2016 - 2020

AJS Rally 2019 -

Expedition to the North

We are all just back from the 2019 AJS rally, a fantastic event organised by Pete & Gwen.

Gathering at Burnhopeside Hall in Lanchester the evening before, the 13 members in 5 AJS cars were all keen to set off on Day 1 of this year's rally. Unfortunately the Barton car failed to start even after a couple of hours, so Barbara, Caroline & Martin had no choice but to follow behind in their 'modern', disappointing, although it proved useful later in the week.

After a coffee stop at the Duke of Wellington, most members went on to visit the National Trust property at Craigside, the family home of Lord Armstrong, Victorian inventor and industrialist. before going on to our hotel for the evening, the Coquetvale Hotel at Rothbury.

Day 2 saw the intrepid group leave the Coquetvale Hotel heading for Alnwick where some visited Alnwick Castle & gardens, an iconic castle dating back to the Norman period, since 1309 the castle has been intertwined with the Percy Family as well as being a military outpost, a teaching college, a refuge for evacuees and a film set, most notably for the Harry Potter movies. Others went to Barter Books at the old station, probably the worlds biggest 2nd hand book store. 

After lunch we moved on to Chillingham Castle one of the most haunted castle in England, and a fascinating collection of the owners memorabilia.

Before moving on to our hotel for the next two nights, the Longstone Hotel at Seahouses. 

The following day (Day 3) we had a fantastic boat trip around the Faroe Islands where we saw a variety of birds including puffins as well as seals  

In the afternoon we moved onto Holy Island of Lindisfarne. No photographs at present, but you can follow the link below to see the AJS's across the causeway


Tuesday (Day 4) had supposed to see us all move on to Kelso, but (despite what the photos reflect) it had been raining heavily throughout our trip and it was predicted to be particularly bad on the Wednesday when we would have had a long drive back to Lanchester and so the decision was made to return to Burnhopeside Hall a day early. The drive back took us through part of Northumberland National Park and part of the drive followed the route of Hadrians Wall. 

Arriving back at Burnhopeside Hall, Caroline & Martin were pleased to find the Barton car 'safe and sound' and with a little help were able to get her started. 

The next day (Day 5) we made an unplanned visit to the excellent Shildon Railway Museum "Locomotion"  

And in the evening we had a fabulous "indoor barbecue" at Pete and Gwen's 

The final day of the rally was spent at the Beamish Open Air Museum.

Thank you to Pete & Gwen for all your hard work in organising a brilliant rally, shame the weather got the better of us on occasions. I would say that's what happens when "you go up north" but on this occasion the bad weather was countrywide.


AJS Rally 2018 - Great Chesterford

This years rally organised by John & Minty and was held over the weekend of 9 & 10 June 2018 based around The Crown in Great Chesterford, Cambridgeshire.

An excited band of AJS enthusiasts arrived at The Crown on Friday night, 19 members in 7 AJS cars. Before the engines had cooled, work started on Richard's car and up early the next morning the timing problem was resolved before breakfast and all were ready for the weekend ahead. 

On Saturday morning we meandered along quiet country lanes passing through some of the prettiest towns and villages - Saffron Walden, Thaxted, Finchingfield and Ridgeway, stopping off for morning coffee to view a Marcos car and a vast collection of cactus. Lunch was in the interesting and once very wealthy medieval town of Clare where we stopped at "Platform One Cafe" in Clare Castle County Park. Here we were made very welcome and were all well fed and watered. The restaurant is situated in the waiting room of the old railway station which is curiously situated in the keep of Clare Castle. As usual the line up of cars generated a lot of interest. (clarecastlecountrypark.co.uk/)

The afternoon saw another coffee stop at a specialist model makers where some members were fascinated by the 3D printing process used, while others were more taken with the owners fascinating variety of Guinea Pigs. The annual AGM and dinner was held Saturday evening at the Plough in Great Chesterford.

Sunday saw the bulk of the group heading off to the Imperial War Museum (www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford) while a small group went "off piste" and visited Audley End (www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/audley-end-house-and-gardens/)

Later in the afternoon we all got together again at John and Minty's where we all enjoyed a fantastic barbecue prepared by Minty and Katie.  

We were blessed with fantastic weather and an excellent weekend was had by all, much thanks to John and Minty for their hard work in organising everything. Regrettably none of the Stevens family were able to be with us this year, they were missed and we hope to see them again at next years rally "up north".

