It's been an ambition of mine for some time to drive Numbum, our 1937 MG TA round the coast of mainland UK, using roads as close to the coast as possible. 2016 is going to be the year it happens.
The trip is just over 4000 miles and if we include Anglesey and Skye (as they are connected by a bridge) it will be around 4500 miles. The aim is for around 150 miles per day. Nothing is planned apart from the route. Overnight stops will be whatever we can find on the day. There are many options ranging from hotels down to a small tent by the roadside. We won't be stuck.
The plan is to start at the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough and travel clockwise round the coast and finish back at where we started. The start date is 22 July 2016.
We are going to try to raise some money for charity in the process and we contacted a previous owner of Numbum and asked them for their favourite charity. They chose Harrison's Fund, which is raising funds for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A Just Giving page has been set up. Contributors will be listed on the Contributors page unless they request otherwise but amounts will not be shown. Corporate contributors may have their logo displayed on Numbum. Logos will probably never be removed.
Numbum is almost ready to go.
Towards the end of last year's driving season, old Numbum suffered a broken crankshaft. Over the winter it was treated to a new steel billet crank (ouch!), a lightened flywheel and the whole assembly balanced. A close inspection of the rest of the car revealed a dodgy rear wheel bearing which was replaced and all four corners got new brake linings.
The charging system has been iffy for years but we could cope with day trips and the odd extended weekend but this trip meant that it had to be sorted. I elected to fit a dynamo lookalike alternator which should have been simple, but wasn't because I didn't follow the instructions. Doh. That is now sorted and the charging system now works well.
A couple of short shakedown trips went well with the only issue being that the throttle needs some adjustment.
Now it's time to get some gentle miles on the new crank. I wish the weather would cooperate.
The old girl is running well but still needs a good few more miles on the new crank. Lists are being made of what we need to take with us and the next job is trying to fit it all in the car. Could be a tough job. Fund raising is going well considering it's early days yet. I'm getting the word out on all the forums I frequent and should have a short write up in Classic Car Weekly which will help raise awareness of the cause. I'm having a board made up for the back of the car which will be on throughout the journey which will have a link to the Just Giving page. Please share the link so we can raise some serious cash. Harrison's Fund are arranging some PR for us, but as yet I don't know exactly what it will be.
I finally got the board for the back of the car. Hopefully it will attract attention wherever we go.
Thanks to Classic Car Weekly
David Simister kindly put this in this weeks Classic Car Weekly, on page two no less. Great exposure for the cause.
Can we get everything in?
We spent a couple of hours this morning trying to work out how to get all the stuff we need for 30 days on the road into the very limited space in the TA.
I've removed the hood to create a bit more space but it is only a bit. We planned to use a small holdall for the clothes but it was way too small. We crammed everything into a slightly larger holdall and it looks like there's enough space left in the car for the other things we need to have to hand. The camping gear will have to go on the luggage rack.
It looks like one more possible problem is crossed off the list, unless of course we've forgotten something in which case all bets are off.
Things we're looking forward to
The bridges. We'll be crossing some lovely bridges, Humber Bridge, Dartford Crossing, Severn Bridge, Menai Straights Bridge (possibly), Skye Bridge (possibly) and the Forth Road Bridge. There may be others but I can't think of them offhand.
My geography isn't too clever but I'm sure there will be some good roads. I seem to remember one near Llandudno and we've just been told about Applecross Pass in Scotland. This is a must do by the looks of it and it's on our route.
Does anybody know of any other good coastal roads to look forward to? Please let me know if you do.
WOW!! Thank you Durham Auto Club 7/7/2016
I've just had an email from the club to say that the Committee has unanimously decide to donate £100 to Harrison's Fund when we return from our trip. Not only that but they will be fundraising at their event at Witton Castle on 10 July. Entry is free.
We will be there with Numbum and would love to meet anybody who wants to come along. Photo opportunities for children, even very big children, will be available to everybody who makes a donation.
Come along and support Durham Auto Club and Harrison's Fund. The weather forecast is good so enjoy a day out.
Just when it was going so well.
The fifth consecutive day of shirtsleeve driving. That's almost unheard of in this green & pleasant land.
The car started well but a few miles down the road it started to misfire and lose power at moderate revs. I found a place to stop and found that the front carburetor was out of adjustment. A few minutes tinkering soon had us going again.
