By Chris Haigh
Well, we survived the organising of our first Jogle and on reflection it wasn’t too bad. We had 16 crews entered this year and although we had a few dramas along the way, 16 crews finished, in one way or another.
Mine and Keith’s Jogle started for us on Saturday 12th June, we had decided to call in at the Scottish Rally at St Andrews on the Sunday and so had to leave a day earlier than usual.
We left home at 9am to travel north, it seemed strange travelling on our own. The previous two years we had travelled with Bob, but when we looked in the rear view mirror this time there was no one there. We took the usual route north and stopped at Scotch Corner for the first of the many bacon butties we always seem to consume on this trip. The next stop was Gretna Green. We had arranged to meet the Guest family from Baslow here for lunch. They had been held up and rang to say they were running late. Being Saturday it was very busy, and during the time we were there we saw THREE weddings, it’s just like a conveyor belt!!
We arrived at St Michael’s, about 10 miles out of St Andrews at about 4.30pm at our lodgings for the night, the posh sounding Pinewood Country House. The landlady informed us that the late Victorian house had been built as a fever hospital and was turned into a children’s home during the 2nd world war, nevertheless it was very comfortable and we were welcomed as if we had known our hosts, Les and Lesley for years.
After an excellent evening meal in the local pub and an early night we were ready for our breakfast on Sunday, after which we paid our bill and said goodbye to our hosts and set of for the Craigtoun Country Park, the venue for the Scottish rally. We’d had a phone call from Iain and Rebecca on Saturday evening, asking us where the rally was being held, they had decided to call in on their way north. We also saw the Derby ladies, Louise, Lynne and Christine, the Guest family, Steve, Jill, Jane and Mike and Steve and Ricky from Pershore in Worcestershire, all fellow Joglers. Arthur Merry, who did the Jogle last year and lives in Dundee was also at the rally. The country park was an ideal setting for the rally, with an adventure playground for the children, boating lake, gift shop and cafeteria, in fact plenty to do to keep you pleasantly occupied for the day, if you got tired of looking at the many splendid Morris’s on show!! The weather was kind to us, being sunny all day which always helps to make a successful event. We also met members of the North East Branch, Joe, Bryan, Sue and Dave with Dale who had ventured north of the border to visit the rally. There were probably about 40-50 cars there, so not a bad turn out.
We left St Andrews at about 4.30 to travel to Pitlochry and our usual accommodation for the night, the Annslea Guest House. Liz, the landlady, was just going out when we arrived, but said we had our usual room and knew where it was, so gave us the key and left us to settle in!! We dined next door at the Claymore Hotel, as usual. This is getting to be a habit, the same places for the last three years.
Monday morning, after a very substantial Scottish breakfast (like a full English, but with Haggis!) we collected our belongings and set off again for the final part of our journey north. The weather was still kind to us and we had a very pleasant run up to Wick, where the weather suddenly turned quite cool and breezy and started to drizzle. By the time we reached John O’Groats, the rain was quite heavy and the wind was quite strong. After booking into the Caber Feidh, our hotel for the night, Keith and I went down to the start point of the Jogle, the car park of the John O’Groats Hotel, to look around. The wind was so strong by this time, it was difficult to stand up. We decided to ask the manageress in the coffee shop if we could hold our briefing there on Tuesday morning, if it was still raining? She was pleased to oblige, even offering to close off part of the coffee shop for us to use. After dinner in the Sea View Hotel, (the Caber Feidh no longer do evening meals), we went back across the road to the lounge, where we had arranged with the other Joglers to get together for a drink and chat before retiring for the night to get a good night’s sleep before the start the following morning. Iain and Rebecca were to join us for a drink but didn’t appear for some reason.
Tuesday morning dawned dry, but still quite windy. After breakfast we all made our way down to the starting point to line the cars up and do a bit of souvenir shopping. Robin Ingles was on hand, as usual, to supply any spares anyone might need, (we didn’t this year) and to start us of with a flourish of the Union Jack at 11 o’clock. Mike Guest doing an excellent job selling raffle tickets, it was time for the official photo in front of the John O’Groats sign post. After a few words from me wishing everyone a safe journey, encouraging them to call in at the Birmingham Morris Minor Centre at Oldbury (Mike Lennon was staying open for us again) it was 11.00 o’clock – we’re off!!!
One of the cars (Penny and Richard Conway) set off and then went round the roundabout in the car park and came back to the start!! They were waiting for their son who was on his way up from Wick in a taxi. He had flown up to Wick because he had had an exam to sit on Monday so couldn’t travel up with mum and dad.
It had started to rain just as we set off from John O’Groats and continued until we were just south of Wick. The rest of the journey south was fine, if a bit dull and windy at times. We made good time, only stopping for fuel and comfort breaks and didn’t see any of the other Joglers for quite some time, in fact we were beginning to think we were doing the run on our own!! We had our mobile phones with us, but didn’t get any calls and so presumed everyone was alright.
We arrived at Oldbury at about 11.30pm. Unfortunately, the Shropshire Branch , who usually put refreshments on for us, had a last minute problem and were unable to be there. Mike Lennon, the owner of the Minor Centre at Oldbury couldn’t let us stop without having some sort of refreshment and so had been to Asda and bought various sandwiches, assorted cakes and some fruit and put on quite a spread for us. He even bought a new kettle to make us tea and coffee!! Twelve of the sixteen cars stopped at Oldbury, the first one to arrive at 9.00pm. While we were at Oldbury, Louise,,Lynne and Christine from Derby called to say their radiator had blown (they were at Preston) and did Mike have one in stock as they were waiting for the RAC to come and tow them in. They rang back a while later to say that the RAC would only tow them home, so they were going home to pick up another car and continue on their way to Land’s End.
After about an hour at Oldbury, we set off again to complete our journey to Land’s End.
We arrived in Land’s End at 7.30am in glorious sunshine to be greeted by George Furniss, Robert Cooper and his friend Sally and members of the Cornwall Morris Minor 1000 Club. George was handing out the completion certificates, Robert and Sally were waving the chequered flag and Ann Sims, Brian Herbert and John Swan were doing a great job with the bacon butties and tea and coffee. We were short of Barnsley Branch helpers for the Welcome Crew at Land’s End this year and so we asked Cornwall for help and they rose to the occasion and did a fantastic job.
All sixteen crews arrived at Land’s End safely, the last ones in, being the ladies from Derby who had swapped their car. The usual debriefing was postponed until Wednesday evening when we all met up at the Kings Arms in Paul, between Land’s End and Penzance, next to a village called Sheffield for a delicious meal. We also had a toast to congratulate ourselves on completing the 11th Annual Barnsley Jogle and to CONGRATULATE IAIN AND REBECCA ON THEIR ENGAGEMENT!!! No wonder they didn’t join us for a drink in John O’Groats, Iain was too busy proposing!!
ANOTHER BARNSLEY JOGLE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED. ROLL ON NEXT YEAR.