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.
What a great send off & first day
We arrived at the iconic Transporter Bridge in Midddlesbrough just before 10am for the start of our journey to find a good number of friends & family there to see us off. We had a great time with bridge staff taking pictures for their website and BBC Tees Radio for a live interview. It was a bit hectic and it was a bit of a relief to get on the road. . Here's a short video of our departureshamelessly nicked from BBC Tees.
It was a hot morning and we got as far as Redcar before stopping for a cuppa. Once refreshed we set off again and apart from a lunch break, a couple of comfort stops and a few unplanned diversions it was plain sailing down toElm Tree Farm B&Bfor our fist night stop where our hostess welcomed us with a much needed cuppa.
Shortly after our arrival Nick Thompson with his super ex Dick Jacobs competition TA. Seeing them side by side shows just how different Nick's car is from a standard bodied TA.
After some good chat we set off to find an evening meal. The pub across the road from the B&B had closed a few days before we arrived so we found another pub about five miles away. While we were eating our meal we were approached by Keith Barker and his wife Clare. They had seen Numbum in the car park and were keen to know about our journey. Keith is going to spread the word among his many followers on social media which will increase the exposure for Harrison's Fund. What a great guy. He even paid for our meal. Thanks Keith, you're a star.
Food eaten and socialising over , it was back to the B&B to download some video from the in car camera. This took so long that the stills were left on the other cameras as sleep was calling very loudly.
A fun but tiring day with 130 trouble free miles out of the journey.
These two pictures show just how different Nick's car is from ours.
Today was a Parson's Egg23/7/2016
The day started really well with Nick arriving to lead us round our planned route. This was great as some of the roads might have baffled us as they didn't appear as they looked on the map. I have some video of us chasing Nick round the Humber Estuary and I'll post it when I get chance to edit it.
We stopped for a photo shoot at Spurn Point before heading to Nick's place for a cuppa and bacon butties thoughtfully prepared by Sheila his wife.
A big thank you to Nick and Sheila for their hospitality and their support for Harrison's Fund.
Suitably fed & watered we headed off towards the Humber Bridge and the trip there was uneventful but it was after that that things started to go awry.
Just outside Immingham the road we wanted was closed and the diversions didn't make any sense. While we were trying to work it out, a lovely lady in a blue KIa stopped to help us out .She gave us directions and escorted us part of the way. Thank you blue Kia lady.
It took us over an hour to get through Grimsby and Cleehorpes.It was stop start bumper to bumper in searing heat. The car kept its cool but I was close to losing mine. We planned on going along Cleethorpes sea front, but when we saw the amount of traffic heading that way I chickened out and went round on the inland side.
Traffic still wasn't great and we were getting very thirsty but couldn't find anywhere to stop for miles. We eventually got parked up and made a cuppa which didn't even touch the sides. we took the opportunity of trying to find a place to stay for the night but had no luck, Everybody we rang was fully booked.
We pressed on and hoped to find somewhere. Yeah, I know, slim chance. I spotted a vacancies sign and we drove down the farm track only to find that they were full too, but they had a field and we had a tent so that was our stop for the night as we were too tired to carry on.
We pitched the tent and headed up the road for fish & chip suppers.
Only 104 miles today and that was enough,
George Baxter 24/7/2016 10:16:07 pmYou can do it Owen & Pam. MG won't let you down. Get to Torquay for some R & R.
The things you see when you don't have a camera ready.24/7/2016
When we arrived last night, Rachel made us a welcome cuppa and provided some home made oatmeal biscuits. We didn't eat the biscuits as we were going for fish & chips.
Going to sleep early meant waking early and at 5.30am we were stood outside the tent drinking lukewarm coffee from our flask and munching on oatmeal biscuits.It was a misty morning and out of the mist drifted a snowy owl, totally silent and carrying it's night catch in its claws. What a lovely sight as it passed just a few feet away from us and headed into a nearby barn.
Breakfast and air display over it was time to break camp and load up the car. Just before we were leaving, Rachel gave us some info on a B&B in Cumbria which will come in handy.
We were on the road by 7.30 and it was great travelling on quiet roads and in the cool of the morning.
We had an easyish trip down through Skegness, round the outskirts of Boston before hitting King's Lynn. We though we had a plan for missing the usual heavy traffic in this area, but we missed a turning and we got stuck for a while. Once clear of King's Lynn it was plain sailing round the Norfolk coast road to Cromer. 160 miles of the drive completed today. From Cromer we headed inland for our B&B.
