The Panther Area 9 South Wales – Pembrokeshire Tour May 10 – 13th 2016

Our base for the tour

The preliminaries. Saturday 23 and Sunday 24th April the organising committee completed the final itinerary for the two 1-day tours.

Saturday 30th April 10pm

 It’s almost here. Tuesday 10th May we all meet at Slebech Park for 3 nights and 4 days of Panther Car Club activities. The itinerary is now complete. Route maps have been distributed to all participants. 

Wednesday we tour the south west coast visiting Dale for a coffee stop then follow the coast visiting Little Haven, Broad Haven, Nolton, Newgale beach, Solva and St. David’s for a lunch stop. We then visit the ‘Blue Lagoon’ at Abereiddy before our final stop at the idyllic Porthgain. Return to hotel at leisure.

Thursday we head for the Preseli mountains with a first stop at Llys y Fran country park where we will take a coffee break before a group photo shoot in front of a dramatic backdrop. We then move on for our lunch stop at the iconic Tafarn Sinc. We will visit Pentre Ifan burial chamber before concluding the organised tour at Nevern Church, site of the ‘bleeding yew’ A leisurely or brisk return to our base for our final dinner together before departure before 11am Friday morning.

The blog will be updated daily during the tour. Keep watching !

Tuesday 10th May 2016

The group start to arrive around mid-day except for Mick and Gwen, and John & Sue who stayed over on the Monday night. A small group decided to ignore the light rain and take the circular walk around the edge of the estate. We walked through an abundance of wild garlic, fully in bloom. At least we would have a pleasant aroma on our return.

The final part of the journey was along the long drive to the park, past the small lake and back to our base, passing the cars parked  for the night.

We all met for pre-dinner drinks in the lounge  where Kay welcomed all to the 2016 Area 9 Tour. This was followed by a superb three-course dinner in the restaurant.

Wednesday 11th May 2016

We awoke to leaden skies and ‘RAIN’. The show must go on so after a short briefing we departed for Day One of the tour. Most of us managed to take in Burton, Neyland and Milford Haven. On a sunny day you will find it hard to get a more scenic view. However, even in low cloud and mist it has a magical quality. We proceeded to Dale for a very welcome coffee stop. 

The tour then continued via Broad Haven, Nolton, Newgale, Solva and on to our lunch stop at St David’s. It had now stopped raining and some venture up to town while others lunched in the Cathedral Refectory.

After a two hour break for lunch we proceeded to Abereiddy and a visit to ‘the Blue Lagoon’

The history of the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon
Some hardy, or foolish, decide to put their roofs down for the first time on the tour.

We proceeded to our final stop of the day at Porthgain and the famous Sloop Inn

On the quayside ar Porthgain

We find that Phil and Sally are celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary today so June and Kay visit the local Art & Craft gallery to purchase a suitable card to be signed by all.The journey back to the hotel was uneventful with a planned refuelling stop. Fortunately this coincided with a heavy rain shower and the cars with their roofs down were able to put them up in the shelter of the filling station.

Phil and Sally had arranged a glass of bubbles for all we all raised our glasses in a toast to our much loved couple.

Philip and Sally
A toast to our much loved couple

The dinner again was of the highest quality and a credit to the young head chef. 

A very enjoyable day in not too perfect weather!

Thursday 12th May 2016

We awoke to a dry day with a hint of sunshine.  With the cars in a filthy state after the rain and muddy roads of yesterday car cleaning started at 7am. 

Senior member Phil setting an example

A later start today leaving at 10am for our first stop at Llys y Fran country park. This is a Welsh Water reservoir built to satisfy the water needs of the petrochemical industry on the haven. After coffee we proceeded to our first real photo opportunity at the base of the dam. When we did a recce some two weeks previously the overflow was cascading over the dam wall and was a spectacular sight. Today, just a plain concrete wall!

At the base of Llys y Fran dam

The closed road down to the base and up to the car parking area is used a few times a year as a hill climb event under the control of the Swansea Motor Club. This was a very pleasurable experience albeit not at their speed!

We proceeded at a leisurely pace to our lunch stop at ‘Y Tafarn Sinc’. David Bath, our honorary historian reliably informed us that the interior was not original ‘but very well done’ Some compliment.

Y Tafarn Sinc

With limited parking at our next stop we reverted to two groups. Elwyn leading the first group and Gary the second with Chris acting as the ‘sweeper’ at the rear. The first group arrive at Pentre Ifan burial chamber to find that miraculously we now had eight cars.

Bob our tallest member rearranging the head stone
The first group framed by the famous stones

The first group made their way to the final stop of the day at Nevern Church, site of the ‘bleeding yew, one of the oldest Celtic crosses, and an example of the ancient Ogam writing. We were joined here by the second group. 
The bleeding yew

This being the end of the prearranged tour everyone made their own way, including chosen stops, back to our base. With such a beautiful evening we took light refreshments on the patio.

