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    nasty moment

    I decided to have a couple of days away in the Outlook on Exmoor. I was trying to get to County Gate without going up the dreaded Porlock Hill - OK I accept I am a wimp! To do so I had to take a tortuous route through Simonsbath and up to Malmsmead and to Oare and then to Robbers bridge most of the time driving along high sided single track roads with very few passing places praying noone would br coming the other way.
    I had noticed on the map the road up to the main road had a spot with two little arrows but I have driven up roads like this before and did not anticipate a problem. The lane was narrow, steep and wooded with steep drops on either side. I was down to first gear and then came upon a right angle bend which appeared to be almost on the vertical. The front wheels started spinning and the engine stalled. I am stuck blocking the lane unable to go forward and behind me is stone wall and a steep drop. Panic set in tried to phone the RAC = no signal - then the police - failed call! After what seemed an age a car appeared round the corner and the driver - an offduty farmer reversed
    the Roma back down the hill negotiating many blind bends. I was very grateful but pretty shaken up by the experience. Maybe I should have faced my fears and taken on Porlock Hill - I dont think it could have been worse!
    Lizzie

    #2
    Isn't there still an alternative way to the top of Porlock? Years since I used it, but I remember there is a hairpin bend. Even so it is much easier on vehicles than the direct hill.
    Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

    Comment


      #3
      Oh yes,I remember that very spot,I have twice found myself there,each time in a bigger vehicle than the outlook that I have now, it scared the crap out of me too.Why the hell isn't it signed,its a deathtrap. you poor thing,I have great sympathy for you.Porlock is a bugger too,its so steep and the climb up is very long.
      Other places to avoid - the road down to Abbotsbury swannery, about 1 in 4.
      Catterick edge - about 1 in 3.1/2.
      I just stay away from bad spots. Blow the scenic view.I believe there is a private toll road around Porlock hill, but its been years for me.
      one of the more interesting threads in life's rich tapestry.
      Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

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        #4
        ooh Lizzie!

        That's exactly the sort of thing I would have done. Out of the frying pan, into the fire! Nearly did exactly the same on a high pass in the Lakes off the A6 - single track, passing places - then a ruddy great bus full of tourists comes the other way! To this day I don't know how I managed to get out of his way or vice-versa. And the drop was sheer.

        Also a three(hundred) point turn after going the wrong way down a narrow, terraced one-way street as well.


        I'm with Ian on this one, blow the scenic view... Now I have a car+caravan double that!

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          #5
          Poor Lizzie - I know the Oare / Robbers Bridge bit well - we do it regularly on the motorbike - but wouldn't choose to do it in a Romahome!! That hairpin bend is a bit unexpected, isn't it - but it IS beatiful down there.

          Why didn't you go up the Porlock toll road? Very pretty, and only a couple of quid.

          We were around that area last Sunday - did the beatiful Heddon Valley - Woody Bay ( where Elkie Brooks used to live ) - Valley of the Rocks - and down to our favourite, Lynmouth !!

          Mike

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            #6
            I almost mentioned "toll road" in my post, but as it was so long ago I thought I might have mis-remembered.
            My knowledge of that road comes from from using it to avoid another (extended) scary moment on Porlock the previous day.
            I caught up with a very early Morris Minor carrying four people while riding my500cc AJS motorcycle combination. I found my bike could not travel as slowly as he, grinding along in 1st gear. So inevitably I gradually caught him up. I knew that once stopped I would be unable to re-start and I feared the outfit would overturn if I tried to turn round. The bike had a manual advance/retard ignition lever and I found that by fully retarding the ignition I could (just) match his progress of about half walking pace.
            Luckily, near the top there was a spot on the verge obviously used as an unofficial lay-by. I pulled in there with my heart pounding and smoke rising around my knees. My beautiful chromed exhausts were bright blue along their entire length, smoke was pouring out of the oil tank and the engine did not stop ticking as it cooled down for several minutes. An AA man parked there could not understand how the engine had continued to function in that state.
            I imagine the Morris Minor driver was probably as scared as me!
            Jim.
            Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

            Comment


              #7
              If that had been me I would probably have needed a change of underwear!! Thank heavens for the farmer, your knight in shining armour.

