A wet Friday in mid-October saw fourteen Aston Martins descending on the Slebech Park Estate in west Wales to attend Area 18’s Autumn Weekender event.
As is always the case with Area 18’s headline events the Autumn Weekender had attracted AMOC members from far and wide, with no less than eight different areas being represented, from as far afield as Devon & Cornwall to Kent & Essex and up to the Midlands, as well as our closer neighbours in Areas 5 & 22.
Peter & Rosemary Moore stand out for having made the long journey to West Wales all the way from Kent in their immaculate Mink DB6.
Area 18 itself was well represented and there would have been more of us had it not been for some very unfortunate and wholly unavoidable last minute cancellations with two couples having to cry off with medical emergencies and poor Charles & Cathy Bartlett who discovered the contents of their beautifully restored Mk III’s sump all over their garage floor just before the off!
The Slebech Park Estate made for an excellent base for the weekend, the 650-acre estate being set off the beaten track in the heart of the Pembrokeshire National Park, commanding a stunning position on the edge of the DauGleddau Estuary. The grandiose stables and coach houses, set around a central courtyard, have been converted into rooms and a restaurant & bar.
Friday evening saw everyone getting together for a dinner at Slebech Park, renewing old acquaintances and making new ones. After dinner there was an Aston Martin themed quiz which Area 18 Assistant Rep had put together. The dinner guests had inadvertently formed themselves into teams of four when they took their places at the dinner table. The quiz was a tight fought contest with the victors taking the prize of a bottle of Taittinger Champagne, kindly donated for the occasion by AMOC HQ, by a mere one point. The successful team of winners comprised of Brian Wyatt from Area 22, Martyn O’Connor of Area 18 and Nigel Dowding and Mary Antcliff who had travelled down from Area 15.
Saturday morning dawned much brighter than the previous day and immediately after breakfast Tom & Sue Wood in their DB9 set off at the front of the group of 15 Aston Martins as we headed out for the day. Our number had been swelled to 15 that morning by the arrival of Area 15 Rep, Mark Rolfe who was joining us for the day and bringing his mother Marjorie, a local to Slebech Park, along for a bit of an outing.
Our morning journey was one of around 40 miles through glorious Welsh scenery into Carmarthenshire to visit Aberglasney House & Gardens. Aberglasney was made famous by the BBC television series “A Garden Lost in Time” which followed its restoration. Today it is quite simply one of the finest gardens in Wales.
The group enjoyed a guided history tour and then, dodging the showers, had time to explore the gardens and visit the tearooms before setting off for lunch, you never go hungry on an Area 18 event!
A relaxed lunch was taken nearby at the Y Polyn Restaurant where the group was seated in a private dining area and with an afternoon at leisure ahead of them the group dispersed to take in different parts of the region with visits being made to the coast at Dale, the home of Dylan Thomas at Laugharne and the shops of Narberth.
Saturday evening saw the group back at Slebech Park Estate for a fine dinner prepared by the chef from local produce, including fine Pembrokeshire scallops and lobster.
Sunday produced the finest day of the weekend and with long drives ahead of some of the guests people started their homeward journeys over the course of the morning, whilst others planned drives home taking in some of the wonderful scenery that the area has to offer as well as some of the great driving roads.