The Highs and even Highers of the Y Register Tour of Yorkshire
(Or ‘It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet(eran)’)
– 16 August 2004
enlarge the pictures, double click on them.
Once a year,
the Y Register has organised tours of a few days’ to a week’s duration
e.g. based in Holland (2000); Exmoor (2001), Brittany, (2002), Exmoor
(2003), and this year the toughest challenge yet – “Y’s for Yorkshire”.
anyway for the organisers as they leaped ahead in the planning in
February, crawled through the fine detail of matching contour lines on the
OS maps with expected capabilities of the clutches, brakes and rear axles
of the Ys, and then juddered through the domestic arrangements, enrolments
and document preparation for the touring assembly! So this is the story of
the Y Register’s entry for “MG Run of the Year” (if there is such a
Waterproof rally board for the tour
Andrew & Arlene Coulson had offered to set
‘challenging but fair’ routes for a long weekend visit to the North
Yorkshire Dales, centred around Reeth, and to sort out the hotel, dining
and entertainment needs of the party. Andrew was more inclined to greater
inclines while Arlene was more inclined to the gentler slopes, but between
them they hoped to provide two full days of outstanding rural motoring and
a gentler run on Monday.
Loose themes for each day were used,
Saturday being in the footsteps of James Herriot (not literally the
exact footsteps, but the locations used in the various TV and film
versions of All Creatures Great and Small etc.). Sunday was themed
around the River Swale itself and the historic market towns of the region.
Monday’s run ended in Ripon with a walking tour of the Law and Order
Trail and a brief historical guide to the “Cathedral City of the
(As part of the planning, Andrew and
Arlene took their well travelled YA from home to Reeth, around the full
two days of the planned routes and back home again to total 215 miles –
all in one day while editing junctions for the Tulip cards etc! As they
arrived in Reeth the local newspaper hoarding proclaimed “Panther Seen in
Dales”. At that stage a decision was taken to not advise the incoming Y
register tourists of this added attraction to their life on the wild
Line up of Ys for Yorkshire at Reeth HQ
Early Saturday morning as viewed from bed
Friday’s travel to the Kings Arms, Reeth varied from the shortest (30
miles for Andrew & Arlene Coulson), through the moderate (around 200
miles, Neil & Janet Cairns/Keith & Rita Herkes) to the outer edges from
Somerset, Petersfield and South Wales (Andrew & Katherine Morland; David &
Barbara Hague; Alan Chick & Mary Jackson, respectively.) The remaining
members of the assembly were Jerry & Jo Birkbeck (previous Y owners, now
fettling along in a TA) and Malcolm & Pat Hardy (YA in rebuild, toured in
Already being alerted to a gasket failure
being suffered by David H (rocker cover rubber one was not doing
gasket-like things, with oil loss and subsequent burning on the manifold!)
Andrew had put a new cork one into the box of spares along with various
gaskets/pumps/bulbs/bolts/etc. and even better remembered to pack the box
in the YA!
The hotel headquarters at the Kings Arms
was a 1734 inn (Yes that’s right Paul et al in the USA, serving
beer here since some 40 + years before your inaugural tea party!) and the
views from the six front facing rooms were straight out of the guidebook.
Car parking was arranged on cobbles (great idea – oil just slides away!)
and the cars shone for the two days of sunshine we enjoyed in Swaledale.
Friday’s dinner (private dining room – The
Black Bull) was accompanied by the necessary domestic announcements from
Andrew and, in place of the usual Coulson quiz, notification that Malcolm
and Jerry would be judging a ‘Funcours’ class for Y types over the
weekend. This included categories such as ‘Nicest smelling air cleaner
under the bonnet’, ‘Quietest operating driver’s window’, and ‘Hubcap in
which the judges would most like to shave’, etc. A total of 24 categories,
plus clipboard – and offers of bribery – then arrived with the lucky two,
but more of this later!!
Panic set in early on Saturday as Jo Birkbeck appeared to be having
problems with the Tulip card … the route called for a “Cross roads,
straight over” whereas she in fact had a diagram “Turn right” … had the
Coulson machine gone off the rails? No!! Jo was trying to use the Sunday
notes for Saturday’s tour, a neat (but rather confusing) variation which
we will think about using next time!
Saturday’s Tulip card set a 75 miles
circular tour starting with a climb through Arkengarthdale to Tan Hill.
