Steve Roberts and Harry Stoopman of The Panther Owners Club rode their vintage motorcycles around Great Britain to raise a magnificent £750 for the project.
Here is Steve Robert’s Report:
Set off solo from excellent Solent Rally to Laurie’s, who was fixing H up with mag. After also fixing sloppy clutch (“day one” grinned Laurie”) both set off for Lizard. First night at Phil Pawsey’s near Totnes for excellent company, hospitality and beers.
Next morning neighbour remembers “oleomatics” on Lancasters 7” across… Across Saltash Bridge into Cornwall. To Lizard easy. Frightened man in kiosk by driving straight past end of road, but only turning round. Quick photo of Lighthouse and pot of tea, then to Bodmin Moor, very atmospheric, up into Devon. Bikes going strong. Into Crediton for directions to Hartwig and Catherine’s. Lovely warm welcome by fire, top up for bikes.
Early family breakfast before mystery tour through lanes going northish. Onto Exmoor, cracking pub lunch, to Bridgewater for M5. Boring. Numb arse by Chepstow. Over Severn Bridge, into first pub, let blood back into nethers. Restored, to Hereford up Wye Valley for kind hospitality at family friend of H. Food, wine and grand view of hills.
Morning visit Hereford Cathedral. To Shropshire for lunch in some foreign field, Shropshire Blue cheese, ginger beer, sunshine. Later more M5 past Manchester, “where am I?” rain. Onto A6 at Lancaster, press on to Silverdale. No one there, it’s Thursday, but leave Lizard postcard on gate. Head for Hotel to dry out. (Massive “thankyou” to all rally goers for donating proceeds of Raffle to Noah’s Ark Childrens Venture via Sherb – the kids appreciate!).
By sea at Arnside after breakfast, up through Lake District to Carlisle. Sunshine, jet fighters. On to Susan and Gary’s near Kirkconnel for welcome cuppas. Still lots of daylight, press on past Glasgow, over Erskine Bridge, find pub lodgings by Loch Lomond.
Onwards and upwards through Glen Coe, this time “where is it?” rain in teeth. Down other side for ferry to Ardnamurchan, across sea loch. Cracking scenery, wiggly mad road out to Lighthouse. Weather from wild Atlantic. Back to pub by B&B for supper, just. Phew! Nice whisky.
Back over ferry, to East Coast along Loch Ness via Great Glen. Phoned Trout POC’ers from Fort William, offer apologies, too far to detour. Followed Loch Ness to Moray Firth. North to further kind hospitality at family friend of Alison above Inverness.
More northerly stuff to Dunnet Head against monster headwind, past whirling wind farms, barren, open. Bikes working hard even downslope. Clear view Orkneys from Lighthouse. Thanks to Brian Sparks for oil changing shed! Heading south with wind following at last, swift blast back to Inverness, well earnt beers and curry with hosts.
Wind now off North Sea. Through Grampian Mountains, snow on tops, brass monkeys below. Replaced H’s clutch cable, adjustment going. At Firth of Forth bridge, zero clutch left. Bits and pieces in gearbox side. AA and kind spares secs. Bob and Ruth to the rescue. On mission to catch up. Bert flies south on old home turf, Northumberland moors, into the night. Brrrr!
Mechanics by Bob repair enough for picturesque tour of N. Yorkshire Moors, incl. 1 in 3 brake testers. Then to York for kind hospitality from Joe Greenfield. Panther chat and fine tea.
Bright and breezy to Humber Bridge. To scenic Lincolnshire Wolds, over Levels into Norfolk (“very flat”). Past Norwich, to Lowestoft, find last Lighthouse, and the Ness. Crikey. Next stop nearby Steve and Sarah Welch. Broadside, Shropshire Blue (!), roaring fires as warm as welcome!
Eggs for breakfast, then Riders Rally. Panther nomad accusation not denied. Back across Norfolk, through Outwell, Parson Drove, North Fen, into Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, to Staffordshire. Consall Forge. Hard to find, but Malcolm and Grace did too. Great time! Soft southern whatsit indeed. Where were you northern slackers Friday night?!
Last day head south down Fosse Way to Trout Inn, Lechlade, and Bob the Landlord. It was he suggested Noah’s Ark Children’s Venture as recipient of raffle at first Ratty Rally. To this charity about a grand is going, raised by trip around the Four Points.
Back across Thames into Oxfordshire, through Vale of White Horse, skirt Berkshire Downs, cross Kennet Valley and home. Karen’s first words “yuk! get in that bathroom!”. …in mirror had to agree : hairy, oily road tramp, face like a King Edward, knackered, ridden out – but glad.
Thanks to those who helped by giving their warm and generous hospitality on the way round, or for putting their hand in their pockets at raffles or in sponsorship. Without your kindness the kids wouldn’t get the help they need. For more information go to www.macaroniwood.org.uk
2766 miles, one spark plug, £199.87 fuel, 49.87 gallons, 55.46 mpg (full kit)
Club piston, STD bore, Silkolene Chatsworth 40 weight
Oil (fill to between lower and upper line) 1287 miles, 5.95 pints, 216.2 mpp
Oil (filled to no more than the lower line) 1292 miles, 4.85 pints, 266.4 mpp
3 maps, 5 vertebrae, 2 pairs of pants, 3 socks