Craig Dixon's Hot Rods and Hills Run (Lake District)

Craig had talked with me about putting on a run up here in The Lake District in Cumbria where we both live for a while. We did try for the Pre49 to be held up in Ullswater near where Craig lives ( I live in the Southern part of the lakes, Craig the Northern). But this site didn't have the static Caravans needed for the Pre 49 and also it was a very long time before anything was finalised with the Pre49 that Craig could wait no longer and wanted to get the ball rolling with his planned run.

Craig has done work for the owners of this magnificent site so he managed to cajole them into having a Rod Run at a site that does not allow all male or all female groups... Craig arranged a section of the massive site designated for Hot Rods etc only and a regular security patrol for them also.

Craig booked a Band for the Saturday splitting the cost of the group with the park owners as after all they would be benefiting from the increased bar sales eh ;o) It was intended to get a Marquee originally but unsure of numbers the decision was to use the club house. That was about it and then Craig set about promoting it while I did the Pre 49.

Once the pre 49 was done and finished I could relax and help Craig promote this one from the comfort of my arm chair that is. There was talk of a possible 100 cars but as Craig didn't have people book through him the exact numbers where sketchy, all bookings were through the Parkfoot camp site.

The scene was set, I couldn't make it until the Saturday night I told Craig as I had work commitment, but as the run approached my miss's out of the Blue said she would like to go to Craig's run and my brother said he had no problem with me having time off work so we booked from Friday to Sunday Yeeha

As the weekend approached my Old Fella was taken into the Hospice and died in the early hours of the Thursday morning with me and my mother by his bedside I did not know what to do??? I know he would not of wanted me to stay at home and grieve and my Ma was OK with us still going so we did choose to go, right or wrong we went, my heart felt Ok but my conscience was not


We got there around tea time Friday and while we were booking in a couple of young lads turned up in a real nice black pop along with a Moggy also with young occupants. They all looked in their early 20's to me and it was great to see them obviously enjoying having cool old cars.

Once booked in we got the caravan pitched and I had to get the TV working ;o) Now we had not long bought an expensive new fancy ariel the bees knees apparently as we had only ever had a crap picture since we bought the caravan, we couldn't wait to see the improved TV reception. Now my mate pudzz is one of those if you get something he can get it better and far cheaper. I tuned in our TV and nothing no reception at all, as Mark walked out with his homemade TV Mast and new house TV Ariel attached to it that he had scrounged for free and erected it all smug. My miss's looked out the Caravan window and shouted at me, I bet he gets a bloody picture. And sure enough with his mast erected and didgy box attached he just smiled as he pronounced he had perfect reception on all channels.

My miss's said if we don't get a picture she was not stopping and she wanted to watch Glastonbury. I tried and tried and tried but could I fuk as like get a picture .Clever Clogs Pudzz came over and said let me have a go, but still no change. Now I am getting real annoyed, I said what's it matter sod it we are here for the Rod Run,inside I was seething (but actaully only I was there for the rod run, I dont think any of the others cared they just wanted to get away with the caravans).

Then just as I started to set up the awning the heavens opened, the rain eased after an hour or so (which I spent trying to still get a TV picture) I then set about erecting the new easy erect awning we had not long bought but yet to use the blurp says 20mins. As I started, I looked over and sure enough Pudzz was sat in his caravan with that smug look on his face pint in his hand obviously looking at his great TV picture and shouted " I will time ya" ..... while he watched Glastonbury just to rub it in.. So I was in a great mood by now. To cap it all the combined hot weather, rain and being at the side of a lake it had been just perfect for the midges to hatch and boy did they hatch alright, I was swatting them constantly as was my wife and anyone else who was out in the open. I was bitten all over and I mean all over, oh Boy was I happy.

After 4 attempts we eventually got the easy erect awning up 3/4 of an hour later, and I tried one last time to sort the TV .. then it twigged last time it was the Ariel lead that was at fault.. ARIEL LEAD... arghhhhh I had not connected the ariel lead.. Numpty. I laughed so hard I nearly bought a round in.

Now I could finally go and see what Rods had arrived. There were 3 camped by us, 2 x 34 Sedans and a 32 Roadster they looked nice quality built Rods and a little further up was a 54 F100 looking fairly std but still cool. Once onto the Tent camping ground, there were a few dotted about, it looked quite impressive as the site is the most beautiful setting. I met a few of the guys and all were in good spirits.