This is a 1,732 inn (it being 1,732 feet above sea level and claims to be
England’s highest pub) and was an impromptu coffee stop for the tour who
were joined for the day by Bernard & Margaret Meynell in their outstanding
YA (AHC 108). Whilst at Tan Hill, the Register’s coffers were enlarged by
an enterprising David Hague who had brought with him a ‘doorstep
salesman’s’ pack of essential Y type regalia with which he pestered
Bernard & Margaret until cash flowed! After
a reasonable break the crews appeared rather too comfortable sitting on
the terrace with their coffees and a quick calculation by Andrew revealed
that on the present schedule (10% done, 1.5 hours taken!) Saturday’s run
would last around 15 hours!!
Coffee break at England's highest pub, Tan Hill
David Hague takes advantage of the remote location to
prise cash from Bernard (in exchange for regalia we are told)
Bernard, Andrew C and Keith line up at 1,500 ft by The
Rock, waterfall and rainbow at The Buttertubs
Leaving the Pennine Way (adjacent to the
Tan Hill Inn), we turned towards Keld and followed the high winding road
(single track of course) across the moor. A planned stop at The Buttertubs
(natural limestone cavities about 75 ft. deep either side of the road)
became a partial stop as the majority of cars drove past. One reason for
this probably was they had just finished a climb of several miles up the
Buttertubs Pass, a 1:4 hill with hairpins and precipices to the near side!
Bernard, Andrew C and Keith found the assigned lay by and made a brief
visit to the site. As well as enjoying the cascading water from the moors,
they were able to catch a transient rainbow shining through one of the
mini-waterfalls in the Tubs. Descending to Hardraw some of the party found
the lure of Hardraw Force (a high single drop waterfall) enough to stop
for a few minutes – although the fact that you could only see it by going
through the bar of the village pub may have added to the attraction!
Moving on to Hawes, the group experienced
their one and only traffic pack of the day, with weekend visitors and
local market shoppers adding to the congestion on the High Street. Going
off piste at this stage, Andrew & Arlene took in a detour to Gayle Mill,
an 18th C. mill currently being restored as part of a national
UK campaign. (Unfortunately the Mill was not open so it was drive past
only!) In Hawes (home of Wallace & Grommitt of course!) several purchases
of Wensleydale cheese were made – although with a further three days for
it to ”mature” in the hot boots of the cars these may have been premature
Pat Hardy was the only casualty of Hawes,
with fingers cut while tunnelling out of the ladies toilets in which she
had become inexplicably locked! All the cars were now suitably warmed, as
were the brakes and the passengers so a fluid check was called for at the
proposed lunch stop in Askrigg. The Kings Arms (another one!) was used
extensively as The Drovers Arms in the James Herriot series and
suited us as a quiet (until we arrived) hostelry with plenty of space
(until seven of the nine cars turned up) from which to sample local fare
and ales. Mary and Alan parked outside the pub and soon she was deep in
conversation with an elderly local on his electric buggy. Apart from
sporting a number plate “Elvis” we are still none the wiser as to who he
is, but Mary first of all offered to sit on his buggy and then she
left everyone as she test drove the buggy up and down the High Street in Askrigg. The story gets murkier later on with the arrival of “Elvis” in
the bar with a very large triple sherry (say half a pint or so!) for
Leaving Askrigg, the route took us over
the River Ure at Worton before heading to the falls at Aysgarth.
Being a popular National Park venue on a popular, sunny weekend in August
this was rather busy and parking a little difficult – those who managed to
park then being able to walk through the woods to the upper, middle and
lower falls on the Ure. The Upper Falls were the location for the Robin
Hood v. Little John fight sequence in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
Arlene relaxes in 'The Drovers Arms'
Mary evicts Elvis from his buggy ...
... and eventually makes
off at 3 mph
Alan Chick crossing
Keith Herkes at
Bernard Meynell at
Jerry and Jo Birkbeck
at Worton Bridge
Probably as a result of mis-reading the
‘Funcours’ classes, at least one of the party spent time inspecting badge
bars, accessory lights and badges – but as we will learn later to no
Having acted as sweeper so far, the
Coulsons now moved ahead of the river gazing, ice cream eating majority
and headed onto Wensley, where David & Barbara were enjoying the village
fete & flower show! Escaping the chaos of ‘village-lock’ (where everyone
wants to park as close as possible to the entrance to the fete) the route
turned down through Middleham and onto East Witton for a loop around
Coverdale and its totally unspoilt villages. During this phase, Andrew
caught up with Katherine and Andrew Morland who had raced ahead in their
ex- Gregor Grant YB (UMG 662). The loop came full circle back to Wensley,
where an elegant afternoon tea was taken by several of the rather warm
participants (it being a cloudless hot August interlude in a week of
floods and rain).
