Wednesday 19 June 2024

Blackbushe Air Day - '24

Last year we got sunburnt - that was last year.

This year the forecast looked ominous, but it was one of those days with very small - but very intense showers, it's just down the road from my house, so it seemed rude to not go.

We set off a little later that we'd planned & so avoided the first of the showers, be we arrived with plenty of time to spare & were handed a goody bag - some shows complain about costs & ask the exhibitors to pay to show their cars, Blackbushe fives us a goody bag as a token of appreciation. It was particularly appreciated this year as I'd been looking for a new baseball cap for driving the car - either blue or orange - & there in the bag was - a blue baseball cap! Nice quality too.

Because of the forecast weather, many of the anticipated cars & planes didn't arrive, but there was plenty to see with the star of the show being a late entry Grumman Albatross, fantastically preserved & modernised with a beige leather interior & sofa beds, so the guy that owns it has got possibly the only warbird / hot rod / caravan that flies & can land on land, water, or snow. It was simply the best toy EVER.

There was quite a lot to see, a good range of classic cars - though the Tesla electric Elise somehow crept in - can't explain that & I've never seen it before, though obviously it must be pretty local 😄

There was also a TR£ based FibreFab Jamaican, now there can't be too many of them in the UK

A few people asked about the Stylus, one even knew it came after the Fury & between the showers - which were biblical, we had a very nice day.


There's been a bit of a clonk coming from the Stylus, so this evening I put it on ramps to look for the source, once ensconced underneath & looking around, I saw some wetness, just a smudge on a fuel pipe. Pretty obvious what's happened, the handbrake cable - which is clear of the hose most of the time, has rubbed through it. Only just, there's been no petrol smell, but enough to wet the outside of the hose where the fuel shouldn't be. When designing the fuel tank I thought the centre-top would be a great place to put the return line.

So I took the fuel hose down & replaced it with a new section & moved the handbrake cable a little. I'll need to keep a close eye on this & may need to do a better fix, but hoorah for the car - that could've gone pop in Devon, or Yorkshire, not going pop at all, but just giving me enough weepage to notice is a marvellous thing & an easy fix.

Never did find the source of the clonk though.

Monday 17 June 2024

RogueRunners '24 Epilogue

It's over for another year, but what were the overriding impressions?

Yes it rained - what of it?
I remember the rain - it was quite memorable, but really, there were only two really wet days & we got out in the cars on both, so let's put that to one side. The roads were very good, the traffic was pretty good, the George Inn in Piercebridge was memorable - all good memories, not necessarily for the right reasons.

The days up to the Wednesday were superb, with good weather & flowing roads that were what we'd gone for. After that the wet weather provided a challenge, but I'd like to think we rose to it, we certainly had fun & the camaraderie was there in spades. We had commemorative gifts designed & crafted by Linda & we had beer & cake.

As ever it's the people that make the trip, some people drop out, others join in, so the RogueRunners is a shifting sand of perhaps unlikely road-mates, but we always seem to rub along nicely & manage without the egos & rules that some other tours seem to suffer.

Rogues, you are EPIC & I salute you all.

Monday 10 June 2024

RogeRunners '24 Day 7 - Hartside Pass

One of those days I'm afraid. One of our number set off for home, but as we were preparing the cars someone said "no route possible". This is a stupid "feature" of TomToms, if a waypoint is placed on a road which on the day you choose to travel happens to be closed, it'll just say "No route possible" like "computer says no". There's no way to re-plan, not even any way to investigate which way point is causing the problem, you just can't use the route. Neither can you turn off "traffic" & drive to the problem & navigate from there. Stupid!

Anyway, I & my tech-support girlfriend went up to the room & got the laptop out, opened the route in the TomTom route planner, found the closed road, when onto T.Y.R.E. & corrected the problem, re-filed it, put it in the SatNav & confirmed it now worked. We imported it into her SatNav & it worked, so she went off to get into her car ready while I loaded the route onto my SatNav. Suitably equipped, I went down to load the V2 route onto everyone else's SatNav & they'd all gone. Apparently a couple of people didn't have traffic on their SatNav so they'd decide to go.

So about 20 mins after the main group had left, myself & my girlfriend set off. The traffic was quite bad, with several HGVs slowing us up, then up on the moors we found a lovely smooth road & were starting to enjoy ourselves when the rain started.

It came down in stair rods with no shelter for miles around, but I carried on because it started to ease off. After a small aquaplane moment I pulled into a pub / café called appropriately "The Traveller's rest" to find that my girlfriend had been trying to attract my attention for the last five miles because her wipers had stopped. We talked about the options for a few minutes, then covered up the cars & went in for a very nice coffee & cake as the heavens opened again. As we sat there an aged local told us
about the Robin Hood he'd built & his collection of aged tractors.

After another coffee, the rain stopped, so we went out & found - miraculously - the wipers were working again, but not wanting to chance our arm, we headed home.

RogueRunners '24 Day 6 - Lakes Loop

After yesterdays wetness we were hoping for a drier day & indeed we got a driER day - just not as dry as we would've liked. We chose a truncated route, out to the Lake District & back, the traffic through the main tripper area wasn't heavy, but it was slow - at it's worst following a camper at 20mph along a lovely winding 60 limit road for ten miles, only to have it pull over to let traffic pass at the very spot where we turned off the road - there may have been a little bad language.

