IHM – a First Timers Tale

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The AHC Eastern Centre hosted the 2023 International Healey Meeting between 27th-29th June at Knights Hill hotel on the outskirts of Kings Lynn. We have enjoyed the Northern Centre Mayday weekend before but this was our first IHM and we were a little nervous as everyone seems to know everyone else and have been coming for years.

The hotel carpark was at bursting point with Healeys, and even a Healey speed boat, when we arrived fashionably almost late after a lovely meandering route from one end of Norfolk to the other. We had a few stop-offs along the way including Wolverton Station near Sandringham, built for Queen Victoria. Well worth a visit if your nearby.

Day one was a casual affair with a friendly mingle and buffet dinner after collecting our route book and meeting schedule. As first timers at an IHM it was impressive to see the level of detail and professionalism (as a professional event organiser myself!) that goes into the event by the Eastern Centre’s volunteer team led by Steve and Kath Everest superbly assisted by Maggi, June and Dave with a host of Marshalls and helpers. Well done team, chapeau!

Day two was an early start in warm and bright conditions. We headed off for a cruise of the fast wide B roads of West Norfolk and into the North Norfolk lanes en-route to the beautiful market town of Holt to park up at the North Norfolk Steam Railway terminus.

Having boarded the steam train, and leaving our cars under the stewardship of our host Centre marshalls, we chuffed off towards the splendid Norfolk seaside town of Sheringham. It is a wonderful mix of old fashioned seaside shops and cafes as you expect but stroll further along the coast in either direction and mount Meeting Hill or the Beeston Bump for wonderful coastal views North and South. The coastal path also lets you get up close to some spectacular coastal wildlife and flora. Jane and I felt so full-up after a Knights Hill brekkie we jumped off the train at Weybourne and walked through Sheringham Park and then along the Norfolk Coast Path to Sheringham – just so we could justify an ice cream at local artisan ice cream makers Pungleberrys!

The stroll from Weybourne to Sheringham is just delightful….. and with the 10,000 steps came the opportunity to make it calorie-neutral with a seaside ice cream. We took it!

The return journey from Holt was a pleasure. Again the team found a great mix of fast, smooth and flowing B roads and quaint little Norfolk lanes. We arrived back at Knights Hill ready for a night on town and blimey, the team certainly did not let us down.

Wednesday night was Gala Night and isn’t it just great to get dressed up, meet some new friends and enjoy a quick dance????? There was also the small matter of a Cornish Raffle which we may or may not have done ok at (we were blinking’ lucky) and the team managed to raise a huge amount for the local RNLI. We retired to bed that night with great memories, many new acquaintances and feeling that owning and enjoying an Austin Healey is one of the best decisions we ever made!

Big skies at Holkham Hall…

On Thursday after a long breakfast awaiting the early morning rain to clear and sunshine to again to take over, we headed through fast flowing lanes to Holkham Hall. We were offered the privilege to enter the estate through the Triumphant Arch and South Gates towards the Monument. This route is strictly private and a unique treat for us IHMers – thank you team.

Upon arrival, we parked on Lord Leicester’s lawn (he said it was OK) and offered Estate visitors a bonus attraction. The team had arranged for a professional photographer to take group, individual and ariel shots and we can not wait to see them – I think we all made a pretty fabulous site on the private lawn.

As we headed off in convey fittingly led by Centre chairman and route book master Dave Holman, we were escorted by the drone for more video footage. The route home was stunning along the North and then West Norfolk coast even though we did not have time to explore villages and towns we passed through – maybe another trip???

On one of the narrow North Norfolk roads a team were digging a drainage ditch. They simply put a sign out saying “15 minute delay”. I think they got the most glamorous and most expensive tailback of the day anywhere in country that afternoon…

Back at Knights Hill the “afternoon cuppa” turned into a full-blown Afternoon High Tea experience with yet again the event team totally smashing all expectations we had. OMG, I never want to see another cake, scone or sandwich for at least a month!

After that, it was time to leave. All too soon…

To the organising team – thanks a million. No detail was overlooked, everything went to plan and we felt pampered.

To our fellow IHMers – thank you for being so friendly and welcoming to us on our first IHM experience. I think we might give it a go next year 🙂

Neil & Jane.