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2011 Bluebell Run - 7th May



This was to be Dippy’s second attempt at this event and the crew were hoping for a better result than last year. After only 12 miles of the 2010 event, the engine and gearbox on the Austin 1300 GT cried enough and the car was returned back to Devon courtesy of the rescue service, the only plus point being that we did not use any petrol for the home journey!


Now to this year - a full entry of 60 cars plus reserves had been received by Ross and District Motor Sports Club for this year’s offering. We all assembled at the Dean Heritage Centre - the most superb venue for the start of such an event. Sadly, the weather was not being kind and so, after all those weeks of good weather, why change today? After the usual scrutineering of documents and signing on formalities, we settled down to mark up the road book and wait for our due start time of 09.39 hours.


Spot on time, we were sent on our way by Deputy C of C Will Rogers and we were soon into the delights of the Herefordshire bluebells. What a sight this would have been with some sun! We passed through the areas of Cinderford, Mitcheldean, Kilcot and Dymock to the first rest halt at the Beauchamp Arms. The team of marshals did a sterling job to find enough parking spaces for all the cars and we were then treated to refreshments with delicious home-made cakes. From Dymock, the route continued round Eastnor Castle then across Castleton Common - a superb gated road. Then on to West Malvern, with fantastic views across the county.


Just one little hiccup here, as one of the county services had decided to close one of the roads being used by the event that morning. But Stuart was on the case with one of the PC crews advising us of the problem and we were told to just follow the Bluebell arrows. That was great until we came across an impossible hairpin right on the reroute (Dippy does not have a good turning circle) but, after a multi-point turn, we were on our way again. From here we travelled past Storridge, Suckley and to the Bromyard Downs. Time for the second break, which was lunch at the Royal Oak - again a lovely place and the Plougman’s was indeed first class. Up to this point we had covered just over 58 miles of the route and the weather had now improved, with some of the brave sports car entries going topless!


Suitably refreshed, we left the lunch control at 13.54 travelling via Kyre Park, Ford Abbey and Hegdon Hill - the site of one of 6500 Triangulation Stations that are scattered across the hill tops and mountains of the UK. From here we toured through Pencombe to Woolhope, passing over the oldest bridge in Herefordshire - Mordiford Bridge - dating back to 1352. Our next ports of call were Marcle Hill, Kings Caple and then across the Hoarwithy Bridge which connects Kings Caple with Hoarwithy. The original bridge was of a timber construction which replaced a ford and ferry crossing of the river. We now cross by a modern steel and concrete construction with no tolls. Sadly, due to the weather, we did not visit many of the interesting sites listed in the road book, but this information will be very useful for a future visit to the area.


There was now just a short main road run back to the Chase Hotel in Ross-on-Wye for a classic evening meal to round off a perfect day. Our thanks go to Stuart, Will, Matt and all the other marshals who manned the many passage controls and braved the elements to give us a perfect day’s tour. The paper work was faultless, the route was very interesting with a good choice of very quiet roads and the food - well what can one say? - just great! We will be back next year.


Hilary and Mike Stratton plus Dippy - Car 39.