This was my second event organised by Rob & Barbara and they certainly work hard at the job. All the scouting that is involved must take untold hours so it is a big thank you from me to the pair of them for all their hard work.
The event this year was centralised a bit further south than last year which made it into a local trip for me, only 70 miles to the rally HQ so it was easily doable in a day trip, overall the total days mileage was a fairly modest 390, perfik.
The information pack duly arrived via e-mail and as the base was south Lincolnshire the routeing was not as critical as the Welsh & South West Rallies due to the “kinder” road system in this part of the country.
The first planning consideration was Rob’s inclusion of three compulsory stops for the gold award, these being Foxton Locks to the South West of the area, Belvoir Castle to the north and Wainfleet All Saints to the East. This year saw the introduction of a supplementary themed award which was titled “Bomber Award” and involved visits to RAF Cranwell and RAF Metheringham. These two locations were added to the plan which then left a selection of 18 further points to be taken from the remaining options to give a total of 23 stops for the day.
With all the information entered into TYRE I tried various combinations and came up with a route of 220 miles which I was happy with, there were a few shorter options available but I was happy with my lot as it stood. A couple of further stops was introduced into the plan, one was en-route in the morning to pick off a TMBF Pub tag and the second was a TMBF Castle tag at Tattershall Castle, I was passing the gate anyway so it didn’t even add any miles to the trip.
As usual I planned an early start, the last thing I need is a PIA trip to the start of a Rally, throws out the whole day as I discovered doing the Iron Butt Icini Rally last year where a stressful outward journey buggered up the mindset for the day.
I got away from home at 5:45am which gave me plenty of time to take in the first call at the Barley Mow in rugby for a quick photo, after that it was a straightforward journey to Swayfield and the Royal Oak pub. I arrived as Rob & Barbara was setting up with a couple of swish banners and a flagpole, very posh!
I hadn’t been there long when I heard the rumble of a couple of BMW’s belonging to Grim & Steve. No doubt Grim was hoping for a better rally than last year which he didn’t finish due to a mechanical problem best left at that!
The pub landlord had decided he wouldn’t open up until 8am so with a few arrivals the signing on procedure was carried out in the car park, this went ok as there was no wind to blow the papers about and above all it was dry, by the time this was done the pre-ordered breakfasts were starting to appear so before setting off it was time for some scoff.
With my usual thoughts of “Continuous product improvement” I made a few changes to my preparation, over the rallies entered I have dropped certain rituals and adopted others in the name of efficiency. My latest thinking was to invest a few minutes before the start and write down the questions to each stop on my road book which lives on the top of the tank bag. This allied to my previous efforts of trying Grim’s method of not actually stopping at the target and remembering the answer to write down later was all targeted at an efficient trip. At the Welsh Rally, this had worked to a point but I had to keep referring to the clue sheet which meant stopping anyway which negated and savings from using the old grey matter. 8:15 arrived and it was time to put the theories into practice, with a planned routeing of 220 miles the 23 stops were going to come thick and fast:-
Very short stop at the road sign as the writing was a bit on the small side, with the sponsors committed to memory it was off to the next stop.
This was an enforced stop as I needed to wander a bit to count the tress and identify what was “Topiaried” onto the top of the 10th one in the right hand row.
This was another memory stop, only the number 2 to remember, the system was working well so far!
Another enforced stationary moment to get closer to the memorial to see what is engraved into the stonework.
When planning my routes I always pick the Church as a reference point, this usually covers war memorials and village halls so for the second time in 5 stops the sat-nav took me straight to the target and a quick stop to memorise the animals and it was off.
I had planned the first compulsory stop at Foxton to be early in the route so as to avoid the busy period, this area attracts hordes of folks so a swift in and out was hoped for, it took a couple of minutes to find the required bridge and number but the plan worked as it was still fairly quiet.
