Monday 27 May 2019

Rogue Runners '19 - Day 8

Day 8


During my morning prep of the car I put 3 litres of water in it – so it’d used 3 litres in 15 miles – I was convinced I was going home on a truck having cracked the engine or warped the head.

But I started the engine & it sounded OK, as the temperature rode, there were no bubbles in the header tank & no exhaust smell, so maybe I’d got away with it? Innovation thrives on the Rogue Runners & Matt found a spare piece of rubber mat which was cut to fit the neck of the header tank, the rad cap was re-fitted & after bidding farewell to Linda, we headed off to a motor factors on route.

Luck was with me, the fix held, the motor factors was open & they had the rad cap I needed!
We drove though “Pretty Corner”, “East Beckham” & the village of “Trunch”, then turned south through the wet lands, where there seems to be a drainage ditch about every ten yards or so until “Acle”.
There’s not a lot to comment on around here, even “Wangford” where we cross the river Wang isn’t that worthy of note. We avoid Ipswich by crossing the river Orwell south of the town on a rare sight in Suffolk – dual carriageway! & there’s more excitement after that, contour lines! (not many though).
The coffee & cake stop was in a farm shop & here we each decided to set out satnavs for home & head out.

It was over for another year.

Memories of the trip?
The weather was fantastic all week
The roads were mostly good - often brilliant
The company was superb
No-one went home on a truck
The hotels were good -the one in Yorkshire was perfect

Plans are afoot for Rogue Runners UK 2020 :ugeek:

Rogue Runners '19 - Day 7

Day 7 Northallerton to Holt.

Today we left the superb "Village Inn" for the final time & headed east, just after we leave the national park we passed through “Little Leake”, then “Cum Hag Wood”, make of that what you will, before passing over the Derwent at Malton.

By the time we got to Driffield, we were heading proper south, but there was a problem. The rubber seal on the radiator cap on my car was breaking up & although the temperature gauge was staying down, I was losing water at an alarming rate. But we carried on.
Over the Humber Bridge & into flat Lincolnshire, all the way to Mumbai – no, sorry Mumby.

Round here contour lines & cafés were hard to find, I’d marked a stop in Mablethorpe at “Linda’s Pavilion Café” (Hoping we’d get a discount if we presented a Linda) & this is where we all met back up. The cars caused quite a stir with the locals, but from the number of mobility scooters, I guess they just weren’t used to seeing anything that big.


Up to this point the roads had been good sometimes, after Mablethorpe they were twisty, but bumpy in an unpleasant undulating way, then we just had to sit on the A roads for a while to get us where we needed to be.

Over the Nene at Sutton Bridge & over the Great Ouse at Kings Lynn – strangely the only one of the three rivers we’ve crossed not used by Rolls Royce as the name for a jet engine.
I had added another two litres of water to the car by now & at the last fuel stop I added another three with much gurgling & hissing from the engine. Here's what the rad cap looked like at this stage


After that we re-fuelled & I re-watered before heading for the last hotel – it was booked, but I could find no trace of it on StreetView – It turned out to be 100 yards up the road from the pub in the grounds of a Stately Home & was very nice indeed. There were a variety of rooms from single to family, so I asked the other runners to pick keys from the handful & I had the last one –which turned out to be the largest :D .


Rogue Runners '19 - Day 6

Day Six - Scotland Loop

We were a long way from Scotland, so it was only going to be a wee visit.

I’d planed the route carefully to be under 300 miles & T.Y.R.E. said 6 ½ hours, which was fine, but those of us more awake than I was, pointed out that the SatNavs were saying almost ten hours – which wasn’t fine.

So before breakfast I started amending the route. Linda wanted to keep Buttertubs pass in & Duncan wanted to do the roads in Scotland, so that sort of restrained the edges. First off I reversed the route so Buttertubs was at the beginning, but by the time I’d finished the adjustments the SatNav was still showing over 9 hours. In the end I moved all the return leg onto A roads & finished the route at a café almost 100 miles from the hotel, so we would do the route, meet up at the café, then just ask the SatNavs to take us home. That met with everyone’s agreement, so I loaded the route onto the SatNavs & off we went.

We did Buttertubs in a heavy overcast, but shortly afterwards the sun showed signs of coming out, but the route had a poblem, the SatNavs all wanted to take us across a field with a locked gate. Fortunately we were close to Brough Castle ice cream parlour (again) so adjourned there to decide what to do. It was here that Robert decided to take his poorly car back to the hotel & try to get it mended, so with what seemed like 20 three year olds (but was probably only four) watching enthusiastically as if these strange cars would suddenly sprout wings & soar away, we set off for Middleton-In-Teesdale & from there, northwards.

