Update March '14
It has been a busy few weeks, a recce trip to Scotland and a final route noting trip to Devon and Dorset with a competitive rally in between – and a trip to ‘Race Retro’.
I only had to re-route once in Scotland because of the snow but apart from that I actually found some new roads and some fantastic views. The area around Gareloch, despite being full of military and naval bases is actually very picturesque and I also explored a new route into Dundee following the Firth of Tay which was equally attractive. A lot of the remaining route has been used before but not necessarily in this order or direction so I think it will be quite surprising even for those who have done several previous Scottish Tours. However – THE SKYE HIGH TOUR is now FULLY BOOKED. I have managed to get some extra rooms at Coul House but I will now have to draw the line!
We have just completed our final route survey for the WESSEX/DEVON TOUR and are pleased to say that 99% of the intended route has not been adversely affected by the recent flooding. We had to make a couple of small detours and there was still some standing water, particularly in Hampshire, but hopefully this will have subsided before April. It was passable with care. However some roads whilst not flooded have suffered from the recent weather and there are sections of bad potholes, we can only warn entrants to drive carefully in these areas and remind you that under our ‘Terms and Conditions’ we are not responsible for the state of the roads. As you would expect we have also found some ‘Kirk Roads’, which particularly in Devon are rather narrow but this is the nature of the roads in these areas. We have only used them where they eventually lead to a good view or place of interest or are a convenient short cut.
This is our third tour including Exmoor and we are hoping for ‘third time lucky’ with the weather. On the two previous ‘recces’ the weather and subsequently the views have been glorious, but on each actual tour we have had either fog or snow! The ‘recce’ this time was done in fog and low cloud so perhaps this time it will be good for the tour………………………
I enjoyed Race Retro but like most of these shows there is almost too much to see and take in, especially when there is a ‘live’ rally stage to watch outside. I was particularly impressed with the performance of an ex- Russell Brookes Sunbeam Lotus which danced round the right angle bends of the rather artificial stage in beautiful sideways slides at every opportunity without loosing any pace. I was just about to say to my companion; “This guy can drive!” when another onlooker commented, “Its Dai Llewelyn”. (For the un-intiated, ex- British Champion, Audi, Toyota and Nissan team driver). So that explained it! I was also fascinated by a Lancia Beta in the original Alitalia Team colours which looked and sounded different. I managed to talk to the driver in the paddock and he explained it had an Alfa 3 litre V6 mounted in the middle and was running on extra large forest tyres, which accounted for its strange ‘stance’ and impressive engine note. The driver also explained that the car was actually no good for anything!! It had been built as a one-off special and under new MSA rules isn’t eligible for any form of rallying in this country. What a shame!
My recent venture back into competitive rallying wasn’t in my own RS unfortunately, but with Joe Norman (Monte Carlo Porsche), in his ‘full doing’ Mini 1293 ‘S’ on the Saltire Rally in Scotland, conveniently close to where I had been recce-ing. (Method in the madness!!). To say we were both a little rusty would be an understatement. Joe hadn’t competed for 2 years since he injured his shoulder, and I hadn’t competed since the same event 2 years ago – but more importantly hadn’t navigated for even longer. We took the approach that with so little recent practice we would just enjoy the event and see how it went.
The first couple of tests were a little rough for the poor mini and I began to wonder about the wisdom of the whole venture. However things got better as the day went on and I actually enjoyed the regularity sections despite them being very complicated with numerous speed changes and a 20 mile section through a snowy forest. It took some time to get the sequence of stopping trip meter, stop watch, re-starting both whilst map reading and keeping check of the average speed at the numerous time controls. I was quite pleased to get several sections just over 10 seconds out, but dropped a clanger when we overshot a junction and in the confusion made up too much time and got whole minute penalty for being early.
We made it to the finish in 22nd place and 4th in class, not too bad, but more importantly we both agreed we had thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. The only trouble is, it has given me ‘the bug’ again. How long did he say the Escort would be off the road --- anyone got a cheap rally car for sale?
