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The 2009 North York Moors Tour:
A Uniquely Y Experience

16 — 19 August 2009

by Andrew Coulson


When did it all start?

Having pledged never to organize another Tour for the Register after their success in 2004, the Coulsons were prevailed upon in Autumn 2008 to plan a Summer 2009 Tour of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. And with the 2004 Tour a happy memory and at least 9 months available for planning, what could be easier ... ?


The dark December days between Christmas and New Year were spent in visiting those few hotels who were likely to meet the demanding standards of the experienced Y-owner; you know the sort of thing — secure parking; group parking; car cleaning possible; tolerant of donated oil spots; permissive to mechanical rebuilds of parts/replacement of parts; - oh and pretty good board & lodgings! The decision was made to take up a financially attractive offer — 3 nights for the price of 2 — at The Worsley Arms Hotel in the attractive south Moors village of Hovingham.


This proved outstandingly successful for the 14 cars based there — with 4 couples lodging in their own cottages across the village green, and an eminently suitable meeting and feeding place for the 15th. Tour member who had joined too late to find a room at the inn. (B&B found for them 2 miles down the road).  (The first edition of "Daily Y Register & Touring Gazette" can be read by clicking on the link - webmaster)

Neil Cairns explains hand signals to Jack Murray
Neil Cairns explains hand
signals to Jack Murray

Tour members Part 1
Tour members Part 1

Tour members Part 2
Tour members Part 2


The General Assembly

Some 29 people carried in 13 Y's, one TA and one Jubilee BGT arrived at The Worsley Arms on Sunday afternoon to celebrate another four days of unremitting sunshine, relaxation and Tulip Diagrams on what was probably the best Y event of the year (unless you of course know different!).


Sunday's gathering of the cars was itself marked by clearing skies and the odd bit of misbehaviour: Mike Silk's dynamo was failing to charge on his YT; Keith Herkes' water pump pulley was intermittently rattling; and Arlene Coulson had ducked out of bringing the YT (Andrew being in the YA) and had sneaked her Jubilee BGT into the car park — complete with its exhaust baffle rattle!


Approaching the Moors

Monday's Tour was around 70 miles of clear roads passing some of England's oldest abbeys — Newburgh Priory (where Oliver Cromwell's headless body is embalmed in a sealed room!), Byland Abbey — where we met Vintage Car Club rally members on a 4 day outing to the North East, Rosedale Abbey — whose original nuns were reputedly the first to farm sheep for wool. Climbing almost continuously from Helmsley through Cropton — with its very fine New Inn with its own brewery on site, the route wound on through Rosedale to reach Ralph's Cross — one of the Parks' many travellers crosses and itself the symbol of the North York Moors National Park. Views were superb, as was the weather, although the advance guard (of Arlene with Paul T) claimed it was raining when they arrived at the Cross, hence why they spent the next 90 minutes in the pub!


Acting as sweeper, Andrew (with navigator Edith) was only a little surprised to find several cars behind him whilst 'resting' at the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge. Messrs Arnell, Murray and Gardner had meandered through Helmsley some miles earlier before being accosted in the main square by a gentleman anxious to talk Y-types. In the small world of MG marques, he turned out to be from Darlington and the new owner of the late Bill Atkinson's YB! Details taken by the Jack Murray he has promised to use the car and join Register events next year.

Reg Dixie (Y) leads the Studebaker at Byland

Victor (from Switzerland) appreciates real scenery

The Silk YT and Hague YB overlooking RosedaleAfter lunch, a fast run was enjoyed by many along the several miles of Blakey Ridge which divides Rosedale from Westerdale — although in more poetic vein it is simply a glorious road on top of the world! Descending to Hutton-le-Hole, the pack divided between  the Ryedale Folk Museum — with its carefully relocated buildings and grounds- and the local craft workshops; although it must be mentioned that after coffee in Helmsley and a recent lunch en route, there were several Tour members espied in the tea rooms and ice cream shops of the village!


A further cross country route through the hamlets to the west of Pickering brought the first day back to Hovingham some 7 hours after  their 10 o'clock departure.


No new reports of failures/breakdowns were to be had in the bar, and all eagerly awaited the second edition of the "Daily Y Register & Touring Gazette", this being the full colour daily newspaper produced by A&A for all participants each evening. (Contained local interest for Hovingham, route advice for the following day, historic trivia and travel tips!) Coupled with the detailed Tulip route book and notes provided on Sunday evening, could there be yet more to come?

Coulson Clapham and Birkbeck at lunch

Ralphs Cross with views

Only Susie realises where the camera is after lunch at the Lion Inn

That well known cowboy David Pelham meets Reg Dixie

The view from Ted Gardner's bedroom!

