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Dublin: 0°C Saturday 17 April 2021

My Best Road Trip: my Dad and me and our 1973 French Blue Triumph TR6

An annual gathering of TR enthusiasts hit the wonderful driving roads of the Welsh and English countryside.

Source: Google Maps

  • Each week, TheJournal.ie/DoneDeal motoring mag will feature a reader’s best road trip. If you’d love to see your top trip featured, email us on bestroadtrip@thejournal.ie

MY BEST ROAD trip was driving a 1973 French Blue Triumph TR6 through England and Wales.

Who: Ian Fitzpatrick, DriversEdition.com, Dublin, Ireland

Route: Dublin to Ashbourne, England

Distance: 1,609km

Time: 10 days

When: August 2013

Vehicle: 1973 Triumph TR6

Source: Ian FitzPatrick

My trip started at Dublin Port and consisted of my Dad and me in our 1973 French Blue Triumph TR6 and ten other Triumphs including TR7 V8s, TR6s and a Stag. We took the slow ferry from Dublin to Holyhead and truly begin our trip as we hit UK shores. We blasted up the motorway for an hour or two until we hit some fascinating country roads around Snowdonia.

Source: Ian FitzPatrick

The British countryside is truly amazing, it’s a gift having it only a couple of hours ferry ride away. Our little British sports car was back home again. We took in some beautiful twisting and windy stretches of B roads and gorgeous valleys. Eventually after about five hours of fun, open top driving, we reached our campsite in Malvern.

Source: Ian FitzPatrick

Each year, the TR Register (an international Triumph club specialising in the TR series) hold an international weekend. TR enthusiasts from Ireland, the UK, Belgium, Holland and even Australia come to Malvern to meet like-minded people. The weekend, which we take part in annually, is spent camping, eating, drinking and…eating.

That particular year, there were two shows on; the International Weekend in Malvern and another show by the Triumph Sports Six Club in Stafford. It was a long week with loads of driving on some superb roads.

Source: Ian FitzPatrick

Along the journey we stayed in some, what can only be described as, interesting places. One of them being a converted farm outhouse. It was known as Roaches Bunkhouse and was sweet and simple. Not only did the bunkhouse have character but so did the owner.

We were greeted by a youngish man walking out of a large barn with a Dodge Viper parked up on a ramp in the background. He had just been working on the car, trying to clear out a blown catalytic converter using his mouth. The result? A prominent black ring of soot around his mouth. Unknown to this, he showed us around the hostel.

Source: Ian FitzPatrick

Upper Hulme is a beautiful, small, quiet village. With only a couple of inhabitants and a nice small river flowing through it. Needless to say, we were the talk of the village, what with six noisy Triumphs roaring through the small streets.

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Remember I mentioned eating? I had the best breakfast I have ever eaten in a little café called Roaches Tea Rooms. What made it so great? Staffordshire Oatcakes, that’s what!

Source: Ian FitzPatrick

With our bellies full of food and a day of driving ahead of us, we set off through Goyt Valley, a route full of hills and swoops through the dales. We stopped off in Bakewell to sample some famous Bakewell tarts before heading back to Upper Hulme.

The next day, we went on another leg of the trip to a place called Ashbourne, to one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited. I’m a sucker for abandoned cars with stories/history and this is exactly what we came to see.

A member of our club had asked us to go check out a car for him. We negotiated our way up very narrow and maze-like country lanes to an old country house. We drove up the drive and around the back and parked up outside a huge barn. We pulled back the door and stumbled upon what I consider car heaven; roughly 100 ex-Californian classic cars consisting of MGs, Triumphs, a Mercedes 300SL and numerous classic motorbikes. The car we came to see? A red Triumph TR3.

Source: Ian FitzPatrick

After we drooled over all the potential dream cars, we headed for Stafford, our base for the next three nights. After a weekend of fun, more food and more camping, we headed for the Ferry home to Dublin. Until next year!

Joining us on a part of our trip was a man who had such bizarre taste in transport but was one of the nicest and upbeat people I have ever met, Brian Haile. I had been informed of Brian’s collection of cars well in advance of coming on the trip. One year he had driven from Glasgow to Stafford, a four-hour drive, on a long bar chopper. Hardly the most comfortable form of transport. This year he had driven it in his DAX kitcar.

Unfortunately, 2013 was Brian’s last year to join us on the trip because of a tragic accident resulting in Brian’s death while fixing one of his cars outside his home in Glasgow. From then on, this annual trip is held in memory of him.

Here’s to you, Brian.

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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