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Mystery Scottish hillclimb, 1938-1939


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#1 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 10:51

Here's a few photos from a Scottish hillclimb event circa 1938-9 which have so far evaded complete identification.
I reckon it's Rest & Be Thankfull and I am sure it's Scotland as the other negs in the collection feature the Edinburgh trial 1937 and BoNess Hillclimb 1938 (mentioned on a previous thread).

Anyone confirm the venue and identify the cars and drivers?

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Looks like a Delahaye to me...
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MG K3 ? On a shot of this same car from BoNess it carries reg. DGJ 566

Finally one I can identify, David "Ecurie Ecosse" Murray with the BMW 328 FML 9 that had killed Pat Fairfield at Le Mans in 37...
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Simon Lewis
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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 11:00

The K3 (actually DGJ556) is Hamish Weir's K3021.

K3 Register (not necessarily complete) has him competing at Bo'ness on May 8th 1937 and September 1st 1937 (won 1100cc class). Only other speed event listed is the Howcleugh Speed Trials in both 1937 and 1938. No apparent competition history in 1939.

#3 David McKinney

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 11:17

David 'BMW 328' Murray was not the same person as David 'Ecurie Ecosse' Murray ;)

Intersting picitures, though :up:

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 11:18

David 'BMW 328' Murray was not the same person as David 'Ecurie Ecosse' Murray ;)

Intersting pictures, though :up:

#5 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 11:18

Originally posted by Vitesse2
The K3 (actually DGJ556) is Hamish Weir's K3021.

K3 Register (not necessarily complete) has him competing at Bo'ness on May 8th 1937 and September 1st 1937 (won 1100cc class). Only other speed event listed is the Howcleugh Speed Trials in both 1937 and 1938. No apparent competition history in 1939.


Many thanks (Sorry for my typo with the K3 reg. Good job it was visible on the photo !)

Could this be Howcleugh ? I've never heard of the event but then smaller sprints and hillclimbs in the 30s seem to have been very poorly reported considering there really weren't that many of them .

Anyone know more about Howcleugh ?

Simon
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#6 Graham Gauld

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 11:24

Simon:

Sorry you have made a mistake often made before. The David Murray in the BMW is not the "Ecurie Ecosse" David Murray but David Hugh Murray who left his native Edinburgh and set up a garage in Pinner. He was always a great Frazer-Nash enthusiast and eventually became an investor in Frazer-Nash hence the BMW. His final race car was a Le Mans Replica Chassis 133.

Reference the hill climb shown it is neither Rest and Be Thankful nor Bo'ness but I think you will find it is a climb that used a small road off the Crieff-Aberfeldy road near Amulree. We used to use it from time to time on rallies in the 1950's.

#7 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 11:41

Thanks Graham and David. I wasn't aware there were two David Murray's ( was the world big enough..?).

What do you think about this venue being Howcleugh as per the MG K3 records might suggest ?

Any ideas about that "Delahaye".. or whatever it actrually is ?

Simon Lewis
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#8 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 11:54

In view of the date and the white helmet, I wondered if it might be John Snow in the Delahaye, but the car doesn't quite match the one he drove in the 1939 AGP. The lights are slightly different, and the scuttle on the AGP car is flatter: the aero screens are different shapes too.

Simon: there are quite a few references to David H Murray in "From Chain Drive to Turbocharger".;)

#9 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 13:11

Originally posted by Vitesse2
In view of the date and the white helmet, I wondered if it might be John Snow in the Delahaye, but the car doesn't quite match the one he drove in the 1939 AGP. The lights are slightly different, and the scuttle on the AGP car is flatter: the aero screens are different shapes too.

Simon: there are quite a few references to David H Murray in "From Chain Drive to Turbocharger".;)


I'll check out the next one I get in stock. Cheers.
Simon

#10 LotusElise

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 15:44

I have no idea where the climb is but the pictures are interesting anyway.
The terrain looks like somewhere I've been in Derbyshire, but that's not in Scotland.

#11 humphries

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 20:38

Simon

If this event is the Howcleugh Speed Trial held on 25 June, 1938, which is likely, then the large car is the Alexander Special which I think was powered by an American Ford V8 3.6. This car was active in the late 1940s and it was definitely Ford V8 powered then. It was possibly supercharged on occasions before the war.

In 1938 at Howcleugh W.R.L.Thorne was the winner in the Alexander Spl in 32.9'' beating G.F. Simpson in the same car who recorded 33.6''. George Simpson then crashed the car on another run. In third place was Hamish Weir in the K3 (34.6'') pipping David H. Murray in his Frazer Nash-BMW (35.0'').

Graham will probably know more about this special and its constructor(?) Jack Alexander.

John

#12 David McKinney

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 21:13

The Alexander Special was running a supercharged Ford V8 in 1946, but I don't know what it had in 1938.
Leslie Thorne, who would have been only 21 at the time of his Howcleugh success, is now on everybody's databases through his participation in the British Grand Prix in 1954 (or was it 1953?)

#13 LB

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 09:20

Originally posted by simonlewisbooks


Many thanks (Sorry for my typo with the K3 reg. Good job it was visible on the photo !)

Could this be Howcleugh ? I've never heard of the event but then smaller sprints and hillclimbs in the 30s seem to have been very poorly reported considering there really weren't that many of them .

Anyone know more about Howcleugh ?

Simon
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Other than its a place in Dumfries and Galloway not an awful lot. It does look like the Borders more than the Highlands, rolling hills rather than rocky, mind you thats very subjective. Its definately not the Rest and be Thankful

Whats annoying me is that I kind of recognise it which makes me think about Grahams Amulree to Kenmore suggestion, because I drove that road when Glen Ogle was blocked and I had to take a big detour coming back from the GP last year.

