The M.G. Car Club 'Y' Register
Summer Gathering 2014
Classic Tour of Mid Wales July 11 -14 2014
By Jerry Birkbeck
As Chairman last year Peter Veilvoye outlined an excellent summer break in mid- Wales that he had attended with members of the Gloucester Branch of the MG Owners' Club. He suggested that it would be an ideal venue for the Y Register in July 2014.
Approaches were made by Peter to the venue organisers and owners at
Llanerchindda Farm in Camarthenshire and a date was confirmed. He mentioned that
there was little for him to do other than e-mail and phone round to interested
owners for the reaction and support, and then advise the organisers, who would
arrange the rest. Well it was a little more than that, as we all know.
Nonetheless, he quickly had 28 participants on the books and it was pencilled in
diaries well before Christmas 2013.
What was the selling point?
number of factors that included an opportunity to meet up with old and new
friends, to enjoy the wonderful landscapes of mid Wales, and to experience the
organisational skills of a well developed venue.
Peter had commented in his e-mails and contacts with owners and their partners
how impressed he had been with the care and attention to detail, how well
planned the weekend had been and the superb food.
assessment was spot on as was evident on our arrival with Pimms being served on
the terrace overlooking a stunning landscape.
Who was there?
Twenty four of us, though sadly David and Barbara Hague had to cancel due to
medical issues making it impossible for him to drive.
Jackson sadly was unable to make it personal reasons, though Alan Chick’s nephew
– also called Alan Chick filled her place.
Peter V and Derek Newman (YT and TD) arrived as the advance party. Neil and
Janet Cairns, (YB) Jack and Molly Murray (VW), Peter and Suzie Arnell (YB)
arrived soon after. The rest of the party comprised Brian and Gill Mellem (YA –
a car that they have owned since 1960). Dave and Hazel Jones (YA) made the short
trip up from West Wales. Fran and Jan Smith came from further afield in their
YA, whilst Andrew and Arlene Coulson (YA) motored the 200 plus miles from
Yorkshire. It will give you an idea of the remoteness of the area with Peter and
Gilly Sharpe (YA) taking six hours from Bedfordshire.
However, some of us were forced to drive our modern cars with perhaps the most
unluckiest being Andrew and Kathrine Morland. They had driven up from
Glastonbury on the Thursday afternoon and were passed by Peter V and his wife on
their way back from Devon (in their Jag!). Peter commented on his absolute
delight at seeing their wonderful YT on the M5. Unfortunately, when they reached
Abergevenny, around 20 miles from Llanerchinnda, they experienced problems with
the water pump. They decided that it was unrealistic to carry on and they were
trailered home. The YT with swapped with their modern (at least an MG!) a 2005
TF. Jo and Jerry Birkbeck had to come in their C4 with no one at home to look
after their elderly dog Meg. They did try her in the YT but she was freaked out
by the experience and there was only one decision - to bring her in the modern!
Alan Chick was unable to attend in his YB but arrived in style in his nephew’s
after some re-freshing Pimms everyone changed for dinner. This was a superb
three course meal with drinks from the `honesty bar’ in the Dining Room. Our
hosts Martin, Lynn, Andrew and Mark provided superb service with excellent
attention to looking after their guests.
What did you do?
`package’ includes everything - an outline of each day’s events with a route
book for both trips together with an OS Map of the area.
After an excellent breakfast Martin requested that we attend a `Driver’s
Briefing’ at 9.30 a.m. With everyone gathered he went through the route, which
was splendidly covered in perhaps the best prepared route baok that I guess most
of us had seen. Not only was there a map covering the route, but a list `To Help
Plan Your Day. This comprehensively covered Team Rooms, Café and Pubs, Toilets
and Car Parks and Fuel. All a pre-requisite!
Day 1 - Classic Tour of Mid-Wales
Taking in the Llyn Brianne Reservoir. Devil’s Staircase, Hay on Wye and Brecon
Total Distance 101 Miles
route was indeed spectacular along the way we met up with Brian Hough in his YB
and at Hay we met up with Keith Harris also in a YB they continued with us and
came back for more socialising over tea. The roads were excellent and the views
and settings were stunning as we passed through a series of different
landscapes. Sheep were a common factor though! The descriptions provided in the
`Points of Interest’ column were well chosen. As an example it is worthwhile
recalling an early entry whilst passing through the Sennybridge Training Area:
road takes you on to the Sennybridge Training Area (SENTA) which consists of
approximately 31,000 acres of MOD freehold land and 6.000 acres leased from
Forest Enterprise. The majority of SENTA is situated on the Mynydd Epynt, a wild
plateau covered by blanket bog and grass, but intersected by several streams
containing woodland and meadows. The area became famous for Welsh Cobs – the
very name Epynt originating from an ancient expression meaning `haunt of horse’.
