Report on the White Horse Run

Paul Swaddle, the Run Organiser for yesterday’s White Horse Run, has raised the bar as far as run reports are concerned.  Brilliant report Paul…over to you:

This was the first time your Junior Correspondent (Paul Swaddle) has arranged a run and it unfortunately showed! (no paper route, last minute admin I hadn’t done…), my personal apologies to anyone who had a “sub optimal” experience as a result of that.

We had a good turnout, with 15 riders joining us at the start of the route, the Udder Farm shop in East Stour.

Sign in completed, briefing done and tea’s drank, we set off in three groups “huddled” around those with sat navs (mostly “beelines”) along the A30 towards Salisbury.

Pace for the day didn’t much exceed 50mph, just right to be able to take in the many splendid views the route out and back had to offer.

Taking the “twisties” behind Old Saram, first stop of the day was a very busy Old Saram air field cafe for refreshment.

Many skydivers where to be seen nervously awaiting their drops or swirling down on their “silken chutes” above us in the reasonably warm sky’s.

At this point, some of the group left us to attend other commitments (…some birthday or other?! ;-)) and 11 of us continued on in two groups towards the ultimate goal of Pewsey and two white horses the area has within some stunning scenery.

Once beyond Amesbury, the roads and traffic take on a more rural setting, with fantastic sweeping roads weaving their way through Salisbury plain.

Your Junior correspondent did lead his group to the wrong end of the road that passes the first of the White Horses (known as “The Alton Barnes White Horse”), hence the strange photos from a corn field looking back to the hill, but no harm done, we did the route in reverse then double backed on ourselves to be back on track again.

The recent extreme weather was evidenced everywhere, with the predominantly luscious green rolling landscape now scorched a multitude of Spanish like yellows, browns and golds.

Entering Pewsey, we quickly found the area the cafes were in and opted to park in the central square in front of not our originally intended stop (“The Lunchbox”) but the “Pewsey Vale crafts and tea room”.

Despite not expecting lunch for 11, they did a superb job of feeding and watering us all with a very friendly demeanour and going out of their way to accommodate us all outside with extra seats.. superb service!

Once on our way for the return route, it was a short journey around the corner for a top up with Essos finest E5 (… does it really contain little to no ethanol?! I keep asking Esso station attendants but so far have been met with shrugs of “I’ve no idea mister!”… can any of our readers provide the details on this more than just a strong rumour I’ve heard from multiple sources?)

This route out of Pewsey and up the back roads towards Netheravon is one of my personal favourites.

As you approach the base of the hills you are met with the splendid views of Pewey’s 2nd white horse before climbing steeply in a long drawn out right hand bend that rapidly provides you with amazing views of the surrounding area as you climb above and beyond the white horse you were just observing.

The very straight road on top of the hill then provides you with @5 miles of splendid views in every direction, all the way to the horizon, that you can enjoy in relative safety due to clear views of the road ahead.

Eventually, you turn down towards Netheravon where the roads are cris-crossed with tank tracks and interesting military installations, although thankfully we didn’t encounter any Challenger tanks suddenly blocking the way ahead today! While our machines are some of the finest Italy and Britain had to offer, I doubt they’d fair well against fully chobham armoured main battle tanks! 🙂

The roads here change from two lane to single track, which keeps the ride engaging as you continue through some fabulous landscape.

Crossing over through Larkhill and then down to Stonehenge, my big concern for the day, the roundabout that crosses the A303 loomed up and was horrendous as I’d warned the group about at the start of the day.

Thankfully we all traversed the stream of hot and angry motorists trying to go east and west with almost effortless ease and safety… emerging on the far side with our group all still together and zooming on to re-join the A30 route back to East Stour that had brought us to this wonderful area earlier in the day.

All in all, an absolutely splendid ride that feedback I’ve had so far, people really enjoyed.

Till next time! (*now complete with paper route maps!)

The Udder Farm Shop at the Start
At Pewsey
Other Photos


Preparing for the Dorset Dakar

On Tuesday of this week, Andrew Rae took 5 volunteers* on a scouting mission to assess the feasibility of an off-road adventure for all our section members and friends, assuming little or no prior off road experience and a lack of dedicated machinery.

We’re delighted to report it was 99% successful** and the new run, The Dorset Dakar,  will be announced very soon. Watch this space; it’s likely to be in September.

*the volunteers were Simon Barker (BMW), Ray Dickinson (pillion in Andrew’s Ariel sidecar outfit), Ken Druce (Yamaha), Paul Miles (rigid Triumph) and Paul Wirdnam (BSA on road tyres).

