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Ribblehead Team Safari

Ribblehead is rapidly turning into an institution, like the annual miners strike or the traditional Winter blackouts (I'm writing this by candle light!) I feel that Ribblehead will be part of our sporting calendar for as long as we can use the land. The enthusiasm for the event from both competitors and spectators is immense, even through the alcoholic haze of the preceeding night (Treasurers Birthday was the official excuse !) it was still apparent that everybody enjoys corning to Ribblehead.

The morning after it wasn’t quite as apparent, but then nothing ever is the morning after!  Raymond and David Sagar ran the event, assisted by a great many marshalls who are yet again to be thanked for their efforts.

We didn’t seem to have as much trouble as usual getting everyone through the river and up into the field so perhaps we're getting better'. What we did have trouble with was trying to keep spectators out of the way of the competing vehicles, all 54 of them.

The format was slightly changed this year in that after reaching and traversing each of the six sections the team had to return to the start in order to hand their tickets

This meant a lot more motoring for your money, too much in some cases as engines refused to percolate properly in a couple of series ones. At one particular time Brian Dibb's team were all

broken down in different places with different faults, There was one section that caused a lot of problems by virtue of the fact that it was nigh on impossible but nevertheless enough teams got back in time to make a results list.

As usual at Ribblehead ,standard vehicles made a much better impression than the specials ( I am biased, by the way !). Many V-8's were seen with the bonnet up doing a fair impersonation of the “Flying Scotsman” raising steam for the London run. They don’t like it up ' em these here

v’sss, can't stand the pace and all that.

The mornings results were as follows;

1st Team . George Carruthers, Alan Panter and David  Illingworth.         1hr 06 mins

2nd Team. Bill Leacock, J. Harrison, J. Aspden        1hr 26 mins

3rd Team. Carl Amos, Ted Hartley, David Rae.       1hr 44 mins

There was quite a selection of exotic machinery being shown off at Ribblehead. A 6 wheeler Range Rover with safari type accommodation being one of them and the other being a very much modified V-8 hardtop Lightweight with tinted windows and a line in wide wheels and tyres that would give my bank manager seventeen kinds of hysterical fits ......... pity about the rotten colour scheme .... still it was certainly an eye catcher '. . . .I bet it isn’t too bad for pulling the bir ......... perhaps I'd better stick to the story;

The afternoon was of course the individual event to find the 'Champion Cross Country Driver' of the year, Speed is important but not nearly as much as picking your way through peat bogs and once again the first 3 were all standard motors, with quite a few of our usual experts at this kind of event left high and dry waiting for a tow'. Mind you one of them did have a lousy navigator!

David Illingworth wasn’t even competing and he managed to roll his Lightweight while John Wright cut it so fine that he ran out of petrol as he crossed the finishing line to win, so to you my boy you get the prize but not the duraglit OK ?

The afternoon's results were,

Champion Cross Country Driver.

John Wright   80" Land Rover        15 mins.

2nd Bill Leacock Series 1 88" L-Rover      16 mins.

3rd Carl Amos Lightweight L-Rover   18 mins

With that the remains of the entries were shoveled out of the field and after a good deal of clearing up of old cans and polythene by some of the members, we left. It seems as if we need a new sermon on keeping litter in your motor, although I have a feeling that it isn’t as much the members but the spectators who are to blame, but you can help by educating them or if necessary tidying up after them.


I should know better by now than to make rash statements like, "Nobody goes camping after September!. As I arrived at Burnley the first people I clap eyes on are the Higgins gang bravely erecting tents in the sea of mud that was laughingly to be known as the camp site'. Up to their neck in muck and bullets they were, and that was only the first half dozen there. John Lister, Land Rover and caravan were up to the axles in mud while Melvin Taylor ended up winching his caravan into position.

All the land was waterlogged and with showers every 20 minutes it looked as if it intended staying that way. Luckily for us, Bob Seed whose land it is, had already got the bonfire stacked up and ready, very professional job it was too, there were timbers in that lot that had been supporting mills for the last 100 years or so I'm sure.

All that remained was for myself and John Lister to mark out the course for the Sunday. The idea was simple enough (similar to us really!), five team recovery sections around a course of about a mile, through two woods and a field, easy isn’t it ??????

With my past history of timber aversion I ought to have known better than to go in the woods marking out, especially woods with magnetic trees .... sure enough before the day was out I  roved conclusively yet again that trees are harder than Land Rovers'. It didn’t take long to set up the five recovery sections as there isn’t a great deal of room but we were worried about getting the vehicles up through the wood, as it was already like the proverbial skating rink, however we didn’t have time to do anything about it so we went back for some tea and then on to the bunfight at the bonfire.

