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2012 HRCR Classic Harvest Tour


Welcome to our report on the 9th running of the Classic Harvest Tour, organised by Helen and Terry Schraider in association with Windsor Car Club. This was our second attempt at this tour and the format was to follow the same pattern as last year. 

Saturday afternoon was devoted to an excellent navigational workshop featuring all the types of navigation that we would encounter on the tour. Also the workshop dealt with the other types of navigation that would be found on more advanced types of events. Terry gave a superb PowerPoint presentation that was followed by 8 exercises to be plotted onto our maps. Some of the answers were not as teacher had planned! 

After the evening meal, there was the opportunity for taking part in an optional scatter rally to hone those newly-learned navigational skills. This took about one and a half hours and afterwards there were the usual sort of exchanges taking place at the bar, “Well, did you find that clue?” or “Are you sure it was in that road?”. 

So to Sunday morning and a good entry of 50 plus cars assembled in the car park of the Comfort Hotel in Padworth for the start of the first leg of the tour. The inclusion of the word Harvest in the title implies dry sunny weather for all the farmers to gather in their crops - on this occasion the weather gods had other ideas! Before leaving the hotel on our start time of 09.23 hours, there was rain on the car screen which soon became quite intense and turned some of the smaller lanes into small rivers - perhaps boats and wetsuits would have been a better choice. 

The first leg took the entrants round the roads of the Stratfield Saye Estate which has been the home of the Dukes of Wellington since 1817. The route went via Burgfield Village, Brook Farm, Heckfield, Bramshill, Monks Hall and Eversley. We had competed 31 plus miles of the tour and now took a short link section through Hartley Wintney to the Police Staff College at Bramshill. This magnificent Jacobean Mansion was a delight to see: set in 300 acres with 3 lakes - even in the rain it looked great. Coffee was taken here and one could imagine the tales that the great halls could tell of functions past and present. Sadly, there was not time to look at all the antiques and police items that were on display - we had more touring to do!

Leg 2 was headed up as Roman Britain and the road book gave a potted history of the area we were now to travel through. For this section there was also a change of the type of navigation to Jogularity. To those not familiar with this term, we were now being directed by items seen at the roadside and not the more familiar tulip directions as before. The route went via Mattingley Village, Stratfield Saye Village, through the not-too-deep ford near Mortimer and to the area of Aldermarston. We then continued to the second rest halt which was at the Leisure Park Complex in Basingstoke that houses Milestones - the Hampshire’s Living History Museum. 

Lunch over, there was now a choice of staying to be shown around the museum which would have taken about 3 hours or to continue with the tour - Dippy and crew chose the latter, vowing to return to the museum another day. Leaving the complex and back to tulip book navigation, we headed through Old Basing, on a route that would now go in a circle round Basingstoke, passing through the villages of Upton Grey, Weston Patrick, Ellisfield, Axford, and North Waltham. The tour then crossed the main B3400 towards Ashe and onto Hannington Road, before passing near Baughurst and Kingsclere and onto Aldermaston Village and Padworth Common to the last main control of the day, having driven around 120 miles. 

It was then a short transit run back to the start hotel for afternoon tea and finisher awards for all the crews who had completed the full tour route. This had been a first class tour with a superb choice of very quiet country roads and paperwork that was of an excellent standard. The popularity of this tour is shown by the 22 crews who have already signed up for the 10th anniversary tour in 2013. Our sincere thanks to Helen and Terry for organising the tour and a special thank you to all the marshals who braved the appalling weather to make this event happen. 

All photographs courtesy of Tony Beale. 

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Hilary and Mike Stratton plus Dippy