Best laid plans etc. The Monte trip didn’t quite go as intended.
First the intended means of transport, the Audi Quattro proved very reluctant to do the trip and developed several electrical problems in the week prior to the event. These couldn’t be sorted out with any guarantee of reliability so my friend suggested bringing one of his other cars. For one anxious moment I thought he was going to suggest his Mini, which would have been appropriate as the tour was commemorating Paddy Hopkirk’s win in a mini 50 years ago, but 10 days in a mini didn’t really appeal. When he suggested the Porsche 911 turbo I wasn’t sure whether I was excited, pleased or apprehensive. An exciting car, but perhaps a little too exciting if the route was covered in snow. There are some big drops off the Turini!
The Porsche was duly fitted with snow tyres and some extra spotlights and given a thorough service. O.K. so far. I even had to drive the car up from Kendal, where it was being serviced, to Stirling, so not a bad start.
The actual Monte Carlo Historic Rally start had been moved from Glasgow to Paisley and was on a Thursday evening. Last year it started in front of some 15,000 people on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t imagine there would be anything like the turnout on a Thursday night. I was wrong! There may not have been 15,000 spectators but it was a terrific send off with guests of honour, Paddy Hopkirk and Rosemary Smith, a civic reception, music and dancing girls, police cordons across the main roads and about 80 classic cars of all shapes and sizes. Only 7 cars were actually competing in the rally and there were another six doing our tour, while the rest were doing shorter runs around the local area, but all went over the start ramp and were flagged off by Paddy and Rosemary and crowds lined the streets for miles. The organisers must do a terrific PR job!
‘Our group’ consisted of a rather eclectic mix of cars. There was our Porsche, another 924 Porsche, the ubiquitous MGB GT, a Toyota Celica, a standard modern Golf ------- and an Austin Maxi. We were later joined by the official ‘course car’, a Standard 10 and its ‘back up’ crew complete with trailer.
The full story of the trip is too long to print here but a quick prece;-
The 911 broke down half way across France, rear wheel bearing which couldn’t be fixed, so we did the rest of the trip in hire cars. The weather was surprisingly good all the way to Monaco but then the heavens opened. It absolutely poured down on our free day in Monte so there was no sitting watching the posers go by in Casino Square and it was even too wet to really look around the rally cars assembled on the harbour front. On the return run over the Route Napolean, the rain turned to heavy snow and we almost didn’t get through. Some people took alternative routes home but I think a Renault Clio hire car, an MGB and a Maxi were the only cars to go over some of those passes that day – and the hire car didn’t have winter tyres or snow chains. Well driven Joe!!
The weather improved again for the rest of the return trip but the Maxi slowly expired with brake, clutch, exhaust and engine problems. Despite all odds it made it to the ferry. (It could still be there!).
Despite the problems it was an epic adventure which everyone seemed to enjoy.
(The tour (Ecosse Monaco 14) was great, we had a ball and would certainly point anyone wishing to embark on such an adventure to you!
Kindest regards, Andy, MGB)
Oh by the way, I forgot to mention I got food poisoning and was violently ill one night.
Ah well, it is back to the ‘nitty gritty’.
A new Skye High Tour itinerary should now be posted on the itinerary page. Despite juggling the route around I have only managed to arrange one night at Coul House and there is limited availability. There are only 9 rooms, so first come first served! On the plus side, I have been able to make the route a little different and hopefully more interesting.
Similarly, if anyone is thinking about Wessex and Devon, PLEASE BOOK NOW. The tour is going ahead but I need to finalise hotel bookings. It is only 9 weeks away.
