Monday, 1 July 2019

Girder fork run 230619

I did not attend this event as I do not have an eligible machine, however I approached Dermot for a write up and he has sent this excellent report:

Why I’m quite unqualified to write this account will become embarrassingly obvious in due course. But in the meantime, let me tell you of what I can remember of the Girder Fork and pre-1960 Run enjoyed on June 23.  I’m greatly indebted to Darol for furnishing his notes (akin to Aresti diagrams used in aerobatic sequences) which have helped fill the large blanks attending my recollections.

Six of us assembled at the Puffing Billy cafĂ© near Great Torrington for a cuppa. The Fab Six were Tony with his immaculately turned-out Square, Mike and his ex-Jack Edney cammy Velo, Darol with his Triumph made acceptable by its Val Page engine (!) and Darol’s friend, Justin, with a rigid Ariel powered by a 650 twin. Cyril arrived on a non-eligible 400 Ducati at my invitation in case I felt lonely on the 70 return miles from/to Tiverton. The Ariel trio was completed by my 500 single. Of this six, only the Velo and Triumph possessed the girders for which the run principally was intended; a sad demonstration of the changes which have taken place in the club in the last few years.

 In dry but threatening weather, we left Torrington at precisely, approximately, somewhere around 11,30 due to the engrossing nature of the pre-run conversations. Darol imposed some discipline and had us make a left turn and up the hill to get us started towards Taddiport and then on to Hatherleigh. It was around here that I began to notice some familiar landmarks; Peters Marland (6/7cwt), Shebbear (6/9cwt) and Sheepwash (6/12cwt), all of which meant little to me as a motorcyclist but provided happy memories of bellringing there. Of course, to motorcyclists, the tintinabular details mean even less but it gives Gordon something to edit!  From Shebbear on to Stibb Cross heading for Badgworth with lots of signs to unknown places in deepest Indian territory – Holsery, Tythecote, Woolfardisworthy, West Putford, Meddon – you name it, we went there! There were a couple of occasions in which I thought I should return home to collect the knobblies.

Anyway, from Parkham we arrived somewhere else for a pub lunch. There was a minor hold-up when Tony disappeared in unmentionable circumstances and was not seen again until we all met at the boozer. Beyond that, it was an incident-free outing. We enjoyed dry roads before lunch but then the weather broke and we had moderate rain which caused us to substitute the afternoon’s programme for a return home on dampened roads. 

Otherwise we enjoyed a very pleasant outing through places of historical captivation. For example, there is an unusually interesting rood screen in Sheepwash church. And did you know that the Torrington station originally was built to support the local dairy industry which provided 2,600 gallons/day to the world’s largest dried milk producer and another two trains of milk tankers per day to London? Additionally, the station received clay from Peters Marland and surrounding pits, delivered by the narrow-gauge railway which used to parallel the river when men rode girder forks.

Special thanks go to Darol for excellent routing and to Mike for bringing up the rear.

It was not until a couple of days later that I remembered that I had absconded from the lunchtime pub without paying for my meal. I had failed to note the name of the pub, nor had I any idea in which village we were dining, although I did recognise the church with its ring of six. Darol furnished the required information and (wrong!) phone number, so I was able to make my apologies   and set the matter straight with the landlord of the Coach and Horses at Buckland Brewer.

Next run folks July 14th from the Northgate Inn at Aller cross South Molton and not the Quince honey farm.