The late spring is a period when the English countryside can be seen at its very best and where better to experience it than in a particularly beautiful corner of these islands, namely The County of Dorset. Fans of fossils, dinosaurs and Thomas Hardy will already have discovered the splendour of Dorset's coastline while perhaps missing the gems hidden away in the county's interior, accessible only via lane and byeway. Our Minors are particularly well adapted to traversing these roads and our hosts John and Jo Nagle have selected two tour routes where just some of these hidden gems will be revealed to us over the course of the weekend.
Our rally base is to be The Crown Inn, Marnhull, which is also the venue for our rally dinner on Saturday evening and starting point for both the Saturday and Sunday tours. The inn has a large car park where we will gather, along with our cars on both mornings before setting off on each of John's mystery tours. Unlike all but one of our earlier rallies, of necessity this one takes-in some hilly terrain which should ensure our cars receive plenty of lusty exercise, even if their occupants don't!
Our last rally in North Norfolk was fully subscribed and entries for 2016 will once again be restricted to 25 cars and crews for reasons of logistics, comfort and safety. The rally and its routes will be registered with the MSA, the local constabulary will be informed of our presence as will other local authorities. If you are intending to join us please book early to ensure your place.
Our rallies are meant to be fun and provide us all with a hardly needed excuse to use our cars in the manner William Morris and his design team intended. Our two tours, over planned routes and longer distances than our day-to-day Minoring excursions, are aimed at achieving just that, while providing a weekend of 'proper' vintage motoring alongside other like-minded enthusiasts.
While our cars may be the focus of attention for many, our rallies also provide us with an extended opportunity to meet up with old friends and to make new ones. The common thread of Minor ownership facilitates this and new faces (and cars) are always made welcome. A successful rally weekend can usually be assessed by just how much our jaws ache on Monday morning!
For many years the pre-war Morris Minor was undervalued and almost forgotten. In recent times, slowly and surely it is beginning to regain its rightful place in the pre-war motoring pantheon. Our rallies play a small but important part in spreading 'the word' and bringing about that change in profile our cars deserve.
Friday 3rd June: From 6:00 PM onward: Rallyists gather at the Crown Inn, Marnhull for the 'Welcome' pub meet. It's here that Rally Packs are distributed and acquaintances renewed. If you are intending to eat in the pub please ensure that you book in advance Tel: 01258 820224
Saturday 4th June: Crews are requested to gather in the car park of The Crown Inn from 9:00 AM and assemble for the official rally photo. Crews then leave to commence the tour in their own time.
10:30 AM approx: Coffee stop at the Poachers Inn, Piddletrenthide.
12:30 PM onwards: Crews arrive at Abbotsbury Sub-tropical Gardens for planned lunch stop.
4:00 PM Saturday tour concludes at The Udder Farm Shop East Stour, Gillingham www.udderfarmshop.co.uk where tea and coffee can be purchased along with a fine selection of locally produced food.
6:45 for 7:30 PM (until late) Crews are requested to gather at The Crown Inn, Marnhull for the rally dinner and presentation of club trophies.
Sunday 5th June: Crews will assemble at 9:30 AM, once again in The Crown Inn car park, a little later than on Saturday. Tea and coffee will be available for those taking part while a shorter tour means that departure times can be relaxed a little. At the conclusion of the tour the remainder of the afternoon is free of planned activities enabling an opportunity for crews to explore Hardy Country and take in the beautiful Blackmore Vale countryside.
7:00 PM onwards: The farewell pub meet, for those rallyists staying over until Monday, is being held at another pub in Marnhull village, the Blackmore Vale Inn. The pub does serve food on a Sunday evening and also stocks a number of real ales in its cellar. It is essential to book in advance if your intention is to eat. www.theblackmorevaleinn.co.uk Tel: 01258 820701
The Crown Inn, Marnhull DT10 1LN Rally dinner venue and starting point for both tours.
To book your place on the rally, print and complete the booking document behind the blue button.
Minor melee - 2015 Rally Holme-next-the-sea, Norfolk (Martin Gregory image)
Abbotsbury Sub-tropical Gardens DT3 4LA Tearoom and patio. Saturday lunch stop.
The Udder Farm & Coffee Shop, SP8 4LQ Gillingham. Saturday afternoon cream tea destination.
The Blackmore Vale Inn, Marnhull, DT10 1JJ Sunday evening 'Farewell' pub meet.
The Jurassic coastline of Dorset - a World Heritage site