We inevitably got separated & three of us stopped for coffee & cake by the lake in Kielder, but the roads were EPIC & empty.


Having reached Hawick (pronounced “Hoik” apparently) where the apparently simple task of refuelling in the same petrol station as everyone else proved too difficult for me even with a SatNav, so having toured the town for a while, I was playing catch-up, which I did at the café. Then it was just a run south on a main A road, which was busy, but wide enough for overtaking to break up the journey.

Robert’s car was mended by a local garage, so when we arrived back at the hotel, it was straight into the bar for refreshment.

Rogue Runners '19 - Day 5

Day 5 Whitby Loop

Over breakfast we decided the route was too long, so decided to prune the first easterly section.

We headed north, then turned east at Thwait, making for the coast, passed along some byways, through the village of Gayles which has three streets, West Street, East Street & Middle Street.

No points for originality then.

At Scotch Corner we headed out to the moors. The roads are fantastic, sweeping & traffic free - apart from the sheep.

We stopped for coffee at the moors visitor centre based in what appeared to be an old manor house.

At Stokesley we stopped for fuel & immediately afterwards crossed a water way with the romantic name “Flood Diversion Channel”. Then through Glaisdale & past the Arncliffe Arms – our first stop on last year’s tour.

We were going to refuel in Whitby, but with the shortened route, there was no need, we went round the harbour then headed to the Khyber Pass – it’s a road in Whitby. After going round the town a second time& ending up in some unfeasibly narrow roads - we crossed the town bridge & headed up to the ruined abbey.


After that we tackled another of Britain’s steepest roads – Rosedale Chimney Bank, we were going down, so my thoughts tuned to my brake failure earlier in the week. We had a coffee stop marked at “The Daffy Caffy” but there was nowhere to park so we moved on.

Then there was a road called Bell End Green, which passes Low Bell End & Bell End Farm.


Then back along the wiggliest roads I could find, to refuel in Northallerton & the hotel.


As I was driving I had received a text & Robert was missing. I checked the text on arrival & it suggested he had car problems & arrived maybe ½ hour after us complaining of a funny noise from his back end – we all suffer from that from time to time, but he was convinced his was mechanical.

We managed to reproduce the graunch / squeak by rocking the car & isolated it to the off side suspension. Richard had had the rear bushes replaced & it looked as if the bolt at the bottom of the shock absorber had not been tightened after the weight was put back on the suspension. Both the bolt & the hole were worn. All that could be done was to put the weight on the suspension & tighten the bolts as much as we could with the tools to hand. We hoped it would be OK for the rest of the trip, but would need mending properly.

Rogue Runners '19 - Day 4

Day 4 - Lakes Loop Story

I didn’t sleep well & was up early prepping the car, but after a very good breakfast, we set off along the wide, smooth country lanes close to the hotel.

After a while we passed through Richmond (not-upon-Thames) which was very nice & along “Riverside Road”, castle on one side, river on the other – very picturesque, then we crossed said river & took a single track, but straight ish & open road across the dales.

After 50 miles we made one of our traditional stops at the ice-cream parlour at Brough Castle. This year’s treat was a double cone with “Sarah’s Fudge” & twix ice-creams.

At Pooley Bridge we began a run south west along the banks of Ullswater, we got split into two groups of three but were re-united briefly at a scenic stop at the Aira Force Waterfall tearoom.

The next road was ominously called “The Struggle” which took us to Ambleside, at the time I thought it was steep, but I hadn’t done Wrynose Pass at that point.

We stopped in Keswick for fuel, then had a good, traffic-free run along Whinlatter pass but by this stage it was getting late, so we set the SatNavs for Wrynose Pass & then home.

Wrynose pass turned out to be an adventure – the tarmac was only about 7ft wide, there were hairpins, gradients up to & down to 33% & 4x4s coming the other way. It was certainly a challenging drive. The pictures don't do its' steepness justice.








After that, the trip back along The A66 was uneventful – in a good way, but on getting back to the hotel at 6:30, there was no sign of the others – it turned out they’d done more of the “official” route than I had & even led Linda over Wrynose Pass!

Rogue Runners '19 - Day 3

We shared out hotel with members of the MG owner’s club & I’m afraid this morning we rather disgraced ourselves.

Firstly Dave’s starter motor wouldn’t turn fast enough to fire the engine – something it’s done before apparently, so we bump started his car, then I sat in mine, pushed the starter & the battery was flat, so for the first time I deployed the jump pack & it worked perfectly.

Having got the reluctant cars running, we headed out of town round Horseshoe Pass & headed for England, crossing the border at Threapwood.

