Event Reports
Short reports of events, holidays and shows enjoyed
by our members in the past four months.

Our members are always out and about with their 'Sevens'

The main aim of CA7C is to encourage members to drive their 'Sevens' whenever possible, even throughout the winter months when, surprisingly, quite a few members do enjoy being out and about on the colder winter-time runs.  However, we do draw the line on the very wettest of days as there is no point driving in bad weather with the non-optional water entry around the ill-fitting windows and doors!   Mostly we are able to enjoy warm, sunny days with Cornwall's splendid inland and coastal scenery at its best whatever the season of the year.

These edited reports were written by members and are taken from our monthly magazine, Seven Focus.


The suggested routes for some of our past runs are available on our Run Archive at www.dropbox.com  
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Sevens to Cheddar           

Three Sevens meet up in Minions for a few day’s sojourn in Somerset.  We take our well-trodden path north east with breakfast in Lifton and lunch in Sampford Peverell, the Globe being as welcome as ever.

This time, we head cross country just before Street, taking the drove roads from Pedwell, across the levels to Shapwick and on to Cheddar.  Well, I say levels, but the subsiding road across the heath has us shaken, battered and bruised as we lurch from one severe pothole to another.  There are moderns careering down what is locally a rat-run, but we can hardly stay on the road at 20 mph.

Cheddar 1


We’re staying at Gordon’s Hotel, right in the middle of Cheddar.  The local sights are just a few minutes walk away and the Sevens are much photographed as they peer over the High Street from their parking places.

 

 

Cheddar 2

 


Sunday’s plan is to go to Wells. It’s a sunny and bright start as we pull our way up the Gorge, intermingled with a 50:50 ratio of 4x4s and cyclists.  No-one is going very fast, so we take our time climbing the 1:6 up to the rim of the Gorge. Not arduous, but scenic and very pleasant.

 

 

Wells proves to be problematical.  Our plan was to visit the Cathedral and meet up with the Mendip Motor Club after their charity run.  Sadly, the organisers had persuaded the Council to close the road to the car park and hi-viz jobsworths bar the way to the pay and display. Never mind, it’s a lovely day so we take a tour instead.  Having driven down some gorgeous lanes to Wookey Hole, we carry on to the Fosse Way to the Harptree villages. A picturesque circumvention of Chew Valley lake is punctuated by a cloudburst, conveniently located over the reservoir.  We shelter under a few trees until the sky lightens then it’s back down the Gorge via Charterhouse. There’s just time for a cream tea by the River Yeo before finishing for the day.

Monday starts soggy, but not too much so for a re-run to Wells. This time, the Sevens get a place down in the Market Square, just a few yards from the Cathedral, and we have time to do the tourist bit.  The mechanically minded amongst us wonder at the Cathedral clock – the second oldest in the UK. The sun and moon tell the time on a 24 hour dial, with the phase of the moon in a “complication”.  Above is an automaton where knights joust and one gets beheaded every 15 minutes and has done since 1388! It would be an impressive mechanism for the 1700’s but dates back a further four centuries.  We meet up with some old friends for lunch, before heading back through the lanes to Cheddar. 

Cheddar 2Tuesday uncovers one of those rare wayside attractions that really hits the spot with the Austineers.  A Portbury farmer has been collecting memorabilia and knick-knacks since 1989; said collection has blossomed into a magical private museum and collection called Oakham Treasures.  Not widely advertised, we came across it courtesy of “Old Glory” magazine and I commend it to Sevens visiting the area.  It’s a family run affair with five major buildings in the collection. The word “eclectic” was coined for this place.  Those of us of certain years gained hours of pleasure reviving memories, with the exhibits encompassing tractors, engines, tools, chemist shop, hardware, chocolate, packaging, haberdashery... it goes on and on. There are themed areas (such as the dentist’s surgery full of treadle drills) but a delightful mix of periods.  Mobile phones nestle against ‘50s B&W TVs; the photography case has plate cameras and 110 Pentax reflexes... and tractor seats are everywhere – over 500 of them!  There’s also a stonkingly good café run by the daughters of the family.  With a break for lunch, we spend nearly five hours perusing and reminiscing; a treasure indeed. It’s not just the items themselves (though who started to collect hundreds of hammers I don’t know) but even the display cabinets are reminders of bygone times: the shelves which we used to see in Gentlemen’s Outfitters or the cabinets in the back of the hardware shop are enchanting in themselves.

