|People & Places Run 2016|
In terms of organisation, locations visited and great company, our 2016 People & Places run can only be described as triumph. Congratulations and thanks must go to Ade and Val for the incredible amount of detailed work they put into it and their efforts paid off big time. Even the weather stayed fine for us.
Organising a run needs the same elements as a good book – an enticing introduction, a great plot and an engaging and varied list of characters. The run’s introduction was on Saturday night to meet and greet entrants from other clubs and areas.
It was great to see so many TVMGOC members turning up and I think we really did give our guests a warm and enthusiastic greeting. For me the packed room exemplified what being a member of a car club means. Yes it’s about MGs, but more than that it’s about renewing old friendships and forging new ones with people who have common interests. I think it’s safe to say everyone had a great time and the evening really set the scene for the following day. So there we had our list of characters.
Now for the plot, and just as an MG shouldn’t be purple neither will be my prose. It was a fine morning as we all arrived in Plympton to collect our awesome collection of
registration items. Finla coffee provided bacon butties and with six serving staff in what is just a small cafe, their quick and pleasant service really showed they were well prepared for their customers. If only some other establishments would take note! I can imagine us starting more runs from here.
The 50 cars looked magnificent and on the dot of 9am we started off. Almost immediately it looked like Ade and Val had designed a route to take us to an Oriental Rug Sale. Bright yellow signs to the sale coincided with our route plan as both directed us up onto the moor.
At Cadover Bridge I had been detailed to take some photos. Jan held a sign saying ‘Slow down and smile’. Most did but some drivers’ idea of slow differs from mine! Following other MGs, at one point an unusual single-seat MGMF crossed the bridge. (it was a Massey Ferguson tractor you idiot! ed.).
Eventually as the last car passed Jan and I leapt into our MGA and followed. On the
descent into Meavy we were halted by a Belted Galloway calf
standing in the middle of the road. A staring match ensued between me and the calf and neither was going to back down.
Eager to continue on our route I slowly eased past the stubborn animal who continued to stand her ground. Medium rare I thought, but this was no time for daydreaming about steak - the route and a sign to the Oriental Rug Sale beckoned us ever onwards.
High moors and stunning views followed. The sun gave way to cloud as we climbed making Dartmoor Prison look typically gloomy. Time for a quick chat and a loo break at the Postbridge checkpoint before the next section took us towards Moretonhampstead and past two of the region’s finest hotels, Bovey Castle and Gidleigh Park. Overnighting and dinners are very expensive here but afternoon teas are a terrific and relatively
The sun came out again as we skirted round the northern edge of Dartmoor and a group of cyclists lunching outside a pub in Sticklepath gave us all a big thumbs up. All along the way we were met by the smiling faces of many onlookers.
I was a bit confused in Okehampton when we turned away from the direction of the
Oriental Rug Sale to pass the castle. I thought Ade knew our car needs some new
Roadford Lake was our very pleasant lunch destination. Some crews picnicked by the cars and some ate in the cafe overlooking the vast expanse of water. The views are lovely and many took a brief walk to see the amazing Diamond Jubilee sundial. Everyone commented on what a great time they were having and the atmosphere was decidedly jovial. Several people came to talk to us, having driven over after seeing the article in the Herald (it’s on our Facebook page). I gave them a club flyer and they are potential new members, along with another couple from earlier in the day.
At 2 pm Chairman Alan was looking at his watch and began to wave us off with his union flag, all at one-minute intervals for the second part of the narrative. Before lunch it had mostly been a fastish B-road route but now we entered numerous narrow green lanes. With passing places well-spaced out we gradually caught up the cars in front. Convoys are best avoided of course, as they can block roads and annoy the locals. In Chillaton we got stuck behind a slow-moving haystack and at one point a Land Rover drove straight into a hedge just to let us all past!
Soon we crossed the Tamar into Cornwall and as we climbed Kit Hill it was the first
opportunity for me to shout “I see the sea!” The distant panoramic views from here are spectacular. At Gunnislake we crossed back into Devon (our fourth crossing of the Tamar) drawing ever closer to the long-promised Oriental Rug Sale. This was now Francis Drake country and Ade and Val had provided some biographical notes in the route plan.