After about 80 miles there was a stop at “The Tin Hut Coffee Tavern” which is in – a tin hut. Quite a nice tin hut & it has a big car park, Matt was waiting for us having driven up that morning. After a little while Linda arrived, having sent a text saying she would try not to sail straight past – she sailed straight past. But just beyond the hut, the road was closed, so she came back.

Suitably refreshed, we headed out – avoiding the closed road & also avoiding all the major towns, motorways & traffic in the Manchester area. At one point we passed the Swizzle Lolly Factory – no sign of a factory shop though which is surely an omission on their part.

Up on the moors we went over a dam & turned left. T.Y.R.E. insisted that you can only turn right, but I’d followed the left-hand road on streetview & it looked OK & so it turned out.

After another couple of miles we be passed through the outskirts of Upperthong (there’s also a Netherthong), then through a town called “Friendly”. Then as I waited for traffic lights in Hebden Bridge, I pulled on the handbrake, there was a “clack” & the lever moved right to the end of its’ travel. I assumed the cable had jumped a pulley wheel & drove off – until the next light when the brake pedal went down to the firewall!

I nursed the car round some small, steep streets until we found what appeared to be a level(ish) car park the & four of us that were together at that point parked up - & were told in no uncertain terms that it was NOT a public car park, but a school car park. One of our number explained that we had a safety issue & would not be leaving the cars there.

I retrieved the jack from its’ hidey hole in the pod, jacked up the back & proved that the driver’s side rear wheel had no braking, so I jacked just that side up & we took off the wheel, took off the brake drum & the self-adjuster was in several pieces. The clip that retains the pin that holds it together had failed. So all the springs had to come off, the upper shoe came off, we re-fitted the pin & retained it with a washer from my spares bag & an R-clip from Matt’s, re-built the brake, adjusted it, put the wheel back on & drove off!

I was a bit careful for a while, but the brakes were fine. Lucky it didn’t come apart while I was descending one of the many steep hairpinned hills though.

After that excitement, we suddenly found ourselves behind another of our party, then shortly after that we passed the sixth waiting by the roadside.

We were now racing for the hotel, but the sky was darkening & once more we got a little wet, but not too bad & arrived safely at our hotel for the next four nights, which has a row of rooms in the car park, each with its’ own front door – very nice.


Sunday 26 May 2019

Rogue Runners '19 - Day 2

A couple of points about our Welsh hotel before I begin.
1/ What idiot stylist thought a loo seat this shape was a good idea?
Have you ever seen someone with an arse that shape?

Secondly, I Guess they had someone called Alan who kept driving out through the entrance?

Back at the point, today began slowly as breakfast didn’t start until 8:00, so it was 09:30 before we hit the road. We got going & before long we were experiencing roads best described as Mohican – with long grass growing in the middle, they were technical & involving, but meant that it took far longer to get out of Llanelli then I expected. As we got towards Pendine Sands it was noticeable that the 20 limits with viscous speed humps stopped as did the Welsh translations of every bit of writing. We went through the town but could see no obvious sign of the museum & as time was pressing, we pushed on.

We did stop at a beach a little further on to answer the call on nature & to allow Linda’s car to double up as a playground for a couple of small children & their Dad.
After that we successfully made it through the village of Cwmffrwd without breaking down, because I was dreading having to tell the RAC where we were.

More odd town names along the next section, we passed through “Red Roses”, “Tavernspite” & “Cold Blow”.

Next up was the UK’s smallest city – St Davids, it looked a lot like a Cornish village, but with tourists numbered in hundreds rather that the tens of thousands you might expect in Cornwall.

After that we followed the coast – sort of, before turning inland into the heart of Wales – to paraphrase U2 “where the streets have no vowels”. Some of the roads were chosen for the scenery, some for the technical twistiness, some just to get from one good road to the next. But the towns were few & far between & we discovered that the B4243 was kit car heaven. Smooth, just wide enough, constantly changing direction & with little other traffic. At one stage a local in a Peugeot joined us to play for a few miles.

And then the Elan valley, usually we’re going south, this year we headed north to change the perspective. It’s one of those places where for mile upon mile, apart from the road itself, there is no sign of human habitation at all. We were followed by a couple of touring bikers, we let them past, then just kept up with them, allowing them to look out for sheep & oncoming traffic…….
We stopped for a coffee in a hotel in the village of Trecarron, parked up in the town square & just relaxed. All very pleasant.

After that time was pressing, so we set the SatNavs directly for Llangollen & took the A5 which had its’ benefits, it’s wide enough to allow a small car to overtake without crossing the white line, so we were kept entertained.