Keith inspects the selection of badge bars available
Andrew and Katherine Moreland's engine bay (ex-Gregor
With all cars ‘counted out and counted in’
through the Wensley loop, they headed up to Castle Bolton to see Bolton
Castle. Having been built in the 12th century, this castle is
still occupied by the same family (well, descendants thereof!) and is a
dominant feature for several miles around. Among its many claims to fame
are that it was used to imprison Mary Queen of Scots by Queen Elizabeth I,
and it was from here that she temporarily escaped.
The final part of the Saturday run took us
climbing again over Redmire Moor. This is as unspoilt as you will find
anywhere in England, not a pylon, mast, plane, industrial complex to be
seen for miles from the top. All cars completed the long climb to the
plateau, but David Hague’s failing rocker cover gasket continued to allow
oil out of the top to drizzle and burn on the manifold. At this stage a
group decision was made to enforce a gasket change – if only for reasons
of health & safety!
crests Redmire Moor (OS SE043 944)
crest Redmire Moor
Malcolm Hardy crest Redmire Moor
late afternoon sun on Redmire Moor
rocker cover gasket
allows him to send smoke signals to Petersfield!
Returning to HQ, cars were cooled down,
thirsts slaked with Theakstons and/or Black Sheep ales and the Tour dinner
was served over the next few hours – and you really needed to be there to
see the size of the beef Wellingtons’! Unfazed by all this, David changed
his gasket (for which the county of Yorkshire breathed a sigh of relief!)
and Jerry discovered a few more loose items under the bonnet of his TA.
And to round off the evening participants
were given a framed multi-print of the villages through which they were
travelling along with the tour logo (thanks to Arlene for sorting those
Breakfasts at 8:30,
carriages mounted by 10 (‘ish, as usual) after plug changes (DT 8070),
chamois wipes (various) and another prayer of thanks to the Swaledale
sun-god! The first stop for everyone was to be the photo call for the
group shot, around 5.3 miles from HQ. Coulsons again left last as sweepers
– and arrived at the photo spot first! (Directions & signs were right,
total mileage was right, but interval distance was in error, sorry folks!)
Anyway, the Harkerside road out of
Grinton (sounds a bit like Trumpton doesn’t it?) is a little known single
winding track which is a drover’s route along the Swale Dale. A perfect
location for the Tour photos of cars and crews.
assembly overlooking Swaledale
scenery, the cars gathered for
a mid-morning photo call.
|Onwards through Crackpot (it really
exists) and Low Row to the Reeth Moor, via a well known water-splash used
in the opening sequences of the James Herriot series; and of course
everyone had their photo taken – despite the recent floods having created
a major ditch immediately on the entry side of the ford. (A fact which the
first of the Y’s – UMG 473 – discovered by approaching it at ‘normal
speed’ only to find themselves airborne as they bounced in and out!)
organiser’s YA takes a well earned rest at the water splash
Chick crosses the Herriot water splash near Langthwaite
Andrew Morland crosses the Herriot water splash near Langthwaite
Hague crosses the Herriot watersplash near Langthwaite
the Herriot water splash near Langthwaite
the Herriot water splash near Langthwaite
the Herriot water splash near Langthwaite
At the ford, David H was advised that his
brake lights were inoperative, and despite a quick circuit test showing
switch, bulbs and wires OK, no cause was found. Group think was slowing
down, so a coffee call was added at the CB Inn in Langthwaite, some 4
miles down the road. This turned into a rather long stop for at least one
crew (Morlands!) who ordered the largest baguettes ever witnessed for an
‘early lunch’. However, this diverts from the tour, which moved on through
The Stang Forest to Barnard Castle.
