Pendine to Pendine

On a fresh, early Summer in June we set off on the inaugural Pendine to Pendine Roadtrip, a journey that was to take us from the wild, expansive Pendine Sands, through the Brecon Beacons and the Cotswolds to our final destination, Pendine Historics, the fantastic historic car company in Bicester Heritage, Oxford.

Pendine Sands has a rich motoring history as, in the early 1900s, the sands were used as a venue for car and motor cycle races. Malcolm Campbell was the first to set a land speed record (of 146.16 mph in his Sunbeam 350HP named ‘Blue Bird’) on Pendine Sands. Between 1924 and 1927 there were four more record-breaking runs, two from Welshman J.G. Parry-Thomas whose car was called ‘Babs’, something of a coincidence given this is the name of my business partner and founding partner of Charabanc.

The assembled group were well met and well wheeled with a fine array of historic cars which were duly admired over fish and chips on the beach. The perfect start. Our very fine Jaguar XK140, very kindly on loan to us by Pendine Historics, driven with real flair and aplomb by Babs, got off to a roaring start.

Choosing not to attempt to break any land speed records, we set off along the sands, thoughts of a future car fragrance beckoning as we filled our lungs with salty sea air. There’s not a lot to beat driving on a beach. Our first leg of the journey took us along wonderful, winding, welsh costal roads before heading up into the countryside to reach the majestic Black Mountain Pass. This has to be one of the most spectacular drives in the UK. Its far-reaching gorse-covered mountains, craggy summits and wind-torn trees give it a quite other-worldly but adventurous atmosphere. Seeing the ascent and descent of our convoy of historic cars threw us into another era with no signs of modern life to break the conceit.

That night, after a somewhat hair-raising last half hour without being able to get out of third gear, we spent a fabulous night in the Felin Newydd House. The room was filled with an enthusiastic cacophony of experiences shared, tales of heart-stopping scenery and of course, the delights and dramas of driving historic cars.

The next morning, blessed again with unseasonably glorious sunshine and fuelled by a particularly delicious breakfast, we set off on the next leg which began with a very familiar bit of road to me that drove across country through some particularly pretty welsh villages nestled in the Black Mountain. I love the photograph of the cars lined up ready to cross Crickhowell bridge.

The next highlight was the sunshine-studded canopied roads through the Forest of Dean. Dazzling, deep emerald colours bounced off the cars pleasing the photographers amongst us no end. The pines and firs along the way served as the perfect compliment to the fragrance we had chosen for the trip, ‘Across Pennine Fells’ . it would have been churlish not to have gone with our British option after all.  Our lunch pit stop was at the Severn and Wye Smokery which is situated between two of the countries most celebrated salmon rivers. Delicious.

The final leg of our journey saw the roads open up and the landscape widen and soften into the mellow comfort of the Cotswolds and from Pendine Sands, the original home of land speed racing to the unique and wonderful Pendine Historic Cars at Bicester Village. Thank you Kat @motherofcars for arranging something very special.

Carrie Hindmarsh (Founding Partner, Charabanc)