Past Events – 2018 onwards
2018 Autumn Leaves Run: Sunday 14th October
This year our Autumn Leaves Run held on Sunday 14th October was planned to be something rather special, in part to celebrate that 88 years ago the MG Car Club came into being (October 12th 1930 was a Sunday), and 55 years ago, Tyne-Tees Sub-Centre of the then North East Centre was created. So the route this year was set to cover 88km or 55 miles! Our 2018 event incorporated the suitably grand start venue of the Linden Hall Hotel at Longhorsley in Northumberland, and the most stunning finish to a run we have used yet, the magnificent Alnwick Castle. Built in Norman times and owned by the Percy family since the 13th century, from the 1760s it has been home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, and featured in Harry Potter films and the Downton Abbey TV series.
The run attracted the maximum entry of 80 cars, with a good number from our many friends in Caledonian and Yorkshire Centres of the MGCC. Many entrants elected to stay at Linden Hall and join us for a “Marque of Friendship Dinner” on the Saturday evening, the idea of Tyne-Tees Committee member Andrew Kelly, who planned and organised the entire weekend. 92 people enjoyed an informal dinner, including entrants staying or living nearby.
You can plan any event to the finest detail, except the weather. On the Saturday afternoon the weather was atrocious, but that did not stop myself and three other MGCC stalwarts staking out 80 numbered parking places in the display Timelines I had created on areas of the Castle kindly assigned to us by the Northumberland Estates Executive.
Fortunately our prayers were answered and Sunday dawned dry if not yet bright. Those not already staying at the hotel were asked to arrive by 9:00am for breakfast and registration, to get their entry packs which included a souvenir route-book, map of the route and numbered rally plate.
Following separate briefings for the marshals and entrants, the first car was flagged away just after the scheduled 10:30am start time. One of our guest starters was Paul Plummer, the MGCC Director who looks after Tyne-Tees Centre. The run attracted MGs ranging from the 1932 MG F Type Magna of Bob Walker to current MG models. Cars went off at suitable intervals generally in age order, and this worked well, despite cars being parked in various locations in the hotel car-parks. Mayhem did not ensue!
The photo below shows Paul Plummer flagging off the very rare 1939 MG WA Drophead Coupe of Maurice & Christine Standish, with event organiser Andrew Kelly wishing them a safe journey.
The route took the cars out west, following the valley of the River Coquet, passing through Rothbury (known as the Capital of Coquetdale) then on to the wilder moorlands of the Cheviot Hills, lands dominated for 300 years by the Border Reivers. Our intrepid photographer Trevor Grugan got shots of many cars on the road above Alwinton, looking west up the Coquet valley. Cars then headed north via Netherton and Whittingham, passing through the Northumberland National Park to Glanton.
Here are a selection of photos taken by Trevor:
About 35 miles into the run, local folk saw MGs travelling up the A697 to Powburn where Hedgely Services offered a welcome comfort and fuel stop. The route then turned East to the charming village of Eglingham, then on to South Charlton and its Parish Church of St. James, built for the 4th Duke of Northumberland in 1862. Finally the run headed south, with the North Sea a distant background, as cars headed for the county town of Alnwick, crossing the River Aln onto Cannongate and Bailffgate, where the cars were briefly held opposite the imposing Barbican entrance to majestic Alnwick Castle.
I have to say a big thank you to all the Tyne-Tees marshals who carefully and safely steered 80 cars into their allotted slots within the Castle grounds without causing harm to the members of the public! They had all driven the full route, but managed to get there ahead of the pack, having been sneaked into the earliest group of cars that left. We thought we had lost one entrant, but Alan Dakeyne, who was driving his 1939 VA Tourer was reported as “failing to proceed” but in fact with the kind help of one or two others on the run who stopped, he changed the fuel pump for one that worked, and did make it to the finish, still smiling! See photo montage above – top right.
With all cars safely parked up, about 160 of us headed into the Guest Hall for a traditional three course Sunday lunch, which was served with military precision by the excellent Castle staff.
Photo below kindly taken by Jon Radgick from a lofty position!
After the main course had been served, event organiser Andrew Kelly took the opportunity to announce some of the awards, which we traditionally present at the end of every road run. I had escorted David Hawke, General Manager Alnwick Castle Ventures, on a tour of all the cars and he chose the MG he would most like to take home. This was was the 1960 blue MGA Roadster belonging to Simon and Carole Weightman, (see photo below) who received the Autumn Leaves Trophy. The Spirit of the Event Award, presented by Paul Plummer, was to the unanimous and popular choice of Alan Dakeyne, who although senior in years is still young at heart and drove his MG VA Tourer in his usual spirited manner.
Paul then took the opportunity to make a farewell speech as he is stepping down from the Board and as our Director, having looked after the interests of Tyne-Tees Centre these past nine years. Andrew and I were delighted to be able to present Paul with a book on the history of Alnwick Castle, which he much appreciated. Following lunch there was still time to visit the State Rooms and other attractions which stayed open until 5:30pm especially for us, and those who did so found them truly stunning.
