked into the hotel for one night and the hotel was fully booked for the next night. This and a few other problems, admittedly some of our own making, persuaded us to make the long journey back home without seeing much of the event *(We didn’t have an ‘off’ as such, just took a wrong turning and ended up stuck in mud!),  – but we had seen enough! Perhaps it was a hasty decision, but a seven hour journey down, no time for a meal and no food at the hotel, and the thought of a similar journey home, may have influenced the decision a little. The journey home was only six hours – but that is enough in a noisy rally car with unforgiving competition seats.

Getting too old? NAH! Just need some better seats.

****************

2024 CALENDAR

APRIL  14th -18th COTSWOLDS TO COAST

START NEAR STRATFORD UPON AVON, THROUGH COTSWOLDS TO DORSET AND DEVON COAST, RETURN VIA CHEDDAR GORGE.      

4 DAYS  5 NIGHTS. PRICE – £1699 per car

MAY 5TH – 8TH HEART OF ENGLAND

START AT CREWE, THROUGH CHESHIRE TO LUDLOW, WYE VALLEY, FOREST OF DEAN. IRONBRIDGE

3 DAYS – 4 NIGHTS  £1599 per car

JUNE 16TH – 19TH   PEAKS AND DALES

START CHESHIRE, CAT AND FIDDLE, SNAKE PASS, EDALE, SADDLEWORTH, TROUGH OF BOWLAND, BARBONDALE, DENTDALE, RIBBLEHEAD,  PENDLE HILL  3 DAYS 4 NIGHTS   £1599 per car

SEPTEMBER –  8TH-17TH SCOTLAND 2024
NINE DAYS EAST TO WEST TOUR OF SCOTLAND, STARTING NEAR KENDAL. BORDERS, FORTH BRIDGE, ST ANDREWS, GLEN COE, 3 NIGHTS ON THE ISLE OF MULL AND POSSIBLY ONE ON ARRAN.   

Price tba

SEPTEMBER 22TH  LITTLE DEVILS TOUR

IN ASSOCIATION WITH KIRKBY LONSDALE MOTOR CLUB, SPECTACULAR LAKELAND SCENERY AND SOME CLASSIC CROAD RALLY ROUTES IN CUMBRIA. NO UNMETALLED ROADS.

 PRICE  £65 per car – Accommodation NOT included.

OCTOBER –  13TH-16TH  DALES TO DURHAM

START NEAR KENDAL, THROUGH CUMBRIA TO THE DALES AND INTO BORDERS. 3 NIGHTS HEADLAM HALL

3 DAYS 4 NIGHTS  Price TBA

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER BLOG

‘Course it’ll fit!
HONEY FARM, CHAIN/UNION BRIDGE, BERWICK

After a busy few weeks it has all come to a rather anti-climatic end of season. The lack of adrenalin pumping through the system all of a sudden, perhaps contributed to a bout of ‘man flu’, which left me with no enthusiasm to write this blog. However, after a lot of sleep, and just the odd beer, I am starting to look forward to next year. The planning stage is always the fun part for me. Making it all work can be a bit stressful at times.

Anyway, the last two events of 2023 went off very well. The Isle of Man was blessed with mainly good weather and there were enough small changes on the Island to make for an interesting tour. Hassles with delayed ferries and road closures near the hotel almost got things off to a bad start. Not to mention overbooked trams up Snaefell, but everything was resolved in the end. The hotel and particularly the service, was excellent, as was the new Isle of Man Motor Museum. You could have another day there and still find it interesting.

Good taste!

The Dales, Borders and Northumberland Tour (I must find a shorter name next year), went off really well despite mixed weather. There were some days when it was quite cloudy and some heavy showers but most of the fantastic scenery was visible and the great driving roads would be good in any weather. The two hotels proved to be superb and definitely worth a repeat visit. Headlam Hall had a lovely comfortable country house feel while the Schloss Roxburghe was much more modern in its atmosphere but still to an impressive standard.

The only downside was the number of participants. Entrants fell by the wayside at an alarming rate before and during the event. It couldn’t be helped and were all illness related, so nothing could be done. However, because so few people eventually got to do the event I think we should do it again next year – with a few ‘tweaks’ here and there as you would expect.

In between these two CCT(MK) events I also ran the Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club’s Little Devils Tour. This was a great success and ran in much better weather than last year. There were 30 entries including everything from a Triumph Spitfire and a Rover P4 to a McLaren. The only problem is – how do I follow that next year. (One crew said; “Just do the same again, we will be back.”)

I have one more event this year. I am taking part in The Lombard RAC Rally Bath at the end of the month. A non- competitive event which uses old RAC Rally stages. I will be doing that in the Escort, it hasn’t been out much this year. Then I can start firming up the Calendar for 2024. It will probably much as suggested in the last blog except that the proposed Circuit of Cumbria will probably be replaced by the DALES TO DURHAM (I knew I could think of a shorter name) i.e. basically the event we have just done, but perhaps with a start in Kendal so that we can incorporate some of the proposed Cumbria route.

**************** 

PROVISIONAL 2024 CALENDAR

Actual dates will be confirmed as soon as possible
when I have had time to consult and research hotels.

APRIL  HEART OF ENGLAND                       2 days – 3 nights

Based in Ludlow, Wye Valley, Forest of Dean. Ironbridge

MAY  –   COTSWOLDS TO COAST                5 nights

Start near Stratford Upon Avon, through Cotswolds to Dorset and Devon coast, return via Cheddar Gorge.      

JUNE  PEAKS AND DALES                           4 nights

Start Cheshire, Cat and Fiddle, Snake Pass, Edale, Saddleworth, Trough of Bowland, Barbondale, Dentdale, Ribblehead, Pendle Hill                 

SEPTEMBER –  SCOTLAND 2024
Ten days East to West tour of Scotland, starting and finishing near Kendal. Three nights on the Isle of Mull and possibly one on Arran.

OCTOBER –   DALES TO DURHAM                5 nights

Start near Kendal, through Cumbria to the Dales and into Borders. Three nights Headlam Hall.

AUGUST BLOG

A KIRK ‘A’ ROAD

We (Chip and myself) had a cracking couple of days ‘route noting’ in Nothumberland and Durham. The weather was great and the scenery spectacular, and we found some new ‘Kirk Roads’. We also visited both hotels used on the Autumn Tour – fabulous! If anybody is disappointed with them I will definitely retire! We also found a spectacular new lunch venue for one day. They are not normally open in October but are considering opening especially for us – watch this space.

It is all go now for the Isle of Man as we sail a week today. We did a quick, one day, recce last week (or the week before – it is all a blur!) and can confirm that nothing has changed much since our last visit 8 years ago. One thing that has changed and it was fortunate that we ‘sussed it out’, was the Manx Motor Museum. It is actually rather confusing as there is the long established TRANSPORT Museum in Jurby, which only opens at the weekend, so no good for us. However, on the other side of the road is a brand new (well to me) ISLE OF MAN MOTOR MUSEUM. This is a much bigger affair with a much more varied range of exhibits. The old museum was mainly buses. Sadly, Jurby Junk, which was next door has now gone. The lady owner decided the rental costs for the site were exorbitant, so she sold up. So you won’t be able to buy a plastic windmill or 1990 T.T. poster, etc.

