route of our 3rd annual Dales run, carefully chosen by Chris Smyth,
took in some marvellous countryside, certainly some of which I’d not
seen before. Narrow traffic free roads and tracks were Chris’s
criteria for the two day route, punctuated by an overnight campsite
stop for Saturday. Having returned from holiday, on the Wednesday
prior, he found himself under some pressure to be there in his Ford
Jeep as it decided that this was a good time to play up. Having sorted
the problems, at the last minute, his jeep then ran beautifully all
weekend, as it led way for some 18 other Jeeps Land Rovers, and an RB.
The hardier members of the area camped overnight on Friday in one of
Maurice Clarke’s fields at Beckwithshaw. He had kindly provided a
portaloo at his own expense. I understand food that evening was a BBQ.
from Burley in Wharfedale Chris, his wife Val, and myself joined the
rest of the gang at Beckwithshaw at 10.00 am. A route and
instructional briefing followed. Everyone had already been told to be
ready to move sometime between 10 and 10.30 fully fuelled up because
of little or no provision for re fuelling on the way.
a fresh, but dry, Saturday morning Chris led us out across Forest Moor
past the Army Foundation College in the general direction of Bolton
Abbey. With plenty of changes of direction by the time we could see
Ilkley, on our left, I for one, was somewhat disorientated, but sat
back, hat pulled down enjoying the marvellous views.
use of the club’s walkie talkies in the front, middle, and rear
vehicles kept everyone together and were used to warn of problems
ahead, and for a fair amount of light hearted banter by John Gray. He
was on good form. With the outskirts of the Duke of Devonshire’s
Bolton Abbey estate reached, we took a single track road through the
woods on a steep slope overlooking the River Wharfe past Storiths and
Barden toward Burnsall. A call of nature seemed a priority for a few
of our number here, whilst the remainder passed through the village
and awaited our return.
relieved we headed north west through Thorpe and along the rolling,
twisting and relatively recently metalled Thorpe Lane to the village
of Cracoe for a lunch stop. It was here that we met up again with Nick
Calvert in his Wright M35. He had gone his own way from Harrogate and
we were next to see him in Buckden for the overnight stop. A number of
us tucked into a hearty main course in the very civilised Cracoe’s
café. What the other smartly dressed customers thought of the band of
rather scruffy looking folks dressed predominately in khaki is
anybodies guess. This was also a much needed stop to stretch legs
after a good couple of hours driving.
once more we set off, this time west toward Hetton through rolling
farmland taking Hills Lane, Abbey Hill and Half Brow to Airton. I had
changed jeeps and rode in the front of Ivor’s which has a new paint
job. A slightly more familiar road next took us north through Kirby
Malham, Malham village itself, and an impromptu visit to Goredale
Scar. With space to turn around, just, and park up, one or two went to
have a look at the Scar whilst in one of those rare chance meetings
John Gray went to have a chat with his sister, who was out walking.
I took the
opportunity to have a pseak with our out-riding trio of Colin and
Craig Dixon and Mick Edmondson. They had the tools out cleaning up
plugs that apparently get clogged up with relatively slow running.
Their trio of immaculate Matchless WD3GLs shone in the sunshine. They
had been scooting around the convoy from the start helping us to keep
moving at junctions by simply stopping the bewildered members of the
public who always seem to do as they are told!
had about half an hour here, before backtracking to Malham, driving
past either admiring or bewildered tourists sat having a drink or
pottering around the village. It was here that I was asked if we were
on a War Games exercise by a bemused lady. It was also here that I had
begun to notice the charming smiles from lady drivers, temporarily
held up as the short convoy passed. They were either struck by our
good looks or simply smiling in sympathy to boys and their toys.
Turning north we headed out over the moors, passing Malham Tarn,
crossing the famous Pennine Way footpath, passing through an area
famous for lots of Shake Holes to Arncliffe village. What? I here you
say, well those hollows left when boulder clay is washed into fissures
in the underlying limestone. So now you know. Back in relative
civilisation we had some fairly level going, south east this time,
down the very pleasant Littondale before joining the wide( by our
standards) B6160 north to Kettlewell.
had very sensibly pre arranged refuelling here in the only garage
which is up now for sale. I gather from comments that he would be
closing for the day very shortly afterwards. I know that this village
has lots of holiday homes and the local garage, which once fulfilled a
very valuable role, is yet another of those country businesses facing
extinction. If we were to pass this way next year no doubt it will
have gone forever.
