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In the early spring of this year Pauline and I decided that we were long overdue for a trip to the UK. We have done it several times in the past, usually visiting family in Scotland or in the Cotswolds. We established a list of Must Visit places with a focus on what Pauline would like to see as a priority. We opted for late August into early September. I was thinking about British Car Day and the celebration of 100 years of Triumph. Dave Sims had asked if I would put the TR3A in the Parade of Triumphs. I advised Dave about the trip and that we would schedule it to be back in time for BCD. We planned on 2 weeks for the trip that would be packed with things to do and places to go. This would be a motoring trip for sure.

Pauline and I are both fans of British Drama and the one series at the head of the list is All Creatures Great and Small which is filmed in the Yorkshire Dales. That was going to be number one on the list. That meant a flight into Manchester and a possible visit with our friend Jeff, who lives south of Leeds. We discussed these plans with Chris and Sheila Weekes who we normally travel with when going to Vermont in September for The British Invasion. Sheila suggested we should make the Goodwood Revival an item on our list. Pauline immediately said, “Oh Goody Another Car Show”. As it went Chris and Sheila decided to meet us near Chichester around the 7th of September to do the Goodwood Revival together. So, there you have the rough plan. Let’s talk about execution of the plan.

From the Yorkshire Dales to the Goodwood Revival 1Dave Sims, knowing that we were going to be spending five days in Yorkshire, sent me an article about a fellow who had borrowed a TR4 and spent a couple of days driving in the Dales in that car. This was brilliant help for our plans to meet one of our priority aspects of the trip. However, I got to thinking that doing the Dales in a Peugeot or maybe a Volkswagen Polo would be good but not as good as doing it in a Triumph. A very quick Google search helped me find Bygone Classics (bygoneclassics.co.uk) located near Leeds, in Yorkshire. In looking at their fleet of vehicles, I found a 1967 TR4A IRS with Surrey Top. Amongst some other very impressive cars, they also had a 1972 TR6 PI (it was not available for hire yet). However, the TR4A really got my attention. So now we could meet two priorities, Pauline’s wish for a drive in the Yorkshire Dales and my new-found priority for doing it in a vintage Triumph. I reached out to the company and started the process to reserve the car for two full days of driving.

We landed in Manchester in the late morning of September 28th where our friend Jeff picked us up and drove us to his lovely home in Barnsley. After breakfast the next morning Jeff drove us to Pool in Wharfedele, where we were to pick up the TR4A. We were greeted by Dave and Ilana of Bygone Classics and the beautiful TR4A with surrey top in place. It was an opportunity to get acquainted and complete a walk around inspection of the car and look under the hood. I noted SU’s and not Strombergs on this particular car. Jeff said his goodbyes and committed to pick us up in 48 hours at the same spot. After signing some documents, Pauline and I loaded our light bags into the TR4A and I set up my GPS for the first leg of our journey to Thirsk, about a 45-minute drive up the A658 and the A1. Clouds were looming overhead but no fear, we are Triumph people.

As we prepared to exit the car park onto the A658, I noticed that the indicators were not working. Wipers were fine and doing their thing as it was bucketing down rain All other systems were fine but no indicators. I had cars behind me so had to make the right turn out into the traffic. I decided that we needed to return to the Bygone Garage. We managed that without too much difficulty, but Dave had a very concerned look on his face as we came back in. I told him about the non-functioning indicators. He explained that the car had been “MOT’d” just recently, and all was in order. We determined that it had to be the flasher unit, but no mechanic and no spare were available. We could not drive the TR4A without indicators and in the rain.

Dave offered me any other car in the Garage. There was a Jensen Interceptor, an Aston Martin DB7, a 1972 E Type MKII, a Porsche 356, and something under a cover tucked in a corner. I was not keen on any of the high-end cars but what was under the cover was perfect. It was a 2001 Rover Mini Cooper S in red and with Mini Lites and beefy tires. Not a Triumph but it would certainly do the trick. Dave maneuvered cars around and brought it out. We moved our gear into the Mini, got the GPS repositioned and headed out for Thirsk one more time.

Pauline fell in love with this great little car after only about 10 miles and so did I. It was quick, stable, nimble, and moved in and out of traffic easily. The rain stopped and the sun came out so it looked like our altered plans might work out well for the adventure. I was still disappointed that we were not in the TR4A, but this was an excellent alternative. We rolled into Thirsk about 45 minutes later parked the Mini and looked for a place for a light lunch. Shortly afterwards we walked to the James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small Museum. James Wight, a Yorkshire veterinary wrote about his life experiences as a vet but used the name James Herriot for his main character. The museum was excellent and is a must see for fans of the TV series.

It was time for us to head to Skipton and the Devonshire Arms Hotel where we were booked to stay for the night and for dinner. It should have been a 1 hour drive down the A61 and the A59. But not so. The drive was going very well with great scenery and a little more traffic than we expected, but the Mini was more than up to the task. When we were about four miles from the Hotel, still on the A59, we hit a Yorkshire pothole in the narrow road. There was little or no opportunity to avoid this crater so Boom! we hit it hard.

