Author Topic: Famous British Hills  (Read 325 times)

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Offline rick howell

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Famous British Hills
« on: March 03, 2019, 10:21:32 am »
It's funny where things lead you.....after the route holder featured elsewhere (thanks again Jase for the pics) I've bought an AA Road Book for 1928.

In the back pasted in is a half dozen leaves taken from the "Morris Owners Diary 1928" featuring "Localities, maximum gradients and lengths of famous British hills" covering the whole of England, Wales and Scotland (not NI I note) by county. Typically it features Barbrook Mill Hill (aka Beggars Roost), Blue Hills Mine ("included in the London - Land's End trial as an observed hill"), Litton Slack, Jenkins Chapel and so on. No doubt most will have been surfaced with tarmac since 1928.

But one caught my eye;

"Hepolite Scar. 11/2 miles outside Bradford. An S shaped course with a straight track (called the "Rodeo Track") through the bend to the summit. Contains sections of 1 in 3.5 (grass), 1 in 4, 1 in 3.5, 1 in 2.5 (hard clay) and 1 in 3.5 (loose flat stones). Easier grades of 1 in 8 and 1 in 10 connect sections. The "Rodeo" track is straight mostly 1 in 4 with a final 20 yds of 1 in 1.5 clear of loose stones throughout"

I've had a look on my recent OS maps, and on the NLS resource of 1:25000, 1:10560 and 1:2500 maps and can't trace anything within a couple of miles of Bradford over the 20th century. Anyone have any ideas?

The AA book also has the name Frank Bird 45 The Parade, Cardiff, 18 June 1928 in the inside cover and he also wrote in the same handwriting some notes regarding the pages stuck in about the hills. Oddly enough, loosely folded in between the book pages is a torn-out page from "The Autocar, March 25th, 1927" headed "Easter Holiday Competitions" and which features the MCC's Land's End Trials and theMCC's Easter Monday Brooklands Opening Meeting too. Here it mentions that the grandstand at the "fork" was destroyed by fire last year (1926) and has been rebuilt. The article goes on to say that the LE and Brooklands events "interest primarily south-country motorists", and that "those further north" are recommended to "follow the fortunes of the competitors in the Scarborough and District Reliability Trial which is being held on April 15th, 16th, and 18th (1927)".

Was Frank Bird an MCC member? And did he drive a Morris in one of the MCC events?




Offline David (tufty) White

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Re: Famous British Hills
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 01:14:58 pm »
Come across this.

https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-bradford-mc-freak-hill-climb-at-hepolite-scar-topical-budget-780-1-1926-online

Still finding out where it is/was.

Edit:  Found it.  It was held at Bolton Woods, Shipley.  I've gone very close to this site many times as I've worked in Shipley for extended periods.

I can't find any reference to Hepolite Scar but you can see where it could have been.  East of Fritzinghall Station.  It looks like it may have well been built on.

I have friends in the area so I'll see if there's any local knowledge.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 01:35:39 pm by David (tufty) White »

Offline rick howell

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Re: Famous British Hills
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 02:11:35 pm »
Another bit of history is contained in an article published in "the Motor Cycle" june 18th 1940. Arthur Bourne, the editor, picked a 350cc Matchless G3WO from random off the production line and rode it from South London to Exmoor and "did" a few hills.

He starts at Porlock, then rides down Countisbury, up Lynton hill (notes that it has been "improved"), and then round to the right to Lynton itself - today we carry straight on at this point to Barbrook. He notes that this hairpin to the right was once an observed MCC hill. Then through Lynton itself and up Station Lane - another pre-war hill  - which he comments isn't as "loose as encountered by competitors in the last Land's End Trial"; presumably Easter 1939.

He then continues on to Beggar's Roost (or "Riddaway Hill" on my 1949 OS map), tries a restart, and then returns down to Lynmouth and over to the top of Porlock Hill. He then takes the "short cut" from the AA box 137 (still there) across the moor to the Exford road (I've been tempted to do that shortcut going the other way on the long lane from Cloutsham on past LEs!) and hence on to two hills a mile or so NW of Exford - Yealscombe (or "Exford") and Edgcott.

