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Day 2 of our 3 day trip: Ian Forster’s Jensen Collection

We left Shaw Hill Golf and Spa Hotel mid morning to continue with our journey up to Cumbria. As we climbed higher and higher up the hills we quickly begun to realise that our decision to pass the previous fuel station without stopping, thinking ‘we’ll go to the next one’, was not the best decision to have made.

The roads were getting smaller and smaller and gauge was getting lower and lower.

Eventually we stumbled across a small village called Alston and as we entered the village we were welcomed by the bright lights of a Spar fuel station.

Source: Visit Cumbria

High up in the North Pennines, Alston claims to be the highest market settlement in England, being about 1000 feet above sea level. It is also remote, about 20 miles from the nearest town. From every direction Alston is approached over a broad, heather-clad Pennine landscape which has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Set on the upper reaches of the River South Tyne, it lies within the Eden district of Cumbria.

Alston has a steep cobbled main street with a distinctive market cross, and many stone buildings dating from the 17th Century. Next to the entrance to the Church, is a building dated 1681. The Angel pub to its left is dated 1611, and the white building left of the pub is dated 1687. It is a bustling town, with a reputation for delicious locally made specialities such as Cumberland Mustard, and Alston Cheese.

Alston Moor grew as a lead mining community over four centuries ago, with Alston town serving the mining families. You can see the history of the lead mining industry in the area at the Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre, nearby.

Alston is the starting point for the South Tynedale Railway, England’s highest narrow gauge railway.

St Augustine’s Church
 was built in 1869, but records show a church has existed here as long as 1145 AD. Inside the church is an interesting clock, brought from Dilston Hall, the home of the Earl of Derwentwater.

The Gossipgate gallery, displaying regional arts and crafts, is housed in the former Congregational Church.

The A 686 from Penrith in Cumbria to Corbridge in Northumberland, which passes through Alston, was chosen by the AA Magazine as one of their ‘Ten Great Drives’. Between Alston and Melmerby, the road climbs the Hartside Pass to a height of 1904 ft, from where there are magnificent views across the Solway Firth to Scotland. This long and steep climb also forms part of the Sea to Sea Cycle Route.

Part of The Pennine Way long distance walk is through East Cumbria, from Alston, and Garrigill, over Cross Fell (which at 2930 feet is the highest point on the Pennine Way), Great Dun Fell, towards Dufton, then on to High Cup Nick and Cow Green Reservoir, on the border between Cumbria and County Durham.

Whilst filling up our truck we were approached by a very smartly dressed gentleman impressed by our trailer and intrigued by the logo as to what we may have inside.

The gentleman in question was Ian. After a brief conversation with Ian he invited us to take a look inside his workshops at his own collection of classics. Of course, we obliged.

Little did we know that Ian was in fact Ian Henderson from J.H Henderson and Sons and his collection of classics did not just stop at the 3 vehicles he had within his workshops. As he continued his tour with us into his own museum where he housed one of the most incredible collection of classic and vintage memorabilia we have ever seen.

If you are ever visiting the area on your holidays do be sure to pay a little visit to J.H Henderson’s Hub Museum and thank you so much to Ian and his team for welcoming us in with open arms.

On we went with our journey up the hill to visit the Jensen 541 convertible, the main reason for our journey…

Upon arrival, we were astounded to discover not 1 Jensen but 4 incredible Jensen’s to look around.

The main reason for our visit was to view a very rare Jensen 541 convertible. We are considering converting our Jensen 541R into a convertible and Mr Forster (owner) kindly invited us along to view his and talk through the options.

We can not thank Mr and Mrs Forster enough for their amazing hospitality. One of the nicest gentleman you could care to meet and his knowledge and passion for Jensens is an absolute credit to the Jensen brand. it was lovely to see his convertible and to discuss the options with him and we have walked away from the day almost certain that we will look to create the next 541 convertible.

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