The Old Man of the Sea??

 

You will see further down I have re-jigged the proposed Calendar for 2024. I decided that even using the quietest Kirk Roads, Cumbria might be better in October. Also I have added a little ‘taster’ event in April, probably based at Fishmore Hall, but going a little further south than we have done in the past – one day – and a little further north the next day. This means we can do Cotswold to Coast in May which might be a little better weather for the seaside.

Escort seeing red! Westmorland to Wolds Tour

 THE LITTLE DEVILS TOUR
Sunday, September 17th

 Following the success of last year’s Little Devils Tour, Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club will be running a repeat event on SUNDAY, September 17th, 2023. The format will be the same as last year, with a Tulip Roadbook, some manned passage checks and code boards to collect on the way round. This is just for fun and there are no awards for staying on the advised route. There will be awards for all finishers and others at the organisers discretion.

Starting at the Crooklands Hotel, the route will once again include some classic road rally sections followed by a scenic detour into lesser known parts of the Lake District and a run back to the Crooklands via more old road rally routes. (There will be no loose surfaced or un-metalled roads.)

APPROX. 150 MILES  –  ENTRY FEE £65   See  ralliesinfo.com or e-mail;

mikekirkrallying@aol.com

Coffee at start and mid morning, light lunch and tea at the finish included.

Accommodation not included.

****************

PROVISIONAL 2024 CALENDAR

APRIL  HEART OF ENGLAND

BASED IN LUDLOW, WYE VALLEY, FOREST OF DEAN. IRONBRIDGE

2 DAYS – 3 NIGHTS

MAY  –   COTSWOLD TO COAST

START NEAR STRATFORD UPON AVON, THROUGH COTSWOLDS TO DORSET AND DEVON COAST, RETURN VIA CHEDDAR GORGE.      

 5 NIGHTS. PRICE – TBA

JUNE   PEAKS AND DALES

START CHESHIRE, CAT AND FIDDLE, SNAKE PASS, EDALE, SADDLEWORTH, TROUGH OF BOWLAND, BARBONDALE, DENTDALE, RIBBLEHEAD,  PENDLE HILL                              4 NIGHTS

SEPTEMBER –  SCOTLAND 2024
TEN DAYS EAST TO WEST TOUR OF SCOTLAND, STARTING AND FINISHING NEAR KENDAL. 3 NIGHTS ON THE ISLE OF MULL AND POSSIBLY ONE ON ARRAN.

OCTOBER –   CIRCUIT OF CUMBRIA

START NEAR KENDAL, ANTI CLOCKWISE CIRCUIT OF THE OLD COUNTY OF CUMBRIA WITH ONE NIGHT POSSIBLY ON SOLWAY COAST AND RETURN TO KENDAL AVOIDING THE ‘HONEY POTS’ BUT TAKING IN SOME LESSER KNOWN AREAS WITH SPECTACULAR VIEWS.

4 NIGHTS

www.cctmk.co.uk
mikekirkrallying@aol.com

The Phantom Castle – it was there, just hidden in the fog!

PROPOSED ITINERARY FOR SCOTLAND 2024

Start at the VILLA, Kendal.

DAY ONE

Kendal – Lythe Valley, Kirkstone Pass, Caldbeck, Solway Firth, Gretna Kielder Forest, O/N near Kelso.

DAY TWO

Scott’s View, Lauder, Lamermuir Hills, Edinburgh Ring Road, Forth Bridge, O/N Shores of Firth of Forth.

DAY THREE

St Andrews, Tay Bridge, Blairgowrie, Glen Shee, Braemar, O/N near Aboyne.

DAY FOUR

The bits we couldn’t see in ’23. Cairn ‘O Mount, Glen Clova, Pitlochry, Queens View, Glen Lyon, O/N Glen Coe.

DAY FIVE

Ballachulish, Lochinver, Ferry to Tobermory. O/N Isle of Mull.

DAY SIX

Free day, possibly boat trip to Staffa/Iona.

DAY SEVEN

Tour of Mull – drive right round the island.

DAY EIGHT

Ferry from to Oban and Mull of Kintyre. Ferry to Arran. Overnight Arran.

DAY NINE

Drive round Arran to ferry to Ardrosan, Ayr, Carsphairn Forest, Dumfries, O/N Powfoot.

DAY TEN

Gretna, Iron Bridge, Talkin Tarn, Eden Valley O/N The VILLA

DATES AND PRICES LATER

 

JULY BLOG

THE LITTLE DEVILS TOUR
Sunday, September 17th

Following the success of last year’s Little Devils Tour, Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club will be running a repeat event on SUNDAY, September 17th, 2023. The format will be the same as last year, with a Tulip Roadbook, some manned passage checks and code boards to collect on the way round. This is just for fun and there are no awards for staying on the advised route. There will be awards for all finishers and others at the organisers discretion.

Starting at the Crooklands Hotel, the route will once again include some classic road rally sections followed by a scenic detour into lesser known parts of the Lake District and a run back to the Crooklands via more old road rally routes. (There will be no loose surfaced or un-metalled roads.)

APPROX. 150 MILES  –  ENTRY FEE £65   See  rallies.info or e-mail;mikekirkrallying@aol.com

Coffee at start and mid morning, light lunch and tea at the finish included.

Accommodation not included.

DEVREGS

After the bad weather in Scotland it was a relief to have bright sunshine for most of the Westmorland-Wolds Tour, which showed off the varied scenery to its best. In Scotland we had a phantom castle. In Westmorland we had a phantom road closure! Several people followed diversion signs which had been left on the roadside from  previous road works. Unfortunately it was a long un-necessary detour. On this occasion it should have been; “if in doubt, keep going”. Luckily most people found their way back on route in time for the coffee stop at Simonstone Hall overlooking Wensleydale at the foot of the Buttertubs Pass.

The following day’s coffee stop was easier to find even if the route went through the interestingly named ‘Great Fryup and Little Fryup’ Dales. The final day’s coffee stop was no less intriguing as it was at a Buddhist Retreat! After all this it was all just scenery! The Dales, The Moors and the Wolds all provide completely different vistas, and add in The North York’s Moors Railway, Whitby Abbey and Castle Howard there was something for everybody. Despite the good weather and fabulous scenery I didn’t seem to find time to get any good photos.

Great Fryup Dale

Time has flown since I got home and I have been kept busy with a stand at our local ‘Star’s the Car’ Show, recce-ing the mainland bit of the Isle of Man Tour, planning The Little Devils Tour, and thinking about next year – already. I actually cancelled my planned trip to Germany as I felt it was all getting a little hectic and my time was probably spent better at home. Next year!?

