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2012 HRCR Hills & Valleys Tour - 20th May

 

For this year’s tour, Kidderminster Motor Car Club returned to the very suitable start venue of the Bridge Inn at Dorrington, situated on the A49. This venue is just perfect for a tour start - generous grass parking for the cars and first class food and service in the restaurant.

 

time of 10.03 hours. The very well-planned and informative road book was as we have come to expect from the Kidderminster organising team. A short run southwards along the A49 and the route then turned left onto the quiet country Shropshire roads, passing by Acton Burnell, Hope Bowdler and to Church Stretton. And, as you have probably guessed, Church Stretton means roads over the Long Mynd - and more night rally memories of the 60’s. Sadly, the weather gods were not with us today and the mist was hiding the wonderful views – but at least it was dry.

 

After passing through Ratlinghope and approaching tulip 129, we encountered a number of tour cars coming from the opposite direction. Some of these were very regular tour entrants - and they do not make route errors. It is at times like this when driver Mike starts to question, “Are we wrong and they are right?”. Assured by Hilary that the next turn right - SP Bridges - was the correct route, we took this and all tied in with the road book. It appears that the others had got confused over some cycle event arrows and cycle marshals and they had

turned down a slot too soon before the Give Way sign.

 

From here, we passed through Plowden and onto Walcott Hall for the end of the first leg. Refreshments and a visit to the walled garden completed our break here. On leaving the Hall, the organisers had utilised the estate roads and their 15mph speed limits to include an optional short regularity section. This was a superb idea and very good training for the entrants who may be planning to move up a step on the ladder to full regularity events. We chose to take up the option and soon found how difficult it was to keep spot-on with the time. We ended up 2 seconds over - not too bad we thought. Joining the public road, we meandered through Purslow, Clun and Mainstone to the section’s end at Mellington Hall. This section had just the perfect roads for a tour, with wonderful views and once again memories of the 60’s came flooding back. Mellington Hall was to be the lunch picnic break and also gave the entrants time to walk in the delightful grounds.

 

Using the same system as Walcott Hall, the organisers had once again used the private estate

roads to add in another 15mph regularity. We tried very hard on this one and recorded a zero; we are now cooking by gas! Leaving the Hall and joining the main road, the sun came out for the trip to the Ceri Forest crossing over Offa’s Dyke and we were treated to some more stunning views across the mountains. Then came Sarn, Offa’s Dyke again - this guy gets everywhere - to Lydham Manor. We left the public road here and took a short trip on the estate road to view the Lydham Manor Oak Tree which is reputed to be between six and seven hundred years old and measures 41 feet in circumference - what a sight! I did mention to organiser Simon Rogers that my other hobby was woodturning and asked if I could have a few bits off the tree. You can guess his answer.

 

After viewing and taking photographs of the famous oak, we rejoined the B4385 for a short distance before exiting right, back into another section of Lydham Estate roads. Again the organisers had taken the opportunity to include another short regularity timed at 15mph. Buoyed by her success of a zero on the last regularity, Hilary was on a high to do well, but she managed to get all her fingers and clocks confused and made a right mess of it! Could do better next time.

 

From the estate roads, we joined the A488 for a short distance and then back to the quiet country roads, passing through Lydham, More Church and then climbing up to the Bog: a very pretty area with lots of bluebells and gorse in full flower to be seen. Passing a llama farm, we climbed the road to the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve for yet more stunning views and those craggy stones reaching up to the clear blue sky.

 

All that now remained was to come down from the hills and join the A49 for the short run back to the Bridge Inn. Here a very warm welcome was waiting, plus a superb 2-course meal. Well done to Mac, Simon and Brian - the Tour Organisers - plus all the marshals for yet another perfect tour. Dippy did manage to disgrace himself on the journey back to Devon by breaking his rubber driveshaft couplings. He has now been to the doctors and is happily fully recovered and waiting for the next tour.

 

Once again we indebted to Peter Fieldhouse for all his help with compiling this report. Kevin Baldwin of KPB Photography has provided the photographs for which we are very grateful.

Hilary and Mike Stratton plus Dippy        

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