JANUARY 2014 - Monte Carlo in a Quattro
Well that soon came round didn’t it! There hasn’t been a lot of Classic motoring in the last month but I did enjoy my birthday! Thirteen cars attempted The ‘Stuff the Turkey’ Treasure Hunt on probably the nicest day (weather wise – er, and from my point of view, generally) of the festive season. There were only a couple of Classic Cars but at least one was ‘topless’ (Midget). One mini broke down before the start but was replaced by another, and the best ‘classic’ result came from a Nissan Sunny GTIR. I am also pleased to say some people read the ‘regulations’ i.e. “Un-solicited gifts of alcohol may be taken into account when marking”, but in the end it had no bearing on the final results as the winners were a clear two points ahead, so didn’t have to resort to bribery.
Back to business. I am currently busy with the Ecosse-Monaco Tour which has had a very disappointing response despite the Monte organisers assuring me it would be otherwise! Anyway, always looking on the bright side, it seems I will probably be going to Monte Carlo in an Audi Quattro. Scotland in a Ferrari (2012) and Monaco in a Quattro – I suppose there are some perks to this job. And, talking of Ferraris, it looks as though I will be hosting 30 Ferraris from Germany, in Scotland later this year. Just a few T’s to cross and I’s to dot! (Like booking a piper, organising a Haggis dinner and booking Highland costumes for 60 people – I didn’t say the job was easy!). I am not sure if my friend with the Ferrari is available this year but with that many cars a 4x4 and trailer might be a better option?
Bookings for this year are starting to trickle in. The Wessex/Devon Tour looks viable already, although a few more would be welcome. Scotland and the High Roads also look as though they are going to be as popular as ever. There will be some changes to the advertised Scottish route. Unfortunately Coul House is fully booked that week and as most of the other hotels were already booked it wasn’t practical to change the dates again. However this does mean I have had to re-jig the route to fit the available hotels. We now won’t go quite as far north as Kylesku and Lochinver but will have a day in new territory to the east visiting Dunrobin Castle and the Black Isle. There will also be a new route down Loch Lomond and Loch Long and some new hotels in Inverary, Inverness and particularly a spectacular hotel on the Isle of Skye. In general, in the words of Eric Morecambe, all the parts are there, but not necessarily in the original order. A new itinerary will be posted shortly.
ALL THE BEST ---- MIKE
TWENTY TOURS WITH CCT(MK)
Brian and Helen Anderton completed their 20th tour with CCT(MK) on the recent AUTUMN LAKES TOUR, This is over a five year period in which they managed 6 tours in one year! This definitely qualifies for a ‘loyalty bonus’! Can anyone beat that!!! See the 2014 Calendar for a start.
What a contrast! The poor old Alpine was sweltering in the heat of Spain one week and then soaking wet the next week! The Costa Brava Tour and The Lakes Autumn Tour couldn’t have been much more different – weather wise. The scenery and convivial atmosphere was very similar on both tours though.
The run down through France was a little overcast and quite cool in places although when we stopped for coffee in the square at Richelieu it was positively ‘balmy’.
When we visited the awesome viaduct at Millau the sun was also shining giving bright blue skies for the backdrop to this impressive structure. The air was still a little cool though as we climbed through the mountains and it was dark and overcast as we reached ‘the seaside’ at Canet Plage. From then on though it just got better and better and I discovered that my flat cap doesn’t keep my nose free of sunburn!
We even managed to find a typical ‘Kirk Road’ just before the border into Spain, although some people weren’t too happy about the spectacular drops off the edge, even though the views were ‘dramatic’. Several of us also made a small, but worthwhile detour to take in a stage of the Costa Brava Historic rally and were rewarded with the chance to see some exotic rally cars up close. Mind you, as well as the Lancias, Porsches, Quattros etc there was also a smattering of Escorts and Minis. All good stuff!
A couple of ‘free days’ in Barcelona were used to good effect visiting the sights of this beautiful city, and re-charging the batteries after a long drive.
The run across the edge of the Pyrenees was also done in fantastic weather and the scenery was stunning. We stayed at some very good hotels throughout the week but the final stop was the ‘piece de resistance’!- the spectacular Marques de Riscal.