**the very last stage, a distance of 1 mile, was a killer and all agreed that it should not be included in the future run.  How the sidecar outfit got through is a mystery and I hear Ray ended up in the hedge a couple of times.  Your Secretary came off his BSA and had to be rescued by Ken; new indicators were bought from Feked on the way home 🙂   Our Chairman missed this last section, he must have known!

The run was finished off with a nice lunch at the Fox and Goose in Coombe Bisset.

A great experience!  Many thanks Andrew for putting this together and for  providing the water and biscuits for us all at the stopping point above the Fovant badges.

Photos by Simon, Paul M and Paul W

Photos from the Jeff Clew Memorial Run 2022

Bridget Vallance won the Mike Penn Award (Spirit of the Event)

Many thanks to Rod and Carol Hann for organising another annual Jeff Clew Memorial Run…something they have been doing for many years.  As in previous years, the start and finish was at the Haynes Motor Museum in Sparkford.

Numbers were certainly down compared to pre-Covid levels, something we’re finding for all our events; it also took place on the same day as Founder’s Day at Stanford Hall which wouldn’t have helped.  But those that did attend had a choice of two routes and all seemed to enjoy themselves — I did.  Plus, we stayed dry!

Congratulations to Bridget, who only joined us a few months ago, on winning her first VMCC trophy.

Many thanks to Ian Myers for the use of his photos.  Our next run is on Saturday 30th; the White Horse Run starts at the Udder Farm Shop at 10:30am,  See you there!



Photos from the Chairman’s Challenge Run 2022

The following report from Paul Miles following his very successful Chairman’s Challenge Run yesterday:

On Sunday, the chairman welcomed 23 riders, plus several pillions, for his annual Chairman’s Challenge run. With the aim of encouraging a gentler pace of run, the 40 mile route was almost exclusively over unclassified and B roads, heading North into the Deverills and finishing at King Alfred’s tower coffee stall, where the riders were met by the chairman and awarded a choc ice for their efforts. Several ice creams were left unclaimed however, with a small group* apparently getting lost and ending up taking refreshment far from the intended route. It was nice to see some of our newer members participating and everybody seemed to have fun.

*I’ll own up to being in this group and Paul M is being polite above.  His comments on our Facebook page are much more expressive 🙂  :

Needless to say, a small group of lightweights (the usual suspects, frankly) were unable to follow even the simplest of instructions, hamstrung as they were without being able to resort to modern technology. They slunk away in their coterie of sadness and inadequacy, enduring the bitter fare of failure at the Loserville cafe.

Many thanks to Paul Miles for organising this and supplying the ice creams.

The Start at Thorngrove Garden Centre in Gillingham

The End at King Alfreds Tower
The Lightweights at the Loserville Café

In true GOT fashion, as part of atonement for my sins, I’ve attempted to plot the route all should have taken in photo #3 below:


Photos from the Wessex V&V Section’s On The Beaded Edge Run 2022

The Wessex V&V Section held their On The Beaded Edge Run today.  As we’re all one big happy family in the South West, riders came from many other Sections including Stonehenge, Somerset, West Wilts, South Dorset and, of course, our own Dorset Section.

Great turnout at the start (Shillingstone Railway Trust) for a pre-1931 event and not a drop of rain all day…lots of drops of oil though, mainly under Ken Druce’s Ariel.  Peter Miller put a great circular 40 mile route together with an optional coffee stop at The Crown Inn in the ancient parish of Alvediston.  Once back at Shillingstone, plenty of time for a natter over a sandwich and drink at the Station Café before we all went our separate ways.

Many thanks Wessex V&V and especially to Peter Miller.  Don’t forget our Chairman’s Challenge run next Sunday; it’s not your average run!

At The Start

At The Crown Inn and on route
Back at Shillingstone Railway Trust


Photos from the Somerset Levels Run 2022

The weather was kind to us yesterday.  The BBC Weather was all doom-and-gloom, while the Met Office weather was a little more positive.  But in the end, nothing more than a few drops on our visor.  But it could have been warmer…brrrr.  🙁

We had 14 riders signing on at the Virginia Ash, where tea/coffee and a pastry was served.   After a bit of a natter with Maurice & Marie and Cliff, we all headed off on our 69 mile run to the Avalon Marshes and back.  It was nice to bump into Dave Boon at the centre; he lives close by and called into to see us.

