Lakeland Trial: Honister John Beardsworth

The Vintage Sports-Car Club

Lakeland Trial: Honister

Each year, usually on the first weekend in November, the Vintage Sports-Car Club holds its Lakeland Trial rally in the Lake District in North West England.

In 2013 I happened to be staying in the area and heard about the event on a local news web site.

That Saturday the Lake District threw its full force at the rally. High winds, near-freezing temperatures, and alternating rain and sleet made it a challenging experience for the drivers - and for photographers.

The Honister Pass is one of England's highest and steepest roads

Around a hundred cars participate in on- and off-road tests. For this "Drumhouse" stage, after a gentle drive past Buttermere the competitors head up the Honister Pass and then climb the even-steeper quarry track up to the top of Fleetwith Pike.

Vintage car participating in The Vintage Sports-Car Club's 2014 Lakeland Trial at Honister Slate Mine
This is a 1923 Vauxhall 23-60

Some of the cars are very valuable indeed, and I asked participants if they weren't too precious for steep mountain tracks. They were unworried - apparently their cars were built when most roads were just like these.

Italians always have style, and there are a few of these 1920s Bugatti Type 23s in the rally. On average, they can cost half a million dollars at auction.

For 2015's event it rained, and rained.... Only two weeks later there was serious flooding in the region and the rain gauge at the top of Honister Pass recorded England's highest 24 hour rainfall - beating its own record.

Vintage car participating in The Vintage Sports-Car Club's 2013 Lakeland Trial at Honister Slate Mine
Vintage car participating in The Vintage Sports-Car Club's 2014 Lakeland Trial at Honister Slate Mine
Vintage car participating in The Vintage Sports-Car Club's 2013 Lakeland Trial at Honister Slate Mine

I think of these photographs as "landscapes with cars". I'm not a car nut, and I'm there for the wonderful Lakeland landscape, so when photographing these events I am mostly using a wide-angle lens and grad filters to make sure I capture lots of detail in the cloud.

For safety reasons only one person is allowed in the car on the way down, and this driver had just told her passenger that she was driving and he was the one who would be walking back.
Vintage car participating in The Vintage Sports-Car Club's 2013 Lakeland Trial at Honister Slate Mine
Vintage car participating in The Vintage Sports-Car Club's 2013 Lakeland Trial at Honister Slate Mine
Vintage car participating in The Vintage Sports-Car Club's 2013 Lakeland Trial at Honister Slate Mine

As well as this Honister quarry climb, the day has a second stage through the muddy tracks of Whinlater forest. The participants can then enjoy a well-deserved dinner.

Created By
John Beardsworth
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