The Tramway Village people at Crich in Derbyshire hold a number of special themed events during the year and their Beetle Drive has become a firm favourite in the calendar. The 2011 event was held on 25th September. As in previous years the interpretation was quite liberal and I do wonder how much longer it will be known as the Beetle Drive. I guess the “New Beetle” is a Beetle in many people’s eyes (I regard it as a Golf in fancy dress) and the air-cooled Type 2 Transporter in its various incarnations has always been closely associated, but this year saw a number of very modern VW water-cooled vans which were, in my eyes, definitely pushing their luck!
This year᾿s event coincided with the second Major Ivan Hurst Historic VW Event at the REME Museum, Arborfield, Reading, where the Historic VW Club had a major presence. However, a few members who were unable to go that far south came along to Crich to fly the flag.
Here are a few pictures I took of the event.
The Club pitch, three Historic Beetles and two Split-screen vans. The interloping yellow Beetle was a personal Japanese import that was rather special, so we made him welcome.
As can be seen, the weather was wet and this had a dramatic effect on the attendance.
The parade of Beetles was sparse this year and included several very modern non-Beetle non-air-cooled boxes on wheels.
I have no idea what the character standing in front of the dark blue bus in the distance thought he was trying to do!
The red trike parked on the left is a factory-built machine.
Two views of the Japanese import Beetle. The spec included a fuel injected engine with catalytic converter and full air conditioning. The black painted flash along the sides in the style of the Jeans Beetle, simply said Beetle.
A well turned out transporter with an unusual vehicle for a load.
The fan this year hosted fewer vehicles than usual, two depot access lines were kept clear for tram movements.
Crich is more than just a Tramway Museum. It is a lovely village setting and has a nature and sculpture walk incorporated into the site. Some wonderful wood sculptures are carved on site and this is a selection.
This magnificant head is lurking in a clearing in the woods.
Some you have to look carefully to spot.
They are carved out of inverted tree trunks and root stumps.
Some you have to look very carefully to spot.
In previous years, each participant has received a small brass plaque to commemorate the event. This year, they departed from that tradition and dispensed a magnetic button badge which was, I thought, a great let-down.
I started going to the Crich Beetle Drive when I lived at Belper, only half an hour away. Now that I’ve moved to the Lincolnshire coast, it will be too far to travel over for the day. So, sadly, 2011 may be my last visit to Crich.
More details of the Crich Tramway Village can be found here.
This page published 26th September 2011 © J S Rastall
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