2012 Autumn Leaves Scenic Tour.

The 2012 Autumn Leaves Scenic Tour was hosted by the Historic Rally Car Register and took place in November.

The route ran on small, narrow and interesting lanes around Monmouth and the Black Mountains in south Wales.

2012 Autumn Leaves Scenic Tour*



The rally start was at Drybridge house in Monmouth where a breakfast was laid on and there was a chance to mingle with the other drivers and cars.

A total of 66 cars attended the event. It was nice to see two other Saab contingents on the rally; One beige 1972 model and a rather nice 1968 rally replica.

Other interesting cars included some Sunbeam Rapiers, a Bond Equipe, a 2CV and a Reliant Scimitar.

Some of the cars at the start.









Rally Replica Saab V4 in Finnish colours

The car park at Drybridge House









The first leg of the rally took us out via Monmouth high street towards Hereford, past the Whitfield Estate and onto Rowlestone Court. A total distance of about 30 miles.

The roads were quite exciting, very narrow and awash with mud and leaves from the recent weather.

The rest stop was outside the Rowlestone Ice Parlour, and a voucher was exchanged for an ice cream of choice (honeycomb highly recommended).

Route Check Point









The second rally section took us high up into the Black Mountains. A navigation error near the start had us lost for a time and we missed a check point. We dropped back down the field, but rejoined the route at Longtown Castle.

From here, the route climbed steeply up to Red Darren viewpoint and then out along the top of the black mountains.

Longtown Castle









On the Black Mountains

The Gospel Pass









The weather had been cold the night before with snow on the higher ground. The low cloud made the scenery more dramatic as we negotiated the tight and twisting climb through the mountains.

The Gospel Pass *









Llanthony Priory

After 36 miles of mountain roads the second rest stop at Llanthony Priory was very welcome. The Priory was set deep in the spectacular Vale of Ewyas.

Refreshments of tea and cakes were provided courtesy of the Llanthony Priory Hotel.

The car was running well, but the brakes were smelling hot from some of the long descents so it was taken out of freewheel for remainder of the tour.









The third an final part of the route took us to the Royal Forest of Dean and to Speech house for a hearty two course meal. The roads were lined with trees displaying best Autumn colours although it was now getting dark as we approached the finish.

The meal was a fine Beef roast served in a luxuriously heated Marquee.

Descending the Mountains *









It was a great days motoring. Total distance travelled was about 108 miles which was a significant challenge in the weather and given the terrain of the route.

The car performed without fault and got thoroughly dirty from the wet and mud covered roads.

We only made one navigational error and missed one of the checkpoints as a consequence, but fortunately we still qualified for a finisher's award and the meal at the end.

Rally Finish at Speech House











Another ford en route *





* Photo by KPB Photography