Cromer to Ipswich 25/7/2016
Today was a fairly reasonable day. We made good progress passing through Caister, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Southwold, Dunwich, Aldburgh, and Felixstowe before heading inland to just outside Ipswich where we spent the night.
Traffic was mostly light with only a couple of sections of slow going and the temperature was a couple of degrees cooler than the previous days which made life a bit more comfortable for us.
For a few miles there had been an ever increasing rattle coming from the gearbox which was quite disconcerting. Something had to be done and with roadside parking impossible to find we stopped in a pay & display car park in Southwold where I removed the gearbox cover to investigate. The cause was soon spotted, some of the nuts holding the gear change remote had worked loose and it was chattering about. A couple of minutes work with a spanner fixed that. I checked the oil level while it was easy to do it, added a drop and put everything back together. Normal service was resumed.
Dunwich was a very rare place these days. A massive car park which was free with a request to put a donation in the box. You don't see that very often in theses days of viewing the motorist as a cash cow. We had a pleasant short break there.
133 miles today
It became apparent that my plan to video the whole journey with the dashcam wasn't going to work when I tried to save today's video to the tablet and found a lack of space on the hard drive.. That, plus the fact that editing it would have been a nightmare and far too time consuming I decided to keep the cam ready and only record what I though may be of interest. This may well be after we get back.
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.
141 miles today
Wide open throttle, almost!
Today was a pretty good day, a bit cooler, but that was pleasant. It was still shirt sleeve driving weather.
We left the hotel about 9.20 and had an easy trip through Dover & on to Folkstone. We expected problems in both places but the only problem we had was a road closed and a diversion which only had one diversion sign. It was quite fun to see everybody trying to turn round in a narrow street. . We stopped briefly at The Battle of Britain Memorial for some photos.
From there we headed for Dungeness which is a wild desolate place but strangely beautiful and we stopped there for lunch.
It was good going after that apart from heavy traffic as we passed through Hastings, Eastbourne, Newhaven, Brighton & Worthing.
The only trouble today was on the way to the Hotel, the front throttle jammed open and the revs rose dramatically. Conscious of the age of the clamp bolts I nipped them up a bit but obviously not enough as it happened again. This time I seem to have won on this job as it didn't happen again.
Wow! What a day
We left Chichester just after 9am and travelled to Havant and on to South Hayling. South Hayling was worth the visit for the views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.
There is only one road in and out of South Hayling and it was slow going with heavy traffic getting out.
From there it was into Portsmouth which is a pleasant but trying to find a road out that wasn't a Motorway was challenging but we made it and found our way through Gosport to Lee on the Solent where we stopped for lunch and watched some boat racing.
The first real rain of our trip started here. We had been through the odd light splash but this looked likely to be prolonged. We bypassed Southampton and drove down though Hythe & Fawley into Lepe where we decided it would be prudent to put our wet coats on. This proved to be a good idea.
Passing through Beaulieu Pam heard a clatter from the back of the car and by the time I managed to find a safe place to stop I had quite a walk back to find a piece of leaf spring lying in the road. There was no space to do anything about it where we were so I limped on down the road hoping to fix it when we stopped to visit relatives in New Milton. It soon became obvious that this wasn't a wise decision as the rear axle was moving around quite a bit. I eventually found a safe(ish) spot to pull over and see what could be done.
The only jack I was carrying was a small scissor jack for wheel changing if needed. It wasn't really suitable for supporting the car for spring repairs but I managed to get the missing leaf back into position and held in place with two large cable ties. I decided that with traffic hurtling past within a foot or so of my backside and soaking me in the process that it was time to move so we gently headed off to New Milton, hoping to do something more permanent there but it was not to be.
While we were there I suffered another problem when one arm of my spectacles dropped off. The screw had come out and no amount of searching could find it. Pam got out here sewing kit and did a super temporary repair.
After a pleasant couple of hours, we wish it could have been more, we limped off to our hotel in Bournemouth. We arrived tired and soaking wet but we soon felt better after freshening up and getting ourselves wrapped round a hot meal.
137 miles covered today.
The people we meet are truly amazing
With rain still coming down when we woke this morning and a lack of stable ground and a jack not fit for what was still to be done we decided to stay in Bournemouth and sort things out properly to continue our trip tomorrow.
The first amazing people were the reception staff at The Carrington House Hotel f or their ability to find us another room in a full hotel for a night which we hadn't booked. Thank you so much.
The next job was to try to find somebody to fix up old Numbum. We rang many garages but all were busy. Eventually I got a mobile mechanic to take on the job.
Lee Hilton of Get Mobile Mechanics turned up and sorted the job out properly. When it came to payment time he refused any payment as he felt honoured to help us out as his brother Marcus died from Muscular Dystrophy .Lee, thank you so much. You are a star.