As we left
familiar territory and headed north west again towards Buckden, our
overnight stop, the cloud base began to decend and rain was in the
air. Whilst the campers faced the prospect of pitching tents on a
sloping rocky site I could relax in the knowledge that I was going to
the warmth and comfort of Hartrigg House in the village. Chris and Val
were doing likewise.
Nick Calvert being first to the Heber farm campsite had grabbed what
looked like the only flat bit of land, which by the way was shared
with a number of sheep. Toilets and showers were a little way away but
vital when you are roughing it. We were treated to a low level fly
past down the valley by a Chinook at dusk. Chris clearly has some
Dave Reape and
Nev Johnson, along with some others, decided to eat out at the White
Lion pub in nearby Cray and later recommended it. A couple of beers in
the dreary Buck Inn (closing the following week) preceded a fairly
early meal with Chris and his wife in the Village Restaurant
entertained by its unique owner. Everyone else had a BBQ in the rain,
but under a shelter, with stoves provided by Nev, to background music
from Nick’s lorry. It was pitch black with a torch being an
essential piece of kit. It gave us some idea of Wartime blackout
We woke next morning to a very low cloud base and that fine rain which
gets you very wet, very quickly. Luckily it eventually eased and
stopped, for a couple of prizes to be given out. Brian presented the
Best Jeep prize to Mark Turner and Howard Slater travelling in a 1951
M38. The prize had been kindly donated by Mark Askew of Jeep
promotions and was a years subscription to his new jeep magazine,
which is a high quality glossy publication selling for £45.00 I
believe. A book and goodies prize, donated by Four Plus Four, was also
awarded to the best Land Rover, and this went to Colin and Elizabeth
Parr who had travelled all the way from Southampton in their 110 to
join us! Very well deserved.
out north past Cray we began to climb steadily before going off road
and over the moor tops toward Hawes. The initial section proved a bit
tricky after all the rain and which to me looked like a rockery
without any soil. Under Mike Hemingway’s direction each vehicle made
it up in turn. I had transferred once again into Dave Reape’s 1959
Series 1 Land Rover which was Tail End Charlie. Well, he took a short
powered run at the pile of rocks and we came to a very abrupt stop
with a bang.
have thought we’d have lost the front axle but no, reversing up for
a repeat I braced myself and this time we bounced over the worst bit
and found traction. We stopped on the tops to take in the view, prior
to a gradual and better tracked surface down to picturesque Semer
Water. This is the largest natural lake in Yorkshire. Here we parked
up for another breather and some photos.
steep climb away from the lake followed, before dropping down into
Hawes to meet up with a couple of mv’s that had not gone the off
road route. Treating the tourists to a drive past, we headed out past
the famous Wensleydale Creamery over a slippery ford and began a long
climb out over Wether Fell moorland before dropping down to a
beautiful valley bottom to run alongside Oughtershaw Beck through
Deepdale and Yockenthwaite back to Buckden.
our next stop for lunch, then off again, in beautiful sunshine, this
time north east toward Leyburn. We climbed out of the village up a 1
in 4 and faced another such hill about a mile further on. Just after
the first hairpin bend Dave’s Series 1 boiled up and we stopped to
investigate. There was certainly some amount of steam - to me it
resembled a steam engine blowing off at a station. As Dave gingerly
opened the radiator cap he disappeared in this spectacular cloud of
steam as boiling water spewed out, completely emptying the system.
Gary Docherty had stopped in support as everyone else disappeared over
the horizon. Dave radioed through and they waited up ahead. After
allowing some time for the system to cool down he filled up again and
off we went. Despite plenty of climbs further on we had no other
may have been the sunshine, but I found the journey down Coverdale one
of the most beautiful of the weekend. We left the National Park at the
picture postcard village of East Witton before joining the A6108 near
Jervaulx Abbey. We had a brief stop here before setting out on the
last leg of the weekend over moorland once more via Healey and
Lofthouse to Pateley Bridge via Nidderdale, and then onto our last
stop Ripley Castle. Lovely scenery again.
said our farewells and parted company on the warm Sunday evening
having enjoyed vast vistas and a most varied, challenging in parts,
journey through some of the most beautiful scenery in England. Special
thanks must go to Chris for all his hard work in making this an
undoubted success. It was absolutely brilliant.