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The Anson Engine Museum Stockport

July 11th 12th 13th Tour of The Anson Engine Museum Stockport

Organiser Alan Simister

Report by Mike Walker

Variety is the spice of life, so they say – hence a weekend with a different twist is sure to attract folk who are fed up of the same old, same old isn’t it? Ok – engines may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but extent the mind a little and you realise there is a lot more allied to the development of the internal combustion engine. The very way of life our parents and indeed ourselves have enjoyed is in no small way dictated by the developments that happened in manufacturing, trade and transport – and they were very much influenced by the motive power available at the time. So look beyond the title to realise the fascinating world of the Anson Museum. You must agree we have enjoyed a long overdue and typical British summer – whoopee! Dry in May, a "Flaming June”, continuing through July and into August – almost! Our host, Alan Simister, managed to select a weekend where the weather forecast was "iffy” for the first time in eons! Now, this does not deter the hardy Northern Motorcyclist who will be ready to roll as planned. We noted some of the "Southern Contingent” eschewed these same fine qualities – so many seemed to fail muster. We even wondered if miles travelling in a Northern direction are in fact longer than those when travelling south – but "Mo and To” assured us this was indeed a falsehood. Now – being in my 60th year, and attempting to do everything I can event wise, I was happy to lodge with Bill and Kate to save some pension pennies – and of course enjoy the fine hospitality they are known and loved for. This meant I was not "in the thick of it” – so might have missed happenings at the Toby Inn! I was determined to use the Falcone Sport for this weekend – and ride it there and back. This was enabled by my faithful friend and luggage porter ASM. It’s not easy to strap luggage onto the Falcone – so Ant called for my bag and we enjoyed a perfect ride to Bill and Kate’s – arriving about 3.00pm – and the bikes were swallowed into safety in Kate’s garage in a flash. After a pleasant afternoon of tea and cake and banter we scrubbed up and walker to the Toby to join the rest of the weekends revellers. After beers and grub, all seemed to be satisfied and ready for action. The Hope Inn provided some of us with a very pleasant end to the day – once we decided where to sit – and a pleasant saunter home followed. We landed back after breakfast for the 10.00am off. Those riding readied for the off – and the modern contingent set off mingled with the Old Farts Brigade. Frank and Doug had likewise elected to ride "Old Farts Bikes” so the scene was set for a little jollity on Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t long before we reached the Anson as planned. I suspect most were very surprised at what they found – and the whole visit was enhanced by the guided tour Geoff, the curator, provided. Now, I’ve been to the Anson several times, but there is always something new to learn – and invariably something you forget, that you get a reminder of during your visit. One of my favourite exhibits is the very rare Atkinson engine – designed to get around the patent Otto had on the four stroke cycle. A pivotal time in engine design – anything could have happened! After the visit we rode to the local pub for lunch – a splendid affair – plates of sandwiches and chips pre ordered and ready to munch – great. Well sorted Alan – good move. Now I know this area very well – so Frank and Doug appointed me leader after lunch – fools – forgot my glasses – couldn’t read the route sheet – memorised as much as possible, set off, missed a couple of turns, added a bit on and took them to a little spot I know for ice cream – no ice cream van !! Now this is where it came good – we chatted to a couple of cyclists who informed us Buxton was closed off for a procession! I changed our plan to rejoin the route via Buxton and whizzed across the Goyt Valley to home – via Martin Dalby’s car showroom at Whaley Bridge – where we "oo’d and ar’d” at the stock in the window. Modern riders shunned us thinking we would be farting about getting started while they were at the next tea stop – how little they know! - While they were delayed in Buxton we enjoyed the open road – stick with Walks! Saturday evening saw most of us eating at the Toby again – no complaints – and a late walk into Heaton Moor saw Bill, Kate, ASM and Walks get a proper soaking. Stair rods were indeed present for the whole of our walk home. Well, Sunday, was forecast to start wet and improve. We put off the inevitable departure from Bill’s as long as possible – it was still "mizzly” and grey – but we pitched up for the off. The wealth of interest found at the Anson being qualified by the fact that Mo and To were going back to see more. Others declined to ride and went off on a jolly to Bakewell in search of tarts! Frank and Doug were determined to be away as late as possible and it paid off indeed. When we finally departed the sun was breaking through, and in no time at all it was glorious blue sky. We encounter most of our fellow riders at the café in Longnor taking lunch, but Walks tours went on to Monyash where we enjoyed a pleasant hour lying on the grass taking our lunch – testament indeed to the weathers great improvement from that grey mizzly start we encountered a few short hours before. After lunch we finally set off in blazing sunshine. We stuck to the route until Monsal Head where we finally managed to get that illusive ice cream! Frank and I did a bike swop, so I diverted via Cressbrook and Litton to Tideswell – a nice winding route and back towards Edale, on the A623 via Sparrow Pit. This meant we did our Edale traverse in reverse, with the sun on our backs – very nice to. But not before a coffee at the Ramblers Inn in Edale village. This now meant we returned via Castleton – and chance to exit via Winnats Pass – a unique feature, always worth a visit when you are this close. The dreaded A6 for a final time and we were done. For ASM and I – back to Kate and Bills, collect our bits and bobs and a final 40 miles home to end a perfect weekend. The weather held – just a little cool for the last half hour to my 8pm arrival at home. Mr Simister – thanks indeed for a weekend with a difference that was greatly enjoyed by all those who came. It’s a shame we were unable to attract more friends from the south – maybe next time. Mike "Guzzi” Walker