2018

East Sussex Day Drive

14 July 2018

We only managed to gather five cars for our day drive in East Sussex; however, we were blessed with perfect top down weather and enjoyed an excellent day.  We met at Pyecombe, just north of Brighton, and, having breakfasted, drove via Ditchling and Lewes the pretty way down to the coast at Newhaven.  From here the scenery was spectacular as we drove across Cuckmere Haven and up to Beachy Head for a quick look over the 600 feet high cliffs.  It is no wonder that all of this area has now been designated The South Downs National Park.

The last leg of our journey took us down to Eastbourne Seafront, along the coast and on to Pevensey Bay, where, hey presto, member Paul Martin is the host at The Castle Inn.  Paul and Daina made us more than welcome for our lunch. (They kindly bought us all a drink!!)

Members who joined the day were Michael & Linda Cardell (Bromley) David & Helen Brenchley (Ashford Kent) David & Kim Davies (Hemel Hempstead), Kevin Galway (Seaford) and Martin & Jenny Garrad (Burgess Hill).

Martin Garrad, Membership Secretary

July 2018


UK Barchetta Owners Club Summer Meeting

2018, Peak District

A fantastic event!

A record turnout of barchettas, new and existing members, fantastic drives through the beautiful Peak District, the best weather and good times with friends, new and old.  What more could we have wished for? 

UK Owners Club Members, Chris and Dorothy Pearce, organised this superb event.  Their write-up makes great reading:

So after all the planning, agonising and finger crossing, for once the weather cooperated and it turned out to be the best weekend of the year so far. Endless blue skies, perfect for top down motoring and the Derbyshire countryside at its most picturesque. A total of 21 cars attended, a wonderful turnout, with members driving from all corners of the country. The Sheffield Park Hilton Hotel had really pushed out the (little) boat for us and we arrived to be shown to our private car parking. It was so nice to see all the Barchettas together and shining in the late afternoon sun. Check in formalities completed ‘Scuderia Barchetta’ all arrived for pre dinner drinks on the hotel terrace with friends old and new, and so the meeting began.

Day 1 – Friday 29th June

There was a fairly early ‘reveille’ since we were expected at Chatsworth House for a ‘before hours’ private tour.  The exterior of the house, following the recent major refurbishment, looked stunning with the honey coloured stone facades and the sun glinting on the painstakingly installed gold leaf. Again, we had a private parking area and the cars formed up to the delight and interest of members of the public. We met up with our tour guides and spent two hours exploring the house and garden. There were some fascinating exhibits and artworks, both ancient and modern, in the collection amassed by the Dukes of Devonshire. The garden, with its input from various designers including Thomas Paxton and ‘Capability’ Brown, is also undergoing a sensitive programme of restructuring and upgrading. The rock garden, with immense rocks and stones balanced and supported at seemingly impossible angles was greatly admired. Given the current water shortages we were also fortunate to see the ‘Emperor’  fountain – once the tallest gravity fed water feature in Europe.

A welcome lunch was taken by all in the Carriage restaurant, the former stables, we then left Chatsworth with a last ‘over the shoulder’ admiring glance. The afternoon was spent exploring some of the prettier villages.  Many had ‘Well Dressing’ displays crafted by volunteers and local schoolchildren. We then arrived in the market town of Bakewell, home of the famous pudding, where there was an opportunity for a wander, before returning to the hotel.

Day 2 – Saturday 30th June

This morning, our first ‘port of call’ was the Derwent Dams, known for their association with RAF 617 Squadron, the famous ‘Dam Busters’. The surrounding river valleys and dam structures were used for training the aircrews in the precise manoeuvres required to deliver the innovative ‘bouncing bomb’ designed by Sir Barnes Wallis. Although the subsequent mission to destroy the dams in the industrial heartland of the Ruhr valley was considered a success, Wallis was said to have been devastated by the loss of aircrew who failed to return. Today, the peaceful and beautiful surroundings provide the ideal backdrop for quiet, private thought.

On the way to Ladybower reservoir we passed by a famous local viewpoint near Hathersage known as  ‘The Surprise’, supposedly named by Queen Victoria after she ordered her coachman to stop so that she could take in the exceptional scenery. Unfortunately, a motorist had been so surprised they had gone straight on at the bend and knocked the wall down. We then had the opportunity for some more ‘enthusiastic’ driving as the ‘Scuderia’ ascended the Snake Pass. To see the Barchettas and their drivers being (safely) extended was a joy. At the regroup point we had the almost surreal experience of being ‘invaded’ by a coach load of excitable Chinese tourists who took great pleasure in posing for endless photographs with our cars.  We then carried on to an exceptional driving road which descends in to the valley of Edale, with truly spectacular views.

Lunch in the garden at the aptly named ‘Travellers Rest’ and back to the hotel. The AGM then took place, with some lively discussion, followed by a short presentation by Lloyd Powell – a Sheffield University lecturer – who gave us his often very amusing take on the legend of Robin Hood (a local lad). There were some funny moments during the speeches and presentations at the final dinner. ‘Best Car’ was awarded to John and Anne Wright with the ‘Could do Better’ accolade (together with a car cleaning kit) going to Helen Robbins and Tony Barnes. Thanks and gifts were given to this year’s organisers, Chris and Dorothy Pearce.

Day 3 – Sunday 1st July

Another glorious day! We left for a short scenic drive which climbed the hill through the village of Great Hucklow to follow an old drovers road the course of which follows the escarpment with truly exceptional views on both sides. The brightly coloured ‘snake’ of Barchettas gleaming in the sunshine looked magnificent.  We descended in to the village of Eyam which gains its macabre fame from a selfless act by the villagers in the 17th century after the arrival of the Plague from London, supposedly in a box of cloth delivered to the local tailor, George Vicars. Under the guidance of their Pastor, Reverend William Mompesson, the village voluntarily isolated itself to avoid the spread of the dreaded disease. In the sleepy sunshine it was difficult to comprehend what had taken place in this peaceful spot. We then carried on through Stoney Middleton, which, with its rock formations, is reminiscent of a ‘mini’ version of the Cheddar Gorge visited in last year’s Devon Meet. Then a scenic and exhilarating drive, time to extend our lovely cars (and ourselves) for a last time before returning to the hotel for lunch and farewells.The exceptional weather, the friendly and fun Barchetta family and the backdrop of the Peak District scenery had all contributed to a hugely enjoyable weekend.

Thanks everyone –you’re all stars!

Chris and Dorothy Pearce

July 2018

Scuderia Barchetta

Memories of the Summer Meeting – member photos

(send yours for inclusion!)