Taffia Fish & Chip Run

Having done London to Edinburgh and back last September, finally I have a chance to do another big trip. And it's more than just a trip, it's one of the biggest Owner's Club events, the classic Taffia Fish & Chip run. From it's original beginnings as a local area club blat, this has turned into a huge meeting with owners coming from all over the UK and beyond. 

This is a well organised event, coordinated by the AR Andrew Wiggins, and I thought I had signed-up to registration back in January when it was first announced. Turned out that I hadn't, and checking the weather on the Wednesday it looks promising for the weekend. So a quick PM on BlatChat and I'm good to go. As my decision was confirmed on the Thursday morning, I could only get a hotel in North Bristol, at a very nice place called The Grange.

It's out in the countryside and has secluded parking, so it's fine even though it's a 20 minute drive from the start venue in Chepstow which is over the Severn Bridge. My plan was to drive from East London to Bristol on the Friday morning, with a lunch break in Bath. Then Friday evening is the BBQ, and Saturday morning is the start of the main event. With work commitments on Sunday I would have to drive back to London straight after the fish & chips in Aberdyfi. It's going to be a long day!

As usual I'm slightly paranoid about driving in the rain, mostly as I like my car to stay clean and I don't have a full hood. Scanning the Met Office radar forecasts it looks like there's a band of rain heading across London on Friday afternoon, so I decide to head off around 9am. I'm just doing M25 and M4 straight to Bath and I just manage to stay ahead of the rain as I blast around the motorways. After a nice pub lunch outside of Bath I get to the hotel around 2pm.

The SoftBits shower cap is essential for these trips, as is my Halfords wheel clamp just to have some basic security. No removable steering wheel on my car. So I chill at the hotel for a bit and then it's off to Chepstow for the BBQ event. This is at the same venue as the start for the run, new for this year, the Hanley Farm Shop. I get there just after 6pm and I'm the first one to arrive. Here's Andrew & Co struggling with the official club tent.

As I'm early I get to park right outside the shop. Looking fab in the evening sunshine!

Around 70 cars turned up for the BBQ and it's great to wander around and meet new people. This is one of the things I really like about the club events, everyone is very happy to chat and you just bump into randoms. I also get to meet people that I've heard of from their blogs and media posts such as PurpleMeanie (the excellent John Martin). Whilst it was sunny at the start, by 8:30pm it got pretty cold so it was half-hood on for the drive back to the hotel in Bristol. I get to the hotel bar around 9 and there's a group of guys who are planning to do a run in their classic cars in the morning, basically the same route that we are doing. When I mention that over 200 Caterhams will be leaving after 9am they made plans to leave earlier. Unfortunately they had been drinking from 4 o'clock that afternoon so when I got up at 6am and started checking my car they were nowhere to be seen..

The route for the run goes from Chepstow to the beach at Aberdyfi where there is a Fish & Chip shop.

The first part is to Usk and then you head out to the hills, then through Chapel and North to Beulah. Then it's the A470 leading to the coast. It's a proper drive, 132 miles in total. With quite a few stops enroute it will take around 4 hours to get to Aberdyfi. So I leave the hotel just after 7am and head over to Chepstow. As I approach the Severn Bridge I meet 3 other cars and we head to the petrol station to fill up. Arriving at the Farm Shop we are the first cars there, and we're parked at the front of the line. By 9 o'clock 213 cars had turned up, that's a lot of 7s!

We're all getting bacon rolls and coffee, and trying to say warm. It's barely 10 degrees at the moment. Some of the other Essex area group arrive, including Nic in his CSR 260. 

We're milling around chatting and the excitement is building.

The parking, which is always done with military precision, is split between those who are doing the run in one day and the those that are returning to Chepstow for an overnight. We're in the one-dayers, in the front row. Here's an overhead drone shot of the cars.

So after the driver's briefing by 09:30 we're ready for the off. I'm in the the first group of cars to leave, and luckily I've got the route going in Google Maps with notifications on my bluetooth headphones. Soon I'm leading a group of cars to Usk and trying not to take a wrong turn! I've been on blats with the Essex area group before, but this is a whole different level. After a cold start the weather really picks up and it's blue skies and fluffy clouds. After an hour I stop to put on suncream and it's t-shirt and sunglasses the rest of the way. Here we are heading off into the hills. Epic roads.

It's really a thrill to be driving on this run with so many other cars.

Such a perfect day for it !

Heading over Staylittle pass.

This is my first time on the Taffia run and it's definitely not a race. The point is to enjoy the route and the amazing scenery, so making lots of stops is the way to do it. You get to meet many of the other participants along the way.

The road are amazing, some of the best in the UK. At 3 hours in we get to the Clywedog Reservoir. Nice view!

Here's a 360 video by Jamie Sinclair. I'm the car in front from 6 mins in..

And finally it's down to the beach at Aberdyfi. After over 4 hours in the car I'm pretty warm, time for food and hydration.

As it's such a nice day the carpark was rammed, but I managed to find a spot. I've never been here before, but the beach is really nice. A swim in the sea is very tempting !

And so after fish and chips have been consumed and a wander round to catch up with people it's time to head on. I now have a 4 and half hour drive back to London, heading across Wales to Birmingham and then the M1 down to the M25. I get home at 9pm, knackered. What a crazy trip, it was brilliant !