Hell and High Water
by Mark Gibb
The 1995 ‘Hell and High Water’ run began for me, early on Sunday September 17th, shoe-horning my Ariel Three into the back of my Reliant Robin—a task in itself—followed by a rather damp journey out to East Harling. I have in over five years not experienced worse weather for an NACC run: rain in torrents, thunder and lightning in abundance.
Only seven NACC members were brave (read ‘mad’) enough to leave Chiswell’s that morning; three of us soon met with problems. An uncooperative New Hudson meant a bike swap for Keith Flood while plug problems and a flat tyre respectively kept Andrew Flood and me behind the pack by our half-way point at Swaffham. After the necessary repairs, Andrew and I set off after the others (many thanks to our recovery vehicle and driver, Reg).
We had to negotiate major flooding, off-road sections often requiring the bikes to be physically carried across flooded ditches and similar terrain more suited to trail bikes than a Winged Wheel and an Ariel Three. Then we finally caught up with the rest of the bunch at what can only be described as a crossing of two streams that had once been a crossroads. Our intended route was abandoned after the floods began to cover the autocycles’ crankcases; this was becoming ridiculous. Nevertheless, all involved laughed off this predicament and enjoyed the amazing resilience of the water-logged machines. An alternative route through shallower flooding eventually saw all seven of us arrive in Sandringham, safe if not dry.
After a good meal at a good price, we trailered our machines back to East Harling, a smile on every face. I think that we all earned the sponsorship money we raised in aid of Parkinson’s Disease research, and we all had a satisfying and enjoyable day into the bargain. Many thanks to the Flood clan for a very memorable day, hopefully to be repeated.