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2013 Harvest Tour - 8th September

WINDSOR CAR CLUB 10th ANNIVERSARY HARVEST TOUR - 8th SEPTEMBER 2013

Round 14 of the HRCR Scenic Tour Series, sponsored by Clayton Classics, took place in the Reading area - using OS maps 174 and 175 – and was under the careful guidance of Helen and Terry Schraider. This tour is somewhat different to the others in the series, in so much that it also offers an optional navigational scatter event on the Saturday evening before the main tour on Sunday. To aid newcomers and old hands, Terry also adds a complimentary session on basic navigation with a PowerPoint presentation and practice tests on the maps. This took place between 16.00 and 18.00 hours and was very well attended.

The start to Sunday morning was quite foggy, but this soon gave way to a clear, sunny day. Section A was entitled ‘North Wessex Downs’, with the route going northwards towards Oxfordshire. At 09.15 hours, the first of the 49 entries left MC 1, which was a short distance from the Comfort Hotel event HQ. Passing through Beenham Village and Bucklebury Village brought the route to a ford. In the drivers’ briefing, Terry had advised us all that, on checking the route the previous Thursday, there was about 6” of water to be tackled. But for those entrants not wishing to get their cars wet, thoughtful Terry had offered a small detour in the road book. We arrived at the ford and, on the opposite bank, sat photographer Kevin Baldwin and, with only 6” of water, we felt we could make a very nice splash for him. What we had not taken into consideration was the previous night’s rain - which had doubled the depth! As Dippy hit the water, the bow wave built up and we ground to a halt in midstream. Comments from her indoors went something like, “You got us into this – now you’d better get us out!” With use of the starter motor, we got the car to shallower water and it was then time for wet feet! Then along came Car 13 - Joern Schaenzler and Andrew Barker in their Porsche - who very kindly towed us to terra firma, for which we were extremely grateful. With lots of WD 40, Dippy fired up and apologies were made to Kevin for spoiling his shots, to which the reply was, “This is the most fun I have had all season!” So the moral appears to be, to please the man with the camera - just sink a car! Dippy is booked in for swimming lessons.

More very quiet, stunning roads now took the tour onto Wolds End, Beedon Common and Leckhampstead. The instruction at Tulip 56 said, ‘Park Bench on left’ and what a breathtaking view could be had from here! Passing under the motorway and then to the very pretty village of Winterbourne (well worth a return visit), brought the first section of 26.15 miles to a close. A short liaison section took us to the first rest halt at Shaw House, which was built in 1581 and, following a major restoration project, is now open to the general public.

Leaving the house behind, another liaison section took us to the start of Section C - this time entitled ‘The Kennett Valley’. To add another dimension to the tour, this section was to be navigated not by tulip directions but by jogularity. To explain jogularity - it is a method of defining the route by landmarks e.g. ‘0.33 miles - entrance to woods on left’, ‘0.44 miles - gateposts with lions on top’ and so on. This type of navigation requires great concentration from both members of the crew, as the instructions came thick and fast and one missed could spell disaster. After passing through the villages of Whittonditch and Chilton Foliat, the route climbed and we were treated to the sight of a fine row of manicured thatched cottages on both sides of the road. Next came Hungerford Common - with yet more glorious views - followed by the village of Kintbury. Hamstead Marshall and Endbourne were next on the agenda and this brought us to the end of Section C, just outside Newbury. To complete this section of 27.09 miles, we had been tasked with no fewer than 163 instructions to follow!

Another short liaison section took all the wonderful cars to Newbury Market Square - that is normally closed to traffic - so it was a great privilege to be parked here. Helen and Terry must have friends in high places! Joking aside, the cars did make a first-rate show for all the locals and visitors who were around the town at lunchtime. Sadly, the weather gods were not on our side and the rain did rather spoil the show - not good particularly for the open-top cars.

Lunch over, and, just before 14.00 hours, Car 1 left MC3 for a short run out to the start of section D. Section D had a distance of just over 50 miles and was named ‘Chute Causeway and Walbury Hill’ and was to be followed by normal tulip directions. More splendid roads took the route via Ham and Oxenwood to Tulip 224 for the start of 4.3 mile section across the Chute Causeway. The road book gave a very interesting description of the building of this Roman Road, which is not all straight - we learn something new each day! Both members of the crew could now enjoy the stunning views to be had from this road and, with clearer weather, the hills of the Isle of Wight could be seen. Journeying on through Linkenholt, we came to Wrights Farm and, within half a mile, we were treated to yet more outstanding views, with the sun picking up the colours in the fields. Charldown, Ashmansworth and Brimpton were the next places to be traversed. One last gem was Woolhampton, which had a very attractive, canal-side pub, looking delightful in the afternoon sun. Just 3 more miles took the cars and crews back to the Comfort Hotel, from where the action had started this morning.

Questions were asked by the organisers about ways to improve this tour. Our view is “Nothing!” - the superb descriptive road book with very accurate mileages, the paperwork, the very nice clipboard included in the pack, the rally plate and finishers’ awards were just perfect. If one had the opportunity to give a score to the Harvest Tour 2013 we would say, “10 out 10”! A big thank you to Helen, Terry, their team and the marshals who made this tour happen. We will be back next year!

Our sincere thanks to Peter Fieldhouse for all his help in proof-reading and editing our report.

Also our thanks go to Kevin and Colin of KPB Photography for providing the photographs.

To view all images from this tour go to -: www.kpbphotography.co.uk

Further details of forthcoming tours can be found by visiting www.classictourdiary.co.uk

 

Hilary and Mike Stratton plus damp Dippy - Car 11