Finally its time to return to Cornwall.  The 180 miles to Truro sounds a lot in a day, but taking it steady and with regular breaks for coffee, lunch and afternoon tea, it is perfectly manageable without having to blast along. Our little cars are easily capable of getting us to Bristol in a day, without a JOGLE-like marathon driving session. Just take a smaller road, sit back and enjoy the scenery.  

 

Morwellham Quay Father's Day Car Show  - 18 June

The weekend was forecast as hot and sunny and what a contrast to the year before when we attended the same event, I had never been so wet and cold!  Morwellham in past times used to be a working quay for the local mines and now is a working museum.  The car show is an annual event and is nice in that it is a low key event, with so many different local cars turning up and no need to book or register a place.  An added bonus is that you are all able to arrive and leave when you want.  There are a few attractions; the largest is a working water wheel and then there is a mine train ride and several cottages which take you back to the time they were inhabited.  There are also a few shops, a pub and restaurant.  The day was not just sunny but blisteringly hot, so with the hood firmly down (no complaints from my passages on this day) we set off and arrived around  at around 11 o’clock when we met up with Bob and Jan Kneale and spent several hours viewing the cars.  These ranged from a V12 custom hot rod to beautiful E-Types and a whole host of other makes and models.  What a difference if the weather is with you.  

 

A West Devon Day Out 

Ever up for a quirky way to spend a weekend, three Sevens had decamped across the border into Devon and the quiet backwater that is the Bere Peninsular.  Never heard of it? Blink and you’ll miss it if you venture as far east as Tavistock. Staying at the Tamar Belle Railway Centre, we were accommodated in restored sleeping cars on the siding, with half board in the attached dining car alongside the platform, just a few feet from the Gunnislake – Plymouth Network Rail line. Curiously tranquil, despite the rolling stock, this has to be one of the most off-piste places the Sevens have holidayed!

Tamar Belle
But this is Focus magazine, not Tripadviser – so what is there to attract the Seven driver to this area?  We set out to see how much of west Devon can be explored in a leisurely days drive in south west Dartmoor.

The answer is plenty!  The original plan was to see if we could find five bridges to cross in the course of a gentle days drive. In the event, we more than trebled that number.  Whilst we had some idea of the route we just wanted to see which way the day took us.

 

We were thwarted in skirting the Tamar via Weir Quay due to some heavy duty pylon works closing the road. So, skirting Bere Alston, we followed the road towards Buckland Monachorum, crossing the Tavy at Denham Bridge (#1). Slightly heart-in-mouth this bit, as the very steep hill either side is a rat run for traffic to Plymouth, despite being just a Seven’s width wide.  We crossed the old wartime airfield near Crapstone to emerge at Yelverton.  A quick top up with fuel was in order, as it was the only chance we’d have all day.  There’s a narrow back exit to Yelverton that takes us out to Meavy village crossing the Meavy river twice en-route (that’s bridges #2 and #3), before passing the Royal Oak. Sadly, it’s a bit early for coffee... we head onwards towards Burrator Reservoir across Plymouth Leat (#4) arriving at the Burrator Dam (#5 where the Meavy flows out of the reservoir).  There are plenty of cyclists and walkers enjoying the area round the dam as we take a turn around, crossing to the north at Norsworthy Bridge (#6).  Returning to the dam across the other stretch of Devonport Leat (#7) we veer off south east towards Sheepstor, crossing Sheepstor Brook (#8) just a mile down the road.  We are making for Cadover Bridge over the Plym which becomes #10 (just after Lovaton Brook for #9).   It’s soon time to turn to the west to avoid ploughing into the outskirts of Plymouth, so we head on to Bickleigh, recrossing the Plym, (#11) before heading to the Skylark at Clearbrook for lunch.  This takes us back across Plymouth Leat twice more before reaching the pub (#12 and #13).