I was very concerned for the car but there was no lay by or shoulder and we were on a bit of an incline. I moved to the left as I was feeling a loss of power and as we crested the hill our poor little Mini flamed out. Cars were getting around us as I got out to do a preliminary inspection. Relieved, I could see no damage to wheels or tires or the car. An attempt to restart did not work. I opened the bonnet and did a visual inspection and noted a “device” near the left shock tower that was quietly “clicking”. At this point a policeman stopped to lend a hand and offered to push us a little further down the road to where there was a reasonable lay by. There was no smell of petrol and no other obvious issues. It was evident that the “device” had a fuel line in and a fuel line out, but it was too small to be a fuel pump. I disconnected and reconnected the power to it, the clicking stopped but no affect when attempting a restart. Many of you may well know what this “device” actually is but I did not.

From the Yorkshire Dales to the Goodwood Revival 2The policeman left us, and I started making calls. First call was to Dave at Bygone Classics. He was very patient and understanding and then suggested I call RAC for roadside assistance, using his account. Next call was to the Hotel to advise that we might be late for dinner. It was now close to 4:30 PM. I received a text from RAC advising that we were high priority, and they would be on scene in two hours? I advised Dave by phone, who was not close to his shop, but he committed to get to the shop and bring another car. Still very patient, Dave advised it would be an hour and a half before he could meet us. I did not ask which car he was brining. I received an updated text from RAC that it would now be an additional hour, meaning 7:30 PM before they could be on scene.

I had advised Dave and RAC that we were on the A59, 4 miles east of the roundabout with the B6160. At 7:30 PM Dave arrived on scene in the beautiful Burgundy ’67 TR4A. Yes, they had been able to replace the flasher unit and the car was good to go. At the same time, I received a call from RAC asking me for details of the Mini and symptoms. He would call back with advice. I told them to call Dave, as he was staying with the Mini. All good and we headed off to the Devonshire Arms in the TR4A.

We had a warm welcome in the parking lot of the hotel near the patio where patrons were admiring the car. We unloaded and were heading to the reception area when my phone rang again. It was Dave asking if we were at the hotel and I said yes. He said he was also at the hotel but in the opposite parking lot. A moment later, Dave appeared in the Mini. How did you get it going? An RAC mechanic had called Dave to tell him where the re-set button was located to re-set the inertia fuel cut off switch or “device” as I knew it. The bump from the pothole was severe enough that the sensor interpreted it as an accident and cut off the fuel supply. Pauline asked if we could have the Mini back, but I pleaded that I wanted to have the TR4A, which we kept.

After an amazing meal and a good rest at the hotel that night we were ready for day two in the Yorkshire Dales. We headed north towards Grassington on the B6160 for about a one-hour drive. Grassington is the town used for filming of the more recent version of All Creatures Great and Small. We were fortunate to find a parking spot right in the town square across from what is known as the Drovers Pub in the TV series. Of course, once again the TR4A received a lot of admiring glances as people walked about town. We could easily visualize the transformation of the various buildings as they set them for filming.

While in town we spent time in a museum that had served as a military recruiting office during the filming and learned quite a bit more about the history of Grassington and its importance to the local economy. After a light lunch we left Grassington and headed further north through the Yorkshire Dales National Park towards Hawes and the Stone House Hotel. We took the B6160 and Stubbing Lane which provided some very sporty driving on some very narrow portions of the road. On occasion we encountered gated portions of the road, but gates were open at both ends. The dry-stone stacked walls throughout this area are breath taking. By chance we came across the Yockenthwaite Farm overlooking the River Wharfe. This farm is the filming location for Alderson Family Farm in the TV Series.

We arrived at the Stone House Hotel in Hawes in the late afternoon and were very well received. The building had been a family home for many years but in 1981, after a major renovation, it was converted into the Stone House Hotel and has operated as such since that time. Great location and great views of the north part of the Dales National Park.

From the Yorkshire Dales to the Goodwood Revival 3

The following morning it was sadly time to head back to Pool in Warfedale, to return the TR4A to Bygone Classics. We decided to take an alternate route for this drive and selected the A684 to the A1 to Ripon and finally the A61. The route took longer than expected but it was still a great drive. We arrived 30 minutes later than planned and Dave was there to greet us. Our friend Jeff had also arrived to pick us up and carry on with a tour of the ancient city of York later that day.

In spite of the automotive issues we encountered on Day One, we thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and we got to see some amazing scenery, meet some wonderful people, and put a few ticks in the boxes of the must-see things on our priority list. I loved the rack and pinion steering and the synchro into first of the TR4A but if truth be known, I would have been just as happy doing this part of the trip in our TR3A.

Stay tuned for the next episode which will report on the day at Goodwood Revival.

jack@waywestdesign.com

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