The Only Way is Full Tilt! – Part 3

Tip right next to the Corinth Canal on Tuesday. Another full strip out but hopefully not another new phone required! Young Matt did say that although it was only 15’c he was still breaking a sweat so just imagine the full Middle East heat that the haulage elders had to put up with! Unloading went without a hitch and it was straight back to the boat to Italy as now the pressure is on to get home before the weekend.

Back on the boat once empty and head up to Modena to load the dreaded tiles. As it is Matt does have a pressing engagement that he has to get home for. On and off the boat on Wednesday, back into Ancona and up the road a little to Rimini for Wednesday night supper. A true retro job like this wouldn’t be complete without a little bribery and corruption. This came in the form of an over confident parking attendant at Rimini Nord trying to charge Matt €10 for the pleasure of free parking. To save any injuries or hospital visits Matt settled on €5 to get a quiet night!

So into Modena on Thursday morning for what turned out to be a quick load up of tiles for three drops in the south east of England. The rates on times have always been horrendous whether they are from Italy or Spain but as with most backloads they serve a purpose and get you home with diesel paid for. In this case as tilts of a certain age aren’t necessarily the driest then a load of tiles was a safe bet and there are plenty of loads available. Once again open up both sides of the tilt, this is a lot easier as tile pallets are low so you only need to pull the TIR cord, open either up half way up and then drop the sides. I’d still give most of us a quick workout and a moist brow but simple enough for an experienced hand.

I have no doubt that once load MJC was off and into a foot down Friday although it’s still early Thursday. The old DAF would have been puffing a bit up through the mountains but once down and into France it’s a straight run back to the UK.

Yet another good trip for the man from Delmonte Essex. For those wanting to run your own truck then there is a huge element of making your own luck. Put the hard work in and with the right contacts it can be a very enjoyable way of life. With a supportive and understanding family behind you, the only restriction is how long you are happy to be away for and those who know, this too is in the hands of the rates and your customers.

Hopefully a new long distance diary to come next week as I have a new volunteer. I say volunteer as I didn’t pester for it like I do with Matt and Marshy!

Dick Snows Diary 27/02/1984

The Final Part……

Arrived at Border to a fairly long queue. Must try and do 8 hours if I am to be home tomorrow…………


My guess is Uncle Dick made it back which is why the last entry was rather short and there was no arrival entry.

I have to say I always enjoy reading Uncle Dicks diaries, over and over. I feel a luck man to have two of them, 1984 and 1968. The ’84 one is very different and perhaps suggests Dick was getting tired of the job. That said the detail and notes in both diaries is what I love, the phone numbers, the names and everything else. If you’ve all enjoyed this series I will find another complete trip, which there aren’t many, and do another series for you. Perhaps the 1968 diary next time. One of my favourite photos of Uncle Dick and AOO 68X, the truck most likely to have been driven during this trip.

Dick Snows Diary 26/02/1984

(Sunday – TB) Had a very lazy day. Didn’t get up until 1330hrs. Cleaned cabin, secured load AGAIN. Adjusted trailer brakes AGAIN. Had a nice shower, washed underwear, had lunch and watched winter sports only Austrian tele. Hope to move off at 2145hrs for home. There is bound to be a long queue at Salzburg border.

Parked up: Border Walserberg / Sharzbach, A/D.

The Only Way is Full Tilt! – Part 2

Once again I’m not going to say to much about Part 2 of the lads holiday journey to Greece as Matts words will be fine and to be fair there’s only one or two ways of saying some things and diary details aren’t very easy to fluff up!

“Steady run down from Calais. I Took the national road from Tournus down past Jayat. Then back on motorway briefly at Bourg-en-Bresse. I came back off at Point de Ain to run the national again down past the resistance memorial.”

“Back on motorway at Nantes and called it a night just through the other side of Mont Blanc at Courmayeur.”


“Set of late as I got up late got all day to do just 400KM. I called in at Carisio for a shower and lunch and I also bumped into Leroy from Fly By Nite.”

“I was away after a couple of hours off and steady on down to the ristorante at Modena sud.”


“I head down to Ancona and park up. I am due to ship on the Sunday ferry as it’s cheaper and not tipping in Greece till Tuesday. I’m not a fan of Ancona port but as there is no Sunday running I had to get there for Saturday to get parked and ready for the boat.”

Dick Snows Diary 24/02/1984

Met Roger Hayward and other English at the Belgrade customs. Spent all morning getting ready for the off. Managed to get away at 1430hrs so will definitely have to spend the weekend in Europe, never mind should be home for the following one. Tea at 1800/1900hrs, I tend on having an early night, there’s no rush now.

