By Mike Peake
We were all up bright and early Saturday morning, lined up ready to go. We were joined at the campsite by Rob Shalcross and his son Luke in their Tempest kit car based on a Reliant Fox. (Yes, I’d never heard of it before and had to ask too.) It is a great looking car though and for a little 850cc engine, it went like a rocket! Mind you, I’m not sure it was your regular unleaded that was being burnt. There was a definite whiff of “Speedway” about the exhaust when I was trying to follow him.
Phil was acting a bit like a worried C3P0 trying to chivvy everyone along as he was concerned we’d be late for our lunch stop, but there were photos that needed to be taken and drone footage to be shot and we all had to stop and laugh at Gus in his get up!
You can see from the drone footage of us leaving the campsite that I was laughing so much, I nearly fell off the road.
We finally left the campsite only 3 minutes after C3P0 Allin’s final deadline of 10AM. It would appear that he wasn’t quite mollified though, as he set off in Big Rov at quite a lick with us all trying to hang on to his coat tails on our 1st leg to the glamorous setting of Sainsbury’s Petrol station. It would appear that Big Rov only has 2 speeds. Broken and 100mph!
We all managed to cling on though and those brave enough to look away from the road and the passengers that didn’t have their eyes shut were able to catch glimpses of the stunning countryside as it flashed by. We all made it through and were joined by Chris Baker in his rather nice TR7 FHC.
16 classic cars filled up with fuel before we let Nick “When’s the next petrol stop” Arthur drain their bunkers for his Jensen.
The next leg was to Edensor via Chatsworth house where Phil “C3P0” Allin assured us that there was a great spot to plant a photographer so that he would be able to get good shots of the cars as they passed with the epic view of the house in the background. To this end, we all pulled over to let Phil shoot ahead with our 2 nominated intrepid photographers, Paul Cheetham and Andy Gardner who had been so unfortunate as to forget to bring their classic cars to a classic car tour.
17 classic cars pulled over on the side of the road does generate some attention from the Muggles. There were lots of smiles, wows and phone snaps taken as they drove by. There was one grumpy woman in a silver 4x4 that shouted “BLOODY OLD CARS!” out her window as she drove by, but we think we spotted a sticker in her back window saying “My other car is a Blue MGB GT” so it was probably that woman from the steam fair last year.
As you can see, the photos taken there were fantastic. However, either they didn’t get the brief or Chatsworth House was just too small for them to notice. Great shots though Guys! Well done.
Shortly after the photo shoots we had a couple of “panics”. My panic first though. We’d just driven over a cattle grid when Poppy started making an horrendous “grinding, rattling clicking” noise that was very loud and alarming. It was so alarming that I immediately pulled to the side and leapt out of the car to investigate whilst other enthusiasts swarmed to my rescue and to laugh at a Fatbloke crawling around on the floor.
To be honest, I was fully expecting to see half the car dragging on the road but after a full 5 minutes laying on the ground searching fruitlessly, Liam piped up. “You know your number plate has fallen off don’t you? I was going to tell you earlier but I was laughing too much”. Yeah Thanks Liam! I was too relieved at the simplicity of the breakdown to beat him up though and I quickly removed the remaining screw and slung the number plate in the boot. The second panic? We realised no one had stopped to pick up our intrepid photographers, so Kevin was quickly despatched in his 1998 Volvo support vehicle to rectify this.
What with C3P0 still having “Light Speed” engaged on Big Rov”, my minor mishap and the abandoned photographers, the group had become split up. Fortunately, Phil’s rally notes were superb and Mrs FB was able to navigate us along the rest of the route with ease through the picturesque village of Edensor and to the car park near Grindleford where we were to stop and admire the view. Unfortunately, as the mini convoy I was leading arrived, the mini convoy that had managed to hang onto C3P0 was just leaving. So we filtered in with them for the 5 minute drive to the Yorkshire Bridge Inn for our lunch stop.
At this point C3P0 relaxed back into the easy going chap we all know and love and we all fully enjoyed the lunch of soup and sandwiches in our own private room that our Phil had arranged.
After lunch we all walked up to the nearby Ladybower Dam to admire the engineering marvel that is the overflow plug hole. Unfortunately, the water levels were too low for it to be flowing, but it was still an impressive site. The views of the countryside from the dam were also lovely. A relaxing few minutes was spent laughing at Liam’s antics as he tried to find the best position to take a group photo.
We left the pub at a much more relaxed pace and stayed in full convoy until our next stop at the famous Derwent Dam. We were between Liam’s P6 and Tosh’s Wolseley but they’d swapped drivers. As we were pulling into the car park after a 13 mile drive, Liam started shouting and gesticulating out of the Wolseley’s window. We thought he was just doing his Father Jack impression again so ignored him, but when we finally stopped, Liam leapt out of his car and retrieved his expensive iPad from the boot of the P6 where he’d left it before we left the Pub. Of course it was my fault though, as I hadn’t spotted it while following just behind for 13 miles. I guess I was still avoiding looking at boot lids.
Derwent Dam is every bit as impressive as I was expecting having seen it so often in one of my favourite films. As we were sitting at the bottom between the towers, it was easy to imagine the roar of low flying Lancasters overhead. It was actually quite poignant to be there so close to the 75th anniversary of the famous Dambuster raid of 1943 and I spared a thought for the 56 airmen that didn’t make it back and the 1600 civilians that died as a result. Well said, Fatbloke - Ed
Sorry. Got a bit deep there. Anyway, after a cheeky ice-cream for everyone, we set off for what was to be the most challenging and fun drive of the tour so far. The long steep climb to Mam Tor. It was fantastic and the scenery was breath taking. I haven’t enjoyed driving so much for a long time and I enjoy my driving. Everyone felt the same and as we got out of the cars at the car park at the top the comments that were on everyone’s lips were “Wow! That was Fantastic!”, Boy that was fun!”, “What a run!” and “Thanks Phil, that was awesome.” As well as all humming the tune to “Days like These”
After giving the cars and drivers a bit of a breather after the ascent, it was time for the 1 in 5 descent through the Winnats Pass. The first time you see the view at the entrance to the Pass really is an “Oh wow!” moment and it just gets better as you go down. It was at this point that Anita asked me why everyone was leaving such big gaps between the cars going down the steep hill? Maybe I should have thought about my reply before blurting out, “in case of brake failure” but it made for a very quiet descent and I could concentrate on enjoying the scenery.
The next stop was Phil’s favourite view of the Peak District. The car park of the Monsal Head Inn. Well OK, it was the view FROM the car park, and I have to say I agree with him. It was a beautiful sight. Very tranquil, relaxing and peaceful… until the busy bee buzz of Gus’s drone spoiled it all! But he got some great footage and supplied the entertainment with the panic displayed when he thought he’d lost it. It was also really good to see Paul Berman and his wife who had driven out to meet us and have a chat.
The last leg was supposed to be down to Caudwell Mill and back to base camp. Unfortunately it was getting a little late so it was decided to head back to the camp site and get our glad rags on in time for the evening meal at the Druids Inn.
To Be Continued…
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