The Guitings unravelled

The area around Guiting Power and Temple Guiting, on the Cotswold Hills between Cheltenham and Stow-on-the-Wold, was criss-crossed by the three main trials that used the North Cotswolds – the SUNBAC Colmore and NWLMC Gloucester Trials pre-war, and the Falcon Guy Fawkes Trial in the 1950s to 1970s. After discovering Kineton, my attention turned to try and sort out all the various ‘Guitings’. Some of the locations were easy to track-down but the final missing piece of the jigsaw, the location of Lower Guiting, has only been dropped into place in the last couple of days.

  • Guiting Wood(s) (also Woodmill). This was, I think, the first section to be used in this area and appeared on the route of the 1929 Colmore Trial immediately after Kineton, which was also new for 1929. It was used on the Colmore, but not every year, up until 1952 and maybe later. Falcon used the same section, under the name Woodmill, for their Guy Fawkes Trial between 1959 and 1970, latterly split into two sections. The section starts at OS GR SP 080266 and climbs north-east on an unclassified track. This location has been verified for the Colmore by a route map in Light Car for the 1933 Colmore, and for the Guy Fawkes by original route cards.
  • New Guiting. This was used for the 1932 and 1939 Colmore Trials as an alternative to Guiting Woods. The section starts at OS GR SP 080270 and climbs east on what is now a tarmaced road.. This location has been verified by a route map in Light Car for the 1932 Colmore.
  • Guiting Special Test (also Guiting Cross and Guiting Woods). No questions about this one. The crossroads in Guiting Woods at OS GR SP 084259 was a favourite location for special tests on all three trials that used this area..
  • Lower Guiting : This is referred to in “More Wheelspin” as being used for the 1946 Colmore Trial but I was stumped, for years, because there is nowhere on any map shown as “Lower” Guiting. Then, quite by chance, I found out that the village of Temple Guiting had also been known as Lower Guiting in the past. This confirmed, sort-of, my previous guess that the section might have been one of the three tracks that climb away from the ford at OS GR SP 091254. A recent visit to the VSCC Library unearthed, in The Motor for 30th April 1947, a (poor quality) photograph of cars waiting in the queue for Lower Guiting, and yesterday’s dog walk confirmed that the photograph had been taken on the track which descends from Temple Guiting to the ford. So that eliminated one of the three possibilities for the section. After reading reports of the 1946 and 1947 Colmores in both Autocar and The Motor, and an even more careful study of the photograph in The Motor, I’m now firmly (well, 95%) of the view that the section was the track climbing to the west and avoiding the ford, rather than the track which crosses the ford and then climbs to the north.

All the Guitings discovered? Well … hopefully … Yes.

PS. For the very nerdy or very knowledgeable reader, or anyone with access to a copy of The Motor for March 20th 1946, I’m pretty certain that the author of the Colmore Report has got Lower Guiting and Guiting Wood mixed-up.