As for the cars, I took the Escort to Yorkshire and thoroughly enjoyed driving it even if it is a culture shock after doing so many miles in the Porsche. I am afraid the Alpine still hasn’t got past several days of ‘giving it a good looking at’.

It will be back one day!

PROVISIONAL 2024 CALENDAR

APRIL   –   COTSWOLD TO COAST

Start near Stratford upon Avon, through Costswolds to Dorset and Devon Coast, return via Cheddar Gorge

5 NIGHTS. PRICE – TBA

MAY  –   CIRCUIT OF CUMBRIA

Start near Kendal, anti-clockwise circuit of the old County of Cumbria with one night possibly on Solway Coast and return to Kendal avoiding the ‘honey pots’ but taking in some lesser known areas with spectacular views.

4 NIGHTS

JUNE/JULY/AUGUST  –  TBD

Maybe just recce-ing for the future????

SEPTEMBER –  SCOTLAND 2024
Ten days East to West Tour of Scotland, starting and finishing near Kendal. Three nights on the Isle of Mull and possibly one on Arran.

OCTOBER – PEAKS AND DALES

Start Cheshire, Cat and Fiddle, Smake Pass, Edale, Saddleworth, Trough of Bowland, Barbondale, Dentdale, Ribblehead & Pendle Hill

4 NIGHTS

The Phantom Castle – it was there, just hidden in the fog!

PROPOSED ITINERARY FOR SCOTLAND 2024

Start at the VILLA, Kendal.

DAY ONE

Kendal – Lythe Valley, Kirkstone Pass, Caldbeck, Solway Firth, Gretna Kielder Forest, O/N near Kelso.

DAY TWO

Scott’s View, Lauder, Lamermuir Hills, Edinburgh Ring Road, Forth Bridge, O/N Shores of Firth of Forth.

DAY THREE

St Andrews, Tay Bridge, Blairgowrie, Glen Shee, Braemar, O/N near Aboyne.

DAY FOUR

The bits we couldn’t see in ’23. Cairn ‘O Mount, Glen Clova, Pitlochry, Queens View, Glen Lyon, O/N Glen Coe.

DAY FIVE

Ballachulish, Lochinver, Ferry to Tobermory. O/N Isle of Mull.

DAY SIX

Free day, possibly boat trip to Staffa/Iona.

DAY SEVEN

Tour of Mull – drive right round the island.

DAY EIGHT

Ferry from to Oban and Mull of Kintyre. Ferry to Arran. Overnight Arran.

DAY NINE

Drive round Arran to ferry to Ardrosan, Ayr, Carsphairn Forest, Dumfries, O/N Powfoot.

DAY TEN

Gretna, Iron Bridge, Talkin Tarn, Eden Valley O/N The VILLA

DATES AND PRICES LATER

JUNE BLOG

I have just returned from 10 days in France taking part in the ‘DÉJÀ VU MONTE TOUR’. A non-competitive event run on 14 Monte Carlo Rally Stages, organised by an Irishman, and with an entry made up of mainly Irish drivers.

As you can imagine the social side of things was pretty good! But the scenery and the roads were incredible. Unfortunately I didn’t get too many photos of the roads because I was too busy driving them. Some of the passes were awesome in the dry, but I now have profound admiration for the WRC drivers who do them flat out in the snow and ice.

A couple of beauties. And a spectator!          

Head in the clouds.

I have got to say though, the French have absolutely ruined the experience of driving on their roads, with multi variable speed limits, cameras everywhere and worst of all vicious speed bumps every few hundred yards through every village, When you get a rural road passing through almost continual built up areas it is a real pain, especially in something like the Boxster. I had to zig-zag over the worst of the bumps to avoid damaging the spoiler (not to mention the suspension) and was actually overtaken mid bump by an impatient local. The three day journey home in scorching heat was also a little hard work – but an incredible experience, definitely an adventure. I don’t think it would make a good tour for us though. 250 miles over mountain roads in one day was perhaps a little much, although some of the best roads (which I didn’t get photos of), might be worth including in any future Alps Tour.

Back to business, I do have one place left on the upcoming Windermere- Wolds Tour, and perhaps 2 for the Isle of Man. And 2 -3 for the Autumn Dales, Borders, Northumberland Tour. I am currently looking at a slightly different itinerary for that last tour. The routes won’t be too different but there might be a new hotel for the final 2 nights and an extra night at the first one – availability permitting. More later.

SEPTEMBER  3-7th     ISLE OF MAN

Ferry from Heysham. Overnight stay at THE VILLA and short morning route to Heysham. One day touring island, one driving TT Course and take train up Snaefell.  Free day to take steam train to south of island. Visit Jurby motor museum. Return ferry to Liverpool.  4 nights. Including ferries – £1999 (including ONE NIGHT AT THE VILLA)  Nearly full.

THE LITTLE DEVILS TOUR –  SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17TH

PLEASE NOTE – CHANGE OF DATE TO SUNDAY

A one day run around the Western Dales using classic roads such as Killington, Barbondale, Sunbiggin Tarn, and some new scenic routes in the North Lakes.

£60 per car, includes, coffee at start, lunch and tea and cakes at the finish.

Start and finish at the Crooklands Hotel.

ACCOMMODATION NOT INCLUDED

OCTOBER 1-5th     DALES AND BORDERS/NORTHUMBERLAND

Start from a new hotel in Durham. Northern Pennines, Langley Castle, Derwent Reservoir, Carter Bar, then another new hotel in the Borders. Scot’s View, Jim Clark museum. Floors Castle, Kielder Water and Forest

 5 nights.  £1949 per car.  4 Places Left

MAY BLOG

The Phantom Castle – it was there, just hidden in the fog!

We will just have to do it again! Unfortunately the Scottish Tour in May was blighted by some bad weather. There were a couple of days when visibility was so bad you could hardly see the car in front, never mind the scenery. This just happened to be on the days when we were exploring new territory in fantastic scenery which no one got to see. Therefore we will just have to do it again! See itinerary for 2024 Scotland.

The views you could see.

The mist lifted in time for lunch at Glen Clova.

On the up-side, al the hotels proved to be well upto standard as was the food. Some hotels had smallish rooms – but then you are in the wilds of Scotland and boutique 5-star hotels are few and far between. In general though the ‘craic’ was good but there is room for ‘development’ next year.


The sun came out eventually.

Depending on personal commitments it may be September before I can run a Scottish tour next year – and as a result the proposed Eifel Tour may be put back to 2025, although I hope to get out there later this year.

PROPOSED ITINERARY FOR SCOTLAND 2024
Start at the VILLA, Kendal.

DAY ONE
Kendal – Lythe Valley, Kirkstone Pass, Caldbeck, Solway Firth, Gretna Kielder Forest, O/N near Kelso.

DAY TWO
Scott’s View, Lauder, Lamermuir Hills,Edinburgh Ring Road, Forth Bridge, O/N Shores of Firth of Forth.

DAY THREE
St Andrews, Tay Bridge, Blairgowrie, Glen Shee, Braemar, O/N near Aboyne.

