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2011 Classic Harvest Tour

Classic Harvest Tour 

Another new event to Dippy and crew: the Classic Harvest Tour organised in association with Windsor Car Club. We were first attracted to this event way back in January at the HRCR Open Day at Gaydon. When the Regulations arrived, we found that there was also the option to tackle a Scatter Event the night before the main tour - again something new to car and crew.


On arrival at the Comfort Hotel in Padworth, we joined a number of the other competitors for the excellent Navigation Workshop, hosted by Terry Schraider. This was first class, with a power point presentation followed by table top navigational exercises. We had not realised how many different methods there were to find one’s way around an OS map! This was to be Hilary’s first time with night navigation and the Poti had decided to fail. (It had worked OK when we had tested it at home.) Surgery with gaffer tape and a few hours cursing did make a temporary repair to the electrics. We hoped it lasted the night!


Following a successful scrutineering of the car, we were presented with our scatter route and clues at 20.30 hours. Using our new

found plotting knowledge, we set about putting the points onto the map. There were 16 of these, with only 12 to be visited. It was at this point that Hilary did think marshalling would be a better option rather than competing! At 21.00 hours, Terry suggested that we really should take to the roads; otherwise we would run out of time as the aim was to be back at HQ by 22.00 hours. We set off into the dark and were soon finding the spots and answering the clues. 

With just 5 points visited, we took the decision to return to the hotel to be within our time allowance. Like all good plans, things went wrong. First, a long wait at a set of traffic lights controlling a single road over a railway bridge and, then, more lights at road works just before the hotel. We clocked in just 3 minutes late which did not help our points’ score. Within a very short time, the results were declared and we were half way down the finishers’ list - those 3 minutes had cost a lot.

Day 2 and a beautiful morning for the start of the Classic Tour. Fellow QMC Members Rikki and Russ Pemberton had journeyed down from the Midlands to join in the fun. Our start number was 34 and we left the Main Control at 09.49 hours for Section A of the event, which was to be a Jogularity section. The route went via Pangbourne for the first crossing of the Thames and then into the superb quiet lanes in the Chiltern Hills. After just over 29 miles, we arrived at the Herb Farm near Sonning Common for the first rest of the event.


Section B was now back to navigating by tulip directions, which would take the route north-east towards High Wycombe. The roads used here through the old beech woods were a true test of driver and navigator skills. Following on from last night’s workshop, the organisers had given us the opportunity to put into practice what had been learnt in the way of a personal challenge. At certain points along the route, a hand-out was distributed with a different way to solve a route round certain tulip diagrams. This really started hurting the brains of the Dippy Crew and did result in a few wrong code boards being found. We had now covered another 34 plus miles, which had brought us to the main break of the day that was at the Plant and Harvest Garden Centre in West Wycombe. A number of choices were on offer here: lunch in the garden centre, a visit to the Hell-Fire Caves or a picnic in the sun. We chose the latter.


Section C headed up the Chiltern Scarp and most of the 52 miles would be spent driving through the fantastic scenery of the Chilterns. After this, the route dropped down from the hills to cross back over the Thames at Goring and Streatley that must be one of the most picturesque parts of this massive river. During Section C, more hand-outs were given to us, but, sadly, not many were solved and more wrong code boards were written down. We should have taken more notice of our teacher last night! “Could do better” may be the report for 2011. After the river crossing at Goring, we headed back to the start hotel at Padworth to join the other 50 or so competitors.


Congratulations to the organiser - the event was faultless with the superb road book, very accurate mileages, a perfect choice of route with very few main roads used and the very informative paperwork all made for a perfect weekend. Will we be back next year? “Yes” has to be the answer - our deposit is all ready paid!

All photographs are courtesy of Tony Large.


Our sincere thanks to Peter Fieldhouse for all the help he gave in compiling this report.


Hilary and Mike Stratton plus Dippy.