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Molly's 'Heartbeat' Road Trip

With most, if not all, car shows I was booked into being cancelled due to COVID-19, I was devastated I wasn’t able to take my MGB GT to any shows. During lockdown we made some big improvements to the car and were things I was eager to share with friends and fellow enthusiasts.

Over messages, myself and a few friends decided to book a getaway road trip whilst in keeping with social distancing and sanitation guidelines. My friend Lee and I are huge fans of the ITV Drama Heartbeat. So much so, Lee’s 1963 Austin A40 Farina is the actual one they used in the show. ‘BNK 228A’ was driven and owned by character Dr Summerbee. With this in mind, we decided on the perfect location for our road trip. This was to be the village of Goathland up on the North Yorkshire Moors, the filming location of Heartbeat and known in the show as ‘Aidensfield’. 99% of Goathland and its features have been untouched since the 1960’s and earlier, so it’s no wonder Yorkshire Television chose it as their filming location. Another friend of mine and Lee’s, Steven wanted to tag along in his 1974 Wolseley Six. 3 gorgeous British classics, one amazing location. My Dad also tagged along as my co-driver and navigator.

Thursday morning involved some last minute rushing (as usual in my routines) and convoying with Lee and Matthew to Tamworth Services, where we rendezvoused with Steven and the Wolseley. After a 4 hour journey with a few stops, we entered the start of what’s known as ‘Heartbeat Country’ and the breath-taking views of the North Yorkshire Moors; passing our first famous location RAF Fylindales and its huge ballistic missile warning radar. Driving into Goathland, having a genuine Heartbeat car in front and a Wolseley behind, I had the theme song by Nick Berry in my head. Dad and I checked into The Goathland Hotel, aka the Aidensfield Arms in Heartbeat. On the first evening we settled on a traditional fish & chips in Whitby. Rumours were Whitby had some of the best fish and chips in the country. That turned out to be true!

We experienced a few small minor issues with some of the cars, and being far up on the moors we weren’t hopeful of some mechanical help with tools we didn’t have. Luckily our hotel staff gave us contact details to Mathewsons Auctions, the family business featured on the TV show ‘Bangers & Cash’. We got in touch and they were more than happy to help. We made the 20 minute journey to their Thornton-Le-Dale unit and got to meet the cast of the show. This wouldn’t have happened if we had a few issues, so we were all kind of glad we had a few issues! The following few days involved us taking our cars to various filming locations we knew about from Heartbeat and exploring the village and the lovely Cafés. We visited Scarborough on the Saturday evening and the building where they filmed the Heartbeat spin off show ‘The Royal’. On the Sunday, my fellow MG Car Club Young Member Josh joined us for some filming and photography. We managed to find the exact spot where Lee’s A40 did a fast driving scene and where we were set up, would have been where the film crew would have been years ago.

On the way back from Scarborough, I have to say was the most dramatic drive I’ve had in the MG. Driving the MG, we had the rest of the crew in front in a modern SUV. At the dead of night we lost the convoy. On top of the North Yorkshire Moors, with no lights at all, no signal, heavy rain and even animals running out in front of us! Safe to say however, the MG didn’t miss a beat. It did me incredibly proud and got us safely back to Goathland where pints and ales were waiting for us. I experienced the steepest roads I’ve ever driven on, but still our cars did us incredibly proud. We test drove each other’s cars to see just how different, yet similar, they all are too!

I can’t really begin to describe how much this trip meant to us all. After a year of cancelled car shows and lockdown, being able to get out and about with friends (socially distanced) and our cars was so needed. Seeing my own car at filming locations I’ve been watching on TV for years was truly incredible and like a dream come true. Tourists, hikers and fellow Heartbeat fans were admiring the three cars around the village and parking them outside the village shops, they were like celebrities. People asking questions about them and taking photos. Out and about we were receiving miles of happy faces and waves, all things that have been hard to achieve during what’s turned out to be a mostly negative year.

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