When we got back to the caravans we were amazed to find 17 or 18 caravans and half a dozen tents set up with more arriving caravanning in that kind of weather is rough, but camping ? ? ? ? ? and anyway I thought we were the big rough Pennine lads who looked on caravans as the scourge of the open road ? ? ? ? ?

About 7-0 clock we decided to wander over and see how the Bonfire is fairing now that the weather has faired up a bit. Overheard conversation,

"Now be careful son, bonfires are dangerous if you aren’t careful, so let the grown ups light it and then there won' t be any accidents!

"Alright Dad, but why have those two men just tried setting fire to themselves while lighting the fire with a gallon of petrol? Eh Dad? Eh?"

"Shut up and light your sparkler son"

Bob Seed and Carl Amos were both nearly reluctant Guy's when the gallon of petrol they had used went off with a whoosh, still it did get the Bonfire going nicely'. Things were soon in full swing with the Bonfire blazing nicely, fireworks cracking off in all directions, Carole Amos serving ale out of the back of Paul Dewhirsts van and people eating the charred remains of spuds that had been retrieved from the fire and dragged through pools of mud and old engine oil.

Carl Amos and Ted Hartley had done us proud supplying cans of ale and pie and peas, a van and even fluorescent lights. Bob Seed too gets a big thanks for letting us use his land, organizing the bonfire and of course his amusing, 'Spot the Deliberate Mistake' bonfire lighting technique otherwise known as 'How to burn your jacket and amuse the Pennine using only one match'. "


There must have been well over 80 people there during the night and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves especially the kids ........ football and swigging ale most of them!

Sunday dawned to the sound of torrential rain beating a monotonous tattoo on the roof of the caravan. A quick look at the field made me wish that the caravan had been built by Noah Enterprises Ltd. Evil thoughts of pretending to be stuck down by Liquor Mortis started entering my devious brain but Harry was already dressed in his wellies and 'Flashers' mac so I had no option but to do likewise and convince myself that I enjoyed this sort of thing. By 9am we had the rest of the course marked out, now run back to front ie. DOWN the wood as conditions were so muddy that teams wouldn’t have even got up the wood, let alone through the sections. Motors were already rolling up ready to do battle with elements which by this time had fined up, and we managed to stick to our promise of starting at smack on 11am even though people were still coming in the field as we started. . . HINT TAKEN ? ?

Sixteen teams were to tackle the five sections but by the time the second team had set off it was obvious that section three would have to be abandoned leaving us with four sections.

It seems that quite a few of our members, like me, I haven’t yet learned that momentum plus porridge consistency surface, plus trees equals big accidents and that more momentum equals bigger accidents!

George Carruthers attacked a large tree with his windscreen and lost, the chuck wagon was down to his axles in it and many more found themselves wedged bumper to cross member between the trees, but the day did turn out nice.

The whole event was I'm afraid a slow affair, and this did upset a few of the competitors, but the spectators, who seemed to be appearing out of rabbit holes, thought the whole job was splendid. I was quite convinced in my own mind that no-one would want a second run ...... not a bit of it !. There they all were eager as newly weds so we set to and altered the course to a short two section run, in order to finish with a bit of daylight to spare in which to extricate twenty or so caravans from the mire.

The fastest from the mornings run were sent first, and we were off to a flying start with the first 3 teams putting in a good time, things then started to slow down dramatically until eventually it got to be a case of trying to persuade the last few teams to call it a draw, especially as the only way they could win anything was to do the course in minus 2 minutes, but no '. Wild dogs couldn’t persuade them to see the folly of their ways. ...... money might have, but

not wild dogs !!!

The last team finally returned, muddy but happy, so having satisfied the customers we set about packing up in double quick time. Because of the general haste and the fact that a lot of early finishers had slid off home to 'tea and telly' we weren’t able to have a proper prize giving.

Results were :-

1st Team Carl Amos & Ted Hartley       10m 42s

2nd Team David and Raymond Sagar       12m 00s

3rd Team Melonie and David Simmonite     13m 37s

4th Team Brian Dibb & David Illingworth   14m 47s

With a lot of effort from a few people all the caravans etc were extracted from the camp site, the last ones leaving just as dark fell. I would like to thank again Bob Seed for the use of the land and doing all our 'chum ping' for us, Carl Amos and Ted Hartley for providing the refreshments on Saturday night. Harry Haigh and Melvin Taylor for their help in running and marking out the event, Margaret Hartley and Linda Haigh for their timing technique. Donald Cole, 'Tarmac' and 'legs Higgins &c Co' who helped marshall. I wonder if Guy Fawkes knew what he was starting ......................... ?


MSA and ARC club members are welcome to come along and join our events. Phone Mark on 07866 506521 / 01282 703718



Pennine Land Rover Club, Pennine LRC