Grateful thanks also go to the service team from the Carrington with their help with parts and reattaching the exhaust which was hanging down a bit.
With Numbum taken care of and the rain stopped, Pam & I took a slow saunter into town to try to get my specs repaired properly. That was a successful mission again at no cost.
We popped into a small cafe for a light lunch and were later to be seen sat on a wall munching on apple turnovers. I know how to show a woman a good time!
Later on I was chatting in the smoking shelter and two lovely ladies gave me a donation for Harrison's Fund. Thanks ladies.
Wow! What a day
Bournemouth to Torquay
With old Numbum now in fine fettle we headed out of Bournemouth to catch the Sandbanks ferry to pick up the road to Swanage. Using the ferry saves a lot of miles.
We had an easy drive up to Portland Bill where we had lunch, followed by a drive about the area. Some beautiful views.
The roads in the afternoon were narrow with tall hedges. Not much fun at all. Exeter at tea time was challenging but we found our way and had a good run down to Torquay where we had a bit to eat from a street vendor before heading to meet George Baxter, an internet friend who was putting us up for the night. George is one of the many very helpful people we have met. Thanks George!
An exhausting day
We had a very enjoyable breakfast with George. I have to say enjoyable cos Pam cooked it.
A quick check of the car revealed a loose exhaust (speed bumps are savage down here and Numbum is very low) and some adjustment needed to the clutch.
Once this was sorted out we hit the road and headed through Paignton to the Kingswear to Dartmouth ferry and the exhaust scraped. An easy drive to Plymouth where we hit heavy traffic and eventually found the Plymouth to Torpoint ferry. Once again the exhaust scraped on the ramps both on & off.
Followed the coast as much as possible down to the Bodinnik to Fawey ferry. We got on all right but got severely stuck on the way off. With no help from the ferry staff there was nothing else to do but boot it. Eventually it came free but the exhaust mounting rubber was split so as soon as I could stop, emergency repairs were carried out and we were back on the road again.
Eventually we drove through Mevagissey where the roads are very narrow indeed. Much stopping & reversing going on.
In Tregony, having negotiated many speed bumps in many villages, there was a loud crack and Numbum ground to a halt.The left hand rear wheel was not in the proper location in the wheel well and I could see some suspension parts out of position. RAC to the rescue.It turned out that the two inner locating holes in the axle plate had split open and allowed the bolts to pull through and allow the axle to move.
The RAC man shot off to his friends place, D L Marine at St Just in Roseland who had some parts to make a temporary repair.
The people of Tregony were superb with offers of hot drinks, use of toilet & washing facilities, and generally keeping us from getting bored while waiting.
As we set off again the RAC man gave us the contact details of somebody local who could do a more permanent repair. It was now getting dark an I turned the lights on and was surprised at how dim they were. I haven't driven the TA in the dark for ages but didn't remember the lights being particularly dim then.
We limped along though Truro and down a narrow unlit road to the Killagorden Cottage B&B. It was very spooky and we were expecting owls hooting or a dog howling to cap it off.
Eventually we got there and settled in and Pam told me why I thought the lights were so dim.I was still wearing my sunglasses. DOH!!
129 miles today.
We're off to see The Lizard.
But first we have to get old Numbum sorted, so it's a few miles up the road to St Agnes to see Tim Kelly, an MG specialist. He soon had the car up on the ramps and the RAC man's temporary repair became a permanent one. They also fixed the exhaust after the battering it had taken over the last few days.
The job finished and the bill settled we left at just after 1pm to head for The Lizard, stopping for lunch in a layby on the way.
We headed back to Killagorden by way of the coast roads back up The Lizard peninsula, stopping in Tesco, Truro for a bite to eat. Talk about living the high life.
Not a bad day at all. Numbum fixed and 84 miles of the coastal route done.
Today we made Lands End and a bit further.
It was an easy run from the B&B to Lands End and we arrived just after ten and the car park guy said it would be a sin to charge such a great car and gave us a free ticket. Yeah!
We had photos taken by the signpost.
As it was a bit chilly as well as misty & damp we didn't stay long. Soon after we set off the wipers went on strike so it was manual operation until the sun came out.
We passed through St Just and there was a carnival on and the road through was closed. We followed the diversion signs but the last one was pointing the wrong way. It took all of us, including a double decker bus, down a dead end road. It took 45 minutes to sort it out.
The rest of the run up the coast was uneventful. Newquay was busy but moving and we arrived at The Avalon in Tintagel earlier than expected.
