DERBYSHIRE DALES DRIVE : 1 JUNE 2013
Saturday 1st June 2013 dawned as a bright and sunny day, ideally suited to the inaugural scenic tour, run by the Midlands branch of the HRCR and organised by John Taylor and Peter Haynes.
The Donington Collection Museum was the comfortable start to proceedings, where the signing-on took place, followed by an English breakfast which set the tone of the day.
Twenty seven cars lined up to be sent off at one minute intervals from 10.00am. The route lead us away from the noise of the East Midlands Airport and the Aston Martins practising around the Donington Circuit, on through the South Derbyshire villages of Kings Newton, Melbourne, Ingleby, Repton and Willington up to the junction with the A38/A50. Next it was past the Toyota factory and through the village of Burnaston, which used to be the home of the first Derby Airport.
A steady route began to emerge which was easily followed in the excellent road book provided. Passing the Kedleston Park and Mercaston areas saw the cars gradually climbing into the Lower Peak before coming to the old lead mining area of Idridgehay. A diversion sign, backed up by a local who indicated the road ahead was closed, certainly caught out one of the crews! The smell of coffee just up the road at Wirksworth led us to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. During this mid morning break, HRCR Secretary Tony Barron and his wife (who were out in their Tiger) and two other well dressed chaps took their coffees and enjoyed a ten minute ride on the train up to Middle Peak (something that John cannot take credit for!).
Suitably refreshed, a loop round Middleton, with some great views over Wirksworth on the way, brought us into the lovely Via Gellia before moving up to a little village called Ible and on to Grange Mill. Past the village of Winster, which was the epicentre of a massive earth tremor back in the 1950’s, and around the village of Alport meant we were at the top of the route, so it could be all downhill from here! The scenery on such a lovely day was, as you would expect in Derbyshire, wonderful. It wasn’t long before the cars were moving down through Elton and the Longcliffe quarries, where most of the limestone for the roads of this country come from. Finally through Brassington and into the lunch halt at Carsington Water, an attractive venue with many activities, where a lot of crews made use of the weather, setting up their picnics overlooking the reservoir.
It was hard work for the crews to pull themselves away from such an idyllic spot to start the third and final leg of the route which quickly took them out towards Bradbourne, down past the ford at Tissington (why not through it, John?) meeting the A515 at Fenny Bentley. The route didn’t quite make the village of Thorpe but turned right up a gated road over Thorpe Pasture where we were greeted by the season’s new lambs and the stunning view.
Having worked our way through the delightful village of Milldale and crossing over the River Dove, it was then down the opposite side to Ilam, the home of one of the first youth hostels in the country. Okeover Hall was another well appointed land mark on route which took the crews back across the A515 and around Ashbourne continuing south, through the Hole in the Wall, Shirley, Longford and Etwall, which saw the end of the run in sight. Finally, there was a quick sprint along the A50 before arriving at Swalkestone Nursery for a very well deserved cream tea.
Clayton Classics, who are sponsoring this year’s HRCR Scenic Tour series, donated an award which the Tour’s organisers decided to give to the most appropriately dressed crew, being Messrs Robinson and Mellor sporting panama hats, bow ties and striped blazers in a Mercedes Benz convertible. The runners up were Equipe Hill who sported full Nomex racing overalls in a very hot Opel Manta on a very hot day.
All crews finished and compliments flowed. It was encouraging to see entries for this inaugural event from as far away from Warwickshire and Cheshire. Another interesting first was the presence of the Rocester and District Camera Club, organised by David Yorke, who had members positioned around the route taking pictures which have since been put on the Flickr site to good effect.
All in all a very good event which deserves to be recognised as one of those ‘not to be missed’ rallies in the touring calendar for future years. So well done, John T, Peter, David, John B and Bob.