Words and pictures from Steve and Val Hughes

The Lancs & Lakes group held their second annual closing run social weekend at Crooklands on the first weekend in October.  It was again a very successful event but overshadowed by the tragic death of Gerald Lawford on Wednesday in his Morgan on his way via Taunton to meet up with the Parkinsons before travelling up together to Cumbria for this event.

With the loss of Gerald and his close friends Ian and Maria and Steve and Diane (Adams) understandably having to cancel their attendance after the awful news we had lost three M3Ws from our expected attendees.  However we still managed to have 13 Morgans assembled by Saturday morning, almost as many as at the AGM!.  We had only one M3W this time, with two F-types, five JAP OHV twins and five Matchless OHV twins (please note no SV twins and no 2-speeders!).  Many thanks to those who travelled a long way to be with us and especially to Gary and Barbara (Caroline) who drove all the way from Guildford in their Morgan (over 300 miles) and to Dan Smith from Edinburgh and Keith Hayes from Dumfries who also drove a fair old distance in their JAP twins to be with us for the first time.

The weather was beautiful on Saturday for our most pleasant scenic run to Ulverston to view the fascinating vintage collection of Dave Molyneux and then along the north shore of Morecambe bay to Peel (Roa) Island for a visit to the Barrow lifeboat station, followed by a late lunch at the Clarkes hotel.  We had two lady drivers taking part on the Saturday run with my daughter Amy Anafi driving mum’s F4 all day and Anne Boyle having a slightly easier day of it driving Bryan Rawlinson’s modern Plus 4.  Many thanks indeed to Roger and Liz Harrison for organising Saturday’s run for us.  Poor Roger suffered the only significant mechanical problem of the weekend with a collapsed front wheel centre (wooden) at speed on his 1923 Humber saloon.  It could have been a nasty incident but wasn’t but now Roger no longer has a spare wheel for the car so any leads to find another would be greatly appreciated I think!

The Saturday night gala dinner was attended by 36 people and we started with a minutes silence for Gerald followed by a slightly irreverent Morgan themed grace from Peter Pattinson.  Brothers Mike and Roy Smith unfortunately had to miss their dinner as Mike had had a nasty fall and cut his head badly and needed hospital attention  (not the best time to attend an A&E department).  When he was treated later that night it was discovered that he had also fractured his collar bone so will be out of action for quite a few weeks.  Best wishes from us all for a full and speedy recovery Mike.

Peter had organised rather nice bespoke GNCR commemorative slate coasters from Coniston for the event and after the raffle these were presented to all those who had taken part in a Morgan over the weekend.  Phil Bleazey was presented with our group enthusiast of the year award, which he was rather taken aback by.  This was in recognition of the great deal of work he has done to develop solutions to M3W driveline NVH issues and poor durability problems which he is now making available to other owners.

On the Sunday we headed eastward to take in some dramatic scenery and a bit of industrial archaeology via some challenging roads in the northern fells.  The weather had turned much colder with a light frost in the morning but at least it stayed dry for us.  The route took us through Barbon and the dramatic Deepdale road to the first stop in Dent.  After that we took the hard slog up the Coal Road (one of the highest roads in England at 1750ft) to Garsdale and over Ais Gill to Kirkby Stephen.  Here we had our second stop at the Stainmore Railway preservation site at Kirkby Stephen East station which I hope everyone found interesting.  Our lunch stop was at The Fat Lamb Inn near Ravenstonedale, a country inn which specialises in hosting classic car rallies where we were made very welcome.  Some of the group then needed to head off home from there so we said our goodbyes to them after lunch. 

After lunch the route took us to Tebay and down  the dramatic Lune gorge to Lowgill to view the magnificent preserved viaducts on the long closed Ingleton line.  By then it had turned extremely windy and we were being blown about quite a bit in the Howgills!.  Those that were staying over for the Sunday night had a mini-bus trip to Kirkby Lonsdale for a few beers at the micro-brewery at the Royal Barn before returning to Crooklands for a late evening dinner and a few more drinks to round off a very pleasant weekend. 

After yet another hearty Cumbrian breakfast on Monday morning it was time to pack up, pay up and head for home on another dry and pleasant morning.  Everyone agreed how much they had enjoyed their weekend which is after all what it’s all about.  We were fortunate to have had no breakdowns apart from some minor carburettor attention being required to Roy Smith’s car and Roger’s front wheel collapsing on the Humber. 

We have provisionally booked the same weekend for next year at Crooklands but already there are only twelve rooms available at the hotel on that weekend.  Confirmation of the date will be dependent on when and where we are going to have the AGM, which is yet to be finalised (provisionally 29th September so we would then have to move the GNCR back by one week).  We hope that familiar faces will return again next year and perhaps encourage a few more of you to come and enjoy our wonderful driving roads and northern hospitality!

2018 Great North Closing Run