Supper & a couple of pints in our hotel were most welcome & tomorrow, breakfast starts at 07:30, so were on the road sooner.
Elan Valley.jpg

Rogue Runners '19 - Day 1

After a rough night not sleeping terribly well, it was a bleary eyed Blatter that had a coffee & marmite toast, before heading out to Newlands corner where Agatha Christie disappeared. I arrived to find Duncan & Robert in their yellow sevens & parked up next to them.

IMG_1137.JPG A lady jogger went past & asked if we were the yellow car club & were any more coming, at which point we realised the Dave’s car is yellow too. He arrived & after a quick chat we circumnavigated Guildford & tackled the Pirbright Bends, there’s a 30 limit on them now after a great many Novas & Corsas met their ends there – sadly some of their drivers too as evidenced by the bunches of flowers & football shirts nailed to trees. Speeding was not to be an issue today as we were stuck behind a van - & not for the last time either.

We passed one corner of Farnborough Aerodrome & drove up to Tweseldown Hill (pronounced tweezel down) a lovely windy smooth piece of road that we had plenty of time to appreciate as we were stuck behind a horse box. Shortly after that we passed the cameras & multiple fences of the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

We stopped for petrol on the outskirts of Reading, then the villages got double-barrelled & the land got lumpier as we headed into the Chilterns.
I was starting to get concerned about the time. Breakfast was booked at the meet point for 09:30, but as 09:30 came & went we were still on the road. I thought we must be getting close as we curled round RAF Brize Norton & just before 10:00 we entered Bourton-on-the-Water & had to wait for what seemed like an age at roadworks.

I got ahead of the others & screeched to a halt on double yellow lines outside the hotel to let them know we were about to arrive. There wasn’t a member of staff to be found, but on my second time round the breakfast room, I found Linda waiting patiently, so now I could go back & park the car amongst all the oriental tourists taking pictures of everything.

Dave, Robert & Duncan had arrived by now & found three parking spaces & after a little driving about I found one too. So we ate our full English & caught up on things before setting off again. By pure chance I bumped into Eddy Pace - an ex colleague, who had seen the car parked up & wondered if it was mine, then Linda shooed off a small swarm of Italian youths who had taken up residence on her car & now as a group of five, we headed out of town.

Next we hit some dual carriageway to move us quickly towards Gloucester & then we passed over the Severn at “Over”. After a couple of miles we found some hills & some roads winding round them, I included a loo stop here, but then drove straight past & had to turn round.

After that we crossed the River Wye & entered Wales at Chepstow, where we made a fuel stop. All through this period there had been occasional showers, but fortunately never enough to make us actually wet.

So into Wales then & a mixture of valley roads & trips over moorland until we got to Ferndale where we take some of the wriggliest roads I’ve seen on a UK map, but – again we were doomed to be following traffic, the other side of the valley was much better, the road was smother & wider & at the top was a large layby with an ice cream van & stunning views.


We had been looking for some refreshment for some time, but the Welsh don’t seem to do roadside cafés with car parks. After that road which was just fantastic, I should’ve taken the route direct to the hotel in Llanelli, but when writing the routes, I decided to add some more “interesting” roads – which turned out to be festooned with speed humps, or 20 limits, or speed cameras, or all three. Even when we did find a wide A road with a 60 limit, the locals were out in force driving resolutely at 40.


We found our hotel for the night, the only "chain" hotel on the trip & settled in, but I had picked a location in the centre of the local Japanese car fans race-track so I was kept awake for a while


Friday 3 May 2019

A Close Shave

Earlier today I was looking round the engine bay of the Fury looking for the source of an annoying squeak (as opposed to the many merely irritating buzzes, squeaks, rattles & other "contact noises").

I noticed a pool of wet down by the front suspension mount & gave the top hose a hard stare, followed by poking around it with a mirror & found this:-

In the middle of the picture is the mirror & in the centre / bottom of the mirror is a worn indentation in the pipe.

I took the pipe off the car & yes, there it was a scrape / wear about 1mm deep:-

Now the thing about this is, the pipe is less than 1mm thick. This indentation had been rubbing on a jubilee clip on the bottom hose below it to the point of wearing through - I think that's where the wetness was coming from.

As part of the next mod, the whole top hose will be re-shaped & replaced, but I needed a quick & reliable fix until that happens. Fortunately I found a hose off-cut the right diameter & a couple of jubilee clips to slide over the damaged area &seal the score, It's not pretty, but it is watertight

I then used a clamp I found in the garage (anodised orange), made an angle bracket from an extrusion off-cut to fit an existing hole in the chassis & a couple of self-aligning washers to adapt to the angle of the hose & this all supports the top hose away from the point of rubbing.

It looks a bit Heath-Robinson, but hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll have a job & can order the water pump reverse impellor, that allows me to get rid of the last idler wheel that allows me to re-route the top-hose & then all this will be in the bin.