Eventually we all arrived safely back at the Moorland Links Hotel for a welcome cream tea and more camaraderie on shared tables. Certificates were awarded to Robin Plumley for the largest group entry from Southampton & New Forest MGOC (11 cars). Penny & Antony Reading were awarded a certificate for the furthest travelled entrants (243 miles). Last, but not least, Ade and Val were well and truly thanked for a thoroughly enjoyable day out. The rapturous applause said it all and I truly believe everyone was sad it was all over.
Afterwards I had a long chat with Penny about car clubs and social media. We agreed that although the words “social media”, “Facebook” strike fear in the hearts of many club members, being active on the internet in this way is vital to the future of the classic car movement. Consequently, I make no apology that a very large number of photos of the P&P run are now on our new Facebook page for anyone to download and print if they so wish. Search in Facebook for Tamar Valley MG Owners Club and there are instructions explaining what to do.
Our day out raised over £1000 to be shared between the Devon Air Ambulance Trust and the Cornwall Air Ambulance. Well done all!
Now, which way to the rug sale? The MGA would look nice with a bit of Persian carpet inside.
From Mount Edgecumbe to Morval 2016
For many of our members, a visit to Mount Edgecumbe Classic Car Show is often viewed with a sense of ambivalence. On the plus side, and on a fine day, it is an excellent venue, bounded by the River Tamar and scenic Plymouth Sound. 10 acres of prestigious classic cars, picturesque leafy lanes of stalls, live music, entertainment and unusually delicious oriental food outlets*, all contribute towards a memorable day out. (Tip of the day - check your change if you use*!)
However, a less attractive aspect can be the effort to get there. If not forced to brave the ‘rat run’ chaos at Millbrook, a stunning alternative coastal route via the Rame Peninsula is available, enjoying a breath-taking sea panorama, before looking forward to at least a half an hour of patient, nervous, overheated queuing in order to get on to the field. The same applies at the end of the day, when contemplating the journey home. A Le Mans start is recommended at 1530 to beat the rush.
On arrival at the MG stand, Paddie and I found Noel and Kate irritated by a swarm of bikers intent on a take-over bid. Meanwhile Sally and Keith turned up and parked alongside us. They let slip that it was Sally’s birthday and set off to beat the bounds of the beautiful Edgecumbe estate with a picnic. (Oh, what it is to be young!) They were not seen for several hours! We were visited by some past and present members of the Club, either arriving in their everyday car or more adventurously, via the Cremyl Ferry from Stonehouse.
There's no doubt that there has been a subtle change of emphasis over the years amongst the cars on show, in favour of modern muscle-bound beasts. I counted no less than 17 Subaru Impresas, all with bonnets up, revealing what looked like expensive Christmas decorations rather than recognisable internal combustion engines. However, if footballers’ Bentleys, 4.2 litre XK Jaguars, Aston Martins and the odd Roller are your bag, they are there a plenty amongst the 500 or so, more modest offerings. I was particularly taken by a Willies Jeep sporting no less than 3 general purpose machine guns; definitely a case of over-kill. Even the Desert Rats could hardly have afforded such armour!
By comparison, the homespun delights of the Morval Steam Rally, is much more favoured. 8 Club cars entered in convoy on the bank holiday Monday, whilst a further 8 made their way home from a very successful weekend away in South Wales. This was Morval’s 40th anniversary year, and is very much our personal, ‘local’ favourite, Paddie and I having been to 14 of them. Again, the venue is stunning; a south facing field taking in the panorama of Looe Bay and the sea beyond. Yet another beautiful sunny day ensured far more entries than usual. There was much to see and do, without the intimidation of the event being too vast. Interesting local commercials, the ubiquitous fleet of tractors, pipe organs, Irish music, Guinness, proper Cornish food (including Lama burgers), and the comforting put-putting of stationary engines edging the field, made for a village fete
Morval also provides an impressive display ring, where classic cars are invited to parade, driving in opposite concentric circles; dangerous, but great fun. The expression on our honorary 2 year old grandson’s face, Wilson, said it all, whilst our
mascot, Tamar Bobby, tried to leg it through the rear window of the Magnette. Even Alan Short had a bucket list wish granted when he was allowed to drive a classic Massey
Ferguson tractor for the first time.
The organisers have managed to donate over £202,000 to local charities from their profits over the years. Our stalwart members hung on to the bitter end to receive substantial commemorative brass plaques, a practice now dropped by most classic meetings throughout the West Country, except Morval. However, we learned, sadly, the farmer finally wants his field back, but we live in hopes of a suitable replacement venue for next year.