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Nottingham Classic Tour - 28th July

Organised by Carlton and District Motor Club

Before we start our report, a little update on Dippy: courtesy of Jays Miniteriors of Oadby, Leicester, he now has a complete new trim and very comfortable Mini seats installed – really smart! Despite these new luxurious surroundings, the journey from Devon to our overnight stay by East Midlands Airport was not without its problems - heavy rain for the whole journey. A boat would have been better transport on the M42 rather than a 41-year old Austin 1300 GT! On arrival at the hotel, water was discovered in the passenger side of the car, but it was dark and late so it was decided it would be a (very!) early morning job. 

Fortunately by then, the overnight storms had moved on to leave a bright sunny morning. On further inspection of the car, a good inch of water was found in the passenger footwell. Hilary baled out over 3 gallons and put the carpets into plastic bags, kindly provided by the Premier Inn. The nearside indicators had also succumbed to water ingress, so another drying out job to be seen to. At this point we are thinking, “What else can go wrong?!” Be positive - it can only get better! 

A short drive took us to the start venue of Asher House - the home of the Futures Housing Group and A B Gee Ltd., where we received a very warm welcome from the club marshals, who gave us very clear instructions as to where signing on and refreshments were to take place. 

The premises were ideal: the entrance hall housed documentation and the comfortable lecture hall was an ideal place to mark up the road book. In the hall, each crew were given a splendid wicker picnic hamper which contained our breakfast and drinks - it was all very healthy and much more than our required five-a-day. In addition, there was a superb enamelled metal pin badge and year bar - memories of RAC Rallies of years past. 

A B Gee Ltd is one of the UK’s largest toy and model wholesalers and they had very kindly opened their showroom and warehouse for the crews to view and purchase models of their choice. It was a fantastic display and many hours could have been spent looking at the model cars and trains. But time was pressing on and Car 1 was due to leave at 09.45 hours. Our start number was 29 and, after leaving Asher House, we were soon out of the town and into the lanes passing through Sawmills and Ambergate, part of this section containing a very leafy road with some stunning views. The route then passed through Shottle, with lovely cottages and a small church, Kedleston, Kirk Langley and over the border into South Derbyshire. 

In the region of Church Broughton, on Cycle Route 68, the organisers had made a re-route due to a flooded road - but Dippy and crew missed the signs! A bunch of very damp looking cyclists at the start of the water-filled section assured us that a car could get through. We did, but - guess what! - more water in the car, again on the passenger side! 
The route then continued past Anslow, Dunstall and Barton-under-Needwood. 

A number of rail, road, river and canal bridges brought us to Walton-on-Trent and Coton in the Elms. The roads were now more open and flowing and we continued over another border into Leicestershire.

Another 10 miles of route via Snarestone and Little Twycross brought the first leg to the Bosworth Station on the Battlefield Line. This was a great choice of a lunch halt as there was a Rail and Ale weekend taking place. A generous one and a half hour break here gave the entrants time to view the traction engines of all sizes, the steam railway and, of course, visit the railway buildings that housed the real ale and cider bars. Mother Nature was still looking after us well - the sun was shining and there was time to finish the delights of the picnic basket - plus more drying out for Dippy! Hilary is getting very good at this task. 

Rest over, we continued on our way with more open roads through Carlton, Bagworth, Woodhouse and Barrow upon Soar. In the area of Wymeswold, we came to the entrance to the Formula One Karting Centre, but no time to play today - we have more touring to do! Between Willoughby on the Wolds and Cotgave, we passed some very superior houses in fantastic locations. Our next destination was Radcliffe-on-Trent, followed by the crossing of the River Trent via a wonderful old stone bridge - a very nice spot here. The roads through Woodborough and Calverton took the last few miles of the route over another boundary, this time into Sherwood Forest - watch out for Robin Hood! 

Just over another mile brought the crews to the final stop at the Papplewick Pumping Station, which dates back to Victorian times and used to provide the main source of water from underground reservoirs for the City of Nottingham. Sadly, due to subsidence from mine workings that caused leaks, the station is no longer in commercial use, but it is well maintained by enthusiasts and we were allowed access to the boiler rooms and workings to view the craftsmanship of those engineers. As a final treat to finish our day, the organisers had arranged a fine hog roast, cooked to perfection, - just what the hungry entrants needed! Congratulations to John, Julia, Neil and all the helpers and marshals for organising the tour. We thought the format of just two sections and the choice of venues was perfect and that wicker picnic hamper is going to used many more times! A very friendly tour that gave excellent value for our entry fee.

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

Hilary and Mike Stratton plus damp Dippy Car 29.