Our journey took us through Harwich which I have always assumed was little more than a ferry port. How wrong I was. Old Harwich is delightful and we will add it to the list of places to visit again later for a proper look.
From there it was onwards to Walton on the Naze (a lovely place), Frinton, Clacton and Brightlingsea. Brightlingsea is a place we'll never forget. Just as we were leaving there was a clunk from the rear end and old Numbum wouldn't go any further. We managed to push it into a car park.
I was sure that we had broken a halfshaft so called the RAC and explained the situation and said that we would need recovery. After over an hour a patrol van turned up. He confirmed that it couldn't be fixed and ordered a recovery truck. Yet another wait.
While waiting for the RAC I called NTG Services of Ipswich and spoke to Linda to see what could be done about getting another halfshaft and she was most helpful in agreeing a course of action.
Here's where the story gets a bit interesting. We planned to stay the night with John & Ann Ward of the MGCC T Register. We didn't know exactly where they lived, only that it was somewhere near Chelmsford. We were going to get directions when we got closer. Ringing them got their address for getting Numbum to them and it turns out that they live in Southminster which we would have passed through as part of our planned route.
Eventually we arrived in Southminster and pushed old Numbum into a massive four car garage with room to work too. It was now 8pm and Ann had dinner prepared so we decided to leave the car till the morning.
Now we've finally got the pictures off the cameras and identified here are some from today.
A quick fix on the carburetor.
Enjoying the view at Shotley Gate.
Beach huts at Brightlingsea.
Hitching a ride.
Mike C 28/7/2016 06:42:08 pm Owen I hope this is the only time that you get 'Shafted' on your adventure Watching from Canada Mike C
Nick Thompson 28/7/2016 08:33:28 pm Hope it was not East Yorkshire's super smooth roads that killed the shafts!
Roy Gill 29/7/2016 09:31:10 pm Hope you get back on journey soon and those ribs heal up
Oldbloke 31/7/2016 08:22:41 pm Carry on Owen, with your trials and tribulations I remain envious. Memories are made of this!
An early start and a long day
I was up early and had the old halfshaft out before breakfast. Luckily it had broken at the hub end so it was just a case of removing the hub and getting the mole grips on the end of the shaft then giving it a good tug.
After breakfast I rang NTG Services and ordered a shaft and hub. They persuaded their supplier to expedite delivery. Thanks so much to both organisations for their great help.
We had to make a quick dash back home and with the car safely ensconced in John's garage and waiting for parts it didn't take unneccessary time out of our trip.
Here comes a rant!
Have you tried to hire a car recently? They want so much information that they could steal your identity.
I can't remember the full list but it includes, passport (we don't have one), mortgage statement (we don't have a mortgage), Benefits information (we aren't on benefits), utilities bills, bank statements, NI Number.
Two items are required from the list. How many think of carrying these things with them and keeping them up to date as they can't be more than three months old.
We were 300 miles from home and had to ring our daughter to go to our house, find the documents, photo them and email them to the hire company.
All this took over an hour. Bear these things in mind as hiring a car in an emergency when you are far from home isn't easy.
Just because they can doesn't mean they should.
We eventually got a car and after a 7 hour drive, arrived home.
Back on the road again
After an early start and a 300 mile dash in a rubbish rented Peugeot, we arrived back in Southminster where the new halfshaft was waiting for us. It didn't take long to fit the shaft and load up the car. After a light lunch, thanks Ann, you're a star, we shuffled cars about and Numbum moved again.
We left John & Ann's at 2.30 and did a leisurely 73 miles to our B&B in Biulphan.
A day of bridges
The first bridge was the Queen Elizabeth bridge at Dartford. This is a beautiful bridge and the picture doesn't really do it justice.
From there we headed through Gravesend, Thamesport and Gillingham before crossing to the Isle of Sheppy on the old bridge. The plan was to circumnavigate the island but Traffic was at a complete standstill on the way in so we turned round and left by the new bridge.
Sittingbourne was a complete nightmare and we wasted a lot of time. The A2 runs into the town and out of it but it isn't joined up in the middle. Unfortunately there are no signs in town showing the A2. The first sign is about half a mile out of the town centre. Great if you know the area but not much good for visitors.
From there it was fairly straightforward throuhg Whitstable, Herne Bay, Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate and on to Deal for the night.