It was a bonus in that it was carnival night in Tintagel and we spent a pleasant evening watching the parade.
146 mostly trouble free miles.
A good day
Had a lazy start to the day and travelled along the coast past Bocastle, finding some lovely roads on the way.
With little chance of finding fuel on these roads we headed up the A39 but the first sight of fuel was in Bideford. We filled up and picked up lunch.
A couple of dead ends in Croyde Bay and Ilfracombe put us a bit behind time so after eating lunch in Instow on the estuary of the river Tor, we took the major roads through Lynton, Minehead and on to Bridgewater for our overnight stop.
Now that I've got a decent internet connection I can post these two pictures emailled to me by Peter Davies. He caught us on Park Avenue, Devonport, Plymouth. Thanks Peter.
Crossing the lower Severn Bridge
We travelled through Burnham on Sea, Brean, Western Super Mare, Kewstoke, Clevedon, to Portishead where we got a bit lost. Eventually we found our way and headed for the Severn Bridge.
We had to use motorways to get to the bridge which was a bit hairy but we managed and got a lot of horn honking and waves on the way over. We stopped at the first service area after the bridge and had lunch & some good chat with people who had seen us on the way across.
From there we headed off to Newport to see the Transporter Bridge. It wasn't operating so we couldn't take a ride across the river but we had a good chat to the couple in the visitors centre.
We by-passed Cardiff but the traffic was still bad. I can't imagine what it was like in the city centre. From there we headed to Barry Island where we holidayed many years ago. Traffic was still heavy.
Eventually we made our way out and to our B&B after the satnav took us to a pub first.
The exhaust was getting noisy again and I spent a couple of hours trying to fix it. The belled end of the front pipe had pulled through its locating plate and I had to deform it to get it back through the plate then try to reform it. I got it as near as I could and bolted back together. It was still noisy but not as bad.
We ordered a Chinese takeaway which was soon delivered and demolished.
2000 miles today9/8/2016
The first port of call today was Bridgend Motor Factors for exhaust putty and bandage to try to keep the manifold to downpipe quiet.
They were very helpful and allowed me to carry out the repairs in their car park. Great guys.
After a few wrong turns we found our way out of Bridgend and were back on the planned route with a much quieter exhaust.
We passed through Porthcawl and round Port Talbot & Swansea. Port Talbot wasn't the most beautiful place on the way in.
We reached Mumbles Head after a long crawl in traffic due to roadworks. We lunched on a bench in lovely sunshine. It's a peaceful relatively uncommercial place, a real treat these days.
From there it was along some lovely roads up to Llanelli. We passed the 2000 mile mark in Pembrey.
Along these lovely roads towards Carmarthen we saw a sign for a tea room and quickly turned down the lane. It turned out that they were closed. That was on the sign but we didn't see it. They made us coffee anyway. Super people.
We arrived at Ty Cassell, a beautiful B&B out in the countryside with a river at the bottom of the garden.
108 miles today.
Oh! No! Not again10/8/2016
We had an easy run through Carmarthen and found the road to Llansteffan which is just across the Towy estuary from Ferryside where we had coffee yesterday.
We moved on through St Clears and down to Pendine, the historic scene of land speed record breaking in the 1920s. We visited the museum and took a look at the long beach. We got permission to photo Numbum next to the museum and had a chat to some visitors. The exhaust was getting noisy again.
Once we got back on the narrow roads the car developed a misfire.With nowhere to stop I pressed on. The misfire got worse and the car started to die whenever I lifted off the throttle. We made it to Saunders Foot and pulled into the car park. Investigation revealed the points almost closed. I'm not too happy about the quality of replacement points these days. This was a new set fitted before we started this trip. All properly installed with grease on the cam and worn to the point of needing resetting in just over 2000 miles.
I also checked the noisy exhaust and found that all the putty & tape I used yesterday had vanished. Pam found a local motor factors and we headed there to pick up some more repair stuff. This time I chose the metalic strapping to hold the putty in and spent an hour fixing it all up, with the kind help of ex AA man, Huw Adams. Thanks Huw!.
All sorted and quiet again we set off for the coastal roads again. All was fine till just outside Castlemartin when there was the loud roar of an unsilenced motor. The joint repair was fine but the downpipe had dropped through the support plate again. I had some fence wire that they gave me at Killagorden so I wired the exhaust up and smeared some putty round the joint. All was pretty quiet again but by now I was not prepared to risk the lonely coastal roads with things the way they were.