The official tour was rounded off with a tour to the adjoining winery after which the main group headed for the ferry at Bilbao, still in glorious weather, while the Burnley contingent stayed on for a few more days.
The following is their take on the tour;
The Six thundered.
By Ruddyhard Kipper
They met in the North to then Sally forth
Then left in a herry (It gets worse)
To catch the night ferry
Onward onward the six thundered
When they landed in France
The leader lead them a dance
Was that Dave who cried " O darn !
We are lost somewhere in Caen"
Onward onward the six thundered
It was with great allure
They then found Saumur
After the drive they met Bev and Clive
Then after lunch ,they again set off in a bunch
Onward onward the six thundered
With one mighty roar
they passed Rocamador
And over the ridge they all wondered why?
someone had built that bridge in the sky
Onward onward the six thundered
Who is that I see on the plage at Canett?
Why bless my sole I think that's Janet
They frolicked in the sand and then in the Med
Ate and drank and then off to bed
Onward onward the six thundered
Stephen and Judith got in a fix
When they gave some gas to their MX6 (or is it 5?)
Across the plains they sped into Spain
All their efforts never in vain
Onward onward the six thundered
After a gruelling 200k groaner
The six met up in Barcelona
Onward onward the six thundered
The V12 climbed the mountains with ease
Barrie exclaimed "I'll need a good --pair of knees" (Get it?)
To get thru this Pass without scraping my A--
Onward onward the six thundered
The Sunbeam shone over the hills
With the Cobra seeking lots of thrills
None of them wanted to be the lastion (sorry)
But to be the first in San Sebastion
Onward onward the six thundered
After pinchos and sangria no doubt with some beer
It was towards the port that they did steer
Without a care they reached Santandare. (I know it's wrong but it rhymes)
Anyone for tea, in the MGB?
Onward onward the six thundered
They boarded the ship after such a long trip
Resting their weary bodies in the bar
They reminisced on the journey so far
Counting all the rattles,bangs and clunks
They all drifted off to sleep in their bunks
Onward onward the six thundered..
Back to Blighty!
What a good trip.
Our first American customers thoroughly enjoyed the experience, despite breaking the brake pedal on their 1934 Aston Martin le Mans. They have already promised to return for Scotland next year.
In contrast to the above, the only poem relevant would be, ‘water, water, everywhere’. Despite atrocious weather and some minor flooding, the ‘end of term’ group still enjoyed the Autumn Tour which included some new versions of previous routes and even one or two new ‘Kirk Roads’, not to mention some old road rally favourites, and the Autumn colours were spectacular. As ever Leeming House did us proud providing a comfortable haven away from the rain and winds. Again we had some new customers who went away vowing to return, while Brian and Helen Anderton celebrated their 20th tour with CCT(MK) with a bottle of Marquis de Riscal wine!
Now there is a challenge - can anyone beat their record – see the 2014 calendar!!
The calendar is now fixed for next year with a few changes to the provisional plans.
I have decided to combine the Circuit of Cumbria with the High Roads Tour as they would be covering some similar ground. This means that the Scottish ‘Skye High Tour’ can now be a week earlier to avoid finishing on a Bank Holiday weekend.
The other main change is that I have decided to include a visit to the Isle of Arran with the Solway South West Tour in August and perhaps abandon the Northern Ireland (Glens of Antrim) option. (Unless there is a demand for it?)
Brochures/price lists should be posted out before Christmas.
STUFF THE TURKEY DECEMBER Sunday 29th
Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate my 65th birthday at the Station Inn, Oxenholme where I will be organising the annual K.L.M.C./Pub Treasure Hunt. This is a 30 mile car treasure hunt with cryptic clues and a few little ‘problems’ to solve at the finish. One of the main “regulations” for the event is;
“7.1 The organiser’s decisions will be final ---- however un-solicited gifts of alcohol may be taken into account.”
