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" VSCC Lakeland Hill Climb at Honister"

Date & start time: Saturday  9th November 2013, 11.0 am start.

Location of Start : The Honister Mines, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 225 135 )

Places visited : Lorton, Buttermere, Honister.

Walk details :   A short walk up the mine road to follow the event.

Highest point : Seeing the cars and drivers perform.

Walked with : Gareth and myself.

Weather : Cold and variable . . . sometimes dry, sometimes heavy hail showers.

Vintage Sport Car Club Hill Climb on EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


The Vintage Sports-Car Club is holding its annual Lakeland Trial this weekend

so Gareth and I drive to Honister to spectate

at a hill climb that challenges the vintage sports cars to drive the steep track up through the Honister slate workings.

Starting point Lorton . . . I see the weather will be nice for spectating !

The Vintage Sports Car Club runs an annual event where members have the opportunity to attempt four special stages in the area. 

It is organised and run from the Wheatsheaf Pub  in the village (as being a nice focal point I think you'll agree).

Last car away from scrutineering . . . . I guess we had too long a breakfast !

The four hill climbs are based around the forestry of Whinlatter, Embleton and Honister Mine.

They're running concurrently so there are vintage cars going all directions and each stage lasts all day

We opt for the Honister Stage . . . 'cos the weather looks nice !

Taken on the move . . .

The small car behind had suffered a puncture so it took just two guys to lift the side of the car to change the wheel.

Saves getting the jack out and lying on the ground in this weather.

Two more cars queuing up for a "special stage" . . . UU 4483 is a 1927 Austin 7, Ulster Special.

This is a short off-road section in the woodland next to Wood House at the head of Crummock Water.

The umbrella is keeping the passenger's seat dry . . . I think the driver should have invested in a bigger one, if only for his own benefit.

The idea is to engage first gear and keep the vehicle moving.

The hill climb involves a hill-start . . . just at the muddiest bit . . . and just before a bump in the track.

SV 5877 is a Mr Jonathon Mellor in another Austin 7.

Safely away on the hill-start . . . Not only open tourers are featured in the event.

Here a 3.3 litre Model A Ford takes this mini-climb with ease . . . driver Mr Mark Groves.

The down section leads back to the main road just a short while further on.

They are not all gentlemen drivers . . .

Here's Miss Louise Bunting in a 1919 GN Tourer  XA 103

Hold on tight as the Austin 7 drops back to the main road on the rough track.

Time passes . . . and we're on our way up Honister Pass

We pause for a few more pictures of three cars coming down the hill.

OY 7917 is a 1934 Austin Ulster.  There's only a 750cc engine under the bonnet.

. . . but there's a cheery wave as they pass . . . Mr Alan Bruce and colleague.

A brighter weather interlude finds us at Honister Summit

where Gareth and I park the car and head out on foot.

A clean Morris Cowley Special, circa 1928 driven by Mark Purnell.

Presumably he's yet to do the muddy hill climb.

The anatomy of an Austin 7 . . . SV6155 Stewart Rich.
A very basic driving seat and controls.
An aerodynamic tail section . . .
Thin tyres and and an old starting handle in place.

The cars pause at the mine buildings

and move forward when they are ready.

The track can be seen ahead on the right.

The steeper left hand one

is the footpath up onto the Dram Road.


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We'll follow this car up onto the hill . . .

Number 139 . . . TF 4096

David Leigh and lady passenger

in a 1930's Fraser Nash Interceptor 1496 cc.


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All the cars today are pre-war in origin.

David and Lucy Leigh, in a red Frazer Nash, registration number TF 4096 . . . ready for the hill climb.

Note the external handbrake and gear lever by the driver's side.

A quick view of the  cab and dash board.

Underneath the engine there's some grass caught in the sump guard . . . I take it he has already completed one of the forest stages.

A slight pause in proceedings allows us to get ahead of the cars.

They're off . . . "that way" points the navigator.

