Y2X2 ˜ Friday 9 - Monday 11 August 2003
Where were you, on the hottest day in history?
by Andrew Coulson Photographs by Andrew Coulson and Ken Jones
If the hottest day since records began now seems like a long way off, then let me remind you it was Sunday 10th August, and we were enjoying the delights of Exmoor in a second instalment of the South West MG Y Register run "Y2X2". Organised by Dennis Doubtfire, the former Register Secretary, it attracted nine Y types covering the model range YA, YT and YB, the production period 1947 — 1953, and the UK with entrants coming from Devon to North Yorkshire!
Two of the tour could only join for part of the event, but Ken Jones (Bridgewater) very early YA was delightful, right down to the 8 inch headlights fitted with 7 inch factory reducer rims, and Gerry Belton brought his recently acquired (from Alan Dinsdale) modified Y (used to do Le Jog) for its first social outing.
Assembling on Friday at the Stockleigh Lodge in Exford, the participants could easily have passed for the cast of a Murder Mystery Weekend, including the suspiciously inquisitive civil servant and his wife (OK it was Jerry & Jo Birkbeck ); the country vets (Andrew & Arlene Coulson); the retired policeman (Neil & Janet Cairns) and the car cleaning gentleman in the straw hat (Andrew & Katherine Morland). However they were all just out for some innocent fun in the sun!
Saturday's routes took us northwards to little used coastal roads along the Somerset cliffs, with hills of up to 25% proving a healthy test of clutch and brakes en route. As far as descents go, our guide/convenor took the "ExLax" award when his brakes failed during a winding climb down to the lunch stop at the Hunters Inn at Parracombe. Baking sun ensured plenty of fluids were taken before the restless/senseless ones took the riverside walk in the heat of the afternoon sun to Heddon's Mouth (and paddled in the azure waters of the Bristol Channel) whilst the rest of the party assembled in the shade of the National Trust grounds for a well earned "meditation". Returning to base, some of the party were fortunate enough to be escorted by Mike (mine host) to the moor above Exford in an attempt to find red deer. Success was to hand, with some 15 —20 stags and hinds seen, as well as several groups of the famous Exmoor ponies.
Dinner continued the previous nights lively conversations both between the rallyists and the hounds kennelled on the adjacent property. Main difference being that the humans stopped by midnight!
Sunday was another northward run on different routes via Robbers Bridge (just off the top of Porlock Hill) and the Doone Valley (complete with random impersonations of Carver Doone!) to the steep approaches to Lynmouth. Dennis had arranged for reserved parking at the leisure gardens on the sea front and having set up an impromptu "Pride of Ownership" line up, the group made for the water powered cliff railway (no, they hadn't blown the head gasket again!) up to Lynton for a light lunch and an amble through the hills and streets of the Lyn estuary. Today's casualties seemed limited to Alan Chick's fuel system which, despite new pump and SU before he left Penarth was vaporising too often and sucking air from too many places.
As any regular rallyist will know, such problems are magnets to the drivers (but not the navigators!) of other cars, and true to form, with a little help from his friends, Alan was back to "better than ever" in a matter of minutes. (So much so that his entry to the gravelled drive back at Sockleigh Lodge was only slowed by the build up of the driveway in a controlled slide to a halt!).
Jim and Marion Pritchard were nursing an intermittent fault (thought to be electrical) successfully and all seven cars returned on time and under their own power for Sunday's dinner back at Exford.
Many thanks to Dennis for organising the event, for lining up the routes (and for delining his brakes!) and to the cast of: Neil & Janet Cairns, Jim & Marion Pritchard, Alan & Mary Chick, Andrew & Kathryn Morland, Richard & Nicole Dick, Jerry & Jo Birkbeck, Andrew & Arlene Coulson plus Ken & Gerry for making the tour a delightful long weekend. And for those who want to know why the dogs howled at night, why the wine bottles seemed to empty themselves so fast, and why it was as hot as hell for a couple of days ... the secret can be revealed, in the mileage from home to Exford to home for yours truly. It was 666, which as most will know has certain "associations" with the darker side of life!!
To enlarge the pictures, double click on them.