Man completes fundraising vintage tractor tour

A local man has returned from a 600 mile tour of Devon and Cornwall on a vintage tractor to raise money for the air ambulance in both counties

Saturday 25th June 2022 4:00 pm
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Tractor challenge
Tractor challenge (Graham Jackson )

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77-year-old local countryman and agricultural engineer John Foale has completed a 12 day / 600 mile vintage tractor circumnavigation of Devon and Cornwall in aid of the Devon and Cornwall Air Ambulance Trusts.

The convoy comprised a Leyland 262 tractor (The “Beast”), a Ford 3000 tractor, two WW2 Willys Jeeps, assorted trailers and two support vehicles (other vehicles joined for various sections of the route).

Setting out from in Aveton Gifford early on Saturday 4th June, John and the team headed west, closely following the route of the South West Coast Path. The first day saw the team travel through Plymouth, across the Torpoint Ferry, on to Looe, finishing just outside Polperro.

Travelling about 60 miles per day, and camping each night, the team followed the coast via Portscatho, Lizard Point, Coverack, Land’s End, St Ives and St Minver, arriving in time to spend two days at the Royal Cornwall Show at Wadebridge. The Cornwall Air Ambulance people made John very welcome, and his restored 40-year-old Leyland 262 tractor was parked next to their stand for both days.

After the show, the team continued the journey along the rugged north coast via Boscastle, Bude, Bideford, and down the infamous, brake-warming Porlock Hill! The convoy turned southwards, following the Devon/Somerset border to Tiverton and Branscombe. The last two days were along the south coast through Exmouth and Torbay to Stoke Gabriel. The last day was a short run, finishing at the Fisherman’s Rest in Aveton Gifford at lunchtime on Wednesday 15th June.

Some outstanding coastal views were experienced by the troupe, albeit the weather was mixed. The route was along mostly minor roads. Many back lanes were challenging, but they were expertly negotiated by the tractor drivers including a 30% gradient and several hairpin bends, which were not designed for vehicles with wide trailers!

It is expected that the adventure will raise in excess of £2,000 for the air ambulance trusts. It was an unforgettable experience for all involved. Most importantly it promoted the air ambulance cause and was a reminder of what a beautiful part of the world we have on our doorstep.

John has a JustGiving page where donations can be made to either Devon or Cornwall Air Ambulance Trusts.

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