The sun was shining on clear blue skies at this point, and the Castle and grounds looked amazing. After an enjoyable day, people made their way home from about 5:00pm. We received a lot of complimentary emails and messages suggesting that the event was very successful. Finally, thanks to Andrew for the huge effort put in to make it happen.
Report posted by Noel Lindford
11th Old Speckled Hen Run & Road Safety Trial: Sunday 9th September
This year’s event (our 11th Tyne-Tees “Hen Run”) was a 90 mile tour through the Northern Dales of Yorkshire, starting and finishing at the Rokeby Inn, west of Scotch Corner on the A66. The Road Safety Trial introduced a mild competitive element with simple but devious tests of driving skill, plus questions on road safety and general motoring knowledge to enhance the fun of fine roads, and of course the wonderful scenery encountered as the cars criss-crossed the Dales.
The run, which took place in relatively good weather, attracted 31 cars, ranging from the splendid 1939 MG WA Coupe of Maurice Standish to the recently acquired 2018 MG ZS of David Coulthard. We all arrived in good time to get signed on and enjoy the excellent breakfast rolls and hot-drinks on offer at the Rokeby Inn. The event started with a simple driving challenge at Control 1 before setting out on some of the lesser known (and almost cyclist free) roads, before encountering me at Control 2 not far from Redmire, with some MG picture questions. Just as well it was a large army tank turning area near a quarry, as the cars arrived in a flurry at one point! The cars then headed off towards Leyburn and more devious driving manoeuvres to attempt at Controls 3 & 4, both on entering and leaving Tennants Auction House, where lunch was on offer in the Garden Rooms. The afternoon route took the cars back from Wensleydale into Swaledale, encountering me (again) and some road safety questions at Control 5, located near a cattle grid between Melmerby and West Witton….we do pick exotic locations to pull people in! The run ended back at the Rokeby Inn for a final set of questions at Control 6 before we all enjoyed an excellent cream tea.
The winners of the Road Safety Trial, with an impressively low penalty score, were Margaret Farquhar and Bill Marchant in their MGF Steptronic, who were presented with the appropriately named “Road Safety Trial Winner” award.
Our guest judge then chose the splendid MG Midget of Eric & Jackie Turtle as winners of the Pre-1981 OSHR Trophy, with Jane & Rob Parry’s MGF “Zip” chosen for the Post 1981 MG award. I had Chairman’s prerogative to choose the recipient of the Spirit of the Event Award, which this year went to Maurice & Christine Standish for managing to negotiate their rather large 1939 MG WA Coupe around the tight hairpins and climbs on this challenging route.
Who needs the Stelvio Pass when we have roads like this almost on our doorstep? Many thanks to organiser Tony Wood for putting such a wonderful route together, and to all those who entered, and had fun giving it their all, including our friends from Yorkshire Centre who regularly support our events.
Prince Bishops & St. Cuthbert’s Runs Sunday 8th July
This year was the 30th Anniversary of the Prince Bishops Run, a unique event devised by Tony Wood back in 1988 as a northern rival to the southern Regency Run. That first event attracted an entry of 100 MGs and ran for 100 miles from the Clifton Moor Centre at York to County Hall in Durham, as it did for may years. In recent years, to avoid the long drive (for many) to the start at York, and to attract entries from our members in the North of our Centre, the event became the two concurrent runs we have today, with a joint finish (since 2012) on Palace Green in front of Durham Cathedral, something that took a lot of negotiation with Durham University and Event Durham to whom we are of course grateful! (When the Dean of the Cathedral became an MG convert by judging the cars in 2012, we knew we were OK!)
The Prince Bishops Run 2018 started from the splendid Lordstones Country Park, high up in the Cleveland Hills at Carlton Bank, with stunning views that made the climb to get there all the more worthwhile. Appropriately, 30 cars entered the event, and following sign-on and some excellent breakfast options, the driver-briefed crews were flagged away under clear blue skies.
The 99 mile route took the cars across North Yorkshire and through Northallerton then north via Neasham, Hurworth and Croft, to Darlington for the lunch halt which was at the Horse Market, kindly opened up for us to park there, by Darlington Borough Council. Darlington was once owned by the medieval Prince Bishops, and the cars were parked a stones throw from St. Cuthbert’s Church.
The afternoon section took the cars out via Walworth Castle and Shildon into Bishop Auckland, passing Auckland Castle, once home of the Bishop of Durham. The run then went up the side of Hamsterley Forest and then down into Wolsingham, crossing the River Wear. From then on, this route combined with the St. Cuthbert’s Run into Durham.
Meanwhile, this year’s St. Cuthbert’s Run started from the Maritime Centre at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, where 25 cars entered the event. The route was planned by David Alexander, but as he was at Classic Le Mans that day (its a hard life) Ian Graham kindly organised the event on the day.
The 95 mile route, starting on the Coastal Plain in the industrial coal field of South East Northumberland headed due west to the valleys in the foothills of the Pennines before heading south crossing the Tyne Valley to the moors of Co. Durham and along Weardale towards Durham City.
I am indebted to Trevor Grugan for the photos above and below taken on the St. Cuthbert’s Run. Lunch was available at Kirkharle, the Vallum Tea Rooms or Blanchland, as the route progressed.
