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Check out the highlight video from the Kielder 2020 event above.

It’s been an interesting year to say the least. Car events across the world have either had to be put on hold or cancelled altogether due to the ongoing battle that surrounds COVID-19. While the ease in lockdown across most areas seems to be relaxing. There has been that urge in wanting to get back out there and blow the cobwebs off the various exhausts within the club.

On our show calendar, we had previously held discussions during the lockdown period to go out for a drive somewhere across the North East. Across the Northumbria section of the country there are some amazing backdrops perfect for such an event. It would be a no brainer to pick Kielder Forest & National Park as a place to head to. Initially the plans were for something to do at some point in the year but we had more of an incentive to do so.

Photo by Lee Hastings - @Beanage1

I was contacted by club president of Abarth Club Hertfordshire – Dan Deyong to see if we would like to combine a charity drive out under #DriveAndHelp organised by Roadstr. A company which promotes an app to use for all car enthusiasts where you can arrange meets, upload photos and more. Pretty much a Facebook/Instagram combined style app. Following the discussion with Dan it was a no brainer. We needed to get back out there and this seemed ideal to get the plan in motion to bring it altogether.

Photo by Matthew Misz - @_1131_Photography

In the background to this was further discussions with Abarth UK with the various clubs across the country to see if we could get as many eyes on the charity run as possible. Joined on the day would see ourselves, East Midlands, Essex and Hertfordshire clubs do their bit to promote the event and raise funds to add to the overall total. Each club would receive some brilliant goodies kindly donated by Abarth UK featuring official Abarth headwear and also a printed poster as featured at the Silverstone Classic event back in 2019. A big thank you to Abarth UK for providing these as they went down a treat to the club members who attended the event.

Photo by Lee Hastings - @Beanage1

The location organising was left in the hands of both Matthew & Kurtis Misz to scout the area to provide the ideal route to the final destination at Kielder. A drive out to ensure it would give the members a change to put their cars to the test on some interesting roads. This was planned a week prior to the event in the hope things would run smoothly.

The day of the event would see everyone in attendance arrive at the Go Outdoors car park based in Westerhope, Newcastle. Around 30 or so cars would turn up all providing their donations through the Roadstr app to confirm their attendance. Last minute checks were carried out to hopefully ensure no one would be left behind. Dealing with a convoy of cars can be challenging in itself, but as there are more numbers and approaching a route only a small % have been on before would see us hope for the best.

Photo by Matthew Misz - @_1131_Photography

No sooner as we’re hitting the main roads on the route up those tricky traffic lights would prevent the cars all following in order. Luckily for the Roadstr app would provide a tracking system via GPS to show where the pack would be heading towards. A brief stop down a random B road would allow everyone to get together again collectively to allow the catching up. There would be some difficult roads on the route where I’m sure for those who have modified their cars would have felt the odd rub, bump or scrape which wasn’t a nice experience to go through but got through it relatively ok.

Worryingly the further outback we were going the lack of signal was hitting all of us. Initially the plan was once we got to the final point would see both the club and Abarth Club Hertfordshire pair up via Instagram live story mode to showcase both events for people to view. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Not only this but it also had an impact on the draw of the printed poster competition that would have been announced on the day. Again, due to no signal and time constraints it would appear to be too difficult.

Photo by Matthew Misz - @_1131_Photography

A quick stop for that all important toilet break would allow both Matthew Misz and Lee Hastings put their camera skills to use as you can see from the various photos provided within the blog. Top work as always.

It wouldn’t be a convoy without going down a couple of wrong turns. One of which had us pretty much going into a random farmers estate with minimal space to turn around all 30 cars. Not something I ever hope to experience again but it proved to raise a smile nonetheless. Due to the GPS playing tricks on the route would have us casually driving through a field with a load of Cows happily grazing away. I bet they didn’t expect a rainbow of vehicles passing through on their turf. Neither did people suggesting to take a back road out of the way to then have to wait for a load of hot hatchbacks having to say “sorry” as each one drove on by.

Photo by Lee Hastings - @Beanage1

We had finally reached the last point of the drive. Kielder Reservoir with enough space to squeeze us all in. A chance to park up and get stuck into those packed lunches. Sadly we didn’t have the drone available to showcase how beautiful the area really is. A place for those outside of the area well worth making the trip up to check it out if you ever get the chance. One by one would see each headwear piece provided by Abarth UK passed on to those who attended.

Photo by Lee Hastings - @Beanage1

Like all events we attend we have the chance to reflect afterwards. What went well… what didn’t work so well and more. A number of points were raised about it but like anything, we can learn from it and try new things going forward. Overall the majority enjoyed the drive out and no doubt we’ll do this again at a new location across the North East at some point in the future.

Photo by Lee Hastings - @Beanage1

Special thanks again to everyone involved from the partners, clubs and members making it possible. Also congratulations to club member Eduardo Benito for winning the Abarth UK Printed Poster. The draw had taken place a day later so well done to him!

The passion on the day was clear to see bringing everyone together after a number of difficult months. Long may it continue.

If you'd like to see more photos from the event then please check out our club Instagram account - @AbarthClubNorthEast

Photo by Lee Hastings - @Beanage1

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