We took the most direct route to our B&B where I rang Moss Motors and arranged for a new front pipe to be delivered to the B&B. We also managed to secure another night so we would have time to get the exhaust fixed properly. Only 67 miles today
Once that was all sorted we walked up into town and found a super Pizza place. Pizzas freshly made and cooked by a large tent filled with tables and heated by a log fire in the middle. Lovely pizzas and a great atmosphere.
What great guys! 11/8/2016
We had a lazy morning waiting for the exhaust to arrive, but popped into town and the B&B staff watched out for it.
Cardigan is a lovely place. The main street is almost devoid of chain stores and is full of local independent shops and cafes.
After a quick lunch and a wander along the main street we got back to Coed Y Bryn to find that the exhaust had arrived. Godfrey, our host had recommended a garage who may be able to help out with fitting it. We drove round to see Paul Edwards who took a look and decided it would be easier to repair the old system than fit the new so he did. Thanks, Paul for taking time out of your busy day to help us out and thanks also to Godfrey for your help too.
With some of the afternoon still left we decided to backtrack and catch some of the coast we missed yesterday and managed 68 coastal miles before stopping at a pub in Mathry for a meal. We arrived back at the B&B ready for another day.
Windy West Wales
We left the B&B just before 9am in a strong wind and had a fairly good run up the coast on white roads then we ended up on the road to Llangrannog which turned out to be a dead end. It was such a drag turning round and driving miles back that we decided to abandon white roads and stick to yellow, red & green. This turned out quite well as most of the roads closest to the coast were red or yellow.
We stopped for lunch in Borth, a lovely place with the wind still blowing. Out came the flask, cups and coffee. Spoon coffee from the coffee jar and put in cups. Strange, no coffee in cups but plenty all over the car. It was windy.
The only delays were in towns such as Barmouth, Porthmadog & Pwllheli and we were able to make good time.
We eventually made it to our B&B in Morfa Nefyn. We walked down to a local pub for a meal but didn't fancy the menu or prices so we fired up Numbum and drove about 3 miles to a place more suited to us and had a great meal.
175 excellent miles.
Not a bad days driving but the worst night so far.13/8/2016
We left the B&B at ten past nine and had a good run up the coast to Caernarfon. We didn't go round Anglesey but drove onto the island on one bridge and off on the other.
From there it was along the coast through Bangor and Conwy. The tunnels on this road were awesome, especially the last one. In Llandudno we paid the toll and drove round The Great Orme and had lunch at the summit. We met some great people there too.
Further along the coast old Numbum developed a misfire at medium revs, most irritating. I checked the points gap, it was a bit tight so I re-gapped it. It was no better. I took them apart, cleaned and dressed the points, cleaned the distributor, cap & leads. Still no better. OK, better check the plugs. Search the tool bag for the plug socket. It wasn't there. "Oh dear", I said and we limped off to find somewhere to buy one. Eventually found a Tool Station and bought a cheap socket and pulled the plugs. The back two were great, the front two were a bit black & sooty but not too bad. I changed them all for new ones and the misfire wasn't so bad.
We passed through the Mersey Tunnel. Wow! that was wild. Eventually we arrived at our hotel in Southport only to find there was no offstreet parking. Pam had rung ahead at lunch time and had been assured that there was plenty of space. She was not amused and finally were were allowed to park outside the front door. It was too public for my liking but there were CCTV cameras so we took what was offered.
After a quick bite to eat in a cafe just down the street, we got back to our room only to find there was a nightclub next door, blasting out music at high volume. This went on till two thirty. We didn't sleep well at all.
Tired at the start but over all a good day.14/8/2016
We thought the nightclub noise going on till 2.30 was bad enough but at half past four there was yelling and shouting and the bang and crash of waste bins being moved and bottles being chucked about.
We did get some sleep before breakfast but it wasn't really worth getting up for. Everything was almost cold including the fried eggs. Coffee was almost undrinkable..
We did complain but they weren't interested. The hotel was full most of the time so they didn't care about the occasional complaint. The Scarisbrick Hotel in Southport was the most expensive place we stayed at so far and without doubt the worst.
The tonneau cover had been tampered with overnight and we wondered if anything may be missing, not that there was anything of great value left in the car. We unsnapped the back and rolled it forward to load the luggage. Nothing was missing. Once loaded we refastened the back and opened up the front and we noticed pound coins and 50p pieces on the seats. It wasn't people trying to pinch stuff but people donating to Harrison's Fund
The run up the coast through Lytham St Annes, Blackpool, Fleetwood, Morecambe, and on to Grange over Sands was easy going. We took a short break near Baycliffe with wonderful views over Morecambe Bay with Blackpool Tower just visible in the distance.
