“Yer we go again” said John Foale as he slowly climbed aboard his Leyland 262 to take on the challenge of another long-distance four day run raising money for Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT). Across Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor and Exmoor was the challenge and he had his usual band of cohorts to help him along the way. An entourage of eight vehicles left the Fishermans Rest in Aveton Gifford and headed north towards Dartmoor.
The first appointment was to meet up in Scorriton with DAAT pilot Richard Applegarth, himself a vintage tractor enthusiast and owner of a rare four-wheel drive Massey Ferguson 188. Richard joined in the convoy, which was also equipped with radio handsets to aid traffic management.
John Ashton was whizzing ahead in one of the Willys Jeeps and took photographs at various points of interest. At Hexworthy, Tich Scott joined them and was soon telling them stories over the radio about families and places of interest. An ice cream van was spotted near Tavistock and this was a convenient lunch stop to eat home made pasties and many ice creams. They crossed the River Tamar and into south east Cornwall, went behind Kit Hill and stopped for a tea break near Caradon Hill, where they enjoyed far reaching views back to Dartmoor. After negotiating the southern slopes of Bodmin Moor they finished the first day near Colliford Lake – tired and ready for a hearty meal.
Day two started overcast and drizzly, not the best weather for Ian Castle exposed to the elements on his Ford 3000 Super Dexta and towing a 22 ft caravan. They ran up the A30 to Launceston and cut across mid Devon through Holsworthy, Great Torrington to Barnstaple.
The small campsite was run by an elderly lady whose cousin, formerly of this parish, had rung to tell her to watch out for some vintage tractors. “I can do better than that – they’re staying on my site” said Pat Doughty’s cousin.
Day three started with the convoy being split up in Barnstaple due to a large amount of rush hour traffic. The convoy was soon back together and climbing Exmoor where the roads were lined with beech trees and hedges, lush green with new leaves, brilliant in the sunshine. The gorse on all the moors was vibrant yellow and there were some stunning views. Southwards through Dulverton and mid Devon. In a back lane near Bow, travel plans were challenged by the meeting with two coaches on the school run. They reversed the convoy into someone’s front garden, just to be advised that there were three more coaches to come. We arrived at Tich Scott’s farm on Whiddon Down to be generously fed and watered in a man-cave in the garden.
Dayfour was a shorter day back across Dartmoor to Ashburton on a route well known to them.
Again they enjoyed the stunningly beautiful vistas of Dartmoor on a sunny day, a whole three-acre field of bluebells seen across the valley near Moretonhampstead. A trouble-free return was negotiated back to Aveton Gifford. John thanks, once again, those who have sponsored, helped and assisted by buying draw tickets. He says “It been a wonderful trip again and hopefully we would have reached our target of raising £10,000 for Devon and Cornwall Air Ambulance Trusts” John’s JustGiving page is at: https://tinyurl.com/4x2cndb8
At the time of writing John and the team had raised £875.