Reviews & Reports‎ > ‎2011 Reviews‎ > ‎

2011 Autumn Leaves Scenic Tour - 6th Nov


November 6th brought a fine, crisp, sunny morning for the start of the HRCR Scenic Tour. The start venue was at Drybridge House, Monmouth - a fine old house that boasts in its CV once being a hospital and a care home, but now serves the local people as a community centre. After sampling the delights of bacon or sausage rolls in the café, it was time for the first of the 56 cars to head off from the start at 10.00 hours.

We made our way along the B4233, passing through Rockfield to Llantilio Crossenny, before the route turned due south on the yellow roads via Bryngwyn and Bettws Newydd to the market town of Usk. We then left the Usk Valley, heading due west, before turning south to the forest area of Wentwood Woods, where the autumn colours were a real delight.

More testing yellow roads took the tour round the Wentwood Reservoir and then due east to Shirenewtown, before turning north-east to the village of Earlswood. The village hall here was the lunch break for the event and a very welcome soup and roll was served up to the hungry competitors. So far, just less than 40 miles of the route had been traversed. After an hour’s break, it was back to the road book that had excellent tulip directions and very accurate mileages. The route now looped and twisted in a northerly direction, passing by Gaerllwyd, Devauden, Llansoy and Llanishen to Trellech. Driving due south from here through Broadstone, we were now going back into more stunning forest areas of Buckle Wood and Fedw Wood. Again , the afternoon sun was creating the most superb sights but, sadly, there was no time to stop for photographs today.

Leaving the woods, the route went due south, with opportunities to visit the car parks of Upper and Lower Wyndcliff to take in the magnificent views across the River Wye to Piercefield Cliffs, Wintours Leap and the start of the Offa’s Dyke path. Joining the main A466, we passed through Tintern on our way to the next refreshment halt at Tintern’s Old Station, which is no longer for trains, but a very nice spot to stop for a drink and homemade cake, having covered another 34 miles since the lunch break.

We continued for a short distance along the A466 going north, before crossing the River Wye and heading for St Briavels and Bream Cross. The route now entered the Forest of Dean and, although the sun was starting to get low in the sky, the colours were still very good and the hillsides looked to be on fire. Using the maze of roads that the Forest has to offer, we travelled through Parkend, Brains Green, Lower and Upper Soudley and then, turning right at the Barracks, we headed due north to the final control at the Speech House Hotel. This final leg had added another 26 miles, giving a total tour of 100 miles.

Not long after finishing, we all sat down to a very good meal that was served with speedy military precision. To Paul and his team - a big thank you for a perfect day. It was faultless: a route that made both members of the crew work hard, stunning autumn colours, fantastic weather, a good choice of refreshment stops and a perfectly accurate road book. What more could one ask for?

The Dippy crew also finished 2011 on a high, with navigator Hilary having a perfect day - with not one single overshoot or wrong slot during the whole route. It is now time for Dippy to go into hibernation in his newly-built garage for the winter. We have worked him pretty hard this year with nine UK and three Continental events and not a single non-finish - well done Dippy! We have heard that he has a Christmas wish list of new seats and Minilite wheels - watch this space. Roll on 2012!

Car 47 - Mike and Hilary Stratton plus Dippy.

Photographs courtesy of Kevin Baldwin of KPB Photography.

Our final thank of 2011 to Peter Fieldhouse for all the help and support that he has given to our event reports during the year.