Sunday, 9 February 2014

Dare I Even Suggest Taking Up This New Challenge for Help For Heroes.

Some Noted British Test Hills from 1920 and 1924 as listed in Autocar Magazine.

Sundon Hill, near Luton, Bedfordshire photographed in the 1920's

Having turned Seventy this year, I had said to myself that last years 1000 Mile Rally would be my last Solo Road trip.

Then - A few weeks ago, on 30th December 2013 to be precise, Morgan Owning friend, Keith, who runs the Le Mans 62 Register, sent me an email with the following 5 pages attached. These pages came from Morgan Garage Owner Brian Millar, who had found them on the Internet 

Keith had decided to to use the names of Test hills, such as our nearby Kopp Hill Climb, as the Table Names for The OxMog Annual Dinner. Brian came up with the goods. Then came the Punch Line that set me off again!

He sent me the enclosed article that lists a load of hills and I thought it would be a great challenge to 'bag' all these rather like 'Munros'. Then I thought of you :-)!! "

The first two pages were published by Autocar in 1920 and the list on page 2 names the Test Hills in use at that time.

The Preamble comment say ' Gradients and Particulars of Famous Hills, which Test the Powers and Skill of Many Cars and Drivers.'

In 1924 Autocar then published a similar article adding, this time, a section on how Gradients are measured and a method of making a simple measuring device.

So as stage one of my 'Consideration' of Keiths Implied Challenge' I have spent the days between then and now researching the Locations of these Hills which, while they may seem obvious, has been very difficult. Some names are old, localised, misspelled, and are not marked on maps.

Wrynose Pass  in Cumbria - One of the Longest Hills.

However, thanks to the many Cycling Club websites and even such as a List of Scottish Hill Names, I have managed to locate them all within the areas indicated. In one or two cases, on arrival in a 'Nearest Town' it may require some further local research to pin point the exact location of the Road, Lane or Track.

Stoney Brow, Ancoats, Manchester - One of the Shortest Hills.

Having now plotted a summary of both lists there are 152 Hills with only one recorded twice using different names. 

Here is the Link to My Map, not yet fully available on the Web.

The 1920 Autocar Article

The 1924 Autocar Article

My next plan is to try and convert all of these locations this into a circular route from South Buckinghamshire where I live, to include a visit to Lands End and John o'Groats (LeJog). I will then measure the distances involved and estimate the cost in fuel and accommodation (based on my two previous trips) 

Some hills such as Hard Knott Pass and Wrynose Pass meet at the Top requiring Double Driving of the Route to cover Both as Hill Climbs.

Once I have completed those Maps I will share them here for anyone who fancies trying ot Bag their Local hills or Bag them all.

Only then will I know if for such a Single Trip :

a) It is not too daunting a Solo Challenge at my age.

b) The Trips Cost Vs. Potential Fundraising Sponsorship Earnings, makes it worth undertaking for our Chosen Charity, Help for Heroes.

My Around Britain's Coast Roads cost me £3000 to Raise £7000

My 1000 Mile Rally cost me £1000 to Raise £3000.  

The Morgan Centenary Roadster 100 Register.

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