A big welcome to Bridget and Howard.  Both new VMCC members and now riding in our runs.  Hope you both enjoyed the run!

Photos from the Mid-Week Run June 2022

We had our first 2022 Mid-Week Run today, but despite wonderful weather, I was the only “regular” Dorset Section member on it.  Thankfully, another 7 riders from the South Dorset Section also came along.  Run Organisers put a lot of effort into putting these runs together, but if people don’t want them….  Let’s see what happens at this Sunday’s Somerset Levels Run.

Many thanks to Rod and Carol Hann for a very enjoyable 32 mile route with a magnificent tea & cake stop at Minterne House and Gardens.


Photo from the Blue Haze Run 2022

Oh dear.  Despite good weather , only four of us turned up for this run and only two of us were on two strokes:  Andy Grew on his Yamaha 400 trail bike and Andrew Rae on his mighty Simson (which never ceases to impress!).  I came along on my ’31 Ariel Sloper which sometimes smokes enough to fool people into thinking it’s a two stroke.  The fourth person was a potential new member to the VMCC and our Section who came along on her Triumph Bonneville.  Welcome Bridget, nice chatting with you and we hope to see you at some of our future runs.

After stopping at the Udder Farm Shop for coffee etc, we decided not to continue the rest of the run and instead sat in the sun, enjoyed some lunch and had a very pleasant chin wag.  Despite the very poor attendance, I think the four of us enjoyed it. Many thanks Andy.

Report on the GIANTS Run 2022

Remembering Pete Dungey who waved us off at GIANTS 2021

Today is Wednesday, 1st June and our GIANTS 2022 Run held last weekend is already becoming a distant memory, so I had better hand over to Paul Miles for the report but, before doing so, I’d like to personally thank the following:

  • Obviously Paul Miles, the Dorset Section’s current Chairman and our very own “Ideas” man He made the event happen .
  • Ray & Linda Dickinson, Simon Barker and Kevin Chapman helping with the parking and ably assisted by Maurice & Marie McGladdery and Colin Jacobs.
  • Philippa Wirdnam and Penny Druce on the check-in desk.
  • Margot and her team at Thyme after Time Café
  • And, of course, all those riders and pillions who took part…..GIANTS, everyone of you!

Dorset’s very own GIANTS run was held over the weekend, the 100 available spaces having sold out months ago. Held for the second year at Spirehill farm, we hosted some 25 people on Saturday evening for an informal 28-mile ride, followed by supper at Thyme after time. The (mostly) happy campers then settled for the night, in preparation for the main event.

Some 97 riders, many with pillions, made the start on Sunday morning, the sight of nearly a hundred girder fork motorcycles made quite the spectacle! Waved off by section President Carol Hann, the entrants enjoyed a choice of two routes, each expertly crafted by Paul Wirdnam. The weather was perfect and even the inevitable breakdowns failed to mar what was a great ride, encompassing several different Lawrence of Arabia POI, this year’s nominal GIANT. Returning to Spirehill, Margot at T after T opened once again for us, proving a super lunch. Each rider received a commemorative local beer, complete with special label, as a take home present.

I’ve since almost lost count of the number of kind comments about the event, including high praise for the routes and maps (a 45-year member from Hereford told me they set a gold standard for clarity). The catering seemed to be well-received and the venue itself is proving ideally suited to the GIANTS run. It would have been impossible to stage the run without huge input from secretary Paul W and proceedings were further smoothed by the presence of Ray & Linda, who spent the weekend greeting and helping, braving the elements in their motorhome! I would also like to thank the members who volunteered to help on the day with trailer parking and general organisation of the riders, it really was like herding cats at certain times. They include Maurice & Marie, Colin Jacobs, Simon Barker and Kevin Chapman.

Please take a moment to view the photographs, it really was a great weekend. If you already have a girder bike, or are thinking about getting one, and didn’t ride this year, then please try to enter for 2023. And, if you have more than one girder bike, why not consider lending one to another section member so they can enjoy one of the section events Dorset should rightly be so proud of staging.

Note : the photos come from Paul Wirdnam, Paul Miles, Simon Webb and Margot @ T after T— many thanks to all.

Saturday Afternoon
Spire Hill and Thyme after Time Café

Drone video of the riders and their bikes arriving at Spire Hill:

Video of most of the bikes leaving Spire Hill at the start of the run.  Kindly provided by Martin and Michael Brown.  Look out for the Scott at 1:18… 🙂 (if only videos had smell as well as noise!)

East Creech Tea and Cake House