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Collecting in aid of

Pier Pressure 2016

Day 1 Route

Now it wouldn’t be me without some ‘just in time’ finishing off and Thursday was no different. After heli-coiling an exhaust stud earlier in the day, I utilised George’s skills in re-setting tappets to make sure mine were just right before we headed for bed (separate rooms I should add).

Before we knew it the morning of the 12th was with us and all the preparation was over and we were soon to head off. Anything not done now would remain not done. Looking at my front living room floor I did wonder whether we were going for 10 days or for 10 months. But thankfully it did all fit, mainly due to me fitting a new rear storage box in my buggy the week before.

Ruth jumped in with George and Alex, my 9 year old, joined me in my Doon. Ruth and myself had mixed feelings about Alex at to whether Alex would actually make the whole journey. However he was adamant he was doing it, although we did have my sister on speed dial should things not work out.

I had decided earlier on in the planning that we would start the challenge outside my work (Sandwell Council House) in Oldbury, West Midlands. There is a large civic square and we had been promised support from the Mayor and my Cabinet Member for Highways. What we didn’t quite expect was the number of colleagues that had come out to give us a great send off, including the Chief executive too.

The local press were there too and my fellow highway colleagues had also managed to sort out some traffic lights to see us on our way – nice surprise guys. It was also nice to see a number of the Midland Buggy Club who had turned out in force in their buggies to give us a guard of honour to see us on our way. Including our own two buggies, there were 9 buggies in Oldbury that morning.

Chad – Doon, George – FF, Dave C – Doon, Lee VolksMagic – Doon
Hugh – Manta Ray, Carl – GP Clone, Paul – CRT, Gary – GP Mk 1, Hazel – GP Mk 1

So in December I distinctly remember putting up a post on the forum entitled something like ‘A spark of an idea’. I was looking for ideas to make use of my buggy to raise funds to three charities that had become very close to our hearts over the past 18 months. After discounting the normal John-o-Groats to Lands End traditional run, the idea of visiting all the piers in Britain started to take route.

So some 9 months later, George arrived on my drive on Thursday 11th August in readiness to start our epic Pier Pressure 2016 Charity drive the following morning. Our aim was simple, visit all the remaining 57 Victorian Pleasure Piers in Britain in 10 days on behalf of Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Care and Dudly NHS Russells Hall Hospital Oncology Unit – more locally known as the Georgina Ward. All three of these charities had helped save my wife Ruth’s life and sanity whilst battling breast cancer over the last 18 months.


PIER 1 - ABERYSTWYTH

And there it was, our very first pier, Pier 1 – Aberystwyth Royal. Gosia from the pier was brilliant and she not only allowed us to park up right outside but also gave us some complimentary hot chocolate to warm us up and some lovely doughnuts. Still need gloves.


After what seemed a few minutes it was time to head off to a pre-arranged date at our next pier where they were holding a whole cancer awareness afternoon where we were to be guests of honour. At this point Hugh, Gary and Paul & Jude headed back to the warmth of the Midlands whilst Ruth, Alex, George and Myself along with Carl, Hazel and Miller headed off towards Snowdon and the Llanberis Pass.

The beauty of the Llanberis Pass and Snowdon is a sight to behold, but unfortunately the cloud and rain we drove into meant we didn’t get to see it.

Once again I managed to loose Hazel in Snowdonia, this time due to a minor breakdown in the wet, but unfortunately everyone joining us on the trip knew about our top gear rules policy due to our very tight timetable. Sorry again buddy.

Thankfully as we arrived at our next stop, Pier 2 -Bangor at around 4:00pm the sun came back out, although unfortunately the wind didn’t drop. At this point we were met by Dave Jones  in his Manx, coming over from his new home in Anglesey.

PIER 2 - BANGOR

Terry from the Whistle Stop café on the pier had arranged a Marie Currie tea party and entertainment on the pier in readiness of our visit. Amazingly he had also arranged with the pier master to allow the buggies onto the pier. We actually arrived to a round of applause. This pier visiting thing was going well so far. Thankfully  just a few minutes later Hazel also appeared on the pier and was back with us.

