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Helm TR6

Adam Porsche 911

Campbell Bristol

Bax Smart Raodster

sparten Lotus 7 cockpit

McGarrie BMW Z3

Hemingway MGB/GT

Roddie Main departs

Bartniczek 1998 Alfa Romeo Spider sets off

Maureen Spence sets off

Main Mercedes over moor

Mathewson Garage 

Classics at Mathewson

approaching Ribblehead

Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Dave's Dales Moors and Forest - 17 & 18 September    
Report  by Jim Paterson. Photos Mags Campbell Jim Paterson

Line-up growing at Gretna Green start

The crews lined up at Gretna Green Outlet Village to sign on, refresh themselves at Costa Coffee ready for the first day of some 195 miles into the North of England. Roddie Main in his 1995 Mercedes SL struggled as his softop would not open, which meant driver door unable to open. Many hands to the rescue finding a dodgy relay causing the problem. Once fixed top down to enjoy the sunshine.   

With the border only yards away they were soon in England and first town Longtown. Continuing south east the route crossed Hadrian's Wall toward Brampton and Lambley. Famous for the Lambley railway Viaduct, built in 1852 to carry Haltwhistle to Alston railway over the River South Tyne, hauling coal and lead from the Alston mines. The nine 17m wide arches were similar to the Ribblehead viaduct that we would see later on the tour.

Starters in the sunshine at Gretna
The route headed east through County Durham to Allendale Town where it turned south alongside the River East Allen through the valley. Continuing east and south we reached Staindrop with the medieval Raby Castle built in the 14th century not far off our route.

We still had a fair mileage to go, so the crews pressed on south toward Scotch Corner. Dating from Roman times where it formed an important junction between the easterly (now A1/A68 ) and westerly (A74) routes to Scotland. The roman settlement even had its own mint.
                                views on our route                               Bartniczek Alfa overtake

Refuelled and refreshed the route headed due east then south through the North Yorks Moor. We passed Rosedale and 'Chimney Bank Hill' which shares the title of steepest road in England (the other is Hardknott Pass in Cumbria which we climbed on our 2019 tour).

George & Elizabeth Ferguson
1978 Triumph Dolomite Sprint

Tom Rae in Lotus 7 ready for take-off

The pass has an average gradient of 13%, with a maximum gradient of 1 in 3 (about 33%) and climbs 568 feet (173 m) on its 0.81-mile (1.3 km) route. The local classic car club runs an event once a year, and featured in the 2010 Flying Scotsman Rally.  It is colloquially known by cyclists as The Chain Breaker.

The route headed east toward Pickering, our farthest easterly point. A short optional diversion to Thorton-le-Dale to visit Mathewson's Garage and Museum was included, having one of the best display of vintage and classic cars. Back on rally route we turned west toward Thirsk and the final leg to Harrogate, the overnight stop.

The crews that stayed at the Premier Inn Harrogate South were treated to an Italian meal, thanks to Roddie Main booking a big enough table. A great way to end a long day.

Day 2, Sunday 18th set off leaving Harrogate heading North West toward Pateley Bridge. Sheila Anderson, with Brian McGarrie in their BMW Z3 called me when they ran into the end of a long queue, possible traffic accident, on the approach to the town. Passed their call onto others to reroute around. Later crews found out it appeared to be an agricultural show in the town attracting more visitors than they bargained for!

This shorter route of 125 miles meant plenty of time to take in the sights, which included the famous Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle Railway, just over the border from Cumbria into North Yorkshire.

Similar to the Lambley viaduct, but on steroids, with 24 massive stone arches 104 feet (32 metres) above the moor. 

Reaching Hawes at the head of Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales, famous for its Wensleydale Cheese, before turning north west to Kirkby stephen, through Buttertubs Pass, claimed to be one of the best driving roads in the UK.

Our last leg of the tour continued north west toward Penrith, our final destination, where a warm welcome awaited the crews at Penrith Golf Club. A two course meal and a small trophy for each finisher completed our two day tour across Northern England.

This tour was in memory of and dedicated to David Spence ‘Dave’.  Dave was always keen to find new routes for our tours, design the road books and gazetteers. This was one of his final productions which we hope you enjoyed, as much as the club enjoyed making it happen.   

Published 26 September 2022