If you have ever driven from Lancashire to Yorkshire or vice versa on the A59, you may be familiar with this bit of road:
It’s the twisty part with a fairly steep drop on one side, between the steep but straight bits on the way out of Harrogate, and into Bolton Abbey.
It’s the part where you would not want to break down. It’s the part where we did.
Thankfully, there had been some roadworks, so there were cones further down the road. So Custard hopped out and stuck them in the road to warn people of the impending non-moving Beetle between two bends (there was a low rumbling sound, then all of a sudden, there was no acceleration when revving. Bugger.)
The RAC were called and asked to send a low loader, as Rufus is not one for being towed. They gave us an ETA of about 6pm. It was about 4pm when we broke down. Argh.
Some people gesticulated and beeped at us (yeah, coz we chose to break down here…) some lovely people (mainly VW types) stopped and asked if they could help. Lots of people pulled the special sympathetic face you pull when someone is broken down. Some people went way too fast around us, and we both started to get edgy, especially as the light was starting to fade.
Unfortunately, as one person pulled around us rather quickly, it caused a lady driving a Volvo on the opposite side of the road to have to slam on rather sharply. The young lady behind her in the Suzuki Alto also slammed on the anchors. The guy behind her in the Transit didn’t stop so sharply, and unfortunately the Alto was sandwiched between the Volvo and the Transit, with the Volvo’s towbar going through her radiator, and the Transit crushing her bumper and boot, and ending up a fair way onto the verge.
Once the Volvo driver had established her car had only cosmetic damage, she left, the Transit driver helped move the Alto to the same side of the road as Rufus, gave his details and left, leaving Rooobarb to phone the police and both of us to look after the two young ladies who were understandably shaken up. Several police cars, a camera man from BBC’s Traffic Cops, an ambulance car and a fire engine turned up, as the police pointed out that incidents on this particular stretch of the A59 are usually much, much worse.
Custard had been doing her Railway Children “flannel petticoats” bit standing on the verge slowing people down as they came down the hill, as the first police car slowed people on their way up, then at least two more police cars arrived, and the ambulance, to block the road and direct traffic.
The police decided to tow Rufus to a safer part of the road, which involved a rope around his front beam and some very slow and nerve-wracking driving up to the now infamous (to us, anyway) Kex Gill Road, as that was the only point of reference we’d had whilst trying to get the RAC and the emergency services to find us.
As we were being towed, we saw our low loader heading the other way, and he rang to ask if he’d just seen us, and turned round and came and got us loaded up in a much safer location.
Turns out, that the lovely man had a 1971 Beetle of his own that is lower than Rufus (!!!) so he got him on the wagon with ease, and brought us home, then helped us push him into the garage. What a gent.
So all in all, an eventful afternoon! Rufus will require the ministrations of Dave again to get him back on the road, but at least he made it home in one piece. We broke down in a very unfortunate place, and were very lucky to not have been involved a collision ourselves.
So much for a quiet weekend trip out, eh? Look out for us on Traffic Cops towards the end of this year or the beginning of next…