The evening was spent having a meal in the club house which was Ok and the entertainment was family orientated but we just drunk beer and talked amongst our selves in the company of some really friendly Rodders many from Scotland.

Saturday was to be a 10 o'clock start and to be honest I cant remember if we set off on time or not I think we did as most were eager to get out into the lakes. I finally got to meet Paul Burgess, I have swapped e-mails with Paul for several years previous, though never met him. He had come back to the UK after living in the Philippines for years and he was in a Rodded 34 Morris that he had built over here over the last 2 1/2 - 3years and what a cracking job he has made of it. This was also the first chance I had got to look at it aswell as meet Paul.

I asked if it was Ok to ride shot gun with him in the Morris while my miss's daughter and Pudzz and his wife went to Penrith Market, no worries but it would be rather friendly inside with us to big blokes shoulder to shoulder in his Morris, he seemed safe enough so I wasn't to worried at the prospect ;o)

The Rod Run route Craig had planned was a drive round Thirlmere using a little known road then onto Ambleside and up over Kirkstone Pass, round Ullswater and back to camp about 70 mile. Shaun Wilson had managed to get the run a part of the NSCC points rounds and so there were a quite a few very quick cars proving they are real street driven cars to and not just in name, Big Al Williamson's potentially 10 sec Truck was one notable and a 427 powered 100E stuck in my mind. With the NSCC cars involved it made for a varied selection of cars, with a modern Mustang an 80's mustang, 60's mustang and Capri's with V8's and Pops.

My mate Bakey's was there in his cool 80's Pop and a couple of ones I don't think I have seen before, a modern Dodge Truck with a Billy Connolly look alike and his stuning wife a Couple of mid Fifty Yanks and a real nice Low Lead sled style car, a massive and I mean massive Scots guy in a ratty Pink Mercury Marquis. A couple of Model A's a sedan and a Delivery an F100 and the afore mentioned 34 Sedan's and 32 Roadster and various other styles and makes.

On the drive out we all managed to stay pretty much together and the scenery that Craig took us round was mind blowing stuff and the ride over Kirkstone never fails to impress and the sight of a 10 sec ( ok 11.01 PB without the nitros) Truck trundling down Kirkstone will be a sight that will stay with me a long tme. Also the guys in the big Yank tin impressed me they didn't bottle it and proved you can do the lakes in an aircraft carrier ;o)

The only slight hic up was the Kirkstone Inn was packed with Cragg Rats when we got there so the queue for food was horrendous, causing a bunch of Scots to up sticks and go to the next pub further down the pass. But we met up later and continued the rest of the run on mass. It was a great first day Craig had done us proud, PaulB who's 34 Morris I was in coped superbly with the rugged Lake District terrain, that liddle Car sure does drive nice we managed to talk all the way round ;o) Though Paul will never be a drinking partner as he has been tea total for 10yrs we enjoyed each others company none the less.

Once back at base most had a Barby for the evening meal and then got ready for the Saturday night rave as Craig had organised a band from Scotland called the Cats and they were superb. Playing some superb rocking stuff with a mixture of some more modern classics done in a rock a billy style.

Now Big Al came up to me and said you don't like this kinda music do you, but I said I do like it and pretty much always have. It is the proper old shit I don't like sung by the old groups on the old vinyl I have just heard them to death, 50 yrs is enough to listen to a song aint it. This stuff I find fresh and exhilarating and true Hot Rod music I don't have a problem with it at all especially when done like these cats did it. Though not what I would listen to in my Car I might add I did enjoy them immensely for sure.

It is more modernised to me and real, I do honestly like it especially at a rod run, but play Bill Hayley and the Comets on the juke box and I am off ;o)

One thing that sticks in my mind was, when we were all stood rocking to the band I looked over and saw the Scottish Guy who had a strong look of the Big Yin, ( I have yet to get the photo) and I said to my daughter get us a photo of him as I could see the caption, even Billy Connolly came.. I didn't have my camera with me. Now I expected her to just take a sneaky shot and that was it... but what did she do? She went up to him taped him on the shoulder and said do you know my dad Dave he has the Uk Hot rods web site, he said you mean Holmsey? Yeah she said he wants a photo of you.. jeeez now how embarrassing is that so she got him to pose and took her time taking the shot aswell to make the moment linger more. I felt so embarrassed.

The club room slowly emptied of most of the normal people on their jolly's and soon it was mostly people who were at the Run, who rocked and bopped the night away a good time was had by all. Top Band!

