M3W stuff

MOG Magazine August 2015

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MOG Magazine asked me to write a travel article. Being lazy, some of it was lifted from the archived pages of this blog. After all, Im not a journalist and I don’t subscribe to any motoring magazines.

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In this part of Devon there are no major transport links. no trains, no motorway.


We live in a quiet corner of rural North West Devon very close the the Cornish county border. Traffic congestion is unheard of even in the summer months. It is often possible to leave home and travel for miles without seeing another car. For someone like myself who fought the traffic around Heathrow for 44 years this lack of traffic can have an apocalyptic eeriness about it.

Morgan Three Wheeler Cornwall

Morgan Three Wheeler Cornwall

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 In this part of Devon there are no major transport links. no trains, no motorway. It is also not en- route to anywhere. If you are here, it is by intent. In many respects a time warp exists here. Accents are often strong and a slower, more bucolic way of life is still the order of the day. People still use the butchers, the bakers and the Clovelly fish man. Market days are an event and a chance to catch up with people you haven’t seen since, well, last market day. Eggs don’t come in a box they come from your neighbours chickens and the Post Office visits the village in a van. London is often thought of as an abstract concept rather than an actual place and may as well be in Belgium.

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This lack of traffic and an end to my London commute, coupled with a dream of touring Devon and Cornwall in something unusual steered us in the direction of a Morgan. We eventually decided the Morgan Three Wheeler would be the ideal travel companion.


We have never yet arrived anywhere without being questioned about the car.


We have since found our Morgan encourages adventure and discovery. It is like a naughty puppy that drags you off in unexpected directions sniffing out new locations as it goes. Its occasional bark and growl is then followed by a mellow potato potato exhaust note announcing your arrival.

Morgan Three Wheeler Cornwall

Morgan Three Wheeler – Jamaica Inn Bodmin

We have never yet arrived anywhere without being questioned about the car. We were once cheered and waved at by an entire coach party in Tintagel. Attention like this is something usually reserved for minor celebrities. The photographs, the questions and the interest in the car does take some getting used to but adds to the fun of owning something this unusual.

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People descend on us at every refreshment stop, comfort break and pub car park we visit. I’m sure if we arrived in an Aston or a Lamborghini we would not garner so much attention. Even if we arrived astride a time machine with flashing lights, spinning clocks and calendars we would make a less dramatic entrance than arriving in the three wheeler.. It is surreal

There is a farm at the top of our lane that has a tea shop serving cream teas. The view from the farm on a clear day is spectacular with Dartmoor stretching across the horizon. The farmers wife claims it to be one of the best views in Devon. In the centre of that view, is our little house. and from the surrounding lanes, Bodmin and Exmoor can also be seen.


People descend on us at every refreshment stop, comfort break and pub car park we visit.


During a weekend in early summer we visited all three moors in the Morgan. Weather in this part of the world is often localised so after holding a finger into the wind we chose Dartmoor as our first port of call. The air was crisp and the views amazing. We did stop on the moor for coffee and a warm up as even with heated seats the extremities still get cold.

Morgan Three Wheeler Cornwall

Morgan Three Wheeler Cornwall

Dartmoor is an amazing place. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle set his book, Hound of the Baskervilles. here. Perhaps his inspiration was the black dog legends of the area. Steven Spielberg also filmed Warhorse on the moor. He was apparently impressed by the landscape and the dramatic skies of Dartmoor during the filming. It is easy to see why, the roads across the Moor are breathtaking whatever your mode of transport but made more brilliant in a Morgan. There are a number of suitable refreshment stops and scenic vantage points. Dartmoor prison at Princetown has an interesting past. During the 1800’s it was used to detain American prisoners of war. I wonder if they told Mr Spielberg.


Leaving a public place, in the Three Wheeler has an air of drama and theatre about it. People stop what they are doing and watch.


Back onto the A30 and south to Launceston and a cup of tea with my parents who live just outside the town. Launceston, (locally pronounced Larsen. Cornish: Lannsteven) is often thought of as the gateway to Cornwall. Following the A30 from Launceston westwards takes travellers across Bodmin Moor. The author Daphne Du Maurier stayed at Jamaica Inn on Bodmin in 1930 which was to be the inspiration for her book of the same name. A tale of wreckers and smuggling. In her book, the landlord describes Bodmin as a “God-forgotten spot”. On a foggy winters day it is still bleak but it is less isolated than it once was and a popular stopping point for tourists headed south into Cornwall during the summer.