After lunch, its time to head west.  There’s no way to avoid a short strip of A386, but the fifty yards of it gives us another Devonport Leat crossing (#14) before returning to the lanes west of Roborough.  A loop around (crossing Blaxton Creek twice for #15 and #16) swings us towards Lopwell Dam by way of Milton Brook (#17).  Now we’re in a quandary.  Lopwell Dam has a concrete roadway (unfenced) across it.  The weather has been dry for weeks, the tide is at its lowest point and the crystal clear water is just three or four inches deep.  Should we cross the Tavy here for number 18? I get out to explore on foot.  The dam is easily passible, but the track on the west bank has been torn up by dune buggies and quad bikes, so that the ruts in the sandy lane are just too deep for the Sevens.  We agonise for a while, then discretion becomes the better part of valour, and we head east instead.  So it’s one last crossing of Milton Brook (#18) on the return trip to Buckland, before retracing our steps back to Bere Ferrars.  On the way we pass by the western end of the track from the dam and it is a sand pit.  We were wise not to risk it, so our 42 mile jaunt is complete.

 

Steve & Gina's Pub Crawl - 20 May

Pub crawl 1There was a really good turn out for the Pub Crawl and the car park of the Old School Bar & Kitchen at Mount Hawke was resplendent with Sevens of all shapes and colours, whilst their drivers and passengers were inside the building having coffee etc.

The run was to be a point to point of Public Houses over quite a wide area.  The 'co-drivers' were given a sheet containing the names and locations of ten pubs and various questions relating to them.  It was then up to the participants to decide the route they would take to visit all the hostelries.  It was good fun and on many occasions one would pass a Seven going in the opposite direction as folk had elected to take different routes to achieve the same aim. Some of those taking part in the run chose to have a picnic en-route, others had pub meals and some completed the drive at  Callestic Farm and drove the few hundred yards up the road to the Healey Cider Farm to have a picnic on the grassed areas, in the car park, or to get food in the café. A very enjoyable and novel club run.  

 

 

Evening Run - 11 May

Evening run 01A good selection of Sevens arrived at the Fox & Hounds, Scorrier for the May evening run.  After swift refreshment, the participants made their way to their cars, route sheet in hand, and variously set off in the Chacewater direction. 

A well planned route of very many narrow roads, with grass down the middle, plus some testing hills and sharp bends took the Sevens into the mining area of United Downs and surroundings. The countryside was green and lush and the spring flowers were much in evidence in the hedgerows and verges. 

 

After a very enjoyable drive of around fifteen miles the Sevens began arriving back at the Fox & Hounds for some convivial chat and light refreshment!   Another enjoyable short run.  

 

 

Children’s Hospice South West Fly Day - 22 April

This event, organised by Bodmin Flying Club enables children from Little Harbor Children's Hospice to enjoy a flight in a light aircraft around the area, and for the last 5 years, a number of Austin owners have provided the extra chance of rides in classic cars. The cars in earlier years were predominantly Austin Sevens, although a beautiful RME Riley was, and still is, a very popular attraction.


Fly Day 1This year, to provide an even greater variety, a number of individuals provided an alternative in the form of ‘their other car’.  As a result, the line up featured a Daimler Dart; Riley RME; Series 2 Land Rover; Austin 10 Clifton  tourer with dickey seat; two Box Saloons; a Ruby and an Opal.  The proceedings started very slowly with the young people having their flights first, but after lunch there was a steady stream of ‘customers’, eager to try out each vehicle in turn.  Each ride was a round trip of some 1 ¾ miles up and down the road past the airfield, to the construction site which was part of the A30 dualling.

