The lovely historic city of Bath was the setting for this years International Rally. The Austin A30-A35 owners club had some original program items and some that are very familiar.
Just like last year we planned going with nine friends in 4 Austin's. This (like last year) meant that one car would have one extra passenger. The suspension upgrades that I did last year were well up to the task, so the same passenger arrangement would be applied. Danny, Koen and myself would ride in my car. Harry and my father in the green/beige Van. Hans and Jan in the blue Van and lastly Nico and Theo in the white A35 saloon.
We assembled at my father's home in Hoofddorp, everybody arrived on time and we set off to Hoek van Holland. The night ferry has the preference because we avoid driving past Antwerpen and Gent.
Beautifull view from the ferry looking out over the north sea
The added benefit of the ferry is that we had the rest of the evening to drink something and start with the tall tales.
Early the next morning we arrived at Harwich. We stopped to have a quick breakfast on the ferry parking lot. After breakfast we set off to Bath. We all agreed that it would be best to stay on the motorway for the first leg of the trip.
After some time we stopped to see a castle (we followed a sign next to the road) the castle was not that interesting.
However, the views were a lot more interesting. With the sun out, it was a welcome break. When we had enough of the scenery it was time to get into the Austin's and we resumed the journey to Bath.
We did not drive there without having another break though. And the next break was a really interesting one. We stopped at a steam pumping station. There where some other old cars there, they where just leaving.
The pumping station was once used to replenish the canals with water. This stretch of canals took the boats over some hills and is obviously higher than the rest of the canals and this meant that they had to use locks. And you probably already know but locks drain the canal each time they are used.
This is why it has to be replenished. We got the grand tour from one of the volunteers.
The only downside was that the boiler would be under steam during the weekend and we stopped there on the thursday. After the tour we hit the road again and we arrived at the site of the national without incident.
On arrival we put up the tent and explored the site. We settled on dinner at the pub, which was a short walk away. This concluded the first day.
The tent's all set up
You can see that we do not have a fancy new tent. Rather we stick with proven technology
The lounge area
On friday more people arrived at the site, and we looked at the various cars. Hans adjusted his rocker cover racer. We noticed that only 3 wheels made contact with the smooth surface.
In the evening we drove to cheddar to see the gorge. This turned out to be a great trip.
I did however notice that the car struggled a bit. However I did not think anything of it at the time.
Back at the campsite we got ready to light the barbeque when it started pouring. Well of course that did not stop us, we got a tarp out and tied it between the tent and one of the vans.
In the end we had a lovely evening.
On saturday we stayed at the campsite and looked around the Austin parts. I think some of us bought a few parts. I only bought a new radiator cap.
In the afternoon we made our way to the bus stop. It was located across the road from the rugby club and took us straight into Bath. There we spent the rest of the afternoon. Looking at the beautiful buildings and we went in some shops.
The weather could not have been better.
A garden that we stumbled upon
look at that wireing...
Rockercover racers. This was THE spectacle of the weekend. Hope they organize it again next year!
Sunday morning we stayed on the field where I filmed all the Austins.
The pick-up line
An overview of the field on sunday
In the afternoon we went to a nearby steam rally. Again the weather gods were kind and we had to wear sunscreen.
Also a nice gentlemen let us all have a go on his homemade foot pedal lathe.
It was really interesting to see that it worked so well. On the way back I did not manage to get the car up the steep slopes that lead to the campsite. Our attempts to push the car where futile and in the end we managed to find someone with a Ford Transit who reluctantly pulled my Austin up the hill. After a quick look the culprit was found, the timing was off. adjusting it made all the difference!
Monday was the last day of the trip and of course all about the return journey. First thing in the morning we packed up the tents. Luckily they were fairly dry. After saying goodbye to everybody we set off and after a while we stopped at a car museum. This was where Hans had a look at his front brake. It was leaking and not breaking properly. He managed to replace the seals and shoes on the parking lot. The museum turned out to not to big but entertaining.
The museum turned out to not to big but entertaining.
The rest of the way back was uneventful and after the traditional stop at the 'pink pub' (The Cross Inn) we parked our little Austins on the ferry and went to sleep. I really enjoyed myself and I think the other guys enjoyed themselves as well!