DAY FOUR
The bits we couldn’t see in ’23. Cairn ‘O Mount, Glen Clova, Pitlochry, Queens View, Glen Lyon, O/N Glen Coe.

DAY FIVE
Ballachulish, Lochinver, Ferry to Tobermory. O/N Isle of Mull.

DAY SIX
Free day, possibly boat trip to Staffa/Iona.

DAY SEVEN
Tour of Mull – drive right round the island.

DAY EIGHT
Ferry from to Oban and Mull of Kintyre. Ferry to Arran. Overnight Arran.

DAY NINE
Drive round Arran to ferry to Ardrosan, Ayr, Carsphairn Forest, Dumfries, O/N Powfoot.

DAY TEN
Gretna, Talkin Tarn, Eden Valley O/N The VILLA

DATES AND PRICES LATER

APRIL BLOG

Well that is the first tour of the year successfully completed. The South Wales and Shropshire Tour was blessed with fantastic weather for the first two days in spectacular scenery. The run north was a little damp but the final day around Snowdonia was largely sunshine and blue skies – except for a big shower just as we walked around the fabulous Port Meirion. It was good to see some new customers as well as the regulars and some different cars.

The only downside was the journey home. Good Friday on the M6 is not good. It took us 2 hours in stop go traffic to do what should have taken less than half that. But, we were home in time for tea (late lunch).

Now it is a mad dash to get up to Scotland to complete the route notes before next month, as we were never able to get the far northern bit done because of the weather.

Then it is the actual tour, then the Westmorland to Wolds Tour (still several places available), then off to Germany to recce the route for next year’s proposed ARDENNES and EIFEL Tour. Our trip just happens to co-incide with the Eifel Rally Festival.

I also had a little run out locally and bumped into the Kirkby Stephen Classic Vehicle run purely by chance.

Somehow in amongst all this I managed to fit in a competitive event in the Escort. The car went brilliantly after many months just sitting in the garage. The same cannot be said about the crew. More than 12 months lay-off from competition did nothing for our performance. It was a case of. “I am not sure if I enjoyed that – or it was it just a culture shock!”.  I hope to have another go later in the year if I can find something that doesn’t clash with my tours.

Talking of which, most tours are now filling up. There are still places on the Westmorland to Wolds and the Dales and Borders, but the Isle of Man is nearly full.

2023 CALENDAR

JULY  2-6th WESTMORLAND TO WOLDS

Similar to last years Wolds to Windermere but with some different routes in the Dales and Moors. Buttertubs, Masham, Sutton Bank, Rosedale Chimney, Blakey Ridge, Robin Hoods Bay.  Start Crooklands, 2 nights at Grinkle Park, 2 nights Cave Castle    5 nights  £1599  3 Places Left

SEPTEMBER  3-7th     ISLE OF MAN

Ferry from Heysham. Overnight stay at THE VILLA and short morning route to Heysham. One day touring island, one driving TT Course and take train up Snaefell.  Free day to take steam train to south of island. Visit Jurby motor museum. Return ferry to Liverpool.  4 nights. Including ferries – £1999 (including ONE NIGHT AT THE VILLA)  Nearly full.

OCTOBER 1-5th     DALES AND BORDERS/NORTHUMBERLAND

Start from a new hotel in Durham. Northern Pennines, Langley Castle, Derwent Reservoir, Carter Bar, then another new hotel in the Borders. Scot’s View, Jim Clark museum. Floors Castle, Kielder Water and Forest

5 nights.  £1949 per car.  4 Places Left

THE LITTLE DEVILS TOUR –  SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17th

A one day run around the Western Dales using classic roads such as Barbondale, Sunbiggin Tarn, Shap. Killington and some new scenic routes in the North Lakes.

2024

May. tbc

CLASSIC TOUR OF MULL

 

Start in Lake District, South West Scotland, 2 nights on the
Isle of Arran, 3 nights on the Isle of Mull (Iona and Staffa)
return via Glen Coe and the Trossachs.
Finish back in the Lakes.     10 nights.

September tbc

ARDENNES AND EIFEL TOUR

The best of Belgium! The Ardennes, SPA, Bastogne (Battle of the Bulge), Waterloo and Luxenbourg, the TECHNIK MUSEUM SPEYR, (where you can walk on the wing of a Jumbo jet – not while it is flying!) and the Eifel Mountains,

9 nights £2999  NOT including ferry or tunnel. Detailed itinerary available on request.

MARCH BLOG

We had fantastic weather for our first recce of ’23, The South Wales and Shropshire Tour. A bit of fog and frost most mornings but then clear blue skies. The route noting went well and the scenery was impressive. However, being early February some venues were not open, but more problematic was that some may never open again! Therefore we have had to re-think the itineraries for some days, details below. Also the run up from Ludlow to Conwy in its original form was going to be almost 200 miles – a little too much! Consequently we have had to cut a few loops out and make it as direct as possible, but I don’t think it will disappoint. On top of these problems we encountered an abandoned articulated lorry blocking the road. He had apparently attempted to climb the hairpin bends of ‘The Devils Staircase’ – and failed! The truck had then run back into the crash barrier and there was no way past. The driver was no where to be seen – probably looking for another job. Unfortunately this all means we will have to make another trip just to finalise some of the rest halts and as a result the road book will need some adjustments. The joys of organising – but hopefully it will make it more enjoyable for those taking part. The trouble I go to…….

AMENDED ITINERARIES

MONDAY   The  basic route is as advertised.

COMFORT BREAK       Farm Shop

COFFEE                         Brecon Mountain Railway

LUNCH                          Brecon Mountain Visitor Centre

TEA                              Kington

TUESDAY   The route is as advertised.

COFFEE                         Builth Wells *

LUNCH                          Near Builth Wells

TEA                              *

WEDNESDAY      As advertised but missing the loop around Elan Valley (saves 17 miles!) and route around Lyn Celyn near Bala, (saves approx 10 miles.)

COFFEE                         Metropole Hotel LLandrindod Wells

LUNCH                          National Park Craft Centre near Machynleth

TEA                              Bala

THURSDAY            All as advertised.

* To be finalised on next visit.

As stated last month, the first two tours are now FULL! There is plenty of room on all the others but if you are thinking about any of the remaining tours, please let me know as soon as possible.

The morning route before crossing to the Isle of Man will probably be via the Trough of Bowland to Gibbon Bridge for coffee/brunch and then back via Oakenclough Fell and the Morecambe by-pass to the ferry.

On the car front, not much news. Fingers crossed all are going well. The Scirocco having clocked up another 1000 miles on the Welsh recce returned in ’50 shades of grey’ –coated with salt. It took an afternoon to get it back to something like blue again. After all that effort I don’t want to go out and get it dirty again, but no doubt ‘duty will call’, sooner rather than later. On the rallying front I hope to do something in the Escort this year but can’t find anything that doesn’t clash with my events. I am committed to doing a rally/tour in the Porsche in June – the Déjà vu Monte Carlo. It starts in central France and finishes with lunch in Monte Carlo, going via many classic Monte Carlo Rally Stages. So – there might just be the basis of a future tour…………

2023 CALENDAR

APRIL  2nd -6th  SOUTH WALES AND SHROPSHIRE (and SNOWDON)

3 nights at Fishmore Hall , 2 nights in Conwy 5nights.  £1899  per car. Nearly full!