 

Next year this latter aspect will be history with free flowing traffic allowing far less journey stress for the guests, parents and carers.  By mid afternoon a lot of satisfied children and their amazing parents/carers left for home, hopefully with lasting memories of a very enjoyable day.  Enjoyable from both sides too, for we drivers also appreciate the opportunity to show off our cars in a very different way.  Thanks to everyone who turned out to provide such an excellent day’s activity. The event was not without incident however as the Ruby sheared a rear wheel stud, and was forced to limp home to fit a replacement.

 

Herefordshire Holiday - 6 to 13 April

The announcement of the Club Jaunt to Hereford and the surrounding area aroused my interest, for it is an area I find very attractive, and I had not visited it properly since 1971,  Not having a motorhome, or means of trailering a Seven, then camping, or B&B, and making our way in the Box Saloon, under her own power, were the only options open to us. Inclement weather is not uncommon at this time of year so the bed and breakfast idea was more appealing.  Whilst towing a Seven to Hereford can be easily achieved in a little over half a day, I knew from experience that in an Austin Seven, it would take the best part of 5 hours to get to Bristol, and a further 3 hours to cross the Severn and enjoy the scenery in a leisurely fashion.  A plan was formulated – travel on the Thursday to the Bristol area via non-motorway routes; break the journey with overnight B&B, and onwards the next day to accommodation near the campsite. Return on the Monday via Hay-on-Wye and over the Gospel pass in the Black Mountains, back across the Severn Bridge to the B&B we had occupied on the previous Thursday and return to Cornwall the following day.  

As we left Cornwall on the A30, a well known dark blue AD van overtook us behind its towing motorhome, and greetings were exchanged.  As the combination sailed away eastwards and we changed to the old A30, I speculated that they would have set up camp before we had reached our destination at Nailsea, south of Bristol.  Our 1934 Box Saloon droned on and on at a respectable 40-45mph uphill and down and after a half hour break at Tiverton, continued northwards, by now with an intermittent misfire. Taunton is not a good place for a breakdown, but it was there that the carburetor jets decided to block, only clearing properly at the third attempt, after which the journey was completed without further problems.

Hereford Hol 1The following morning saw us using bits of motorway to cross the river Severn via the older bridge, which  is far less busy than its successor, although the road surface is in appalling condition!  Taking the route along the beautiful Wye valley we passed Tintern Abbey and crossed over the river at Brockweir bridge.  Last time we were here was in 1977  we had camped in the Forest of Dean nearby and had driven up from Brockweir to St Briavels, 600 feet above the valley via a punishing winding uphill climb.  “Let’s do it again, and see how the Box gets on”, I said swinging off the main road. Our Box took the climb in grand style reaching the summit without a hint of overheating, and we enjoyed the spectacular view back down the valley over a picnic lunch. The village of  St Briavels is virtually in a time warp; the medieval castle looks more lived in, but one cannot get a tray of tea for  picnic from the police station, as was the case in the 1950s.  We retraced our route to Brockweir and continued to our destination near Holme Lacy 4 miles south of Hereford.  Pulling into a pub for refreshment, we were greeted with ‘Is there a rally on or something?’, by some locals for they had seen 4 or 5 ‘funny little cars and one was a van’.  I always wonder what the ‘or something’ must be, but it did prove that the vanguard was already in the area.  Later we traced half a dozen motorhomes, one of which sported a CA7C badge, on the lovely Millpond campsite.

Hereford Hol 2We eventually met up with them the following morning.  The proposed trip was to visit the market town of Ledbury 10 miles to the east, which enabled petrol tanks to be replenished, and we rested the cars in the centre of the town.  We all explored the area around the market hall and the quaint side streets, with most of us visiting the beautiful Parish Church.  Back at the car park we chatted with locals and other visitors about the idiosyncrasies of our steeds before heading off again towards home territory through wonderful hilly winding lanes, and stopping for a picnic lunch in Haugh Woods.  Some time later, we made our way through some stunning countryside around the Wye, to a view point at Capler Lodge where, after further tea and biscuits, everyone made their way back to the campsite.