The roads were getting easier and traffic was lighter and we made good time until we got a bit lost trying to find our nights B&B.
Eventually we got there and I was surprised to find we'd covered 182 relatively pain free miles.
George Baxter 17/8/2016 02:41:06 amWow - sounds like crap hotel owners Owen.
Good mileage tho
Reply Owen 17/8/2016 09:43:46 pmIt's Britannia Hotels, a national chain. We've used them before in other places and they've been OK. Mileages are getting better as we move north.
The trip came to life later in the day15/8/2016
We'd had some trouble with the internet connection last night so we hadn't been able to find tonight's B&B so getting that sorted delayed our start this morning. We eventually got away from The Bower House in Holmrook about 9.30.
The misfire was still with us and Pam wondered if it was fuel starvation. I tended to agree with her and we stopped at a motor factors in Whitehaven where I picked up a new fuel filter. I fitted it and things were much improved. The old one didn't look that bad but it obviously was restricting the flow somewhat.
After navigating the speed bumps in Whitehaven without issue we headed on up the road.
A short run on the M6 took us into Scotland and we hit the coastal route just west of Gretna.
This is where what had been a mostly fun trip really came to life and it was brilliant. Mile after mile of almost deserted roads and we could really start to put some serious miles on. This was the start of beautiful view overload.
It was an easy run all the way to our B&B, Riversgarth in Kirkcudbright. We checked in then took the mile walk along the riverbank into town for a meal. We needed the fresh air after being in the car all day.
163 wonderful shirtsleeve miles.
Amazing roads and amazing people 16/8/2016
We left Rivergarth about 9.20, after a super breakfast and found a filling station to top up the tank.
Last night both of Pam's USB pens corrupted and she couldn't back up the many pictures she took so it was off to find some more. We managed to find some memory cards to do the job and hit the road.
In shirt sleeves again we headed up the coast to Newton Stewart and down the peninsula to the Isle of Whithom.
We stopped for lunch overlooking Auchenmalg Bay.
From there it was on to Portpatrick where we stopped for a while and had ice cream. We love this part of the trip. Covering good mileages but still having time to stop and take in the sights is wonderful.
Some lovely roads up to Kirkcolm and down to Stranraer and with little traffic we were motoring along nicely. The sea was so close on this road that Pam felt she could almost put her hand in it. It got a bit busy on the A77 after Stranraer but we were still moving.
After 168 miles we reached our B&B, The Arches in Knockden. Once we got checked in we travelled about six miles to a pub for our evening meal. Just as we were leaving a guy ran up to us and introduced himself as a member of The Carrick Round Table and he gave us a very generous donation for Harrison's Fund. Thank you so much and please pass on our thanks to the other members of The Round Table.
A steady away day
Another day of beautiful weather. On the advice of our host we took the Carrick Hill Road to Ayr. That was superb advice. The view from the top was marvellous. We stopped to take pictures and a lovely gent gave us a donation. What a great start to the day.
We found fuel in Ayr and headed off up the coast in heavy traffic which didn't clear until we passed Ardrossan. From there it was plain sailing to Gourock where we looked for the ferry to Dunoon. The plan was to cheat a bit and have some quiet time in Dunoon. We couldn't find the ferry and a guy we spoke to for directions said it was no longer a car ferry, just a foot passenger one. On the way out of Gourock we ran into roadworks with lane closures which was very slow going.
With no ferry the only option was the roads and we drove round Glasgow and across the Erskine Bridge.
The lunch stop was a layby near Rhu, overlooking Gare Loch.
Round the top of Gare Lock there was a stunning run down the side of the loch, very close to the water, on a narrow road, into Kilcregan. Then it was back up the loch. We picked up the major road again and stopped for a break and a cuppa in Arrochar at the top of Loch Long.
We picked up two lovely narrow roads, B828 and B839 which made a welcome change from the major roads. It was quite a surprise to find an artic on here.
From there it was an easy run down to Dunoon to our B&B for the night.
161 lovely miles today.
Carrick round table 25/8/2016 05:53:47 pmYou're welcome, we done a lot for muscular dystrophy last year. It's a great cause. It was our secretary Andrew who gave the donation. Hope you raise a lot for this great cause
A good day with some memories.
In May 2014 we were in this area with The MG Car Club Caledonian Centre on their Three Day Scenic Tour. We were in the MGB GT then. We revisited a couple of places.
The first was a viewing point for the Kyles of Bute. The first picture was then, the second is today. Quite a difference.
With thoughts of taking the ferry to Tarbert we headed to Portavadie to check it out. Given out previous experiences with ferries and Numbum's exhaust I wasn't going to use the ferry without seeing the angles of approach. It was a no go, but we did get another then & now photo.