There may be a couple of places left, especially if you only want to do the final day (or two) – price to be confirmed!

MAY    4-13th   SCOTLAND E-W 500

As planned for 2022. Borders, Forth Bridge, Grampians, 3 nights at Coul House.

See current website itinerary for more details. 10 nights £3250 per car    Provisionally full.

JULY  2-6th WINDERMERE TO WOLDS

Some of this years Wolds to Windermere reversed, but some different routes in the Dales and Moors. Buttertubs, Masham, Sutton Bank, Rosedale Chimney, Blakey Ridge, Robin Hoods Bay.  Start Crooklands, 2 nights at Grinkle Park, 2 nights Cave Castle    5 nights  £1599  5 Places Left

SEPTEMBER  3-7th  ISLE OF MAN

Ferry from Heysham. Overnight stay at THE VILLA and short morning route to Heysham. One day touring island, one driving TT Course and take train up Snaefell.  Free day to take steam train to south of island. Visit Jurby motor museum. Return ferry to Liverpool.  4 nights. Including ferries – £1999 (including ONE NIGHT AT THE VILLA)  3 Places Left

OCTOBER 1-5th     DALES AND BORDERS/NORTHUMBERLAND

Start from a new hotel in Durham. Northern Pennines, Langley Castle, Derwent Reservoir, Carter Bar, then another new hotel in the Borders. Scot’s View, Jim Clark museum. Floors Castle, Kielder Water and Forest

 5 nights.  £1949 per car.  4 Places Left

THE LITTLE DEVILS TOUR –  SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17TH

A one day run around the Western Dales using classic roads such as Barbondale, The Coal Road, Semer Water, Oxnop Scar, Sunbiggin, Fairmile, and Fox’s Pulpit.

Possibly a day in the Lakes on Saturday if anyone is interested.

2024

May. tbc

CLASSIC TOUR OF MULL

Start in Lake District, South West Scotland, 2 nights on the Isle of Arran, 3 nights on the Isle of Mull (Iona and Staffa) return via Glen Coe and the Trossachs. Finish back in the Lakes.     10 nights.

September tbc

ARDENNES AND EIFEL TOUR

The best of Belgium! The Ardennes, SPA, Bastogne (Battle of the Bulge), Waterloo and Luxenbourg, the TECHNIK MUSEUM SPEYR, (where you can walk on the wing of a Jumbo jet – not while it is flying!) and the Eifel Mountains,

9 nights £2999  NOT including ferry or tunnel. Detailed itinerary available on request.

FEBLOG 2023

No snow on the Monte!?  Plenty at Devils Beeftub on Scottish recce.

After much searching and re-searching, I have finally found a hotel for the finish of the Scottish Tour this May. The Powfoot Hotel is a little off the beaten track but is situated in a beautiful location on the northern shores of the Solway Firth, with fantastic views across the water to the Lake District Hills. It will make the final day a little longer than intended, although I may be able to ‘prune’ a bit off the morning route to compensate. However it is only a few miles from the M6 and Carlisle for the start of the journey home.

2023 CALENDAR

APRIL  2nd -6th  SOUTH WALES AND SHROPSHIRE (and SNOWDON)

Similar to last year reversed, BUT, a lot of new routes.

3 nights at Fishmore Hall with daily routes to; the Elan Valley, Eppynt Ranges, Brecon Beacons , Devils Staircase, Hellfire Pass, Port Merion. Return run to Conwy and a day in Snowdonia  5nights.  £1899  per car. Nearly full!

There may be a couple of places left, especially if you only want to do the final day (or two) – price to be confirmed!

MAY    4-13th   SCOTLAND E-W 500

As planned for 2022. Borders, Forth Bridge, Grampians, 3 nights at Coul House.

See current website itinerary for more details. Maybe an extra night to break journey home.  10 nights £3250 per car    Provisionally full.

JULY  2-6th WINDERMERE TO WOLDS

Some of this years Wolds to Windermere reversed, but some different routes in the Dales and Moors. Buttertubs, Masham, Sutton Bank, Rosedale Chimney, Blakey Ridge, Robin Hoods Bay.  Start Crooklands, 2 nights at Grinkle Park, 2 nights Cave Castle    5 nights  £1599  5 Places Left

SEPTEMBER  3-7th       ISLE OF MAN

Ferry from Heysham. Overnight stay at THE VILLA and short morning route to Heysham. One day touring island, one driving TT Course and take train up Snaefell.  Free day to take steam train to south of island. Visit Jurby motor museum. Return ferry to Liverpool.  4 nights. Including ferries – £1999 (including ONE NIGHT AT THE VILLA)  3 Places Left

OCTOBER 1-5th     DALES AND BORDERS/NORTHUMBERLAND

Start from a new hotel in Durham. Northern Pennines, Langley Castle, Derwent Reservoir, Carter Bar, then another new hotel in the Borders. Scot’s View, Jim Clark museum. Floors Castle, Kielder Water and Forest

 5 nights.  £1949 per car.  4 Places Left

THE LITTLE DEVILS TOUR –  SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17TH

A one day run around the Western Dales using classic roads such as Barbondale, The Coal Road, Semer Water, Oxnop Scar, Sunbiggin, Fairmile, and Fox’s Pulpit.

Possibly a day in the Lakes on Saturday if anyone is interested.

2024

May. tbc

CLASSIC TOUR OF MULL

Start in Lake District, South West Scotland, 2 nights on the Isle of Arran, 3 nights on the Isle of Mull (Iona and Staffa) return via Glen Coe and the Trossachs. Finish back in the Lakes.     10 nights.

September tbc

ARDENNES AND EIFEL TOUR

The best of Belgium! The Ardennes, SPA, Bastogne (Battle of the Bulge), Waterloo and Luxenbourg, the TECHNIK MUSEUM SPEYR, (where you can walk on the wing of a Jumbo jet – not while it is flying!) and the Eifel Mountains,

9 nights £2999  NOT including ferry or tunnel. Detailed itinerary available on request.

JANUARY BLOG 2023

A HAPPY TOURING NEW YEAR

Apologies to those who didn’t get Christmas cards this year. I ran out of cards and stamps and then the postal strike started so I didn’t think it was worth bothering after that. But, all the Best Wishes to Customers, past, present and future!

Before Christmas I hadn’t  been out for over a week with the atrocious weather and state of the roads. I didn’t have a beer in all that time!! But should be able to make up for it now the rain has cleared the roads. Oh dear, that means getting wet walking to the pub – but better than last time I went, when it was minus 4! (It is 1 ¼ miles each way and after that I decided I was getting too old to enjoy it. – the walk, not the beer!)

