Robin and Derek Holden from Tasmania joined this year’s Tour as part of their holiday in the UK – here’s Derek’s account of their time with us.
Robin and I joined around 80 others for a weekend touring the Forest of Dean, criss-crossing the English/Welsh border on numerous occasions.
Thirty nine (39) MGs took part with cars ranging from P-types (2), TA (5), TB (2), TC/EXU (1), TC (6), TD (10), TF (7), TF1500 (3), RV8, YA, and MGA (1 of each).
John James ensured that we had rides in an MG with Robin travelling with Terry Baulch in his RV8 and Derek with Peter Cole in his TD.
The weather could have been kinder, traditional intermittent showers, but they failed to diminish the overall enthusiasm.
Saturday’s run of 80 miles was based on the eastern edge of the Black Mountains and the English/Welsh border.
The roads varied from narrower than normal to abnormally narrow (single track), as can be seen from this encounter with a tractor……
There were plenty of photo opportunities at the Vale of Ewyas, Gospel Pass and Hay-on-Wye, better known as the second hand book sale capital of the world.
Saturday’s route included three castles; White, Grosmont and Skenfrith Castle, as well as providing spectacular views of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons.
Unfortunately, an immaculate MK II TD from the Isle of Wight broke a clutch cable, and had to be driven for a considerable distance, before a recovery vehicle could access it.
The Sunday drive was of shorter duration, only 40 miles. It was mainly confined to the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. As on Saturday, some of the roads were so narrow, it was hard to believe that people lived on a permanent basis alongside them with such restrictive access. It would be a nightmare to drive on them on a daily basis, but it can be nice occasionally.
On Sunday we visited the Dean Heritage Centre and Museum, where the MGs were displayed as part of the “Childhood Memories Festival” event which was being held at the Centre over the weekend. The photograph shows ten of the cars parked at the entrance to the Centre. The rest of the cars were parked around the corner in a reserved section of the main car park. Robin just gets into the picture in the foreground.
We also visited Tintern Abbey and Symonds Yat Rock to see the spectacular views over the River Wye. Clearwell Castle, Clearwell Caves and the 12th century castle at St Briavels also featured on our itinerary.
View of the River Wye from high up on Yat Rock
An excellent dinner at Bells Hotel, Coleford and a film show by Paul Ireland, which included the TTT 2 weekends on the Isle of Wight (2014) and the Lancashire Lanes and Yorkshire Dales ((2015) wound up a highly enjoyable and very well organised weekend.
Our abiding memories of the weekend are; firstly, the incredible narrowness of many of the roads, and secondly, that British classic MG car owners are a hardier type than their Tasmanian counterparts, as they leave the tops down in circumstances when few Tasmanians would.
The TTT 2 Tour was held in the last weekend of August. The following weekend we attended the Beaulieu Autumn Autojumble, where I managed to pick up all the parts I was looking for. The weekend after we went to the Goodwood Revival.