Driving as it should be

Ted Gardner clears the August floods

Recklessly the Coulson YA nips past the cautious Herkes YB

Murray Gardner Arnell lost in wonder


Grosmont station in AugustSteamin, Roman, Filmin'

Tuesday saw the usual re-fettle from 09:30 until cars were ushered off for their 65 mile Tour through the eastern Moors to the North York Moors Railway. The route took cars through tiny, beautifully kept villages up to Cawthorne and onto the Wheeldale road — which is a single track (for much of it) route along the old Roman road between Pickering and Grosmont. Taking advantage of the natural resting place at the water splash, folks again seemed in no great rush to move on to Egton Bridge and test their brakes and clutches as they went up and then down the 1:3 hills selected for the day.


Parking up in the National Park car park (again pre-reserved, despite summer holidays!) time was spent at the station — home to one of the best preserved and restored steam railways in the country ; among the shops; or, yes you guessed, in the Station Inn (this latter being among the riskiest part of the Tour as the dart board was immediately next to the door into the bar, and the main user was a young man with most of one arm in bandages and odds 'n' sods plastered on the other!)


Some opted for nostalgic trips to Pickering, Goathland or Whitby by steam train, but a large group of 19 were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the engineering workshops for the railway. Our guide, John Fletcher, was a previous (1970's) Y owner who was the perfect mix of knowledge, anecdote, enthusiasm, opinion and humour throughout the 90 minutes we were 'up close and personal' with the various active projects. At £350,000, the current cost of restoring a steam engine makes an XPAG rebuild seem a bargain!

John entertains the masses in his shed

Arlene shows interest in a larger stud

Roy Clapham explains something to Mike Silk

Yup! They climb in there to scrape it out

The Tour organisers agreeing their next project

Mike loses count again for his regalia plans


John and Jackie Fletcher meet up again with Neil's YBJohn and his wife Jackie joined the cars for some nostalgic photos of their own — courtesy of Neil Cairns equally expensive rebuild at Brown & Gammons earlier this year — and copies have since been sent to them for their records. Unfortunately John could not remember his Y registration number, and his only photo (in colour!) is a side view of a black Y-type with two young boys who he also couldn't remember! Detective Jack Murray has however agreed to trawl the records .. just in case!!


The Birkbeck TA and Pelham Y rest up in Aidensfield GarageThe late afternoon run continued through Goathland — the village better known as Aidensfield in ITV's Heartbeat -  and then gave an option for either a reverse of the Roman Road, or an alternative run past RAF Fylingdales and the Hole Of Horcum (look it up, it really exists!) to Pickering where we all rejoined the same last stage of the day's run to Hovingham.


One fan belt incident for Paul Gresser and a sticky starter motor for Roy Clapham seemed to be the mechanical failures for the day, so even longer was spent in the Worsley Arms bar that evening with so little to fettle!


Dinner as usual was superb, accompanied by the latest edition of the "Daily Y Register & Touring Gazette", and the results of the obligatory Tour Quiz. This latter proved a close run event with the Murrays and the Pelham/Rodrigues entries tied for first place. Having won on the tie break, Molly duly received her book on "TV and Film Locations in Yorkshire" with some trepidation — perhaps a veiled threat of having to organize the next Tour? — and Victor returned home to Switzerland with that all time best seller "Great Yorkshire Recipes"!


Social Contrasts

Wednesday morning was the all too soon end, with a run past the wealth and splendour of the Castle Howard estates before arriving at Eden Camp, a Museum of Social/War history based in the huts of a World War II Prisoner of War Camp. We were joined on the morning by Jim and Sue Boldry from near York, in their dark green YA. As usual, the locusts of the Register couldn't wait to fix his boot lid rubber seal, check his engine bay and compare numbers for the register records.


At Eden Camp (which Jim & Sue had never visited despite living less than 10 miles from it!) reserved parking awaited— with our own watch tower overlooking the cars — such that one of the finest lines of Y's became its own attraction within the Museum! There will be many hundreds of summer holiday makers now proudly owning photos of the Tour cars — and the same many hundreds probably still trying to identify which model they are!


By Mid afternoon most of the Touring party had started their onward journeys — some to home, some to relatives, some to B&B en route and one lucky couple back to the Worsley Arms. Yes, the Cairns' had booked themselves another night stay in Hovingham — although most of the rest of us all wondered how Neil would survive without another Y to demand his attention and how they would eventually get home — there would be no more editions of the "Daily Y Register & Touring Gazette", to help them off again on Thursday!


As a post script Andrew & Arlene were stunned to be presented with an extremely 'naughty but nice' hamper of fine foods and wine from the rest of the Touring party — much appreciated and hardly yet started, it was a most generous thank you from everyone for an outstandingly good Y Register Tour!

Y4432 Jim Boldry arrives

It's only another YA folks!

Jack (right) beats Paul Gresser and Ted to the original hose clips

Cruising through Castle Howard

Ys with their Watchtower at Eden Camp