Reminiscing over it was back on the road again. This bit was a bit boring just trundling along the major roads. Pam almost fell asleep a couple of times. We stopped for lunch at a garden centre near Inveraray.
We eventually picked up a road more suited to old Numbum, where we met some locals who outnumber humans, and headed on down to Campbeltown for the night.
Having made good time we kept on going on a narrow coastal road which we planned to do in the morning.
185 mostly super miles.
Game over - we're both gutted 19/8/2016
This is a sad day but even so there were some good parts to it. Last night I had spent about 45 minutes looking for a B&B in our price range in the Fort William area with no luck at all. I eventually found an hotel with a room but at an eye watering price. The cost was not refundable if we didn't make it. This is a relevant factor in why we made the decision we did.
When we woke up it was a damp drizzly day. By the time we had eaten breakfast it was raining, not hard but certainly wetter than earlier. For the first time in the trip we set off in wet weather clothing.
We fuelled up and set off along the A38. For a couple of days Numbum had a slight vibration in the driveline but it was liveable with and we'd carried on.
Today the vibration suddenly worsened and the car was almost undriveable above 30mph. We limped along looking for a garage and found one in Kilmartin. When I saw an MGB on the ramp I knew we'd found a good place.
The guys there were absolutely wonderful. We soon had Numbum over the narrow pit and the problem identified as a collapsed UJ at the front end of the propshaft. Off came the shaft and a good UJ was nicked from a Ford Escort shaft and fitted. They also identified and fixed a couple of battery cable issues.
Off we went again. With the vibration gone it was smooth as silk. Unfortunately about 9 miles down the road there was a loud clunk and the serious vibration was back. I pulled onto a safe place and tried to ring the garage but had no signal. Pam was sat under the brolly and I spent some time wandering up & down the road looking for a phone signal with no luck.
Eventually a lovely lady drove me to her house and let me use the phone. She also provided us with a flask of hot water. I rang the garage and they were prepared to look at the issue again if we got the car recovered to them. There was a strong possibility that we would be there till Monday if not Tuesday before we could be moving again.
Not only would this have lost us a hefty hotel room cost but we would have had to find B&B locally and be there with no transport for the weekend.
Neither of us fancied that so it was with a heavy heart that I called the RAC for recovery.
0nly 69 miles today.
The company the RAC used had been trying to ring us with no luck so sent a driver to give us our options. They didn't have a driver with enough hours available to take us home so would bring a loan car to us and take Numbum back to their depot for delivery home later. This sounded good to us.
About 8.10pm the loan car arrived on a flat bed and was unloaded. We quickly took all of our gear and chucked it in the boot of the Ford Focus and helped to get Numbum onto the flatbed.
The rain had stopped while we were waiting but a chilly breeze came along and we were quite cold. Some improvisation was called for. We were quite cozy in there.
While we were waiting in our improvised tent we heard the rumble of a diesel motor. Was this our recovery man? Nope, it was a driver who had seen us and turned back to see if he could help. He couldn't but he gave us some biscuits. Great guy!
We were still 92 miles from the Invergarry Hotel and they closed the doors at 11pm. That was a bit of a push in a strange car on strange roads in the dark but we made it there at ten to eleven.
We got checked in and by just after eleven we were drinking coffee and eating fruit cake before collapsing into bed.
Chris & Lisa Sayers 21/8/2016 07:03:57 pmWell done to the three of you! should be proud of what you have achieved. Not many people would have taken on the challenge. Its one thing to read about it on a blog but another thing to actually go out and do it.
Reply Owen 21/8/2016 07:55:05 pmThanks Chris & Lisa. You've known me long enough to know that I'm slightly mad. We were home safe yesterday and Numbum arrived this morning. The old gal needs some work but will rise again for more fun. All's well and that's what counts in the long run.
Reply vdubmga 22/8/2016 05:11:30 amOwen, what is the rest of the story? It looks like the MGexp site is down at the moment.
I see where you stayed overnight at the Invergarry Hotel in Ft William. My wife and I stayed there a couple years ago. Like you, we had spent the entire day driving in rain and it was a lot more than just a drizzle. We were very glad to get to the hotel. We found it quite nice except for all the bloody stairs we had to negotiate. We ended up staying there a couple nights so we could recoup and get on with our travels. Its a good thing we rested, too, as the trip on up to Inverness was just more torrential rain.
Anyway, I don't see on the blog here that you gave up the trip altogether, but I get the impression you did. If that is the case, I'm sorry to hear it. At least, you gave it your best shot!
