Cotswolds Section Touring week - July 2014
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show.)

Five section members, Terry & Dilys with their Moto Guzzi, Rob who had the sense to leave his Velos at home came on a Honda whilst Carol & Howard attended with their Lomax called 'Holly'. Based in the small town of Minchinhampton, to the East of Stroud, the tour extended out across the Cotswolds. Terry, Dilys and Rob stayed on the Tobacconists farm campsite which was the HQ for the event, whilst Howard and Carol rented a cottage for the week. Each day had a schedule which was not always followed, but this in no way detracted from an excellent days motorcycling along the back roads of the Cotswolds.

We visited a private collection of three wheelers, a Polymer factory making the raw material for tyres, the Watsonian sidecar factory and a museum, to name but a few. Travelling through some beautiful countryside, through quaint hamlets and villages, to get to the main attractions was pleasurable as well as interesting. Ample coffee stops were provided, but due to a ‘drop off’ system you had to keep going until the organised stop. This was not a problem as our little group did their own thing, when we felt the need! Routes covered both sides of the River Severn and always provided excellent scenery and places of interest The event is well run and to try and write just how good the week was would take too many words and still not give the event full justice. So if you like what you read in the following ‘taster’, then why not attend the event in 2015 and see for yourself how good it is!

Our contingent, along with some twenty others assembled for the first run of the week at the Tobacconists farm. Todays run was to be through the north Cotswolds to Chipping Campden to visit a collection of three wheelers.

There were some very interesting machines for us to view.

After lunch we visited the Watsonian sidecar manufactures before reaching the Malverns for a tea and cake stop. Leaving the stop we caught up with Chris on a Harley who was acting as tail end Charlie for the drop off. He had pulled over with a puncture. Leaving him with Howard and Terry, Rob took over as backmarker and did the drop off system and returned via Gloucester and Birdlip Hill, arriving at the campsite about half an hour before Howard, Carol, Terry and Dilys. Chris eventually arrived at about 11 o’clock courtesy of the breakdown service.

After the long ride of some 125 miles on Monday Howard and Carol decided to have a rest day. Rob, Terry and Dilys joined the rest for a run to the Forest of Dean, following the drop off system. We headed through the Cotswolds and headed north to the home of Chris Harvey on the edge of the Malvern Hills.

Chris took us on some narrow lanes and we headed to Ledbury for fuel. From here we turned south east and struck out for Symonds Yat where we parked alongside the River Wye. It was a sunny day so we had lunch in the Saracen’s Head. The afternoon route took us through some quaint villages towards Tewkesbury. Here Chris left us in the capable hands of Paul for the return journey through Gloucester and back to Minchinhampton, covering 135 miles. We had an interesting quiz and chat with Ian Young during the evening.

The short run to Slimbridge was cancelled and replaced with a longer one. After covering some 260 miles on the first two day the gang couldn’t face the prospect of another long ride so we decided to opt out and do our own thing. Listening to the pre run chat we learned that the run would only be about 80 miles going to Toddington for a tea stop before visiting a pub at Upton on Severn for lunch. This sounded better and, as we were not quite ready, we said we would meet them at Toddington and join in. Carol in the Lomax was the navigator and making our own way - we passed the main group at a fuel station just past Cirencester. Continuing on, Carol took us up a very interesting lane. The views at the top did make up for the grass on the lane.

We arrived at the Gloucester Warwick Railway(GWR) quite some time before the others who had experienced a breakdown problem. As they were late arriving and were changing their route we decided that once again we would do our own thing. We said goodbye and headed off to Bourton on the Water. Leaving the bike gear in Howard’s Lomax we strolled into the village for a fish and chip lunch and a look around. We got back to the campsite by about 5:30 after a run of some 75 miles. That evening we had a chat and bbq which even the short sharp shower couldn’t dampen.

Denis Beale was the leader and he took us south through the countryside before crossing the old Severn Bridge and heading to Lydney. Here we had a visit to a polymer factory which mixes rubber for the major tyre companies. After lunch we headed through the Dean Forest calling at the youth hostel at St. Briavels for an icecream. The hostel is in the gate house of a 13th Century royal castle. Next was a visit to an iron furnace before heading to Denis’ house on the River Severn for tea and cake. Jenny in her BSA car, named Basil, lead us home. After covering some 120 miles in glorious weather we had two evening quizzes from Bill and Denis to round off the evening.

The final run of 80 miles was lead by Chris Roberts and covered the villages of the south Cotswold, including Tetbury, Wotton under Edge and Malmesbury. The follow the leader system was used but Chris did stop every so often to ensure we were still together. We passed through some pretty villages and saw some lovely views, calling into Stroud and the Museum in the Park. Well worth a visit. Back at camp it was time to pack up and head home, after a week with old friends, great roads and lovely weather.

Many thanks must go to Jenny Hart and the gang from the Cotswolds for organising the week.

Rob & Howard