#14 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 09:37

The photos do rather back up the Howcleugh suggestion as I only have 4 on the strip and they are the top 4 cars in that particular event - granted these 4 were probably the top runners in a number of events at the time and in that part of the country. A case of big fish in a small pond maybe?

Simon Lewis
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#15 alex brown

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 16:41

Howcleugh hillclimb is situated near Beattock, close to the A74, a few miles north of Moffat. I have investigated the sites of three places called Howcleugh, one, which I regarded as the favourite, near Hawick, another near Lockerbie, and this one. Conclusive evidence is published in " Motor World", in its report on the 1937 event, where the location is described as 9 miles south of Crawford on a disused section of the old London road. In the near future I intend to visit the spot, and will try to take photographs from the same viewpoints as those in Simon Lewis's ownership. I bought copies from you, Simon, at one of the Prescott meetings I was competing at this year.

#16 Mistron

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 20:47

From Streetmap:

http://www.streetmap...05320&ay=605920

Halfway between Beatock and Crawford.

Am going to be passing this way on Wednesday and Friday, if I get the chance I'll come off the main road and try for a photo.

#17 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 10:10

Originally posted by alex brown
Howcleugh hillclimb is situated near Beattock, close to the A74, a few miles north of Moffat. I have investigated the sites of three places called Howcleugh, one, which I regarded as the favourite, near Hawick, another near Lockerbie, and this one. Conclusive evidence is published in " Motor World", in its report on the 1937 event, where the location is described as 9 miles south of Crawford on a disused section of the old London road. In the near future I intend to visit the spot, and will try to take photographs from the same viewpoints as those in Simon Lewis's ownership. I bought copies from you, Simon, at one of the Prescott meetings I was competing at this year.


Originally posted by Mistron
From Streetmap:

http://www.streetmap...05320&ay=605920

Halfway between Beatock and Crawford.

Am going to be passing this way on Wednesday and Friday, if I get the chance I'll come off the main road and try for a photo.


Thanks chaps. I have recently heard from another Scottish enthusiast , Kenny Baird, who knows the area and he checked out the location too.
He agrees with you that is now beside/under the M74. The road in the pre-war photos is now disused and comes to a dead end before it reaches the motorway embankment . It looks like the stone bridge visible in some of the photos is now buried by about 30 feet below the current motorway surface. The closest he could get without being on the M74 itself was the access road to Nether Howcleugh farm.
I'd be interested to see any comparison photos you can post.

#18 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 14:31

Here's Kenny Baird's photo of Howcleugh a few weeks back . He says it's taken about 50 yards to the right of where the original photographer stood and probabaly 30 feet higher due to the embankment but the alighment of the hills in the background is pretty close despite one hilltop now sporting a wood that wasn't there in the 30s.
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and the original shot of David Murray's BMW in 1938
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Much prettier landscape back than...

#19 Mistron

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 17:19

Interesting,

I recon from the map that the road that runs parallel and crosses over the A74 looks like it's still there between Abington and Beatock.......... Could this be 'the old london Road'

It shows it running next to the river and the railway line to the west of the 74, giving access to various farms etc before crossing over the 74 north of Beatock summit. I may be wrong (I often am!), but I think the photos were taken on the other side of the main road (with the new road running between the old road and Upper and Nether Howcleuch on thre east side).

I've always used the nasty modern road before, and wondered where the old road went.

We shall see on Friday (weather and time permitting) and I'll look out for the bridge.

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#20 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 08:25

Don't forget that using a public road for any speed event was illegal by 1938. The section of the old London Road that formed the course had been by-passed by this time with whats now the A74. The old road was no longer open to the public and must have become a farm access road.
I think in the 1938 photo you can see the edge of the by-pass on the mound to the right of frame. Now the M74 has bypassed the A74, in effect, although that remains in place.
I agree the map doesn't really show this up too clearly.

#21 Mistron

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 08:55

Well, here's what I found. the road (the B7076) has been upgraded in the not too distant past, it has an unusually smooth surface for a british road!, and has obviously been raised. It obviously follows the line of an older road, and in a couple of places you can see the old road has been used for access to services etc. The amount of trees also made it dificult to see hill lines etc. The road is open at both ends however, running from Abingdon to Beatock.

I was in a bit of a hurry, so couldn't take long to find exact locations, so used suitable lay-bys. here are my 2 contenders:

Just north of Beatock at Middlegill. the river is in the right place, and just over it is the A74M, this would tie in with the mound on the right of the pic


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Further on (northwards). the hills in the background are closer to the orig pic, but I couldn't see the river, though it may have been diverted or sent through pipes in this area as part of A74M build.


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No sign of the bridge, but as road has been raised It will no doubt have gone. Also, the pics are taken from 2 different positions (cars going in different directions) soit could have been anywhereon the route.

One other point... if this is the location, it's more of a hill descent than a hill climb!, perhaps top pic is of a return run?

#22 Stephen W

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 11:40

Part of the Hillclimb course was used as a truckers layby and was just under the railway bridge. Unforyunately as Mistron said there have been many road upgrades. I remember going up through there in the mid 1960s when there was absolute chaos as they made the road dual carridgeway but also by-passed several bits of the old road.

:wave:

#23 Mistron

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 13:12

I went down the section of the old road which is now the truckers lay-by. it joined the new road at the railway bridge, though it is now barriered off. This section of the old road is just south of the steepest section of the road, so would make sense for a hill climb!