Reply Owen 23/8/2016 10:00:03 amThat was the end of Numbum Round Britain unfortunately. Timing and circumstances conspired against us and we had to call it a day. There is a little bit still to be added to the blog which I will do when I get chance, but it's been manic since we got home. There are also pictures and some video to go onto the site as I couldn't get them on the blog as internet connections were so bad in places.
Reply CAlrick Round Table 23/8/2016 09:58:17 amSorry to hear the journey did not end the way you would have wanted, all part of pushing the limits, great human spirit and determination is one of those things that can't be instilled in a machine even if those on board have it in abundance. Great effort for a great cause.
Reply Owen 23/8/2016 01:43:04 pmThanks, guys. It was disappointing but we had a blast getting as far as we did. It's been a trip we'll never forget.
What a change from the past 4 weeks
After a hearty breakfast it was time to set off for home.
No more ritual checking the oil & water. No more carefully assembling the 3D jigsaw puzzle of the luggage in the back of the TA.
It was open the boot, chuck everything in and drive. So boring.
Our egos took a bit of a hit as nobody's heads swivelled as we drove past. Nobody suddenly rushed to get a camera. We were cloaked in the anonimity of a Ford Focus. We were just another couple in just another car. It was a bit sad really.
The journey home was uneventful and once we had unloaded the car it was almost as if we'd never been away.
The reason for the end of the journey 26/8/2016
It's been a busy week since we got back and it wasn't until today I got chance ro have a look at Numbum. Using a borrowed jack and my axle stands I got the old girl up high enough to see what I was doing.
The reason for the noise and vibration was obvious. One cup had vanished from the universal joint.
The reason it vanished was a cracked yoke.
Parts are ordered and it shouldn't be long before the old gal is back on the road.
Two lovely articles in Safety Fast 1/9/2016
The first from the Tyne Tees Centre notes.
The second from the T Type newsletter.
Such wonderful thoughts and it's so good that the word is still getting out even though we're back home. Lets hope it brings in some more donations for Harrison's Fund.
Another great piece about our trip12/9/2016
This one is from the MG Car Club T Register email newsletter and posted here with their permission.
For those of you who have been following Owen and Pam Frankland's 4,000 mile clockwise trip round the coast of Britain you will know they have had some trials and tribulations, but have also had some great days ... but they finally had to give up at Fort William. They started at the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough on 22 July, and travelled clockwise round the coast. They met generous people, even people who slipped money under their tonneau in the middle of the night in Southport. They had great shirt-sleeved driving days. But they also had their problems - a broken half shaft at Brightlingsea in Essex, continuous problems with their exhaust from Devon and round into Wales. But even these problems got them to meet up with some great people from small garage owners who dropped everything to help them on their way, a mobile mechanic who was only too pleased to help and who refused payment, to the RAC helping them out at the end. It was collapsed UV joints in Fort William which forced their giving up the drive. They have a very well written and interesting blog about their journey, and posted a lot of photos of their adventures. They have also set up a Just Giving page if you want to help. They also have a Twitter account (@jg9052) which has lots of links to their adventures.
Wow, we didn't expect this!17/9/2016
I received an email yesterday from the Secretary of the MG Car Club T Register letting me know that Pam & I have been awarded the Montague Burton challenge trophy for 2016. The trophy is awarded to those who use their T Types regularly, or for an outstanding feat in a T Type. The T Register committee decide that we should have it for our exploits on this trip.
We were very surprised, very flattered and over the moon about it.
A presentation time & place is yet to be arranged and hopefully there will be a picture or two which I'll post later.
What a weekend! 10/10/2016
As this story comes to a close, the last part is collecting the Montague Burton Trophy. The presentation was planned to be in Blyth near Doncaster and we set off in Numbum in high spirits.
Sadly about 60 miles into the trip there was a loud crack and lots of smoke from the left rear wheel area. It turned out that the left rear suspension mount had broken completely and the wheel was tight up inside the rear wing. We weren't going far like that so we contacted Sally & Bill Silcock who were travelling north to meet us and formally present the trophy to save them the long journey.
Next was a call to the RAC for recovery which duly happened about an hour or so later.
Once old Numbum was safely tucked up in the garage we jumped in the MG3 and headed of to our planned overnight stop. The next morning we headed off to Bill & Sally's place for the formal presentation. Pictures will follow.
The beautiful trophy is now with us for a while.
The Montague Burton Challenge Trophy Presentation 12/10/2016
Last Sunday we were presented with the trophy by Sally Silcock, the Secretary of the MG Car Club T Register.