From Exford he rides north over to Cloutsham - often ridden past on the LE in recent years - where he struggled with the hill. This isn't the hill we ride but the direct route from the river straight up the hill via two hairpins to arrive at the farm. Nowadays we ride up the valley and switchback a much less steep route up under the farm - it must have been a "stopper" in it's original form.

He then rides back towards Porlock village and "Doverhay" hill, finding it slippery but the Matchless and rider managed to complete the "hills" and then took off back to London.

364 miles and half a dozen rough "trials" hills; all on a brand new, not-run-in machine in one day in 1940. Not bad eh?

Offline rick howell

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Re: Famous British Hills
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 02:50:53 pm »
Come across this.

https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-bradford-mc-freak-hill-climb-at-hepolite-scar-topical-budget-780-1-1926-online

Still finding out where it is/was.

Edit:  Found it.  It was held at Bolton Woods, Shipley.  I've gone very close to this site many times as I've worked in Shipley for extended periods.

I can't find any reference to Hepolite Scar but you can see where it could have been.  East of Fritzinghall Station.  It looks like it may have well been built on.

I have friends in the area so I'll see if there's any local knowledge.

Wow! The magic of the internet. Yes I agree Bolton Wood quarries looks to be the right place.

Offline Mark Gregg

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Re: Famous British Hills
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2019, 11:36:50 am »
As a proper Bratfud lad, bradford motorcycle club  is still going strong http://www.bradfordtrials.com/index.php/about-us/history  and club of choice to world champions and the Lampkins. their closed to club trials today are renowned for their severity.

History though points right at the  information alluded to above, the old club rooms would be about a mile from frizinghall and the climb up from the railway ( seen in the film) is long although mostly urban much pre dating the 20's i would assume.

i shall enquire at Yorkshire classic trials this week as someone will definitely know its exact location although i doubt it or any of it exists today

however of greatest importance.. the reference to Litton Slack could we have a scan of the page please as we endeavour to secure evidence of the hills use  as a road in the past.  please you could save it from offcialdom...

Offline Mark Gregg

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Re: Famous British Hills
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2019, 12:26:14 pm »
well what you can do with the internet.. :) 

The hill is to the north east of  Frizinghall station and east of canal road, as explained by multi trials sidecar champion Robin Luscombe who contacted me fairly swiftly after i made a request to yorks classic members

its exact location can also be proven by the film by looking at the signal box in the background at 31 seconds. this exact box still in use today on a local preserved railway  https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2687480.

Offline rick howell

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Re: Famous British Hills
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2019, 08:26:45 pm »
however of greatest importance.. the reference to Litton Slack could we have a scan of the page please as we endeavour to secure evidence of the hills use  as a road in the past.  please you could save it from offcialdom...

Sure, I can scan the page. Can you let me have an email address through the messages feature and I'll email it to you.

Offline Mark Gregg

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Re: Famous British Hills
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2019, 08:44:04 am »
cheers.. much appreciated.

Offline Paul K

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Re: Famous British Hills
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2019, 10:26:52 am »
however of greatest importance.. the reference to Litton Slack could we have a scan of the page please as we endeavour to secure evidence of the hills use  as a road in the past.  please you could save it from offcialdom...
Would the South Yorks TRF have records of Litton Slack being used in the past? Their website is at https://www.facebook.com/SOUTHYORKSHIRETRF/

Offline Tim Kingham

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Re: Famous British Hills
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2019, 04:26:39 pm »
I seem to recall reading in a triple some 19 years ago that  a lot of the MCC historical records got 'lost' in an matrimonial bust up  I have got some pre war route cards and entrants somewhere I must dig them out and do something for Celia for the mag. I remember George Brough was riding one of his Bitsa's in one of the events