Reports from Rebecca Mealing and Chris Hodgson



‘Sevens to the Sea’ Sunday 19th April 2015 by Rebecca Mealing

It was some time last year we decided to try something different and having heard such good reports we signed up for ‘Sevens to the Sea’ run in the Wolds of Lincolnshire.

Saturday dawned bright and promising but with a cold breeze as we set off in the 1936 Austin Light 12/4 Ascot to be the guests of Tony and Brenda Johnson in Lincoln.  The Austin made a steady pace the 139+ miles and it took us 4 + hours with a stop on the way. Lincoln is such a busy interesting city and driving up towards the cathedral was a very special finish to that stage of our journey.

The following day we were to join the ‘Sevens to the Seas’ run and an early start was the order of the day.

Sunday dawned grey, chilly and overcast as we made our way with Tony and Brenda to Hartsholme Country Park to meet with Pete and Sue Rowlands to set up the rally check in.  The Café opened at 7.45 a.m. with a promise of bacon butties, hot drinks and even freshly cooked chips! Yum!  Sue and Brenda manned the check in whilst Pete, Tony and others, marshalled the vehicles in.  There were in the region of 70 entrants from all parts of the country and each was registered and issued with name badges, rally sticker and detailed route instructions (very helpful).  There was a wonderful range of open Austin 7’s, with their hardy drivers and passengers well wrapped up, including a contingent from the Sheffield group; Austin 10’s and 12’s (including our saloon), 2 splendid 1920’s 20’s, one of which had travelled from Halifax on its maiden run with a new owner, there were also some younger motors including a splendid Rover 3.5 V8. (much favoured by the police  in its day) and a contingent of various types of Morgan.

Sadly for various reasons not everybody entered was able to participate.  Pete Rowlands however was in great form, in contrast last year, after he broke his shoulder just before the event!

Next followed a drivers’ briefing and a send off by the Mayor and Mayoress of Lincoln and we were off towards the coffee stop at Wickenby Airfield, some 24 + miles away. This time of year it is a real treat to explore, as the leaves aren’t out on the hedges and trees and we can see for miles around. A very short stint on the A46 gave a wonderful view of Lincoln Cathedral and Castle in the distance.   As a passenger/navigator, I had the advantage of being able to see the views all around not just the road and driving through picturesque villages we were often able to see several cars ahead of us, it was like stepping back in time.  We reached the coffee stop and another opportunity to meet and greet with an enthusiastic, friendly, welcoming crowd able to admire the motors.

Now we set off towards the lovely village of Tealby, for the picnic lunch stop in the village hall some 50 miles away. The undulations of the Wolds was a bit more of a challenge for the cars after the heathlands plus the  inclusion of two fords.  General traffic overall was very light, so it added to the pleasure of driving and as we arrived in Tealby, the sun broke through, we were ably marshalled into place, quickly filling up the village hall car park and the local roads.  Unfortunately there had been a couple of minor breakdowns, but all were resolved and again we had a chance to chat and compare notes, the village shop next door was open too.

Suitably refreshed, we set off towards Normanby le Wold (the highest point in the Wolds) some 8 miles away on our route, a little further on and a clever circuit gave an opportunity for a view of other participants heading up the hill towards us with the Cathedral in the distance. The villages now were built with honey coloured local stone and the pace had slowed a bit with the change of terrain.  Another 23 miles and on to our final destination at Cleethorpes and as we neared the coast, the clouds moved in and it started to spit with rain.  Marshalls were there to efficiently direct us onto the Kings Parade, not normally open for motor vehicles, where we were soon parked and greeted by local residents and last year’s Mayor, Mrs Margaret Solomon who presented each car with a certificate.  The rain had by now set in and hoods were hastily put up, some headed for a welcome cup of tea and quick thaw out in the café, it was certainly a tough challenge to be in an ‘open car’ and for one or two, a hot water bottle would have been welcome towards the end

The weather in Cleethorpes was not at its best so after a brief look at the cars the consensus was to head to the Kingsway Hotel to get warm and ready for the evening meal at Boaters Beach restaurant. We met in the hotel bar for a pre-dinner drink then made our way to the restaurant where we were quickly seated. A convivial evening ensued with good food, banter, excellent service and entertainment provided by video re-runs of previous years events and Scottish bagpipes, playing WW1 songs for us all to join in.  Not everybody had booked the meal so we were by now missing quite a few who had originally set off that morning.

Ironically, Monday morning dawned with bright sunshine and the tide fully in, revealing Cleethorpes at its best, just 24 hours late. We had a further opportunity over breakfast to chat before everyone set off for home.

It was a privilege to be able to be part of this event and our thanks go to the committee and all those who put so much hard work in the organising of it, also to everyone for making us feel so welcome.

Having had an uneventful trip thus far our Austin got quarter of the way home and broke a crankshaft!

Tony and Rebecca Mealing

P1090021 Tony and Rebecca’s Austin Ascot L 12/4

Sevens to the Sea 18th – 21st April – Chris Hodgson

On a beautiful sunny Saturday Ian and I travelled to Buxton via Daisy Nook, Ashton, Stalybridge to Glossop, New Mills to Chapel en le Frith and then on to Buxton. Here we met Ron and Jo Low and travelled through Derbyshire and across country to Lincolnshire arriving at the Ibis hotel for the night where we enjoyed good pub grub and and a good nights sleep.

Sunday meant and early morning breakfast, to be at Heartshome Country Park for 8:30am and ready to be away for 9:00am. After the Mayor welcoming everyone 60 cars, mostly Austins, in total, we set off on the route. The instructions were excellent and easy to follow, the scenery interesting and this first session took us to a coffee stop at Wickenby Airfield.

Continuing for the rest of the morning we travelled through East Torrington, Hoton, Sotby and Ranby, Scramblesby and Gayton Le Wold – to name some of the places. Things of interest we past on the way were RAF Scampton, the home of the 617 Dambuster Squadron, now the home of the Red Arrows. We also saw Luftwaffe graves in a church yard St Lawrence church and Snarford, well worth a visit, also Market Stainton, where the views were lovely. Also Asterby Hall the former home of Captain Marendos and St Olaves church where the views were also superb. The next place of interest was from Gayton Le Wold a gated road with fords where we were reminded to check our brakes. After this we arrived at Tealby Village Hall for our lunch stop. The morning total was 74.4 Miles and lunch was very welcome.

The afternoon session was much shorter only 30.7 miles and seemed to be over quickly. Some of the villages covered were Walesby, Cloxby, Normany Le Wold (the highest point in the Wolds) and down a very steep hill where we could view Lincoln Cathedral and watch all other Austins coming up as we went down. We travelled on through villages and on to Cleethorpes to complete the run. The run ended on the sea front all the cars lining up for the public to view and for a welcome cup of tea in the café

An evening meal had been arranged at the Boat House restaurant on the promenade and it was a fitting end to a long day. Here we had good food, good conversation and speeches from Peter Rowlands who organised the day. All in all an excellent day.

On Monday morning after breakfast Ron, Jo ,Ian and I travelled home together across country but taking a different route from Saturday. This time Caister, Brigg on the 180 towards Selby then Pontefract, Wakefield stopping at the Mining Museum for lunch. After leaving Huddersfield and then Oldham we guided Ron and Jo to the East Lancs road for the last part of their trip to Thornton.

We had an enjoyable weekend of 100 miles plus on each of the 3 days and have already booked the hotel for next year –[Event is Sunday 10th April, 2016]– Maybe some of you would like to join us ?

Chris Hodgson

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