BRRRR!

I did spend an entertaining day marshalling on the local Grizedale Stages Rally where the start proceedings were accompanied by a very energetic steel band. The first time I have heard the sound of rally cars drowned out by something noisier. I’m not sure what the residents of Coniston thought?

N.B. Just a couple of important notes after the previous ‘blog’.
You will see that the price for the Isle of Man Tour has gone up £100 but this includes one night at the VILLA Hotel near Kendal before we sail. The hotel obviously costs more than £100 but I think I have got a better deal on the ferries than I first thought, so I can pass this on by offsetting some of the extra night’s cost.

The SCOTTISH TOUR is now FULL! That is if everybody who has expressed an interest confirms their booking.

The same applies to the first tour of the year, The South Wales and Shropshire Tour, although I may have one place left – if you are quick.

Thinking ahead, I have some plans for 2024.

I thought another visit to the beautiful Isle of Mull was long overdue, and if I can find time this year, and circumstances allow me to get across the Channel to do a recce, I hope to run the Ardennes and Eifel Tour as planned pre-covid, but with a little extra in Germany to visit the fabulous Technik Museum Speyer.

2023 CALENDAR

APRIL  2nd -6th  SOUTH WALES AND SHROPSHIRE (and SNOWDON)

Similar to last year reversed, BUT, a lot of new routes.

3 nights at Fishmore Hall with daily routes to; the Elan Valley, Eppynt Ranges, Brecon Beacons , Devils Staircase, Hellfire Pass, Port Merion. Return run to Conwy and a day in Snowdonia  5nights.  £1899  per car. Nearly full!

MAY    4-13th   SCOTLAND E-W 500

As planned for 2022. Borders, Forth Bridge, Grampians, 3 nights at Coul House.

See current website itinerary for more details. Maybe an extra night to break journey home.  10 nights £3250 per car    Provisionally full.

JULY  2-6th WINDERMERE TO WOLDS

Some of this years Wolds to Windermere reversed, but some different routes in the Dales and Moors. Buttertubs, Masham, Sutton Bank, Rosedale Chimney, Blakey Ridge, Robin Hoods Bay.  Start Crooklands, 2 nights at Grinkle Park, 2 nights Cave Castle    5 nights  £1599

SEPTEMBER  3-7th ISLE OF MAN

Ferry from Heysham. Overnight stay at THE VILLA and short morning route to Heysham. One day touring island, one driving TT Course and take train up Snaefell.  Free day to take steam train to south of island. Visit Jurby motor museum. Return ferry to Liverpool.  4 nights. Including ferries – £1999 (including ONE NIGHT AT THE VILLA)

OCTOBER 1-5th     DALES AND BORDERS/NORTHUMBERLAND

Start from a new hotel in Durham. Northern Pennines, Langley Castle, Derwent Reservoir, Carter Bar, then another new hotel in the Borders. Scot’s View, Jim Clark museum. Floors Castle, Kielder Water and Forest

 5 nights.  £1949 per car.

THE LITTLE DEVILS TOUR –  SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17TH

A one day run around the Western Dales using classic roads such as Barbondale, The Coal Road, Semer Water, Oxnop Scar, Sunbiggin, Fairmile, and Fox’s Pulpit.

Possibly a day in the Lakes on Saturday if anyone is interested.

2024

May. tbc

CLASSIC TOUR OF MULL

Start in Lake District, South West Scotland, 2 nights on the Isle of Arran, 3 nights on the Isle of Mull (Iona and Staffa) return via Glen Coe and the Trossachs. Finish back in the Lakes.     10 nights.

September tbc

ARDENNES AND EIFEL TOUR

The best of Belgium! The Ardennes, SPA, Bastogne (Battle of the Bulge), Waterloo and Luxenbourg, the TECHNIK MUSEUM SPEYR, (where you can walk on the wing of a Jumbo jet – not while it is flying!) and the Eifel Mountains,

9 nights £2999  NOT including ferry or tunnel. Detailed itinerary available on request.

 

December Blog

 

The sun sets on 2022
Planning for 2023 well under way

 

Hardly finished the last tour before I thought I had better get some plans firmed up for 2023. The calendar is now set firm as below (except for any un-expected circumstances). Despite all the gloom and doom about recession etc. I have managed to keep prices similar to last year. However I would appreciate it if you plan to do any tours to let me know as soon as possible (not necessarily with deposits), but some hotels will be asking for deposits from me before long, so I need a pretty good idea of numbers. There has been an encouraging amount of interest in Scotland and the Isle of Man. Scotland in particular is potentially into double figures already.

You will see below I have got a provisional price for the Isle of Man as the ferries are offering a special ‘five day’ rate which I think we qualify for. Also I have managed to book the same hotel outside Douglas that we used about ten years ago. I have also found a new hotel for the outward run to Scotland and a different one to break the journey home on the way back. Full details of itineraries and hotels will be on the website as soon as I get time to type them all up.

Autumn colours lingering on.

 

2023 CALENDAR

APRIL  2nd -6th  SOUTH WALES AND SHROPSHIRE (and SNOWDON)  £1899  per car

Similar to last year reversed, BUT, a lot of new routes.

3 nights at Fishmore Hall with daily routes to; the Elan Valley, Eppynt Ranges, Brecon Beacons , Devils Staircase, Hellfire Pass, Port Merion. Return run to Conwy and a day in Snowdonia  5nights.

MAY    4-13th   SCOTLAND E-W 500      10 nights £3250 per car

As planned for 2022. Borders, Forth Bridge, Grampians, 3 nights at Coul House.

See current website itinerary for more details. Maybe an extra night to break journey home. 

JULY  2-6th WINDERMERE TO WOLDS  5 nights  £1599 per car

Some of this years Wolds to Windermere reversed, but some different routes in the Dales and Moors. Buttertubs, Masham, Sutton Bank, Rosedale Chimney, Blakey Ridge, Robin Hoods Bay.  Start Crooklands, 2 nights at Grinkle Park, 2 nights Cave Castle   

SEPTEMBER  3-7th       ISLE OF MAN   4 nights. AND ferries. = £1899 per car

Ferry from Heysham. Possibly overnight stay at Gibbon Bridge and short morning route to Heysham. One day touring island, one driving TT Course and take train up Snaefell.  Free day to take steam train to south of island. Visit Jurby motor museum. Return ferry to Liverpool. 

OCTOBER 1-5th     DALES AND BORDERS/NORTHUMBERLAND    5 nights.  £1949 per car.

Start from a new hotel in Durham. Northern Pennines, Langley Castle, Derwent Reservoir, Carter Bar, then another new hotel in the Borders. Scot’s View, Jim Clark museum. Floors Castle, Kielder Water and Forest.

Stop Press    Stop Press    Srop Press   Stop Press

Stuff the Turkey

THURSDAY DECEMBER 29th


START AND FINISH, PUNCH BOWL, BARROWS GREEN, KENDAL

11.30AM

ENTRY FEE  £15 per car includes coffee and mince pies.