The farewell dinner was again of the highest quality. Kay thanked everyone for their presence and support and paid a fitting tribute to all of the hotel staff who had made this such a memorable tour.

Friday 13th May 2016

The hotel manager had requested a photo shoot of all the cars arriving/departing the venue and if we had any objections to their using these in their publicity. Everyone agreed that we woul be pleased to cooperate after being looked after so well. The photographer was the head chef, is there no end to his talents! His first task was a group photo in front of the hotel.

The group photograph

The cars ‘arriving’

After many goodbyes and ‘see you soon’ Phil and Sally were the first to leave for their long journey back to Lincolnshire. Eventually we all departed with a cheery wave from the young manager who had stayed until the last car went.

David and Vanita, Gary and Kay, Elwyn and Margaret decided to spend the morning on the Eastern side of the estuary as it was such a glorious sunny day. 

We explored the following – 

Our coffe stop at Lawrenny
The incoming tide at Lawrenny
The cars at Cresswell Quay

We stopped for lunch and a visit to Carew Castle and Tidal Mill.

Carew Castle
The Castle from the Tidal Mill
We said our goodbyes and motored back to our respective homes- top down in glorious sunshine. 

Until the next time………

Techno-Classica Essen 2016

The journey planned – Cardiff to Essen by rail.

The Participants:- John & Margaret Powell, Chris and Pauline Wakeham, Margaret and Elwyn Thomas. All members of Area 9 Panther Car Club South Wales.

Day 1 The Journey

Elwyn and Margaret depart Aberaeron to pick up John and Margaret @ 7am Tuesday 5th April 2016. We will meet with Chris and Pauline at the station.

The train departs from Cardiff Central at 11.25am so not too much time to lose.

 Coffee before boarding Depart on time 11.25. 

Beer and wine served from the ‘free bar’ and a  picnic meal provided by Pauline.

Arrived London Paddington 2 hours later. Taxi to St Pancas £11.20 for 6, cheaper than Tube.

Another coffee break at St Pancras


Eurostar departs on time for Brussels 3.04pm.

Eurostar is comfortable and quick 296kph at some stage.

Where did that half full glass come from Mr. Powell?

 Changed trains to DB ICE at Brussels with another change at Cologne. Arrived Essen HBF at 10.00pm. Immediately found a six seat Taxi and arrived at Hotel Bredeney 10 minutes later. A quickish drink at the bar and then to bed.


Our hotel for the next three nights
Day 2

Breakfast at the hotel before leaving for Villa Hugel the family home of the Krupp Dynasty.




Some of the maintenance machinery- included for ET!


Coffee at the Restaurant Hugoloss then a gentle stroll along the Baldeneysee shore before a splendid lunch at Suedtiroler-stuben restaurant. 


John’s lunch, ham hock, dumplings and sauerkraut, Margaret P had turkey salad followed by cheesecake, Pauleen had baked potato salad and the three others omelette and salad. All washed down with a small quantity of German ale.

We retired to the hotel for light refreshments and recuperation ready for the evening.

The evening was arranged by the Essen Panther Stand team at the Zur Wolsbachquelle Restaurant. Originally due to travel by bus this was soon changed to taxis because of the heavy rain. Another super evening with good food, drink and excellent company. Arriving back at the hotel at around 11.30 for most it was time for bed with another busy day tomorrow at the show.

Is this all we do, eat and drink?

Day 3

Early start today it’s showtime. Taxi to Essen Messe was slow due to heavy traffic. On arrival at Messe West  we decided to proceed to the Panther Stand in Hall 9.1 to give us a reference point and allowing us to split up and do our own thing.

The stand theme and layout is Panthers Snow Challenge. It is based on our French Panther members winter run. Only for the brave or foolish!


This is Roland Klause’s Kallista. Would you allow your car to be treated like this?
The second car on the stand was an ex-UK DeVille in splendid condition.


Ladies in waiting?
Some of the stand team and guests

A general view of one Hall
An interesting Pininfarina concept from 1970

This is easily the biggest classic car show in Europe. The major  German manufacturers have  supported well, Mercedes had a huge presence, also BMW and Audi. It is well worth a visit, it is a completely different show to the NEC show in November. Panther Car Club have exhibited there for the past eight years in support of our European members.

After a long day at the show it was time again for food and drink! This evening it was the brewery, beer garden and restaurant ‘Dampfe’ which is ‘steam’ in German. This being our final night in Germany we were again invited to join the Panther team for another memorable evening.

 Juat two of the dishes served

John’s sausage

Elwyn’s pudding
Thanks to Val, Ray, Geli, Roland and Norbert for such a warm welcome and for sharing the fantastic German hospitality with us.

Day 4 The return journey.

Uneventful trip in reverse of the ‘out’ journey. The actual journey time is some 7 hours but the total time is around 11 to include train changes during scheduled transfers. No ‘free bar and picnic’ but lots of catnaps!

Tired, but contented. Holidays are such hard work

Until our next adventure……….

Chris, Pauline, John, Margaret, Elwyn and Margaret signing off.