Click here to see more pictures of the 2018 AJS Rally

Rotary Club Run - May 2018

On the morning Monday 21st May Peter and Gwen Bramwell set off in the AJS 9 on a sponsored drive to visit as many Rotary Club checkpoints as they could, hopefully ending up in Halifax on the afternoon of Thursday 24th.

The object of the tour was to raise awareness of the challenge to rid the world of Polio, as well as to collect funds to help carry out the task.

There were 25 checkpoints in all, one for each Rotary district in England and Wales, from Cornwall in the South west to the most northerly, St Andrews in Scotland.

The AJS stood no chance of covering the whole of the country in the time allowed, so we decided to attempt as many of the northern checkpoints as we thought the car could manage.

Our local district checkpoint was at Beamish Open Air Museum, so we set off to go there first so we would definitely manage one. Climbing Maiden Law bank out of the Village, we had to change down to bottom gear to make it to the top. This did not bode well for all the other bigger hills we would encounter! We made it to Beamish nevertheless, and set off again in the direction of Edinburgh with fingers crossed.

Arrived at the Edinburgh checkpoint about teatime, so had something to eat under the famous Forth Bridge. We had planned to spend the night there, but it was a pleasant evening so we crossed the new road bridge and drove round the Fife coastal route and made it to St Andrews and found a hotel.

After breakfast we visited the checkpoint at the famous old golf course and headed for the next one at The Riverside Museum of Transport in Glasgow.

This part of the run was not so hilly, so we kept up reasonably well with the traffic on the country roads, past the Quaker Oats porridge factory and stopped near Falkirk to be impressed with the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel.

We reached the museum by late afternoon, and after a quick look round (most of the cars were on shelves up on the wall so you couldn't get a good look at them) we ventured into the rush-hour traffic in the middle of the city, and were so relieved when we eventually managed to cross the river and find our way out heading south, back on the country roads.

The next checkpoint was at Drumlanrig Castle. After spending the night in Thornhill we went there in the morning and were thoroughly photographed and interviewed by a reporter from the Glasgow Herald.

The drive south towards Preston took us through Dumfries, Gretna Green, Carlisle, Penrith, Kendal and Lancaster. We used the old A6 and avoided motorways and arrived at the checkpoint at Barton Grange Garden Centre after it had closed, so took photos to prove we had been there and set off to find somewhere to sleep.

The muster point at the end of the run was at Halifax and we joined 30 other teams in the garden of Halifax Minster. We were fed tea and sandwiches and congratulated, and admired the other vehicles, including a mock-up of an old-fashioned dustbin wagon. A few teams had managed to visit all the checkpoints, covering almost 2,000 miles. Being the oldest vehicle on the event by many years, we had covered 630 miles by the time we got home to Lanchester, and were very satisfied and relieved!

When Rotary clubs began the campaign began in 1979, all over the world there were 1,000 new cases of Polio EVERY DAY. Because of immunisation, one country after another has gradually been declared free from Polio, down to the last three, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

There have been no new cases in Nigeria since 2016. Afghanistan had 14 cases in 2017 and 7 cases in 2018. Pakistan had 8 cases in 2017 and 1 case this year. There had been no new cases for ten weeks, but a case has just been reported in Afghanistan. The immunisation programme must continue.

A £10 donation means that 60 children can be immunised against Polio, thanks to 2 for 1 match funding by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

To show that they have been immunised, each child has a little finger marked with purple dye - hence the "Purple 4 Polio".

AJS Rally 2017 - Swaffham, North Norfolk

2017 and once again it fell upon Pat & Bernard to organize our annual rally, this year based around Swaffham, North Norfolk, with the club staying at the George Hotel.

Saturday morning, started with a 25-mile run through the Norfolk countryside during which Pat & Bernard set out to prove that Norfolk isn't that flat!!. Our coffee stop this morning was at the Norfolk Lavender Centre in Heacham which as well as providing refreshments gave some of us the opportunity for some retail therapy.

Moving on a further 26 miles passing through Sedgeford, Ringstead, Burnham Market (known locally as Chelsea on Sea), past Holkham Hall (built in 18th century for the 1st Earl of Leicester), through Stiffkey and Morston ending up at Blakeney Quay where we parked up and given that it was a glorious day most of us enjoyed a crab sandwich from the stall on the foreshore. 

The afternoon included optional stops at Binham Priory and/or Castle Acre Priory although a number of us we happy just to wend our way back to the hotel and enjoy a pint or two in the sunshine before the AGM.