The next day the management had promised to put on the Ricky Hatton fight while we had breaky. I don't think any of the other Rodders were into it but me, Pudzz and Bakey were. We were joined by quite a few Boxing fanatics from the camp site and the place was Buzzing. Pudzz does get very excitable and this morning he was as high as he could ever be. But as the minutes ticked away it was coming obvious that the screen was not about to show the re-run of the fight at all? Bakey got onto the camp site staff who looked a bit lost and panicky and constantly on the phone to someone. As the 9am start time passed with no progress everyone was getting fidgety. Pudzz got into his full english and in his excitement threw his plate onto his lap and his food onto the floor, making him even more excited and wound up. Anyone who knows him will know he can get very loud and this morning he was really voicing his thoughts. When finally it looked like the show was getting on the road it was now past 10am and about to start the 2nd re-run of the fight on sky.... nothing happened. Pudzz jumped up ran over to the reception desk banging on the window and started doing some shadow boxing then shaking his head and pointing at the blank tv screen and miming its not on, doing this several times until they got the message all to the great amusement to all who had not lost the faith it would be on... by 10-30am it finally happened and was worth waiting for. One of the guys in the club house was a very cool looking black guy dressed very smartly and I had spoke with him earlier he was very softly spoken and I just knew he was a boxer you just know.. he was quietly pissing himself laughing at Pudzz frantic shadow boxing antics. Pudzz trained for years and knew what he was doing so looked proper manic with his mime.


Now the excitement was over it was time for the planned Sunday drive out, some of the Scots said they were off home as they had a long enough journey without the drive out and it was pissing down. But still we mustered enough to make a good cruise up to Hartside (Alston) a long twisty road that climbs over 1900ft and has a cafe/restaurant there. It was hard enough in a Rod but there are several push bikers dotted along its route all doing the Hartside run *Nutters* must be a great ride back though.

I joined Bakes in his Pop for the Sunday jaunt, we were the lead car. When we aproached and stopped at the first T junction two young lads came past in a VW Polo an old shitty thing, and gave us the hang loose sign ya know the one where they hold up their hand with only the thumb and little finger showing and sort of move it in and out "Hey Man cool car hang loose" kinda thing well Bakey goes Nuts and gives em the V's and shouts "friggin cheeky barstards fuk off" giving me the finger "Barstards" he shouts still giveng them the V's Ha Ha poor lads... I said Bake's mate they were saying hang loose cool car.. "The barstards give me the finger".. he said Ha Ha no they didnt mate and I showed him what they did and explained its a Volky thing.. even if they were in a shit heap Polo it was a Volky, made me chortle all day.

The night before people had been coming up to me and Shaun Wilson and expressed concern Craig had used a lot of his personal money to get this event put on, and was out of pocket by quite a few bob. They said they did not want this and wished to put some money into a kitty to present to Craig. Earlier on they had given a great wad of money to Shaun who then passed it to me to give to Craig once up here. There were several other people who also added to the kitty and I did intend to embarrass Craig as much as I could by shouting order in the Cafe... but I lost me bottle and just did a mini calling of order and Craig got over £200 which I think about covered his expenses. And I could tell he was touched, as I was giving him it I looked round and thought how great are grass route Rodders. They all gave gave because they wanted to and to thank him for a great weekend.

Well that was pretty much the end of the run for me. It was peeing down outside we're 2000ft up a mountain I was in a vest *don't ask* and I needed to get home now to get things sorted. So all in all a bloody brilliant Run, maybe would of been nice if a few Hot Rod celebrities had shown their support but that is about all I would say......I forgot! oh yeah! Pete and Sandra Whiteside were there in their 60's Falcon wagon so there was one Hot Rod celebrity there at least ;o). . The Venue was perfect, the amenities were perfect the Rodders who were there were the friendliest you could ever meet and were great company... no knobs ... no ego's no trophies just enjoying the cars and the people.. what more could you ask well done Craig and thank you to all who turned up.. it's on my calendar for next year in my Truck.

To be honest with you all I am getting sick of writing all this now and I get no fun out of it I am finding it a chore, so this will be my last Run write up now for a while. Partly cus I want to get my Truck done and partly cus I have lost my enthusiasm for it.

So feel free to send me any write up you do and I will put on here but this is my last for a while at least, I don't think I am doing anymore runs until the Truck is done as this is madness when I need to get that finished before the gits in the European Union outlaw our way of life.

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