CRYPTIC AND ‘OBSERVATIONAL’ CLUES

 40 MILE SCENIC ROUTE

BAR MEALS AVAILABLE FROM 5PM BUT MUST BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE

PRIZES FOR CLASSIC AND/OR ‘TOPLESS’ CARS

N.B. TO BOOK AN ENTRY PHONE OR TEXT, MIKE KIRK  

07795204533  BEFORE SATURDAY 24TH    e.mail – mikekirkrallying@aol.com

 

THE LITTLE DEVILS TOUR –  SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17TH

A one day run around the Western Dales using classic roads such as Barbondale, The Coal Road, Semer Water, Oxnop Scar, Sunbiggin, Fairmile, and Fox’s Pulpit.

Possibly a day in the Lakes on Saturday if anyone is interested.

Proposal for 2024

May   CLASSIC TOUR OF MULL

Start in Lake District, South West Scotland, 2 nights on the Isle of Arran, 3 nights on the Isle of Mull (Iona and Staffa) return via Glen Coe and the Trossachs. Finish back in the Lakes.     10 nights.

 

November Blog

                              

CCT(MK) –The tours that reach the parts that others don’t.

PHEW! That was a busy end to the season with two events within seven days. The Circuit of Cumbria finished on Wednesday evening and the Little Devils Tour started on Saturday morning. The only thing that made it slightly easier was that they shared similar routes so the Road Books weren’t too different. This also made life a little easier when the dreaded “route barree” reared its ugly head. Several road closures caused me great concern in the week before the first tour.

The Kirkstone Pass which was a key part of both routes was closed in several places at different times as part of a major resurfacing project due to last to April next year. Any detour was going to be a major disruption for my routes. Fortunately even though the county council website was of no help at all I found a local Parish Council website that declared that the road would be open throughout the school holidays. Luckily both events fell within this period, but just to re-assure everyone, and account for our presence on the road should we be stopped, I printed off the relevant document stating the above.

The road out of Lowther Castle was also closed immediately prior to the events and I could find no information as to when it would be open, and therefore did a last minute re-route. This wasn’t too difficult as there were several options but it did mean we missed a ‘tea break/comfort stop’,(although it did lead to a new stop at the Westmorland Hotel/Tebay Services) and ironically I think the road was open on the day. Oh the joys of organising!

While we had ‘Cumbrian weather’ for the CoC, (a bit of everything) it was just downright wet for the ‘Little Devils’, which spoiled some of the views but the fantastic Autumn colours somewhat made up for it. Unfortunately I never got many photographs and even though I went around some of the route the following week the colours were past their best.

One added little problem on the Cumbria Tour was the viaduct at Eskmeals. The road passes under the railway viaduct right on the edge of the River Esk, and at high tide it can be flooded quite deeply. I had done my home work though and found that high tide was at 12pm, mid-day, and as we weren’t due there until 1.30 I gambled that the level would have gone down sufficiently for us to get through. Unfortunately, recent heavy rain had filled the river which was met by strong winds, which backed the tide up under the bridge. The problem was not the depth of water, but the fact that you couldn’t see how far it extended around the corner, and with it being flat salt marsh there was nothing to mark the edge of the road, so there was nothing to it but to turn round. Luckily I had prepared a diversionary route just in case, and although some people were very late for tea (couldn’t resist stopping at the pub despite the delay!) most found their way around.

It is always and adventure on a CCT(MK) tour.

I told you it would be dry!

I have been researching plans for next year and can give some more details below. Some dates and itineraries still depend on hotel availability which I will be looking into in the next week or so.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER BLOG

BUSY! BUSY! BUSY! Somehow I never found time for a September blog. I have been rather busy recently, with the Welsh High Roads Tour just completed, but two more events in quick succession. As well as my final event of the year, The Circuit of Cumbria, I have also got myself involved with the Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club, Little Devils Tour the following weekend. However if that wasn’t enough I have had to get Road Books completed for both tours by the end of this week as my printer (person not machine!) won’t be available immediately prior to the Cumbria Tour, and there are only a couple of days after that before the KLMC Tour.

Back to Back Morgans at the fabulous Welsh Language Centre

The LITTLE DEVILS TOUR is on Saturday October 29th and actually shares some route with the Circuit of Cumbria but the first half is all on classic rally roads. If you are interested you can enter on-line via KLMC website, or just contact me A.S.A.P.

Or see the link at the bottom of last months blog.

Saints not Devils in Wales.

I have also started firming up plans for next year and have already booked Coul House at Inverness for the SCOT E-W 250 TOUR. The three nights at Coul House are May 9-11th so I have got to fit the rest of the event around those dates. Probably 4-12th if I can make the proposed 2022 itinerary work with the available hotels. If you are interested, make a note of those dates and let me know as soon as possible.

The rest of the 2023 calendar is still just in the proposed stage. As well as Fishmore Hall in Ludlow, we found another very nice hotel at Conwy (Conwy Quays) for the Welsh High Roads Tour. It may just have to be included in something next year. We may also make a return to the Crooklands Hotel now it is under new management, for some events, although the Villa is probably preferable for multiple nights.

AUGUST BLOG

Soup, Sandwiches, trains, paddling and a Beach Party!

Whilst we have had soup and sandwich lunches many times on past tours, they maybe weren’t quite as varied as the several we had on the DUBLIN-DONEGAL TOUR, which ranged from your average ‘soup and sarnie’ to the five star version at the Lough Eske Castle Hotel. The Fintown narrow gauge railway in the middle of nowhere provided an unusual coffee stop and the beach party was definitely a ‘first’ as we took advantage of some free wine on the beautiful sandy beach near the Downings Hotel. And yes, I and several others ventured into the sea for a paddle. Or in the case of those who had come prepared, a swim.

The whole tour was blessed with superb weather and the stunning scenery was looking its best. The group had unfortunately been ‘whittled down’ to just six cars due to last minute cancellations but it made for a very friendly atmosphere throughout. Whilst some of the main holiday venues were very busy the roads in general were very quiet and made for almost idyllic driving conditions.

Dear Mike, Thank you for organising a superb Ireland tour. All your hard work putting it on was greatly appreciated.  It is said ” See Naples and die”  I would say join a Classic Car Tours MK to Ireland and be amazed at the landscape and enjoy the genuine Irish hospitality.

The beach party was a 1st. Thanks to you Mike we experienced a really superb Ireland Tour.

2 very appreciative Kirk followers

Ray and Ruth.

After a successful Wolds –Windermere Tour we did another tour in the Porsche, Spadeadam Car Club’s 3 Counties Tour, through the Borders, Kielder Forest and Hadrian’s Wall. An eclectic mix of 18 cars and (drivers) including a ‘mint’ Escort Mexico and a fabulous Morris 1000 Traveller.