Plans were made to visit the Hereford Waterworks Museum who were having a Sunday steam up. Arriving unannounced at the museum the next day, we were enthusiastically greeted by the volunteer staff who quickly made a space specially for our seven Sevens in front of the pumping house buildings.  We toured the fascinating collection of vintage machinery, steam, oil and water driven, all of massive proportions.  Later on, while some members headed back to the campsite, others went for a run down the Golden Valley, an apple growing area to the west of Hereford.  Four cars enjoyed a wonderful afternoon run in magnificent scenery with the apple blossom at its peak.  Passing the satellite dishes at Madley, we halted at Vowchurch by a tributary of the Wye for a cup of tea and visited the exquisite little Norman church.

We headed back towards Hereford crossing the Wye again and travelling round the north side of the city back to the campsite.  We left the convoy outside the city and went our way back to the B&B.  Next day was our last in this beautiful county, and we headed to Hay–on-Wye for the ascent of the Gospel Pass.  This is 4 miles of continuous steep uphill climbing to Hay Bluff, a hilltop overlooking the town some 1400 feet below, followed by a gentle winding descent into an ever deepening valley, ending about 4 miles from Abergavenny.  An uneventful run to Chepstow through some more magnificent countryside returned us to the Severn bridge and back to Nailsea for the night. The return journey to Cornwall the following day was uneventful if noisy, and our Box Saloon performed faultlessly apart from the fuel blockage incident.  It’s a holiday I want to repeat, for we have only scratched the surface of this lovely area. The other members moved on to Bourton on the Water for a further week’s holiday.

 

Old Penny's Coffee Morning - 8 April

Old PennysOn a bright, sunny morning five various vintage Sevens, one 'modern' and one motorbike rolled into Old Penny's Tearooms car park at Bridge, near Portreath. This was a new 'meet up' venture for the warmer days for members to get together for coffee and home made cake and to give their cars a run out on a weekend when no other runs were happening.

Everyone was soon made welcome and enjoying vast portions of cake, piping hot cups of coffee and pots of tea. Needless to say chatter and gossip was the order of the day and a wander around the curios afterwards rounded the morning off nicely.  Before we went our various ways we were asked if we would gather beside our Sevens for a picture which the owner could then put on her Facebook & website. It was a very pleasant couple of hours and definitely well worth repeating.

 

The Lamorna Run - 25 March

With sunshine and a clear blue sky thirteen Sevens left Chiverton soon to take to the lanes and pass many of the old engine houses, taking in the views across the mining heritage of Cornwall, whilst enjoying fields of daffodils plus flowering gorse along the hedgerows, eventually topped off by the magnificent vista of St Michael's Mount accompanied our route. 

Lamorna Run 1
By the time of the coffee stop at Marazion the route had taken its toll with several participants missing.  Once, regrouped, we headed for Lamorna Cove for lunch with much waving from both young as the group passed through Penzance, Newlyn, and Mousehole.  Through the width restrictions we tackled the 2nd gear climb towards Castallack. The descent through the duck crossing meant that we emerged at the side of "The Wink" and descended onto the Cove where many enjoyed a picnic on the shore,

 


Lamorna Run 2

With body and soul refreshed it was time to return to Chiverton via the ancient town of St Buryan, through Crows-an-Wra and over the top of the hill giving scenic views of the Land’s End peninsula.  We then chased the coast road through St Just, Pendeen, and Gurnard's Head.  The sea was a deep blue topped with white crests. We turned right across the moorland and then past the entrance to the ancient village of Chysauster. Turning left at Badgers Cross we again had spectacular views of Mounts Bay.

 

 

Through Nancledra and over Trencrom, along the Hayle Causeway with its twitchers, and the North Cliffs with its hazy views of the coast ahead.  A stop at The Atlantic Café in Portreath for more refreshment and several farewells were made here before the final run via Porthtowan as the fewsoon reached the Chiverton Arms after a total distance of about 50 miles.

 

Jack up day - 18 March

The Saturday's forecast was not great and it actually turned out to be worse than the forecast with gusting wind and rain. However, un-deterred by the poor weather, two cars set off from Callington.  Unfortunately another member had a far worse journey from Camelford, having to drive without a hood on a 4-seat tourer as it was off being replaced due to many years of use.  Along with an Opal/two seat tourer and a Ruby there was a good mix of cars.