This proved a problem, I totally misread the clue’s requirements and assumed the clue was over the entrance gate to the car park, when I arrived at the garden centre it had recently had the area sorted into a nice posh car park befitting a large garden centre. I spent a few minutes looking around and picked a totally incorrect item but at least I had an answer to take back even if it was not arrived at in the intended way, lucky one that!
Waltham on the Wolds
If my memory was any good this would have been another “none-stopper” but it isn’t so I had to write down the security companies name straight away!
Another one which took a bit of time, the map contained a lot of information to pick from so I had to make my notes there and then, still it gave a photo opportunity.
The village hall was not as close to the church as I like so I had to find the building but as I rode past it was easy to spot its construction so another memory test.
Another Church stop but with two names an instant note was required!
The village hall car park was packed so I couldn’t get to see the entrance without dismounting, easy one to remember though so it was a quick wander and back on the road.
The first “Bomber Award” stop, it took a slow trip past the airfield perimeter until I came across the community centre, again it was a tricky name for my memory to take in so to be on the safe side I wrote it down straight away.
The second Bomber Award and the one I was looking forward to. During my research this looked to me a very interesting place, this it proved to be. It was a good opportunity to take a break, have a look in the shop, snap some photos and take on some water. I made a purchase in the shop, also obtained my proof of visit receipt and wandered about a couple of aircraft knocking about. I must make the effort to go back and have a good look around the museum which is on site.
Another tricky one for the memory banks so it was instantly noted.
This was not part of the rally so it was a quick TMBF photo stop, tricky to get the castle in shot along with the bike so I had to settle for the entrance banner but it will suffice.
Yet again a tricky one, it took a bit of a search to find the garage in question, then a few minutes to locate the wording on the sign, with a good spot it would have been a matter of seconds but took me a good five minutes to sort this one out, never mind this can happen, once sorted I decided to take a minute to have a water top up before setting off.
No good me trying to remember the name of the proprietor of the garage, it took me a few glances whilst I was committing it to my notes! Unusual name is Cavan.
A very interesting one this was, the road into the village was blocked off due to roadworks, however, it said access to frontages so without further ado I carried on, the road was dug up in several locations but luckily not all the way across so acted as chicanes. I came across the shop in question and found the old sign which indicated 9¼ miles to Boston, easy one to remember at last.
Wainfleet All Saints
This was by far the most unexpected stop, entering the village I scanned the shop fronts looking for Stores, I happened to pull up behind a car being fuelled up from a petrol pump reset into the shop frontage and the pipe trailing at high level over the pavement, I was amazed that current health & safety legislation allowed this any longer. It seemed popular with the locals as no soon as the car pulled away another one took its place. Great to see the locals supporting a local venture, I didn’t spot how much it cost per litre but I suspect it wasn’t “supermarket” rates.
This was one that I knew the answer to before arriving at the windmill as I had been here before, it is equipped with six sales, not sure if this makes it more efficient but I suppose it was deemed appropriate in its day. I took the opportunity to take a couple of photographs as I didn’t on my previous visit, it must have been raining at the time!
Another place I have visited several times so it was easy to find, the only hold up in this area is the railway crossing, the gates always seem to be closed resulting in a wait for the train to pass. In addition, there is no push button control for the signalman, he has to leave the signal box and open the gates manually, still, it keeps him fit I suppose.
Not far to go now, only this stop and one other, I was well ahead of my expected time and this one proved to be another memory job and I didn’t even have to slow down.
An enforced stop at this one, there was a bit of confusion as to the required information which meant checking with the actual clue sheet, Rob had written the clue down slightly wrong so to make sure I had the correct answer I took photos of the notice board and sorted it out back at rally HQ
The day had gone really well and I arrived back at 2:45pm, as expected Grim’s bike was already parked up so I ventured inside to transfer the answers to the rally card and check in. After a while, Steve arrived and we had our photos done with the awards. A quick drink and a spot of relaxation were the order of the day and I was ready to head for home just after 4pm an early day.