Club Trip to the Solent Area

by Des and Ethel Ransom.

Day 1 - Saturday 8th April 2016
 The coach arrived at 6.15 am for our Crediton pick up with two more stops, Cadbury and Sampford Peverell. From Crediton it was very foggy, with frost on the lower fields, but it cleared at Bickleigh, the makings of a dry sunny day. With all 46 on board, including our friends from East Devon club and Holsworthy.
A short trip up the M5, then across to Langport heading for Dorchester. Our driver Kelvin had planned a one hour compulsory stop there, but decided to stop earlier at Cartway Services near Yeovil for 45 mins in time for breakfast.
All aboard. On to our first venue, Sammy Miller Motor cycle museum, New Milton. This is one of the world’s largest collection of bikes, from small power packs, to large high powered racing machines. With 400 bikes, all in pristine running condition to marvel at, time went very quickly, not enough time to completely take in what was there.
Our second visit of the day was to the Hovercraft Museum, Lee on Solent, the world’s largest collection of hovercraft. Most impressive were the two massive craft, SRN (Saunders-RoeNautical) Princess Anne & SRN Princess Margaret, transporting 60 cars each & hundreds of passegers. Travelling twelve foot over the waves, it would be a noisily interesting trip, I suspect.
There was a large number of various craft down to a converted BMC mini. Leaving there for our first nights stop in time to freshen up for our evening meal at Holiday Inn, Fareham.

Day 2
After a very comfortable overnight stay, a good breakfast, & an early swim in the hotel pool, all aboard 9.15 am for the 45 min trip for a whole day visit to Amberly Heritage Centre, Arundel, a 36 acre site housing many buildings full of interesting collections to explore. Transport on site was either by classic double-decker bus or a bone shaking ride on a narrow gauge railway. This location was in early times a chalk pit for the making of lime. Altogether a very interesting day. All aboard the coach back to our hotel in time for our evening meal and a good natter.

Day 3
After a big breakfast, on to the coach at 9.15 am with cases packed and loaded for our later return home. Today we are visiting for our 1st venue the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport showing the earliest sub of 1600s - more like a diving bell; mini subs; also an early vessel which had been raised after lying on the seabed for 30 years. Our prime visit is a tour of the awesomely massive HMS Alliance, which was de-commissioned in the 1970’s. This had a crew of 60, although a huge vessel, not a lot of room for officers & ratings. Head injuries must have been very high with hundreds of levers, valves, gauges plus two large diesel engines at waist height.

Some video of the Submarine Museum (recorded by Keith White)

All aboard for our final visit, the Bursledon Brickworks near Southampton, showing items from early production (employing seven year olds), to more mechanised steam-powered times. This museum was especially opened on the day for our party, with the impressive steam engine running. Tea & cakes were supplied, which were also very welcome.Late afternoon and with heavy traffic we headed for home, with a stop for fish & chips near Yeovil. Our three day trip went very well and we were blessed with dry sunny weather.Our grateful thanks go to Keith & Michael for the hard work for a very successful tour, to our driver Kelvin for his careful driving & timing and as always to Blakes Coaches for their excellent service.