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Devon and Cornwall Group


Chris and I made our plans to join our local group, at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway but decided to make a weekend of it, leaving on the Saturday morning to enjoy what promised to be some reasonable weather for the weekend.

Packing the usual summer clothes - waterproofs, wellingtons and umbrella’s plus one or two summer tops just incase, we set off in what looked to be reasonable weather.

Leaving Exeter we took our usual route down the old A30 through Tedburn St Mary and on to Okehampton, briefly going on the new A30 for a few hundred yards before making a bolt for the pleasanter Devon roads, where our car is much more at home, then on down to Launceston,

We took the A388 to Liskeard and then made a detour down to Looe for some lunch. By then the sun had really come out and we had a pleasant stroll around the town, stopping to marvel at a collapsed wall close by the water, completely burying the whole front garden including the residents white van!! Quite a scary sight and one I remember being reported on the local news.

Next we decided to visit Polperro and again had a pleasant stroll to the lovely little harbour, with a stop to enjoy a Cornish cream tea. Leaving Polperro we decided to have a look at the Bodinnick Ferry as there was still time before we were due at our B&B for the night. The road took us down to the river where we enjoyed a very pleasant crossing by ferry, after exchanging some pleasant chat with a couple who lived next to the ferry, out on their patio, who called across to say how much they liked the car, especially the paint work, which was a lovely compliment seeming as she had been on the road for the whole day.

From Fowey we drove up the opposite side of the river, through Lostwithiel and on to our lovely B&B in Lerryn for the night. What a find, gardens right down to the river, with all the children taking advantage of the lovely evening weather, out in their boats and dingys it was a scene straight out of"swallows and amazons".

After a very pleasant meal and cooked breakfast we were suitably refreshed for the drive to the Bodmin Railway the following morning. This event had been arranged by Brian and Dorothy Murrish and we were expecting upwards of 23 people to the event and Brian had even said if you didn’t fancy the drive, to bring your modern. Unfortunately there was a great deal of rain across the two counties and obviously some did not fancy getting wet, but 13 hardy souls turned up to make it a lovely day.

Brian and Dorothy came in their lovely 1924 Standard Kennilworth having just earned an MOT following long and worrying front axle repairs. Steve, Karen and Kayleigh Lovegrove in their 1934 Standard 10, us in our Standard Flying 8, Andrew Tillotson (1938 Standard Flying 9 under restoration) and his friend, Alan Skinner (1955 Standard 10 under restoration) his wife Hazel and sons, Daniel and Matthew, completed our group.

After a quick drink we enjoyed the first steam train ride of the day. Your ticket actually entitles you to two trips in all, as the train returns to the station and leaves again on a second different route.

Thanks to Brian whose mis-spent youth was spent in helping in the preservation of these magnificent engines, he was able to pull some strings on the groups behalf and had arranged four footplate rides for us. Four members of the group would accompany the driver and fireman on a run.

The four VERY lucky participates were Chris, on the down route, Brian back up again, yours truly on the second route and Steve Lovegrove back to the station and what an unforgettable experience that was. It wasn’t previously on my "to do" list but it definitely should have been, I didn’t personally stop grinning for hours afterwards and still cherish the memory of that ride on the footplate, as do all the others, although I suspect Brian is an old hand.

Chris Bowden and Steve Lovegrove are trusted with the Engine !

Entries invited for a "guess the caption" competition to Brian Murrish,

After spending a pleasant and very social lunch together (apart from the fact that they ran out of pasties can you believe it in Cornwall - we were all shocked) , we won’t say who had the last one, but you know who you are…..Brian had arranged an escorted tour of the engine sheds. Well that turned out to be an eye opener as well, it was a bit of an aladdins cave, with engine after engine, behind one another and sheds all over the place.

Lady driver?

We spent a very pleasant hour being given a history of the stock and admired the Camel which Brian had pumped up and down the track on a number of occasions. We even saw the return of 5552 as she chuffed back into the station, from the side of the track.

We had a great day, the gods were kind to us and we only had a very small shower during the lunch time. (sorry Phil and Lynda that we couldn’t arrange some better Cornish/Devon weather for your trip).

Finally it was time for goodbyes. Andrew and his friend had left earlier and Brian and Dorothy were first to leave in their Kennilworth, followed by Steve and Karen and finally ourselves and Alan and Hazel and their family.

We had decided to vary our return route and on reaching Tavistock took the road to Princetown and Two Bridges across Dartmoor. We stopped for a drink and snack and enjoyed the spectacle of a herd of ponies with their foals, causing chaos with the traffic as they weaved backwards and forwards, crossing and re-crossing the main road. It certainly kept us amused until it was our turn to ease our way past the group.

All in all, we had a lovely weekend, the meeting was excellent and much thanks go to Brian and Dorothy for organizing such an interesting venue and day out, and for everyone who attended. Our little Standard behaved immaculately, I swear they don’t have a single horizontal road in Cornwall!! We were either going up a steep hill or down one!!

One casualty was Colin Fry who set off in good time for the event, but had car problems and phoned with his apologies. We were very sorry not to see Colin and Rita, but this was due to circumstances beyond his control and we look forward to seeing him at the next event.

One of the reasons for our get together, was to talk about our events for 2009. The group intend to have more events in the Spring and Autumn next year, so watch out for our adverts.

Also look out for details of the Devon and Cornwall groups Christmas lunch, which was a great success last year. We intend to hold this at the end of January 2009 and look forward to seeing you there.

Report by Linda Bowden

Photos by Brian Murrish

I know that the weather has been pretty poor, but surely its a little early to hasten winter by calling this an Autumn Rally?

Sorry this is late, but I still have a backlog of material for publication.