Sunday was another lovely day, and our run this morning took us through Little and Great Dunham, Beeston, Gressenhall, North Elmham, Guist, Fulmodeston, Barney to the Thursford Collection where we stopped for coffee. Continuing our journey through Gunthorpe, Thornage & Holt, Glandford & Wiveton, Cley next Sea & Salthouse finishing at The Pheasant Hotel, Kelling where we lunched. Whilst some of us went on visit the Muckleburgh Collection in the afternoon, I and some of the other ladies enjoyed a pleasant afternoon in the Pheasant's garden, before returning to Swaffham.

Once again, a really enjoyable weekend having fun in the old cars, no breakdowns this year if I recall correctly, and catching up with not so old friends


For more photos of the Swaffham rally click here

"Bay of Birdwood" 2016

Club Members Rob and Brianna Smyth took part in Bi-annual Vintage/Veteran rally "Bay of Birdwood" (one of the biggest such rallies in the world). Rob & Brianna dressed up for the "Concourse of Elegance" and drove their recently restored AJS. Peter Wilkch also entered with his AJS recently purchased from Merv Kroll. Both cars and occupants looked fabulous. 

Sywell Classic Piston & Props 2016

Once again the club attended the Footman James Sywell Classic: Pistons and Props on Saturday & Sunday 24 & 25 September 2016 at Sywell Aerodrome , Northampton, NN6 0BN.

The event combined historic racers, hot rods and motorbikes with classic planes and vintage music to create a fantastic two-day event, celebrating classic motoring on the ground and in the air.

Peter, Suzi, Barbara, Martin & Caroline attended the weekend and it was great to see Pat & Bernard on Sunday.

The weekend included a great display of vintage and classic cars with many going down the drag strip. In the skies there were a number of breath taking aerial displays & acrobatics from a variety of display teams.

The vintage shopping village was brilliant as ever and Caroline even managed to buy herself a new dress!!

This was the third year that the club has had a stand at the event with cars on display and a marquee with lots of information about AJS, their cars and its history. It was a fabulous weekend.

Photos from Piston & Props 2016

Click here to see more photographs of the event. 

AJS Car Club Rally 2016 - Skibbereen

In June 2016 the AJS Car Club's Annual Rally was to be based in Skibbereen on the far west coast of Ireland. 

SIx AJS cars set out from various parts of England for Fishguard in Wales and the ferry for Ireland. One car made the journey on the back of a Mercedes truck which was to be the back up in case of trouble. The remainder were trailered to Fishguard but planned to drive the entire way to Skibbereen and back - an unusually long distance for these old cars. It seemed a lot to ask of them.

It was a grand sight to see the AJS fleet driving on to the ferry. The crossing was good, the evening fine and everyone set of to travel the 150Km to Youghal and the Sir Walter Raliegh Hotel for the night.  

About 20km from their destination, one of the cars broke down!! Was this the shape of things to come? But no! AJS's are made of sterner stuff. Off came the car in the truck and on went the damaged one and on they went.

After a good nights sleep everyone set off again stopping as planned at Innishannon Steam Rally where the cars were of great interest. Various drivers went off in the truck to find (successfully) the necessary spare parts and everyone moved on to Skibbereen and the West Cork Hotel

The next day the cars went on a short drive to Ballimore and the drivers left their cars and sailed to Cape Clear, a small unihabited island where following a walk they relaxed in a local pub. Meanwhile repairs were started on the casualty and completed in the evening with the help of the returning drivers.

The next day, all seven cars, including our hosts (with drivers suitably attired in vintage outfits set off for Bantry House, a stately home and later a journey along a steep winding , narrow rocky coast road with fantastic views.

The following day the route took the old cars along roads that were even more picturesque and difficult than the day before. The AJS's put up with everything they were faced with and coped magnificently. That evening they also had to cope with drivers who got lost in Blarney, the first rain we had seen in Ireland and having to travel in darkness with no lights!!

A day later the cars were parked at Blarney Castle where again they generated a lot of interest whilst the drivers explored the garden, visited the castle and in some cases climbed the tower and kissed the Blarney stone!

It had been a superb Rally and thanks were said to Mark & family and then all the AJS's took to the road for the long drive back to Rosslare and the ferry home. All cars arrived without mishap. They had been tested to their limits on a variety of roads and situations and they had come through with flying colours.

Three cheers for the AJS car!!


Photos from Ireland

Click here to see more of our photos from Ireland

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