We followed the ‘Moggi’ for a while, and we quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn’t entirely standard. Apart from going indecently well it just looked squat on the road with no rolling in the corners. We had a closer look at the coffee stop and the 1800 badge gave some clue as to the performance, but we were totally taken by surprise when the owner opened the bonnet to reveal an 1800 Mazda MX5 unit very neatly installed, if taking up a little more room than the original A series engine. An anti roll bar at the front and complete rear Mazda sub-frame accounted for the sporty stance. The whole thing was completed with some beautiful hand crafted upholstery on the Mazda seats. Perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea but it was an amazing creation which from a distance just looked like a very nice original ‘Moggi Thou’. It obviously wasn’t to everyone’s taste as it was beaten to the Concours award by the equally immaculate, but more original, Mexico.

This weekend has been a ‘double header’ with Barbon Hillclimb and The Car’s the Satr Show, and then it is off recce-ing the Welsh High Roads Tour – heat waive permitting! The tour itself has filled up a little since the last blog, but there are now a couple of places left for Ireland due to cancellations. If anyone is interested I will need to know in the next few days.

These recces are very taxing you know!
(Circuit of Cumbria)

JUNE BLOG 2

It has been a very busy couple of weeks! Good job I am feeling fitter, not quite 100% perfect – there again, I never was perfect!!

I have just returned from a very successful recce trip for the Dublin – Donegal Tour in August. Most things went according to plan but we had howling gales every day. Fortunately the visibility was still good, and I was happy with the route except for one part near the end which was a little bit too much like MAMOFA, so we cut that bit out and found a very nice (expensive!) hotel for lunch, and the rest of the day will be ‘free’ to explore Donegal town.

We did also find a very nice little Kirk Road with steep forested hill sides on one side and a deep valley on the other. Unfortunately, it took several attempts to find the entrance to the road as it was hidden round the corner of a building, and then after waiting for the local farmer to move his sheep (“They may look cute but they are b…y little devils!” –  his comment), we continued for about 2 miles only to find that within about a mile of the next main road it turned into a rough forest track. Irish maps are not quite as good as O.S. maps! After about 50yds we decided ‘no way’. Frustrating, but a little too rough even for a Kirk Road, we had to turn round and go all the way back. We could only wonder what the farmer thought we were doing as he never said anything to put us off. The detour was far less interesting.

The only other slight problem was that we missed the ferry home. We were delayed at the final hotel which is just around the bay from the port, but the traffic in between was horrendous, compounded by every traffic light at red, two level crossings, both with trains, and a completely new road layout in the docks, still under construction, all of which took us far longer to negotiate than we thought. We just missed the check in time although the boat hadn’t actually sailed, but the young lad on the desk appeared to be new to the job and got a little flustered. Fortunately he was able to get us on the next ferry which was only ¾ hour later and was already boarding. The only downside was that it was a ‘slow ferry’ and got us into Holyhead about 1 ½ hours behind our original schedule. The upside was there wasn’t much traffic at that time of evening so we were back in Kendal by 9pm. (NO we didn’t go to the pub! The Guinness had been excellent all week so we didn’t feel the need when we got home.)

I will send out another Bulletin to participants later.

Only 4 days later I was off up to Gretna Green to take part in the Wigton Motor Club Firth to Forth Tour. It turned out to be an excellent event cutting right across the Borders to Dunbar where we stayed the night. I think there may even have been a few roads I didn’t know, but it included all the ‘classics’; Devil’s Beef Tub, Talla Reservoir, St Mary’s Loch, Scott’s View and lunch at Abbotsford and a stop at the new Jim Clark museum in Duns. (If you have been to The Jim Clark Rooms in the past the new museum is still worth a visit. It has been completely refurbished and has room for a couple cars, although I was disappointed the Lotus Cortina wasn’t there. There is an entry fee of £5 now where before it was free, but by today’s standards that is very cheap.) We also drove some of the Jim Clark Rally stages including the Langton Ford.

The following day we visited the Jackie Stewart Classic at Thirlstaine Castle on the way home, Fantastic event and very, very busy, but not too big a queue to get in. The show area was massive and the main castle drive was being used as a Goodwood style sprint. There was an amazing number and mixture of cars on display and some hadn’t arrived as the main show was the following day.

The absolute highlight of the day was a demonstration run by a Red Bull F1 car up, and down!, the ‘hill’. The noise was terrific. I thought it must have been an old V10 car it screamed so loudly, and the anonymous driver was not holding back, even getting a bit sideways between the barriers on the track, which was no wider than Barbon. The car was ‘serviced’ in a open sided gazebo in front of the castle so you could get up fairly close and there was a display board which explained it was a 2012 V8 car as driven by Weber and Vettel in the past. Brilliant!

There was also a display of Stewart’s Matra F1 cars, one of which he took for a run down the track – not quite so exuberantly as the Red Bull driver. Well, we think it was him in person because he had the appropriate crash helmet and got a round of applause when he finished, but we weren’t quite close enough to see for sure.

Another enjoyable run through the Borders got us home tired but happy. A real ‘classic weekend’ in the Porsche. I had thought about taking the Alpine but it needed too much doing and in retrospect I think on those Borders roads the Porsche was the ideal car – BUT, be warned, every village in Scotland now has a 20mph limit!!

I now just have a lot of paperwork to do before the Wolds to Windermere and the Dublin-Donegal Road Book to type up, get the Alpine sorted, have a stand at our local motor show, and do some more recces. My ‘holiday’ to Germany has been called off because we all have too many other things to do – but next year…..

JUNE BLOG

I recently took part in the Morecambe Car Club Platinum Tour. It was a pleasant co-incidence that it was the car clubs platinum jubilee as well as the Queens!

It was a ‘Who’s Who’ of North West rallying. Many past Illuminations Rally winners were on the list and this was the theme for the day, with a route that could have been used on a ‘Lumies’ in the past, or a CCT(MK) Tour. It took in places like Gummers How, Crook O’Lune Bridge (the very narrow one), Fairmile, Sunbiggin Tarn, Tan Hill and Barbondale.

 A good day out with excellent ‘craic’. An immaculate Escort had a sticker proclaiming allegiance to “Geriatric Rallying” (The older we get, the faster we were) and looking around the finish I couldn’t help think that most of the entry qualified – fortunately some people had brought daughters, grand daughters and girlfriends to help bring the average age of participants down to about 60!

The icing on the cake for me was when I stopped for petrol and a very nice young blonde lady came upto me and said “Awesome car – really Mega” (The RS). She then continued; “I have some classic cars myself, a Mini Clubman – a couple of Jaguars – and two Renault Alpines”. Two Renault Alpines! I was so taken aback I forgot to say, “ I have an Alpine (Sunbeam) ”, Never mind ask her where she was from.

I did have a vague hope of doing the event in the Alpine but although it started first turn of the key after standing for 12 months (and after some attention to the electrics!) there were too many other niggles to sort out in time. Maybe it will be ready for the last day of the Wolds to Windermere Tour, if I can find the time between recce-ing Ireland, doing a Wigton Motor Club Tour (in the Porsche) and getting all my paperwork done. Haven’t time to be ill anymore!