Morgan Three Wheeler Timing Belt

I have found it is possible to park the Three Wheeler just about anywhere without too much trouble. The car seems to have a magic that modern cars just don’t have. Checking the weather on our smart phone it was pretty clear there was a bank of cloud and murky weather in front of us so we opted to turn onto the A39, Atlantic Highway at Indian Queens and head into Newquay for lunch. The Morgan, as always attracted quite a lot of attention. After lunch we headed north along the coast to Rock and Polzeath, two of our favourite places. Not as famous as their counterpart on the other side of the river, Padstow. But all the better for it. Then an afternoon cream tea in Trebetherick. Of course the owner of the cafe came out to inspect and chat about the Morgan but we kind of expect that as par for the course.

Leaving a public place, in the Three Wheeler has an air of drama and theatre about it. People stop what they are doing and watch. So you try to get in as gracefully as possible. Do your best not to stall as you pull away and of course, don’t look directly at the camera(s).

rndl

When you press that starter button and the big V twin coughs and splutters into life those watching could be forgiven for thinking you were off on a sortie. The fly screens, aluminium skin and exposed rivets give the Morgan a definite biplane look. The open cockpit, aircraft styled instruments, and hang out driving position all serve to reinforce the aeronautical feel.. Every trip is an adventure..

We head back to the A39 taking the pretty route via Port Quin and Port Isaac. Port Isaac is of course better known as Port Wenn from the TV series Doc Martin. A few waves and smiles along the way and we are soon back in what we consider to be our home stomping ground, Widemouth and Bude. Visitors to our house often get a ride in the Morgan along this section of coast and a cream tea. They always leave with a big grin and a promise to visit again.

The following day we rejoin the A39 at Bideford. Charles Kingsley described Bideford as “The Little White Town’ because of its little white houses on each side of the river. We skirt around Barnstaple, pretend not to notice the gawping sun seekers in Woolacombe and into Mortehoe.


When you press that starter button and the big V twin coughs and splutters into life those watching could be forgiven for thinking you were off on a sortie.


Morgan Three Wheeler Cornwall

Mortehoe manages to remain more or less undiscovered. There are many places in the world that claim to be one of the prettiest this or the best that. This claim attracts the tourists, the money, and the developers. Inevitably something is lost along the way. They usually end up as a nice to visit destination but in a pastiche sort of way.

Mortehoe makes no such claim. Ive never seen it advertised anywhere. In fact, they should erect a sign similar to those seen on the doors of London sweet shops adjacent to schools. ‘Only TWO tourists allowed into Mortehoe at any one time’ this would fix the access issues and keep this pretty place a secret. Its a great place to rumble into in an open top Morgan on a sunny day. My advice is, don’t visit Mortehoe, you wouldn’t like it. But if you do go, don’t tell anyone, let’s keep it a secret.


This country, given the right weather, is unbeatable. Seeing it in the Morgan is icing on the cake. It truly is a ‘Grey World Escape Capsule’


After a cup of tea, We head north towards Lynton and Lynmouth. There are some very tight hairpin bends on this section of the A39 and the Morgan has a limited turning circle but it didn’t disgrace itself. We stopped on the climb out of Lynmouth to admire the view and shortly after took the 4 mile scenic toll road towards Porlock. In the 1960’s this toll road used to host the Somerset section of the RAC rally and the views are well worth the £2.50 toll, they are spectacular.

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At Porlock Weir we proved a distraction to students who stopped listening to whatever they were being told and turned in unison to gawp at the more interesting Morgan slowly potato potato’ing past. Five minutes later we did the same going in the other direction..

A quick provision stop in Porlock, more questions, a couple of holiday makers from Malvern and another enthusiast who had visited the Morgan factory just weeks before. Everything takes longer in a Morgan! We waved goodbye and set off back to the toll road to admire the view and have lunch in peace.

This country, given the right weather, is unbeatable. Seeing it in the Morgan is icing on the cake. It truly is a ‘Grey World Escape Capsule’

rndl

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