On 26th April, 2009, about 85 Triumph cars across the whole spectrum, gathered at Avon Heath Country Park at St Leonards between Ringwood and Ferndown. From just after 8.00 am Triumphs of every description found their way to the car park, and all eagerly waited for the off. The day started with clear blue sky and sunshine, which augured well for the rest of the day.

Among those gathered, was the Inca Yellow TR7, lately owned by Bill Byford, who has recently sold it on to Roy Hankins from Southampton, who is absolutely delighted with it. It has to be said that the car stands out like a ray of sunshine amongst all the others. Bill can be assured that it has gone to a good home, and hopefully we will be seeing it many times over the years.

Soon after 10.00 am, the convoy got under way. On leaving the park, we all turned left on to the dual carriageway; in the interests of safety, and as a police request. We then had to negotiate a roundabout, and return back towards our start point! With the aid of a tulip map and clear instructions we zig-zagged through the New Forest, slowing down to look at ponies and their foals – a a a a a h!

There was a great diversity of scenery, through densely wooded areas with masses of bluebells, and over moorland, trying to avoid most of the busiest roads as we went. Although the day was designated Classic Car Day we didn’t seem to meet as many other clubs as last year, but there were some out there.

We passed through places whose names epitomise the New Forest: Burley and Brockenhurst, Beaulieu (passing the National Motor Museum where there was a Boat Jumble), Lyndhurst, Cadnam, and Fordingbridge, as well as some lesser known ones such as Sway (reminds me of dancing!) Brook (water), Bramshaw, and Nomansland. My favourite place name was Lover (those who know pronounce it Lowver, but I prefer the more obvious) which sounded better than Hatchet Green!

There was a halt part way through at Hale Village Hall. Perhaps that place name should have warned us – the sky started to darken, but we all remained positive with the hoods down. We were treated to tea or coffee and a biscuit, and it was a great chance to chat to other drivers in the car park.

Then it was onward via Woodgreen and Whitsbury, Rockbourne and Sandleheath, Alderholt, where I thought my navigator had said Aldershot and I wondered where I had gone wrong! Cripplestyle and Daggons, Verwood and here’s another lovely name: Tidpit Martin.

By the time we were about two miles from our destination at The Compasses Inn at Damerham, the rain started to fall; slowly at first, but by the time we were queuing to get into the car park the tap was turned full on. The first task on parking was putting our hoods up. Those that had booked lunch dived into the pub, and those that hadn’t either stayed in their cars or sheltered under the pavilion.

The rain stopped after about an hour and all was bright and sunny again.

John Davies, a member of the Hampshire TRDC won the best TR7/8 prize for the second year running, prizes were given by the daughter of one of the organisers. This is well deserved as the car is very special, especially the back badge!

Our thanks must go to Trevor Carlyle and the organisers for another great day out, and especially to our own Rex Holford and Keith Cox who also acted as marshalls, making sure they were one step ahead of the convoy, ensuring that we all went the correct way.

Val McMillan

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