The tour started with an assembly at The Dukes Head, Turners Hill Road in Copthorne West Sussex. It was due to commence with coffee at around 10.30 a.m. and depart sometime after 11 a.m. Luckily due to the lateness of serving coffee, there was time for a number of participants to go outside to put up their hoods when a fairly heavy shower arrived. Jill Baker helped in the meantime with the delayed serving of coffee and subsequently thereafter the first cars left.
An alternative start route had been planned but was not used because the Highways Agency for once had finished their roadwork on time otherwise on the previous Friday there had been enormous delays as shortly after the start a roundabout had been blocked off to all but single line traffic from each of four directions.
After crossing the M23 the route went due west to skirt south of Gatwick Airport. At that point, there was another small roundabout delay for roadwork but after clearing it and going past the end of the runway – with sudden aircraft noise! – the route then went through Charlwood before going on the road towards Parkgate. Thereafter we went south via the villages of Cudworth, Rusper and Faygate until the A264 roundabout was reached and crossed. By this stage we had covered some 19 miles of lovely Surrey countryside – and Sussex beckoned.
Passing through Colgate the route went south-west towards the beautiful Hammer Pond shortly after which a cunning turn had been put in (one member missed this) to go through the hamlet of Lower Beeding. There, after joining the B2110 as a safety measure, we turned off by yet another pub – The Wheatsheaf – to go onto a succession of minor narrow roads passing through the small villages of Slaugham Common, Slaugham and Staplefield until we joined the B2110 again. A short left and right by the Cowdray Arms towards Turners Hill and a sharp left towards Crawley (just before Turners Hill) and then a right past Crabbet Park led us to the Copthorne Hotel for our lunchtime stop. Again this was a further 19 miles of lovely countryside and villages -this time in Sussex. After the initial shower, the route was completed in the sunshine and with hoods down.
At the Copthorne Hotel after passing by the bar, we had the choice of either a hot starter (soup) or a cold starter (most had this with the enormous choice of cold meats and fish and salad items), followed by roast joints and choices of vegetables and desserts and/or cheese and all for a very reasonable cost of £17 for three courses. This was helped by good bar staff, waiters, and chef service (for top-ups where needed).
Every one of the 17 cars and 38 people had arrived safely and it was commentated that the route had introduced some new roads to those normally encountered in the Surrey and Sussex Wanderers monthly meetings. The weather had enormously helped by not raining after the start and providing sunshine and thus the day was pleasantly enjoyed with some good open-air motoring. Roy and Jill Baker were thanked for their respective help in planning the route and helping at The Dukes Head respectively, The organiser was also thanked for the meal arrangements that appeared to have been greatly enjoyed judged by the numbers of empty plates!
In conclusion it was good to see such a variety of cars and participants taking part from the region and some beyond it, including an MG3, MGRV8’s, MGBGTV8, MGB, MGF, MGA, MG MAGNETTE, MGTF’s, MG YT’s, MG NA and MG YB to name a few, all immaculately driven and presented of course!
– Roy Baker