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2011 Annual MVT North Oxon and Cotswolds Gathering.

The North Oxfordshire and Cotswolds Area of the MVT held their annual road nm and camping event in the picturesque Cotswold village of Swinbrook over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of August. The event has grown in popularity since its first days when just a handful of vehi­cles came to this year when we achieved our highest turnout of 48 vehicles. The event was initially conceived by well known MVT member John Coghlan to allow local MV owners to get together for a quiet weekend away from the general public and go for some interesting drives in the country. We have not really advertised it as we didn't want to get swamped with visitors, preferring to keep it a low key event. But saying that it has grown in popularity and we have now had visitors join us from as far away as Norfolk, Dorset and Birmingham.

The routine was much the same as previous years. We were very kindly lent a field in the valley at Swinbrook (along­side the river) with the nearby cricket club allowing us to use their bar, showers and toilet facilities. Vehicles started arriving and making camp from Thursday and by Saturday we had a good field full. The highlight of the weekend is the Satur­day road run. Bill, Tony and Don had organised a route through the Cotswold countryside stopping off at places of WW2 histori­cal interest where our very knowledge­able area historian Bill King would give a short talk. With four motorcycle outrid­ers providing directions we set off in small groups to Witney.

In 1940 Britain was threatened with im­minent invasion. To counter this General Ironside devised a plan of "stop lines" at strategic locations to slow down the Ger­man invaders until British forces could move to counter them. One of these stop lines runs just South of Witney and after looking at some rudimentary pillboxes (made from concrete pipes) in the grounds of the Cogges museum in Witney, we drove south to the "Rose Revived" pub on the river Thames. Not for a drink you understand but to look at what might have become a pivotal battlefield in the defence of Britain. Bill comprehensively explained where trenches were dug, heavy weapons located, how the bridge was mined for demolition and how the battle would have been fought. All very sobering to think of this on our doorstep.

We mounted up again and headed in to the village of Kingston Bagpuize where we went to look at a new industrial estate. This might not sound too exciting but the estate is built on the site of a WW2 airfield of which sadly only the control tower survives. A lunch stop was next on the list which we had arranged at the Lamb and Flag just a few miles up the road. This was an excel­lent venue, chosen for their good food, quick service and most of all their large car park which could accommodate us all with ease.

Next stop was the farm of Bill's good friend Murray Maclean. Murray's farm is lo­cated on the Ironsides line and a drive down a nar­row track took us to the next element of the talk. Author Mur­ray has several concrete anti tank gun bunkers on his land one of which has been well preserved and which we were invited to study. Running in front of it was an anti tank ditch a section of which has been excavated and preserved. Seeing the bunkers with anti tank ditch up close and listening to Bills talk made it quite clear how the defences were sited to gain maximum benefit. As the evening was approaching we headed off past the site of the Tubney woods bofors gun factory to Swinbrook for our bar­becue.

In previous years we had adopted an approach of bring your own food and cook it yourself, but this year Colin Timberlake donned his chefs hat and cooked burgers and hot dogs for a small charge. He did a marvellous job and the food was fabulous. What's more we also raised some money to help cover the cost of the event. This was followed by a raffle and prize giving with Voytek win­ning the prize for most interesting vehicle and Dave Bayliss win­ning the David King memorial trophy for the person who had contributed the most to the event.

On the Sunday morning even more vehicles arrived and we undertook another drive out. This time we went to the Auxiliary Home Guard training centre at Coleshill where Bill delivered another one of his excellent talks on the history and operation of the site. For those who are un­familiar with the Auxiliaries they were trained to remain behind as a resistance to the German invaders. Once the invasion had taken place their lifespan would be measured in a matter of days. After this fascinating tour we drove back in groups to Swinbrook (with some stopping off at pubs along the way) to pack up and head off for home. More than a few dragged out their weekend for another day and went home on the Monday especially those who had a long way to go.

Overall it was another excellent week­end and my sincerest thanks go to those who joined us from afar and especially those who helped make the weekend such a success. We have provisionally booked Swinbrook next year for the 10t' to 12t" of August and the way we seem to be getting bigger every year it might not be a very private affair for much longer.


For individual photographs please click right bottom corner of this slide show and follow the link to this album. It will open new window.

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