Epynt was the ancestral home of a community of Welsh speaking hill farmers until
1940, when most of it was compulsory purchased by the War Department for use as
an artillery training area. SENTA is the third largest military training area in
the UK and was requisitioned in 1939. In 1940 the Training Area became the site
of a Royal Artillery Practice Camp. Since then a wide range of developments have
taken place to create sophisticated live firing and dry training facilities for
light forces including light (105mm) artillery,
were the Y’s coping with this terrain – pretty well overall. However, Andrew and
Arlene’s YA was experiencing a serious oil leak from the rocker box. The expert
opinion suggested heavier oil. In the interim Andrew undertook some remedial
action with the aim of resolving the problem on return to base.
drove along the Wye Valley, enjoyed wonderful views of the Black Mountains and
arrived in Hay-0n-Wye, famous as a second hand book centre known as `the town of
books’ and its well renowned annual Literary Festival, which had been held the
then travelled onto Brecon, though several of us did not stay there very long or
bypassed it - one of the demands on time resulting from such a long trip. From
here it was a thirty mile drive back home. We enjoyed the company of Keith
Harris in his beautifully restored YB a journey through very different
landscapes, though all of course of high visual quality.
return we discovered that Andrew had included a thicker grade of oil and was
hopeful that this might help to resolve his problem.
pre-dinner entertainment was provided by Jo Birkbeck on her saxophone which was
thoroughly enjoyed. Although her attempts to get everyone singing along to a
simple standard – Rock around the Clock - was not perhaps taken on quite as
enthusiastically as it might of have been in the country renowned for its
singing! No Welsh chorists amongst the Y Community Singers!
Day 2 Classic Tour of Mid-Wales
Taking in the Epynt Ranges, Black Mountain, Myddfai Hall, Brynamman Mountain
Road and Aberglasney Gardens Total Distance 95 Miles
Another challenging day for all drivers and crews! We visited and crossed the
Epynt Ranges and had the benefit of following highly maintained roads (by the
MOD and at the taxpayer’s expense!) which allowed exceptional views and were
lightly trafficked. Quite often the MOD will close the ranges, not only for army
training but also for film companies. This is where the TV programme `Top Gear’
with Clarkson et al film some of car trials.
went on and enjoyed great views of the Black Mountain and Brecon Beacons. Some
of us stopped for a well earned morning coffee in Myddfai described in the
brochure as ‘... a tranquil, peaceful haven surrounded by the outstanding
natural beauty of the Brecon Beacons.’
true description and well worth a visit.
here we went on along the A4069 towards Llangadog on the way to Aberglasney
Gardens. There was an acute hairpin bend and then a sharp turn to Trap which
some of us missed. This meant driving on to a higher viewing point and then
returning on the same road. However, even with traffic following Fran managed a
smart turn on the hairpin in his YA – a well judged manoeuvre!
Aberglasney was very special and we were met by Martin in his MG RV8, from whom
passes were collected for our entrance. Many of us chose to have lunch here. The
best description of these awe inspiring gardens is that it is `one of Wales’
finest gardens and a visit at any time of the year will not disappoint’. It was
made famous by the BBC TV series `A Garden Lost in Time’ which followed its
restoration: a wonderful place to visit any time of the year. From here we made
our way back to Llanerchindda for afternoon tea and cakes.
Another excellent four course evening meal rounded off a superb weekend and
although Peter was modest in his description that he only send out a few e-mails
and made a few phone calls Fran was quick to add that it was much more than
this. Indeed he was spot on in his assessment. However, everyone agreed that it
was Martin, Lynn, Andrew, Mark and all the staff who were the real stars and for
all of them there was a heartfelt applause and thanks.
Following another excellent breakfast we all gathered together for our goodbyes.
Andrew and Arlene were concerned about their oil loss but remedial action from
Dave Jones together with a thicker oil saw them off. Andrew was slightly
pessimistic about their chances of getting home without calling the RAC but
Arlene was confident and as we heard later she was justified as they arrived
back in Yorkshire safe and sound!
Jones’s problem with his discharging battery resolved itself following an
overnight charge in the hotel workshop.
Everyone else got home safely. Though Fran and Jan had a puncture on the M40 but
were quickly rescued by the AA and were on the way home within 40 minutes of
making the call.
All in all, a great weekend and well done to the varied cross section of One and
a Quarter Litre saloons and a tourer, together with Derek’s TD, which was of
course spawned from a Y!
look forward to going to Llanerchindda Farm again.