Barny is a market town in Co. Durham
which houses a most unexpected and impressive museum (The Bowes Museum),
and the car park here proved a good venue for David to recheck his
electrics. Barbara did bring him a sandwich for lunch – and a couple of
others did offer suggestions, but the sunshine, grounds and pubs of
Barnard Castle meant David had time to re-acquaint himself intimately with
his brake switches, wiring and pedals!
A short drive (for most of us) to
Egglestone Abbey brought us to the judging arena for the Concours/Funcours
– and boy did the judges take things seriously! Boots were inspected in
detail, bonnets sniffed and viewed, hub caps gazed into (for shaving of
course!) and windows were listened to for quietest operation! In case you
wonder what did the navigators make of this, one picture was snapped of
their considered view of a bunch of boys with toys who’d do anything to be
revealed “The most
unexpected item” for the Judges!
(yes listen!!) to the window
mechanisms during concours judging.
(L to R)
Pat, Mary, Arlene,
Janet & Katherine show
what they think of the Judging! (Andrew’s alternative title was
‘Among the ruins!’ but he had second thoughts!)
The line up was however quite impressive
and the overall winner announced at dinner that evening was Neil “Of
course I’ll fix your car, Gov.” Cairns – who was warmly congratulated by
The route continued through Worton to a
wooden suspension bridge, which allowed one car across per time, to
Richmond where several cars stopped for a brief tour and tea. Alan and
Mary suffered an unusual fuel starvation problem en route from
Richmond to Reeth (just outside the house that was used for Mrs Pumphrey’s
house – the lady with Tricki Woo, you remember!) and luckily(?) for him,
he had the attentions of David, Andrew C and Malcolm immediately with him.
(L to R)
David and Andrew C
line up at the Egglestone Abbey Prix de Concours Humoresque.
So, after four ideas, pipe cooling and
pump changing, off he went – for about a mile until the problem
re-occurred. With further fuel added, pipes bled and systems cooled he
managed to limp into Reeth with the rest of the cars for a very well
earned drink and final dinner.
Presentation of the Concours award
was made, courtesy of Mollie Murray who had provided an original poem
(beautifully laid out) on the subject of Y types and polishing! Well done
Janet and Neil, and many thanks to Mollie!
Sadly, time to pay bills, pack cars, leave HQ and head for Ripon (but only
after another monster breakfast). Arlene left a little early to do
’hostess things’ and Andrew led the way through Leyburn, Middleham and
Masham to the Market Square in Ripon where reserved parking had been
arranged in front of the Town Hall. A walking tour of the Police Museum,
Courthouse, Workhouse and 19th century police stations took us
to lunch time when all bar one car were able to join Andrew and Arlene at
their home for an al fresco lunch and final fettle.
A reverse presentation was most
unexpectedly made to Arlene and Andrew, flowers and wine (or was that wine
and flowers?), for which they were most grateful from the well fed, well
travelled and well tired crews who then left for their holidays/return
journeys – all of which were successful, with the exception of Neil’s
puncture near home. (At least it must have been a very clean wheel change
though I expect!)
With the benefits of digital photography, Andrew edited photo of this
report and printed an 8 x 10 in a frame for The Kings Arms staff. A return
visit was duly made (well someone has to live near all this lovely
scenery!) and they were delighted to receive a permanent memento from the
So if any of
you are ever around Reeth, call in to the Kings Arms and bask in the blue
skies, shining cars and the thought that you know what and where that
photograph really shows!
What about breakdowns???
White and the Seven Swarf(ega)s
This being a tabulated account of the mechanical, electrical and other
interludes experienced during a grouped total mileage of around 4,000 miles in
seven Y types and one TA (snowberry white).
|Car with opportunity
||Nature of opportunity
||Rocker cover gasket failure during
travel to start.
||Replaced on Saturday evening. (After
several multi-pint oil top ups)
|Brake light failure (both sides)
||Switch, bulbs and wiring seem OK.
Unsolved by specialist auto-electrics firm later on.
||Fouled plugs during travel to start.
||New plugs fitted; mixture adjusted;
choke cable reset.
||Front wheel vibration at 50 mph
||Wheel swap; front to rear.
||Excessive play in steering
||Tighten adjustment in steering box.
||Fuel starvation ( suspect pump
||Replace petrol pump. (Team effort
described in main report)
|Rapid pump ticking despite full tank
||Bleed air/fuel mixture.
||Puncture during journey home
In addition, Malcolm Hardy
received yet another wheel nut towards his rebuild of the YA.