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May on the Moors 2017


Peter Weeds

Two hundred miles in YumYum


A few miles here and there locally was all my driving experience in YumYum, so when the Moors run was mooted, it was sensible that Kevin and I should do it together, because he has form with 2CVs.

This was to be YumYum’s baptism of fire, the first serious run over unconquered territory, like hills and fords and hopefully, not sheep.

With absolute confidence in Sam and Geoff’s planning, we set off on Friday afternoon. A few miles out from Middlesbrough (Kildale actually) I realised I had only the faintest idea where Rosedale Abbey was. It dawned on me that we were heading for the local beauty spot called Hob Hole. I used to take the children to play there and the fun feature was watching cars go gingerly through the ford, though on one occasion with an ex-army lorry full of eager Lyke Wake walkers, I spent several nerve-racking minutes waiting for a stalled engine to start before climbing the hill in first. Amazingly, over the years, the ford had been reduced to a damp patch through which YumYum roared and climbed the other side with a second gear flourish. There was another ford at Westerdale, which presented no difficulty either. My confidence increased. The run from there to the Lion at Blakey Ridge was only slightly marred by the realisation that we should have turned off down to Rosedale Abbey a mile or so back.

Assembling in car park

We arrived without incident at the village, were pointed towards the assembling group on the other side of the green, and disembarked outside the Bunkhouse, our lodgings for the weekend. Not knowing what to expect, we found a modernised, clean and well laid out establishment with steel bunks and comfortable mattresses. Outside were several Pembletons, all different, all, I felt, in rather better shape than YumYum, but no one minded! There were a few Trikings as well and we made our way to a field behind the Milburn Arms, who were hosting our cars and providing some of our meals. The line-up was of thirteen cars and looked very impressive. Covering up for the night, we spent the evening after dinner chatting in the bunkhouse kitchen and fiding out about the next day’s runs.

Breakfast on Saturday was a quiet affair, as we all perused the menu. I had decided on kippers. Our hosts let slip that Geoff had ordered ten English Breakfasts and also confessed to being right out of kippers. So, English Breakfasts it was and though I am unashamedly English, I had to admit defeat part way through the plate of sausages, bacon, egg, beans, mushrooms tomatoes, black pudding and hash browns. I was to drive for the Saturday morning and I had to fold myself into the seat behind the wheel – no small feat, especially since Kevin and I were wearing flying jackets. Oh. And waterproof trousers too – it was that kind of day.

Assembling in car park

However, the sun put in a blessed appearance at times as we roared off up the hill to where ever. YumYum is not working at full power yet, so we happily took our place towards the rear of the flight, waving at anybody we encountered, especially the bemused cyclist we passed going up a hill. Shortly after that, on a bumpy stretch of road, we heard a clatter and saw the flash of sunlight on bouncing discarded aluminium. Almost at the same time I realised that the gear lever wasn’t as responsive as I expected. Coming to a quick halt at the sunny summit of the hill (lovely views), Kevin went back to pick up the fugitive ali and I got out to see what else had happened. Our tail ender, Tom Rae in Snotamog, drew up beside us and asked what was wrong. I had no idea but thought it best to exude confidence and assured him that we would meet at our destination, the Lion at Blakey, by lunch time. Reassured, he carried on. We removed the bonnet. The problem was that the rear fixings to the toast rack on the axle had come loose, the engine was canted forward hanging on the two main suspension bolts. Pausing to wave again at the passing cyclist, (more bemused I believe) we began to jack up the front of the engine so that the bolts fell into their respective cradles. Tightening up, all seemed well and with slightly dented confidence we carried on our way. We decided to go straight to the Lion, where as well as the rest of the flight, we were to meet my daughter, Susie, for lunch.

Booking late for this meal and having to specify what dish we wanted, I had chosen steak pie. There was a lot of it and my appetite was dented by the English Breakfast and the excitement of the run. I left half of it.

Then it was back the way we had come to our assembly field for the next run – Kevin’s run, thank goodness (said to be seventy miles). Kevin is younger than I by a good few years, experienced with 2CVs, a good driver and, I think, treated YumYum with the firm hand she really wanted. Consequently, while he was having the time of his life and YumYum was responding magnificently, I was reduced to hanging grimly on to any available bit of wood or steel with a fixed smile which occasionally slipped because not only were we moving at a greater rate of knots, but it had begun to rain. If rain is the word. Perhaps it was hail? My crash helmet saved my head and eyes, my flying jacket soaked up a good proportion of the deluge and to some extent prevented me from freezing to death. On top of that I had nothing to do but wonder what was round the next bend and hope it wasn’t a tractor.

Needless to say, when we reached our field again I was able to congratulate Kevin on his handling of YumYum and look as if I had enjoyed the whole experience, which, on reflection, I must say, I had.

Time for the brewery visit – did I mention that? A quick wash and brush-up, dry clothes where possible, a ride in a luxury coach to Cropton brewery for a tour of the little brewery followed by a meal at the adjoining pub. Having had to think quickly what I would like to eat that evening, I had settled on steak and ale pie....

I’m so glad I did. That must have been the best pie I have ever eaten. Shaped like a plant-pot, filled with beautiful tender steak, with a separate jug of real meat gravy and a cloud of mashed potato (I believe there were vegetables too) I ate the lot. Kevin had scampi and chips along with a very nice salad with samphire, the first time he had tasted it. He was happy too!

Back to the bunkhouse for more gossip and refreshment. Thank you whoever provided the beverages (Geoff?).

Sunday, our final day, being forecast of uncertain weather, it was generally decided to head for our various homes, some far away. I drove uneventfully back through Westerdale and Kildale, completing, it transpired, two-hundred-and-one miles at a consumption of about 50 mpg.

Oh Sam, oh Geoff, we thank you!

Peter Weeds and Kevin Nixon

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