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2012 Just Round the Next Bend

JUST ROUND the NEXT BEND - 27th OCTOBER 2012

Actually, the title of this ‘touring assembly’ could have read “A Stunning View Round Nearly Every Next Bend” – as will be explained. This was to be the fourth anniversary of Dippy and crew taking part in this event and June and Malcolm Hague had used the same format as in previous years, supplying entrants with a set of 20 map references before the event to be plotted onto maps 118 and 119. From the maps, we could soon see that the roads chosen were to be both quiet and very scenic – just how scenic we were to find out in due course! 

The start to Saturday morning was bright and crisp and the historic Tilting Ground at Gawsworth Hall did look really splendid in the morning sun, the black and white half-timbered house making the perfect backdrop for the line-up of 34 entries. After the usual start formalities, there was time to check our maps against the organisers’ master before the first car left the start at 09.51 hours, with the others following on at minute intervals. Heading off in a south-westerly direction from the Hall, the route then turned south-east, passing Bosley Reservoir to Rushton Spencer. We then took the yellow roads through Meerbrook and Roche Grange and changed onto Map 119. The views across Tittesworth Reservoir from this high road were just stunning. 

Next on the agenda was Thorncliffe, Waterfall Cross and on to Waterhouses. From Calton, the route went due north and then threaded its way east along the side of the River Manifold to the small village of Ilam. The autumn colours of the trees along this section were just superb in the morning sun. By-passing Tissington, the route went along the picturesque B5056 through references 9 and 10 to the Derbyshire Dales District. A short run then brought the cars to Biggin Hall Country House Hotel for the lunch halt, by which time we had covered 47 miles. 

This venue was used on last year’s event and a similarly superb 3-course lunch was efficiently served. On our visit here 12 months ago, a very smart umbrella was left behind and it really did make Hilary’s day to find it was still in the stand by the front door! She was delighted to be reunited with this item - what trusting people live in this area and there was no charge for the year’s storage! 

Fully refreshed, it was back to the maps and cars, with Car 1 leaving the venue at 14.01 hours. Continuing in a northerly direction along Long Dale, we were treated to some more good views - this time of great rocky hills that must be a climber’s delight. 

Next came Parsley Hay, Monyash and Flagg and, from the crossroads on Flagg Moor, the route took an anti-clockwise loop through Town Head, Chelmorton and Pomeroy. The roads in this old mining area were once again a superb choice, keeping both members of the crew occupied as we travelled up and down the map contours. There were even a few miles of road with grass in the middle that did bring memories of the past flooding back. 

From Endmoor, we went past High Needham and Earl Sterndale to Glutton Bridge. The yellow road from here to the A53 at Leap Edge was just fantastic, with more rock formations and deep ravines to drive through. A short run south on the A53, then a fork right back on to yellow roads at Flash took us into the National Park, following the Dean Valley Way to the east. 

From reference 19, we climbed the steep road at Cressbank Common to Fernlee and, for us, this offered the best views of the entire route, as, from this high road, one could see for miles across Macclesfield - what a picture it made in the setting sun. The views were now left behind as we descended to the village of Sutton Lanes Ends for the end of the tour and a light tea. The second half of the tour had added another 34 miles. 

But there was still just one more treat for us car enthusiasts - when a Morris Minor arrived at the finish, towing a small box trailer. Inside was a working scale replica of the Minor, powered by a 50cc petrol engine. Appreciating this made for a very appropriate end to an excellent day. 

Thanks are due to June and Malcolm for all their hard work in providing entrants with a wonderful day’s scenic tour, as well as to the band of marshals who did a sterling job at the manned references, ensuring there was no bunching of cars on the roads. 

Sincere thanks to Peter Fieldhouse for all his help in editing our report. 

The photographs used here are courtesy of Maurice Carter and Bob Joy they can be contacted at maurcarter@sky.com for more information.

Hilary and Mike Stratton plus Dippy