Parked up: Near Zagreb, YU.

Dick Snows Diary 23/03/1984

Started to load at 0830hrs and finished at 1330hrs but to late for customs today. Load was tractor tyres and a very dirty place to load. Everywhere was covered in carbon black. I can imagine what it is like in the summer. They certainly did have a lot of snow, there is till plenty about and very cold indeed. Night heater ON.

Parked up: Belgrade Customs, YU.

Dick Snows Diary 22/02/1984

I put the clock back 2 hours last night. Up at 0530hrs but blocked in car park. Never mind but must be in Belgrade tonight (today is Wednesday – TB) for loading on Thursday for England. Arrived Yugoslavia 1200hrs, long time at customs. Proceeded to Belgrade to load tyres for the UK. Met 2 Falcongates who told me John Jones had returned to Sofia with alternator trouble, pity I could have helped him.

Parked up: Belgrade, YU.

Dick Snows Diary 21/02/1984

Left again at 0445hrs for Istanbul & Kapicule. Had to wait til 1000hrs to cross the bridge. Arrived Kapicule, bathed, washed clothes. Take on 650 litres diesel and 800DM (Deutchmarks) from Young Turk. I arrived Kapikule at 1430hrs and eventually got away from the Bulgarian side at 2215hrs. Nearly 8 hours in the queue – absolutely knackered!

Parked up: Svilengrad, BG.

The Only Way is Full Tilt!

So I got a WhatsApp a few days ago with a few photos on, nothing unusual about that as my driver pals often send me photos of their travels. But, but when I saw it was from Mr Essex himself, Matt Campbell, I knew it’d be good but not that good! Just look, beautiful white stilettos DAF with matching yellow and red miniskirt trailer. Not just any trailer mind, it’s a Middle East tilt from the Astran subbie fleet, a full, bona-fide intercontinental, sand stained Middle East tilt. How does MJC do it, he’s a lucky fella living the life of a 1970’s GB owner driver!

Matts biggest worry was stripping the tilt when he got to the load point. Now drivers of my age and younger than me (39) wont get the chance to use a tilt anymore as they just aren’t Health and Safety. I will use the word “luckily”, for me when I was a little younger I have worked and stripped tilts out in the line of duty and I have to admit they are hard work to say the least! And yes Karl I did break a nail. I know Matt is far more capable than me, so I said don’t worry you’ll be fine. Loading was due in Cheltenham yesterday (Tuesday).

Now I’ll pass you over to Matts own words, sorry Matt, word for word as it’s spot on;

“You’ll have to edit my words a bit as I have the writing skills of a turnip!

Tuesday – Head up to Cheltenham ready to load. I was going to have a practice stripping the tilt but it all looked self explanatory, so didn’t see the value in doing any more than necessary.

Arrived at 10.30am. Had trailer stripped out just before midday although the trailer had claimed its first victim, my phone fell out and cracked in amongst all the excitement (70’s and &0’s truckers were of course not attached to a mobile phone at all times – TB). The second victim as I was to find out the next day was all my joints and my back, reminding me I’m no spring chicken anymore. Took us till 5pm to load the cargo, the container only just fitted inside the the frame. Then took me till 6.30 to put the trailer back together. Just had enough time to make it back home for the night and to a well earned shower (Another modern luxury – TB).”

Well done! I’d love to hear from ex tilt drivers, I mean proper ones, not like me. Don’t come on moaning and groaning about them, just tell me/us honest truths and tales please. I have to say Matt reminded me of the closing up of a tilt. I always used to feel a good sense of achievement putting the TIR cord back through the eyes and tying them off at the back end. I have to also say, no matter how much of a bugger or how many trapped fingers I probably had, but I love a tilt! I have even wondered whether you could do a tilt stripping competition at a truck show?! Anyway that trainer, why the tilt? Why the Astran tilt? Matt is good pals with Middle East trucker Karl Skilton (owner of the Esteppe roofed 143) and owner of said tilt. I asked Matt why use the tilt and he gave the best answer which just shows he’s such a trucker it’s unbelievable “Well it would go in my trailer but where’s the fun in that?!”

So leave southern Essex this morning (Wednesday) and head down to Folkestone for the night boat to Oostende, sorry I was reminiscing about some documentary or another! Douvres today with a three hour wait for a boat to France and then head East. Greece here we come! If you see Matt on his way, please please please send me a photo, it’s not like he can be inconspicuous with that trailer on the back can he!