Both runs joined up in Wolsingham for the final 33 miles via Tow Law and on via Brancepath into Durham City. Here the cars made their way up Sadler Street and onto Palace Green, where MGCC marshals arranged some creative parking!
It was highly appropriate that Tony Wood should be our guest judge on this occasion and the cars he chose were as follows: Prince Bishops Trophy went to Duncan McEwan for his very nice MGA Roadster, and the Prebends Trophy went to Trevor Leighton for his MG TF 85th Anniversary. I had organiser’s prerogative to award the Spirit of the Event award to Rob & Jane Parry (and their white very early production MGF “Snowdrop”) for having supported this event once again, travelling up from the West Midlands to take part.
Duncan McEwan receives the Prince Bishop Trophy from Tony Wood for his green MGA – see left.
Trevor Leighton receives the Prebends Trophy for his MG TF 85th Anniversary
Rob and Jane Parry receiving the Spirit of the Event Award from Tony.
I am much indebted to Owen and Pam Frankland for capturing the Prince Bishops Run on video, and an abridged two minute version can be accessed via our MGCC Tyne-Tees Facebook page.
My thanks to all the marshals, to Peter & Judith Baglee for managing sign-on at Lordstones, and Justine Graham for the same at Newbiggin Maritime Centre. Many thanks also to Ian Graham for managing the St. Cuthbert’s Run, and to David Alexander for planning that very good route.
Report by Noel Lindford. Photos by Noel Lindford and Trevor Grugan.
Cobweb Run 2018: Sunday 22nd April
This years Cobweb Run was organised by Ian Graham, and the theme for this tour was “Peace and Remembrance” given that 100 years ago, this country was emerging from the end of the Great War. The 85 mile circular route was set across Northumberland and Durham, passing through the splendid scenery of the Allendale Valley, Upper Weardale and Upper Teesdale. The route would take us past a number of memorials where a name of someone who fell in the 1914-18 conflict is highlighted in the route book.
As has been a tradition for the last 10 years, the start and finish of the event was at Brocksbushes Farm Shop near Corbridge, where no less than 61 cars and crews assembled on a dry but cool spring day, to sign on and take advantage of the hot drinks and breakfast rolls on offer. The entry list included a wide range of MGs from 1939 – 2017, seven Austin Healeys, a Rover Mini and a visiting Landrover Defender owner (his other car is an MGC).
At sign-on, as well as collecting route books and rally plaques, every entrant was offered either red or white poppies, superbly knitted by Justine Graham and Ruth Berkley. The poppy theme was also echoed on the rally plaques.
Following a detailed drivers briefing by Ian, the cars set off in age order at 10:15am , (oldest first of course) at “approx.” one minute intervals, this year flagged away as usual by young Charlotte, waving a large Union Flag, and also little brother Alex with a suitably smaller flag! Sibling rivalry there I fear over who gets the large flag in future!
Clockwise from top left: Ian & Christine Fair’s 1939 TA Tickford, John Brown’s MGA 1600, Nick Owens’ TC and Lawrence Hogarth’s TD
Clockwise from top left: Ian & Justine Graham’s TC “Jessica” , a brace of Austin Healey 3000s , Ian Whyte’s Frogeye Sprite and Mervyn Gillespie’s MG TF LE500.
The route took us west to Corbridge and Hexham, and then turning south west to Allendale and Allenheads before crossing Weardale to St. John’s Chapel, from where we dale-hopped into Upper Teesdale passing Forest-in Teesdale before arriving at High Force. Here a good many folk stopped to walk to this amazing waterfall, and then have lunch at the local hotel. Some of us decided to carry on to nearby Middleton-in Teesdale wher we found a delightful café for lunch, along with guest entrants Tony and Lorraine from the Caledonian Centre.
After lunch the sun broke through, so with top down motoring in the TF85 my option for the afternoon run (and my navigator agreed!) , we carried on to Eggelston before turning north to cross back into Weardale and head for Stanhope, Blanchland, Slaley (passing the forest) and via Broomshaugh, back to Brocksbushes for a well earned cream scone and a hot drink.
All cars returned safely by 3:00pm and once parked up, allowed our guest judge to choose the two cars he would most like to drive home.
The photo montage below shows a very surprised John Brown receiving the pre-1981 MG “Cobweb Trophy” and engraved whisky glass for his 1959 MGA 1600 Roadster. Meanwhile Sean Morton received the post-1981 MG “Cobweb Trophy” and glass for his 1996 MG RV8.
Ian awarded the “Spirit of the Event” award to Barrie & Sheila Hope for bringing their 1958 MG ZB Magnette Varitone all the way from deepest Lincolnshire to take part.
The final presentation of the day was made by Lyn Ebdon, to Jan from Brocksbushes for supporting this event for the last 10 years with superb catering and use of the venue.
I would like to thank Ian & Justine Graham for all their efforts in once again making the Cobweb Run such a superb event and a really great route, with as ever, superb support from Lyn Ebdon liaising with Brocksbushes, to David Alexander who helped with the planning, and to the Tyne-Tees marshals who helped make it all happen.
Report and photos by Noel Lindford.