Monday, 12 August 2019
Monday, 17 June 2019
Thursday, 22 June 2017
Sadly Robin is no longer with us, so it was Diana who accompanied Richard, Sue and me this time. Richard and Diana have a season’s pass and come quite regularly. Simon and Jacob would enjoy this day out.
Walking up the hill, I seemed to be constantly surrounded by bugs that weren’t bothering anyone else.
“It’s the hat!” Sue eventually diagnosed the problem.
There’s a paddock at the top of the hill where the cars congregate before returning in convoy to the bottom of the hill after each ‘batch’ of racers. The morning comprises practice runs, with the competition in the afternoon.
Everyone gets four or five runs at the hill, which is steep. Speeds in excess of 100mph are reached. Most racers finish in between 30 and 45 seconds, but the fastest few go under 30 seconds.
The spectators’ path comes to an end before you can see into the paddock, so at the top of the hill all you get to see is the helmets of the participants as they freewheel back down to the start, where onlookers can admire the machinery to their hearts’ content without the need to flounce up the hill.
We moved about quite a bit. Snaps were taken. A full slide show is here – 36 images. Refreshments are readily available.
This serious piece of machinery was possibly the quickest of the day.
The car below is not so fast, but obviously great fun, and with Stirling Moss’s signature on the steering wheel, what more could you want?
Near the end of an incident free (apart from a breakdown) day, one of the Lotus drivers failed to negotiate the first corner and took a trip into the meadow, leaving various parts of his car, and bits of barrier, strewn all over the road. He was perfectly ok, if a little red-faced, but the mess took a little while to clear up…
This was a lovely day out in perfect weather. Commended.
PS I wondered how much interest this posting would be to some of my usual readers. Motor sport attracts a wide audience, so someone may be interested, I thought. Correct. Conrad even came up with a picture of his antics in a Ford Anglia at Harewood Hill Climb in 1965!
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
…. And now for something completely different.
A few hours after arriving home for the first time in nearly nine weeks, it was time to pop down to Surrey for Sue’s Uncle Rob and Auntie Liz’s Golden Wedding Anniversary party. I’ll leave Sue to say more about that if she wants to – it replaces our ‘Annual Picnic’ jaunt, so readers will be spared that posting this year.
Back in Birmingham, Sue’s Dad turns out to be a member of the Midland Automobile Club, with tickets for one of the five hill climb meetings held every year at Shelsley Walsh, in Worcestershire. So we went along.
This particular meeting was in celebration of Aston Martin’s centenary year, so was themed accordingly. The other meetings have other themes – Jaguar, Porsche, etc.
This old Aston Martin has a long history, dating from 1918.
It’s a friendly sort of meeting, as you might surmise from the grinning stranger in the top picture. Competitors had two practice runs on Saturday and two race runs on Sunday. Most took between 25 and 45 seconds to negotiate the twisty 1000 yard, 300 foot climb. Some (unlike the swish car below) didn’t even make it to the start line!
The cars queue up in batches to perform, before the course car follows them all back down the hill before the next batch sets off. Some cars have two drivers.
This Le Mans Aston did go up the hill, but not in race trim – there was a lunchtime parade of classic Astons in which it took part.
The fastest starters who complete the first few yards in less than two seconds enjoy gravitational forces in excess of 1G.
The course starts fairly gently, but by the time they reach where I’m standing, some cars are travelling at up to 130 mph.
A buzzard spent much of the day on this branch overhanging the course – a bird’s eye viewpoint, so to speak.
There’s an ‘S’ bend that those travelling at up to 130 mph have to slow down for. It can be interesting. Several competitors managed under 24 seconds, and the top ten in the morning and afternoon sessions get an extra run and points in a national championship.
After each ‘batch’, most of the cars free-wheel back down the hill in order to be reunited with the batteries that are needed to start their engines again. The six wheeler car pictured below is a very fast home-made effort that symbolises the ‘fun' loving’ nature of the event.
There’s a slideshow here for anyone who may be interested. It was a really pleasurable day out, in perfect weather.
Monday, 29 October 2007
Bob soon peeled off (call of the Podcast?), but the rest of us, fuelled with Fudge Brownies (Kate having decimated the usual Caramel Shortbread during a breakfast visit), continued to Worcestershire Beacon, the hill whose summit is the highest point of the Malvern Hills, which run for some 13 km north-south along the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border. The name beacon comes from the use of the hill as a signalling beacon. Even in recent years it has been used for this purpose on special occasions such as the millennium night of 31 December 1999 when a large fire was lit for a public celebration as part of a national network of hill top beacons. On the summit is a viewfinder or toposcope, identifying the hills to be seen on a clear day. Though replaced in recent years (see photo above), it was originally erected in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. The views are very extensive, including to The Wrekin, the location for some of my first ventures into the outdoors, and past Birmingham to Cannock Chase, as well as much of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, the Welsh borders, the Shropshire Hills and across the valleys of the Severn and Avon to the Cotswolds.
We saw little of all this given that today’s visibility extended to all of about one kilometre!
However, once on the Worcestershire Way we did find a nice grassy lunch spot, with Midges! Then we continued past some ‘Fred Smith’ sheep, an impressive and curiously showy ram, a pair of equally attentive pigs, a dead fox that nearly tripped us up, and a gooey ploughed field where Alexi rescued a forlorn potato called Bobby.
So our adjournment mid-afternoon, to the pleasure of Rose’s welcome tea and apple cake, was not without relief to us all.