E-type Round Britain Coastal Drive - Stages 1 - 6

September 17, 2016

 

 

Stage 1 (Day 1). Nine months ago, it was just a crazy dream. Now it is no longer a dream. It’s still crazy, though!

 

Fantastic sight to see 70 cars lined up at Goodwood House, TV there, loads of snappers, great atmosphere, spirit of adventure – felt like pioneers! – and the great Derek Bell to flag us away. Does not get much better.

 

Quite a bit of suburbia to get through first but then the joys of the New Forest. After lunch at Sandbanks, we crossed on the ferry and headed for Dorset. Breathtaking coastal drive along Jurassic Coast – that will take some beating. Not only were the views stunning but it was a perfect illustration of what this unique event is all about.

 

Very special to have several of the amazing Eagle E-types and their incredible variants on the trip together – surely a first – plus Henry Pearman and Paul Brace. Also have racer Mile Wilds with us, doing several days. Fabulous support.

 

 

 

CRY ran perfectly, apart from ******** cigar lighter not working and so no satnav! Had to use phones. In morning, navigator was Octavia Pollock from the Country Life and The Field. In the afternoon I had the first of my paying passengers who had heard of the event through a Classic & Sports Car Facebook mention. More funds for Prostate Cancer UK. Great stuff. Really nice guy, and good navigator, thank goodness.

 

 Above: Stage 1 – winning bidder for the half day passenger ride with Philip Porter in 848 CRY, Matt Bradley.

 

Finished at Lyme Regis Gold Club, greeted by the Mayor. Dinner, lot of happy people, all the hard work by Louise and the E-type Club office team worthwhile, collapsed shattered and now off this morning to Penzance.

 

 

Above: Photo montage by Peter Johns

 

 

Stage 2 (Day 2). Hottest day of the year forecast. Started from seafront car park in Lyme Regis in one hell of a thunderstorm. Not the plan. Brisk trade in E-type Club umbrellas! I asked around to see if anyone had any spare goldfish because they would luxuriated in the private pond quickly developing within CRY. Headed off, virtually unable to see. Had another charity-paying passenger and, thankfully, he did not seem too fazed by it all. Gradually weather cleared and so hood came down, which caused it to rain again. Putting hood up succeeded in halting rain. This sequence was an ongoing one during the morning and was excellent exercise. Reached the delightful town of Dartmouth and caught the short ferry (second in two days: becoming the tour of the ferries) and small bunch of us stopped shortly after for excellent fish and chips. In the afternoon, we hit so much traffic it was not true. Seemed every road-worthy car in Britain was in Devon and Cornwall. Not much fun. Using traffic updates, afternoon navigator Octavia did a great job tying to beat the jams and we ended up going down singe-track lanes and, as if it wasn’t wet enough, through a ford!

 

Had to stop to do another radio interview en route. Finally, arrived in Penzance in yet another thunderstorm – it had followed us. Rarely known rain like it. Roads now rivers. Need bilge pumps! Superb evening at lovely, historic Trereife House, a warm welcome from the family, whose home it has been for many generations, a fine dinner and hilarious talk by Paul Abadjian completed a challenging day.

 

Just hope the forecast today is for horrendous storms and we should have glorious sunshine. Out photographing early and looking good.

 

“First of all a massive thank you for all your energy and effort in arranging such a fabulous event – all in such a good cause.  We thoroughly enjoyed our 2 legs and wish we could have joined you for more.  Perhaps the club could do something of this ilk again in the not too distant future; worthy cause, Iconic cars, excellent company, drives through some stunning scenery.” Neal and Talitha Brewer

 

Stage 3 - Day 3

 

 

 

 

Started in lovely weather for a change. As still no power to satnav, followed great friends Richard and Fatos Carter in their Fixed Head and Paul Abadjian in a red Roadster. First town was blocked by a lorry, so retraced our wheel-tracks and circumnavigated the problem. Lovely coastal scenery and delightful twisting lanes. Proper Cornish stuff. Then had to take to a couple of main roads and horrific traffic, luckily most of it going the other way. The Great British holidaying public have to realise there is more to Great Britain than Devon and Cornwall – which are full! With Brexit really kicking in next year, the mind boggles. It will be standing-room only.

 

Made good progress for the rest of the morning but struggled to find anywhere for lunch and then, of course, we had the added the challenge of pubs stopping serving at 2pm. I have always said: ‘Such pubs are the only businesses in the world that turn away sales.

 

Unbelievable.’ Lost the Carters in the search but Paul and I finally found a great 13th century pub down a long lane and had an excellent swift repast. Paul then headed for home in Dorset and I was on my own, navigating and juggling phone, cameras, map, dictaphone and sun tan lotion!

 

Bodmin Moor was superb. Then headed for Porlock and found a bobby in the road: turned back as three trees in the road. About 10 miles back but great roads. Finally made it to Combe House Hotel near Bridgwater and a much-needed pint. Non-motoring challenge is getting connected – no phone signal and modest wifi which keeps dropping out (four times while writing this – trying to upload photos and video but impossible). Another gripe: this is a Third World Country for such technology. How can we compete in the world until this is sorted?

 

Off to Tenby shortly and looking forward to the stunning scenery in Wales.

 

 Above: E-types at Combe House Hotel

 

Stage-3-Philip-arrives-at-Combe-House-for-the-end-of-Stage-3-photo-by-Louise-Gibbs