Going well . . . heading for the steep hairpin bends ahead.

The loose surface makes the going interesting.

This is what they are driving up . . .

Good Honister slate with the odd drainage channel to add interest on the way up.

Next car away . . . John Higgs in a 1800cc 1929 Morris Cowley

The burgundy Morris Cowley Special we saw earlier, now attempts the climb.

A short gap in the traffic allows us to climb further up the hill.

There's a blue Austin Ulster heading towards the first bend.

Storming up towards the fourth . . .

112 . . . the Austin 7 Ulster of George Bradshaw.

A remarkable drive on tyres that narrow and just a 750 cc engine.

The hard work done . . . now just the top section to complete.

Everything that goes up, must come down

so the hill-climb is temporarily closed to allow the backlog of competitors to return to the start.

Low gear, wheels locking occasionally in the slippery conditions.

Poor light makes clear photography a little tricky.

Making their way back down.

Not often you see a vintage car towing a Land Rover . . .

Actually the reverse was the case.

An engine (or break) failure causes the GN Tourer driver to ask to be lowered back to car park on the end of a secure tow-rope.

Chris Hudson in an Austin 2 seat Sports special . . . again the same small engine size as my old Mini !

Same shape radiator . . . different car . . . Gareth there in the green over-trousers.

Serious faces . . . keen concentration . . . Tim Matthews and possibly his brother ?

They've reached flag 15 so 15 points on the board.

Confidence . . . going well and the engine sounds sweet . . . sorry no audio . . . please make the noises yourself.

Twenty four (so far) out of a possible twenty five . . . I think they'll make it.

Time for everyone to return to the start once again . . . Chris Hudson again making his way slowly down.

We watch him descend . . .

Time for a little photographic fun . . . a panorama of six Chris Husdsons as he makes his way down.

[ I merged six sequential photos on the computer after the event.]

Gareth tried for a rolling panorama, panning his Iphone in time with the car passing.

Now that's what I call a stretched limo !

My Samsung panorama behaved quite differently . . . taking three pictures of the next car up . . . and stitching them together on the phone.

Marks out of ten . . . 4 . . . that marshall looks to have a twin brother standing alongside him . . . perhaps only 2 . . . as there are also two Honisters.

Neither phone coped brilliantly with the task required but it was interesting trying.

We decided to hang on a little longer for the next few to see how they do.

This Morris Minor Semi-Sport ( Daniel Redmond I think) sadly failed to pass the nine pont marker.

His lady passenger steps out to allow him to reverse back down the hill.

Not everyone made it to the top.   Not sounding quite on song, the little yellow-mobile scored only nine points too.

An early shower for Bob Northover in the 1927 Austin 7 Chummy . . . shame . . . what a nice looking car.

Talking of early showers . . . look out behind . . . there's a vintage one roaring up the valley.

Another 1930 Austin 7 Chummy getting decidedly wet as the rain turned to hail.

The main reason for taking the photo was to compare the size of the two vehicles . . . old and new . . . how things change.

Number 225, the 1929 3.4 litre Model A Ford Pheaton with the lid up . . . sensible fellow.

The event goes on all day.

Mark Butterworth presumably taking a quick lunch break before his turn on the hill . . . in the Vauxhaul Velox 30-98 E Type.

A ladybird bag with plenty of towels (hopefully) . . . to wipe the hail and rain off the bucket seats before they set off.

A quick pop inside to the Sky High Cafe finds them busy  selling lunches and drinks.

Time to return home for ours too.

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Technical note: Pictures taken mainly with my Canon 1100D SLR digital camera, but with several contributions from Gareth's Iphone or one from my Samsung Android.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a spectators information sheet printed off from the Vintage Sports-Car Club web site before we started out this morning.

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Previous walk - 4th November 2013 - Loweswater Reflections

A previous time up here - 11th August 2007 The Honister Via Ferrata (sorry no vintage cars)

Next walk - 10th November 2013 - Castle Crag for Remembrance