But before this we stopped at the Aira Force tea rooms - it's national Trust so £6 for 2hrs parking! We found the cafĂ© & fortunately it was dry enough to sit outside.

But before that we had to pass over Tan Hill. Usually this is very pleasant, today would be more of a challenge.

You can see the problem here - not the sheep, the clouds cloaking the hill top, we carried on in roughly that direction until the sky darkened & the road narrowed.......

......the horizon vanished & the temperature dropped. At this stage the hood & the heater were very much ON.

Things LOOMED at us out of the fog, by now were were obviously going pretty slow & the few folk we saw were looking at us even stranger than usual.

By now we were in what a pilot would call "Instrument Flying Conditions" looking at the SatNav to determine which way the road went & then looking for that feature in the road ahead. At some point we must've past the Tan Hill Inn, but it wasn't at all obvious, then we felt rather than saw the down gradient & suddenly we were out of the bottom of it & could SEE.

At some point on the way back I'd got separated from the others & as I trundled along a familiar shape appeared in a Quarry entrance. 

Richard was having throttle cable trouble, so while I knew he was perfectly capable of fixing it & would have everything he needed, I pulled over because I don't like the last person to be driving on their own - just in case.

So I was the last back to the hotel, but we'd had an adventure.


Monday 3 June 2024

RogueRunners '24 Day 5 - Wensleydale & Tebay

Wet, in fact WET, the forecast showed a swirling mass of rain centred on our hotel for the entire day - & it was right. You may notice from this photo that while some of the cars are less that water proof, Matt's car has no roof at all - or wirdscreen.

But before then, we'd bidden a fond farewell to two of our number, Mark in the Alpine had family duties to attend to & Ken in the MX5. But down to business, we'd decided on the Tebay & Wensleydale route as it would drop Mark onto the M6, but then we realised it would take 4 hours to get there + cake & petrol stops, so he wisely elected to head out to the A1 instead.

The rain started as forecast & we set off, but although the rain wasn't that heavy, the roads were already waterlogged, presumably because the fields were still very wet, we soldiered on (or perhaps sailored on) until the first cake stop. At the very nice Toft Barn café we made the decision to abandon the run & look for an indoor attraction, which turned out to be the Wensleydale Creamery.

However, on retuning to the cars, One of Matt's rear wings was showing some detachment as a result of an influx of water, so him & Richard set off for the hotel. The rest of us had a pleasant luncheon at the creamery after a drive along what would've been a very pleasant road by a river, but after a while a message came through that Richard's car had also succumbed to the puddles, but they had both got back to the hotel.

Those of us at the Creamery had to decide on a plan. The quick route home was via the A1(m), but while it was "easy" the spray would be horrendous & on those roads in those conditions one needs to maintain a good speed, or the lorries will be overtaking & pumping water in through the side of the car, which precluded taking it steady & watching out for deep puddles.

Option two was the A66, but that was little better & there didn't seem to be a direct route due north on a decent road to get onto it.

Option three was to modify the tail end of an earlier route to run on a good, wide moorland road - there would be puddles & it would require concentration, but we could rumble along at a speed of our choosing & keep away from other traffic that might not realise that we weren't sitting in an armchair in air-conditioned comfort like they were.

The principle downside to this for me was having to fill up with super petrol at a tiny rural filling station for 12p/litre more than the usual price for standard petrol.

However, we all got safely if somewhat damply home (the Stylus' driver's side footwell was awash) & after drying out, could sit around & have beer & supper.

RogueRunners 24 Day 4 - North & South

Once again everyone elected to go the short route & it looked like it could be wet, but in the end we out-ran the rain coming up from the south & apart from a short shower while we were in a cafe, we stayed dry.

But I began the day with the hood up & side windows out as we headed up onto the moors almost immediately, at one stage new tarmac had been laid - not really fresh, but in the last few weeks. As we drove up into the cloud base this tarmac was steaming lending an eerie air & another layer of strangeness to the sheep licking it - I mean 500 acres of grass & they're licking the tarmac?

Linda & I stopped in a scenic spot for a little photography & then we came down off the moors along winding hairpin roads & found our café tucked up a side alley & very nice it was too (flapjack laced with marmalade - mmmmmm), though the ladies in charge wagged fingers at us because we hadn't called them, apparently 10 cups of coffee at once is a challenge.

While we were there it rained quite heavily & we thought we were in for a soaking, but by the time we'd left it had stopped & apart from the hoods being a bit wet, we got away with it.

From there it was back up onto the moors passing Tan Hill & calling in to Brough Castle ice cream parlour for quite a long visit while I walked around to the back of the castle for some photos & a hoard of small children watched cows & stoked lambs.

After that we were held up by traffic once or twice - up until then any vehicles ahead had almost instantly turned off or pulled over - except for one woman in a Range Rover who held up some of our party doing 25 - 30 along the centre of wideish moor roads. A late re-fuel in Darlington embroiled us in traffic, but it melted away long before our hotel & we repaired to the bar with cries of "EPIC!"

Personally I thought it was the best route I've written, a little bit of knarly technical, some hairpins & a lot of fast moorland roads, other opinions are of course available.