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SHIPS THAT PASS IN THE DAY

by

Duncan Grimmond

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On August 22nd Pam and I were out on a spontaneous run to the seaside, having woken up to a glorious sunny Saturday morning. Pootling along on the road between Helmsley and Pickering I was idly speculating on the chances of meeting interesting vintage or special cars and decided that the odds were fairly well stacked against.

We arrived in Pickering and were moving slowly in a queue to the traffic lights when a familiar silhouette loomed in the middle distance. As we inched towards each other, my suspicions were confirmed, a Pembleton was approaching! Who could it be? As we neared each other I recognised the familiar sight of Jan and Spike Stephenson in their Grasshopper. We were both moving and could only shout a greeting as we passed and then parted.

On to the coast at Sandsend for a stroll along the front, the beach and a sandwich and coffee in the excellent Wit's End Café. The rest of the afternoon took in a small Gallery/studio and a quick shuftie at Runswick Bay before we set off back towards home. I had tried to text Spike with a view to making a rendez-vous for afternoon tea at the Forest and Vale hotel in Pickering on our return trip but his phone was not available.

The thought kept crossing my mind, "I wonder if we'll see them on the way home? Nah, not a chance, one coincidence is enough for one day."

Imagine our surprise when, between Kirby Moorside and Helmsley the Grasshopper hove into view again! As we passed I hallooed "STOP!" and we came to rest in a convenient lay-by. Much shaking of hands and kissing of cheeks with our fellow Pembletonistes and after several "Well really" and "I say" expressions of surprise, the upshot was that the 10,000 feet rally was mentioned.

Here endeth the long-winded preamble.

THE 10,000 FEET RALLY

The 10,000 feet rally, organised by CSC member Malcolm Hopwood took place on 26th September. Originally run by the Cycle Touring Club, it takes in eight major hills which add up to a total of 10,000 feet climbed and descended. Hard work on a bicycle.

Having watched the weather forecast for a week we were lucky to awaken to another glorious sunny day.

Dave and Nicki Parr had arrived the previous evening with Silverfish in the trailer and were under strict instructions to present themselves for breakfast at 07.45 with a view to getting the cars warmed up at 08.30.

Porridge and scrambled eggs consumed, motoring coats, hats, gloves and goggles at the ready, we hit the road at 09.00. The road to Ingleton was not too busy and with the sun behind us we made good time arriving in the car park at 10.00. A good selection of Lomaxes, Avions, Marlins, 2 Teal Bugattis, a JZR, DRK, JBA,a Burton,a Marcos, a Grinall Scorpion and a couple of 'one-offs' were waiting and the arrival of Silverfish and the Silver Surfer brought the Pembleton contingent to 5. My apologies to any I've missed.

An unexpected face appeared in the crowd, David Stevenson from Malbernat was there. He was over from France and was staying with Spike and Jan who had found a Lomax for him to drive in the rally. Now that's what I call dedication!

After meeting friends old and new we set off towards Hawes.

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The road runs over spectacular moorland countryside, passing the famous Ribblehead viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle railway. A brief stop in Gayle and then the long climb up to the top of Langstrothdale Chase and down the upper reaches of the Wharfe valley to Kettlewell where we re-grouped.

We then headed north again through Littondale with steep gradients and the eastern slopes of Pen-y-Ghent providing more spectacular scenery. We encountered several groups of cyclists and I wondered if any of them were CTC members with the same goal as ours. I note from their website that the Winged Wheel logo indicating Cyclists Welcome (which often used to be seen alongside 'Teas with Hovis' enamel signs) has been replaced by a more 'appropriate' modern graphic.

Sic transit gloria. (Gloria was ill in the van)

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The single track road led us to Helwith Bridge where we had an excellent lunch in the pub garden in full sunshine. There were 21 Citroen and other specials in the car-park.

From there we drove towards Clapham Station and on into the 'Forest' of Bowland. This turned out to be virtually treeless (being a Yorkshireman I never did trust those shifty Lancastrians!) but it provided another spectacular drive through wild moors. We re-grouped again at Stocks Reservoir in a pleasantly shaded car-park where a couple of other specials joined the party. One Lomax had hit a rock with the nearside front wheel causing a 'bleb' to appear in the tyre. The wheel was changed and I think that this was the only hitch in an otherwise perfect day.

The final stage was through the Gisburn Forest (where there were some trees) and we ended the run in the car-park in Ribchester.

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Here, Jan Stephenson donned her Le Mans 'Team Pembleton' overalls and I think all participants added their autographs to her left leg! Darren Howard had a pen thrust into his hand just as he was setting off to drive home to Worcestershire. This must increase the reserve price for the eventual eBay auction.

Jenny, from Scotland's Frozen North, presented Malcolm with a bottle of single Malt and bottle of wine as a token of thanks for an excellent day's entertainment.

The run was so relaxed and flexible that the general consensus was that we should prevail upon Malcolm to organise another for next year.

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We said our farewells and with the setting sun behind us, set off back towards the A59. As we passed Skipton we followed a green and black vintage saloon which Dave recognised from the number-plate as a 2 litre Crossley. We overtook it on the way up Beamsley Hill towards Blubberhouses, and finally got home to Markington for 19.00h.

I think it would be fair to say that all the Pembletonistes wish to pass on their thanks to Malcolm for his efforts and would agree that

A jolly good time was had by all.


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