When you live ‘life in the fast lane’, there’s a great way to ‘take it easy’. Rally co-driver Seb Marshall gets behind the wheel.
Clockwise from top right: Amazing views en route. Seb winds his way through fields and hedgerows. Checking the map as he picks up the route in Pickering. The keys to the 1960 Morris Minor 1000. Getting familiar with Betty in Thornton-le-Dale.
ndeavour, Adventure, Resolution, Discovery, the evocative names given to the great ships captained by British explorer James Cook. The famous Yorkshire pioneer has a long association with Whitby and so it’s perhaps appropriate that today we should be on our own journey of discovery, tracing the route of the 840 Coastliner bus on a road trip across the North York Moors to Whitby. This however, is no ordinary bus route. Tourists and commuters alike were so taken with the scenic journey, that the stretch from Pickering to the coast, was last year voted Britain’s most scenic bus route - beating off stiff competition from over 100 other routes, including Scottish favourites like Glencoe, Skye and Loch Ness, plus the renowned Dorset coastal trail. The 840 takes passengers from the centre of Leeds to the dramatic Yorkshire coast via sites as diverse as Eden Camp, a heritage railway, a national park and literary legend locations. It all seemed like the perfect excuse for a day trip to see what made this part of my home county deserving of such an accolade. It’s fair to say I’m more accustomed to a faster mode of transport in my day job, competing in the World Rally Championship (WRC), navigating for New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon as part of the Hyundai Motorsport team. Today however, I’ve swapped calling the notes in our 380 bhp Hyundai i20 WRC rally car over rock-strewn gravel tracks,
to a far more comfortable and sedate pace driving a fabulous 1960 Morris Minor 1000, courtesy of Classic Car Hire North. At the start of my journey I meet my ride for the day, affectionately known as ‘Betty’, at her home at Ampleforth Plus – a social enterprise business set up by Yorkshire based charity Autism Plus. The charity is seeking to create welcoming and stimulating environments, where adults with autism and associated learning disabilities are given the opportunity to experience work in a variety of commercial ventures, from horticulture to chocolatiers. Having ‘road tested’ some of their aforementioned confectionery as part of the car hire package, it certainly passed the taste test. Yum! I pick up the award-winning route in Pickering, home to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, something that I’ll cross paths with several times today and head out along the A170 towards Scarborough. A more agreeable start to the journey is hard to imagine, as I’m surrounded by the winding hedgerows and thickly blanketed crop fields, similar to those of the neighbouring Wolds, immortalised so vividly by Yorkshire’s David Hockney. In no time, we roll into the picturesque village of Thornton-le-Dale. Clichés here are hard to avoid. It really is the stuff of chocolate boxes (those again) and picture postcards, with an immaculate village green flanked by a babbling brook, a row of quaint Almshouses and its famous thatched cottage, a quintessentially tranquil English scene.