An hour was spent drinking tea and eating complimentary cake before once again we had to say goodbye to Terry and hit the road again. By now it was passed 5pm and we still had 3 piers to visit.



Now it was time to cross the Menai Straight on our first iconic bridge – the aptly named Menai Bridge.

A relatively quick journey over to Anglesey a few miles up the coast we were at Pier 3 – Beaumaris.

PIER 3 - BEAUMARIS

At this point we managed to get our tyres on the sand next to the pier and got some really nice shots. Not many people around here as Beaumaris is quite a nice small unspoilt pier, similar to Bangor on the other side of the Menai Straight.

We were now well and truly on the north Welsh Coast and were soon on our way to our next port of call.

A quick blast back over the newer Menai Crossing and along the A55 and we were in sight of our next stop.


PIER 5 - COLWYN BAY


Colwyn Bay is actually closed to the public and is simply lying there waiting for huge investment to restore it to its former glory. By now it was around 9:30pm and going dark, making the pier appear even more creepy. I expected to see Scooby Doo and any minute.

I did even venture onto the beach but unfortunately the sand was very soft and embarrassingly I needed a push out. Thanks guys.




Time was now pressing on and so we hit the highway for the 30 mile slog to our first hotel, the Travel Lodge in Halkyn near the Welsh border with the Wirral.

At this point Carl finally headed home after a great day supporting us all the way from the start, leaving the Pier Pressure 4, Hazel and Miller to spend the night at the Travelodge. One final issue was that they had given us two doubles. So whilst George spent the might in relatively luxury, the 3 Chadwicks squashed into a double, or more accurately, Alex had ¾ of the bed whilst Ruth and Myself hung onto either edge.   

What a great start to our adventure, 5 piers and 278 miles down, just 9 more days and loads of new memories till to come.

 

Click here to continue reading our Day 2 story


Click here to continue reading our Day 3 story.

Day 1 - Friday 12th August 2016

Oldbury to Halkyn - 262 Miles

So after some prolonged photo taking we finally hit the road about 9:50am, already some 20 minutes behind our schedule (a theme we seemed to continue with throughout our trip).

Dave C turned right as we turned left and headed for home and the others headed off to Dudley town centre on our route west to the Welsh border and on to Aberystwyth, our first pier. In Dudley Lee from Volksmagic headed back to his workshop to work on a special project (more about this on Day 7) and we also managed to loose Hazel – sorry buddy. Unknown to me up front, Hazel had been caught by the Eddie Stobart’s and by the time she got free we had all turned off and headed another way.

Now the morning had been lovely sunny and warm in the West Midlands, so most of us were in simple t-shirt and light jacket, even some shorts on show. What we didn’t expect was the very instant we passed the Welsh Border, the temperature dropped by at least 15 degrees and the clouds rolled in.

This is about the point where I remembered I had left my gloves at home. In my mirror Ruth and George were waving frantically and a voice came across the walkie talkie shouting ‘Toilet’.

So a quick stop at some local loos, one street back off the A road in Kerry (we knew we were in Wales as every road sign had doubled in size) and a quick fuel splash and dash in Newtown.

Before we knew it we arrived in Aberystwyth some 110 miles into our journey. The road into Aberystwyth was brilliant across the hills and if you ever get chance to do the A44 I highly recommend it.

Imagine our surprise when turning onto the pier road, Hazel and Miller were already waiting for us. We can only suppose that Hazel managed to undercut us in an F1 style whilst we were in our toilet pit stop.

 

PIER 4 - LLANDUDNO

The pier master kindly opened up the car park to allow us to get a nice photo beneath the old pier entrance arch, before George and myself headed off up the promenade to get a wider shot.

Time was now against us and we decided it was time to eat. So we popped into a pub for a nice meal just outside of Llandudno before heading off to our last pier of the day. At this point Dave turned back for home as we were now driving away from Anglesey.