Jack up 1
There was still quite a cold wind blowing across the Moors and into the garage area, but we set to, jacking up several cars mainly looking at the steering, brakes and lights.  We were able to carry out some improvements, which I hope all who attended felt was useful.   A Helicoil repair on a carburettor bowl went to plan as did a review of a few other bits.  We decided that the weather was still not going to let up to allow us to try out the Tapley brake meter, so decided it was a good time to return home via Camelford after a jolly day.  

 

 

Sevens + seven = a good day out - 11 March

The last of the monthly Unstoppables runs before we revert to our normal Tuesday evening slot each week.  We arrived at Lanivet Pub car park almost simultaneously and found that the extensive alterations were already under way.  They are extending the building to include a splendid new dining room, so in times to come we shall perhaps be able to enjoy a quick bite before setting off on our jaunts.

We were soon all present and correct - four Sevens and their crews making seven people in all.  We set off, skirting Bodmin and following the Judges Road for some of the way, stopping briefly in Shell Woods to check all was going to plan.  One driver had found that his side lights had failed on this short stretch and all the technically-minded clustered around the car to see if they could help.  Since the sun by now had decided to warm the proceedings, it was decided that side lights were unnecessary anyway, so the little convoy then set off again towards St Teath.

Seven + 1
From there we enjoyed a glorious run towards Tintagel, the signs of spring with daffodils and primroses along the hedgerows adding to the lovely scenery as we sped along the winding lanes.  We encountered very little other traffic and most drivers were very courteous, giving way to the little convoy of our elderly ‘ladies’.  We had made such good time that we parked near to the Norman Church of St Materiana’s and followed one of the clifftop paths for a while to enjoy the dramatic views.  Before leaving, several of us also visited the church which is well worth seeing.

 

 

By this time, we decided that a bite of lunch would be a good idea, so we made our way, via more of our steeply winding lanes, ending up at Trebarwith Strand, where a good meal was enjoyed by everyone.  It seemed that wherever we went, there were many members of the public who were interested in seeing and chatting about our cars, with recollections of their families owning similar models in years gone by.  A good day out indeed, with no major problems.  

 

A week in North Devon - 10 to 17 March

We arrived on the Friday for a break based at the Hidden Valley camp site near Ilfracombe.   A local member joined us on the Saturday and took us around the coast road through Woolacombe, Baggy Point to Saunton Sands and various inland roads before heading back into Braunton to book a Sunday Roast. 

Sunday started from the camp site towards Combe Martin along to Valley of the rocks onto Lynton and Lynmouth, next to Porlock weir and back to the camp site.  Most of the day was very misty but didn't spoil the fun that was had.   An evening carvery was enjoyed by all in the Williams Arms, Braunton.

Holiday 2

On the Monday the convoy set off along various steep hills and down hills, which tested our cars to the limit, to Ilfracombe to see Verity the pregnant lady statue on the sea front.  A picnic on the sea front was enjoyed by all and then back to the camp site.  Tuesday a return to the valley of the rocks for a walk via the toll road with beautiful sea views and a trip to Lynton for dinner.  Various testing roads was once again on the agenda for the journey home.

 

 

Holiday 1

Wednesday a trip to Arlington Court for a picnic lunch and onto Barnstaple for some shopping.  Thursday was a trip to Appledore for coffee and onto the Burrows country park for a picnic lunch.  Once again we found all the roads that no one else wants to drive on.

 

 

Because the carvery was so good on Sunday we returned to have another that evening.   Friday, with just two of us left, we had a trip to Exmoor and onto Dulverton for the day and a Fish and Chip supper.  Thanks all those that helped out through the week and made it a very interesting time with roads and places not visited before.  With nearly 400 miles covered in a week the only problems were two cars with plug leads fallen off and one car boiled over.  These little cars always surprise me what they can do whether home or away, so why not get yours out and join in with a local run or spend time away?  

 

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