              Perhaps we should have a thread of 'roads/hills to avoid'

              A few weeks back hubby missed a turning and we ended up in a single track lane with a sharp bend going uphill, I just said put your foot down and go for it!! I wanted to get out of that situation as quick as possible. Phew .. we were lucky it wasn't too long and we didn't meet another vehicle.
              Jessie

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                #8
                nasty moment

                Thank you all for your supportive replies. I did feel really scared but foolish at the same time as I thought I should be able to get myself out of the situation without having to ask for help. My son said I should have been able to reverse down the hill myself but it was very steep, very windy and also slippery with fallen leaves.
                This actually happened last Sunday so , Yamaha we may have seen each other at some point during the day!

                I had thought about the toll road but there are two roads one from porlock and one from Porlock weir and was not sure which would be safest. Also there looked to be a nasty bend one of the roads and I had begun not to trust the maps. After talking to a coach driver at County Gate I decided to go down Porlock Hill which I have to say was pretty easy but would still no longer be happy to drive up. Am I being unnecessarily cautious? County Gate is a beautiful spot and the route through Porlock and up the hill is so much quicker.
                Does anyone have experience of the toll roads and which is safest to take?
                I love Exmoor but this experience has rather shaken my confidence in tackling any but the wellknown routes which seems a shame.

                Lizzie

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hi Lizzie

                  I have a real fear of this kind of road, and have on occasion used You tube to view some of the routes that I may have to use and decided not to do them and go out of my way, and that is just ridiculous as it could be worse as you have found out.

                  A few years ago I did Porlock in an Outlook and it was absolutely fine. I kind of clenched my teeth and went for it. Needed to drop a gear but it was manageable. I think to myself that my father in law used to do it in a really old car and modern vehicles can cope with most situations.

                  I did similar to you in Derbyshire in our Dimension and instead of following the main road I trusted Satnav and followed her route. My panic was rising as fast as the windy narrow hill road in front of me. I prayed no one would come the other way. Once through I felt fine and now that I know what the van is capable of I feel much better and much more confident.

                  Would still avoid Porlock hill though but will note your comment about the other route.

                  Does anyone know what the toll road is like, is it much better or worse or about the same. Maybe it is less steep but narrower or more sheer drops. I like to choose my fear.

                  Don't let this experience put you off, it has happened to loads of us.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    nasty moment

                    Thank you for your encouraging words. Like you I would be interested to hear peoples opinions on the toll road. There seems to be a road from Porlock and one from Porlock Weir. I was unsure which one to take. Does everyone go up Porlock Hill without difficuty?

                    Lizzie

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Lizzie, I think it depends on the vehicles around you to an extent viz twolitres Morris Minor experience.

                      Once we got caught a few vehicles behind two big coaches full of passengers. Both of them were having major probs getting up so the queue behind got longer and longer. Eventually they ground to a halt accompanied by some rolling back from the second coach. The first driver got all his passengers out and did it alone after much grinding and effort. Then he came back and drove the second one up - what a hero!

                      Passengers had to walk up then the huge queue of stationary traffic had to get started. It was pretty scary but the (hired) Hymer we were in just purred up it.

                      I'm not sure i'd like to take the Duo up though.
                      Jules

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Lizzie - the Toll road goes from Porlock. You take the turning for Porlock Wier, then immediately take the LH turning up the Toll road. There is also a popular campsite just past the Toll road turning, on the RHS.

                        The Toll road is a very nice, easy climb - a bit narrow in places - with some tight bends - but no probs for a Romahome, I would say. Plenty of places near the top to take in the view, and have a cuppa!!

                        Mike
                        Last edited by Yamaha; 19-08-2010, 17:29.

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                          #13
                          Should have called my son out Lizzie, he's on call for;

                          http://www.exmoor-srt.org.uk/

                          Tony Anchorman

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Have a look at this video of a double decker bus going up!

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K903qyuJco

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Flo View Post
                              Have a look at this video of a double decker bus going up!

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K903qyuJco
                              I think this is the best way to do porlock hill,sitting in an armchair with a cup of tea watching it on video. The problem with Porlock is not only is it steep its also very long and thats what boils old engines.Modern cars dont seem to have too much trouble with it,as long as you are not stuck behind a bus, but still its best avoided.
                              Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

                              Comment

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