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2012 Midsummer Meander 24th June

This tour was organised at the suggestion of the Friends of Kempley Churches, due to one of its two churches needing to raise funds for substantial repairs. With perhaps divine blessing for this cause, the rains ceased and the clouds parted on the morning of the event, bathing the participants in sunshine for the whole event.

The 21 cars were equally ‘divine’, including a plethora of Big Healeys, Triumphs and MG’s and cars of all ages, from a 1953 Lanchester dhc to a 2011 Caterham 7. Cars started from Much Marcle at 10.00am, with the Lanchester leading the way. Others followed at roughly 2 minute intervals on a route that went to Ledbury, along the side of the Malvern Hills, down to Colwall, Bromyard and stopping at The Hop Pocket, Bishop’s Frome.

Action resumed with a run around Marcle Hill to Woolhope and Fownhope, then a stiff climb to a viewpoint high above the River Wye near Brockhampton. Hoarwirthy with its Italianate church was followed by Much Dewchurch and almost to Allensmore. ‘Almost’, because Network Rail and Herefordshire CC Highways had that day closed the level crossing, with no advance warning and no diversions put in place.

At the church
Good humour prevailed and this surprise obstacle was overcome and the tour continued to Vowchurch, before passing along the Golden Valley, through Abbey Dore to Ewyas Harold, then into Wales over the River Monnow at Kentchurch.

The narrow lanes allowed the Trabant with its suspiciously non-standard motor to hustle along, at one stage harrying the thundering red breakdown ‘van’ (a Ferrari Dayton Spyder replica) of the tour organiser! The Citroen DS20 Pallas driver was particularly pleased to be back on wider roads, with his confessing that his steed was handling like the USS Enterprise.

Near Monmouth, the tour lost the Mini Cooper, which succumbed to steering rack woes. Fortunately its owner lived nearby and it was nursed home for repairs. The last leg was on the dual carriageway to Ross, with its sweeping views of the Wye Valley and through  Kempley, passing its famous Arts & Crafts Church

and the early Norman church of St. Mary’s, with its internationally renowned mediaeval wall paintings.

A short journey back to Much Marcle saw finishers presented with a complimentary bottle of cider, sporting a label designed by the organiser (and unsurprisingly bearing a photo of his ‘van’) and where a ‘lavish’ buffet awaited them. Sadly, the gourmet dining experience was neither lavish, nor even a buffet. A plate of tired sandwiches, curling in the best tradition of British Railways haute cuisine, to be shared between two was all that was provided.

Next year, this event will be held on 23rd June, with the organiser keen to make amends for the culinary debacle by having a gourmet rather than an ecclesiastical theme, but hopefully still having the spiritually uplifting experience of great cars in a spectacular landscape!

Martin & Liz Daykin - Ferrari Daytona

Photos by John Hickman - For more go to http://www.johnhickman.co.uk/gallery.html

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