Despite reaching that ‘significant age’ it seems far from retiring I am getting involved with more adventurous events. Having recently spent sometime preparing the Ecosse-Monaco route (see below) I couldn’t help thinking it would make a cracking summer event. Especially as in summer more of the high passes would be clear of snow and we could make the route even more interesting!
Oh, and what about the Shetland Isles in 2015 – I have just heard they have a big classic Car event there in June………………
ECOSSE-MONACO 23-29 £995 7 nights B&B
Follow the route of the Monte Carlo Historique from Glasgow to Monte Carlo. Drive over the ramp behind the rally competitors at the ceremonial start in Glasgow and follow their route but with more civilised driving times and overnight stops in Calais, Troyes, and Valence.
OPTIONAL RETURN ROUTE 30-Feb 2
£549 3 nights B&B incl ferry
Via, Route Napolean, Millau Viaduct, Rocamadour, Dordogne, Loire Valley and Le Mans.
WESSEX WANDER April 6th £59 No accomodation
A short introduction to CCT(MK). Start and finish at Sutton Scotney, convenient for the A34/A303.80 miles tour of ‘North Wessex’
TOUR OF WESSEX 6-9th £699 3 nights Dinner, B&B incl. Sunday
Two nights in Sidmouth, visiting Weymouth and Chesil Beach .
TOUR OF DEVON 9-12th £999 4 nights Dinner B&B
Two nights in Barnstaple, visiting Exmoor, Porlock and Brendon Hills. Return via Fleet Air Arm Museum to Bradford on Avon.
All three tours above combined £1499 6 nights Dinner, B&B
THE SKYE HIGH TOUR 11-18th
£2499 9 Nights, Dinner, B&B incl Mallaig Ferry
Start Kendal, through Borders to Loch Rannoch. Loch Ness and Highlands including ‘The Pass of the Cattle’ and the Nam Rattigan Pass. Visit the Isle of Skye, return via the Trossachs. Two nights at Coul House, two on or near Skye. Return by Rest and BeThankful and Loch Lomond and Tea at Glen Eagles. Finish near Edinburgh.
THE HIGH ROADS TOUR 15-19th £1299 5 Nights Dinner, B&B (Shorter options available)
Two nights in Buxton, visiting the Peak District, Chatsworth House and Critch Tram Museum. Two nights at Crooklands and two at Leeming House, visiting the Lakes and the Dales including Hartside, Kirkstone, Hardknott and Wrynose Passes.
SOLWAY SOUTH WEST and ISLE OF ARRAN 3-9th
£1999 7 Nights Dinner B&B incl Arran Ferry
Start in Lake District and into Borders. Then cross to Arran for two nights before return ing via S.W. Scotland. Three nights in Galloway visiting Wigtown Penninsula, Glentrool Forest and Solway coast.
HOLLAND AND HARZ (TWIN TOWNS TOUR) September 3rd - 12th
£2399 7 Nights Dinner, B&B incl Newcastle Ferry
Sail from Newcastle to Amsterdam. Drive round the north coast of Holland via the ‘Polders’ to Rinteln in Germany. Visit the Harz Mountains, the V.W. Autostadt and the ‘Dam Buster’ reservoirs. Return across Holland to Amsterdam. Free day in Amsterdam then return ferry to Newcastle. Option to visit Kendal (twin town of Rinteln) via Yorkshire Dales in time for Annual Torchlight Carnival.
AUTUMN CLASSIC October 18/19th
£749 3 night Dinner, B&B
New two day route based in Kirkby Lonsdale.
SATURDAY – THE LONSDALE BELT Follow the valley of the River Lune through picturesque Cumbrian countryside in Autumn colours. Return via Shap Fell and Killington Lake
SUNDAY – A tour of the Forest of Bowland via Ribblehead and Settle returning via Lancaster with views of 'The Three Peaks' and Morecambe Bay
OPTION TO DO JUST ONE DAY
Wow! A bumper entry for The South West Ireland Tour, 22 cars. Everything from modern Minis and Porsches to Classic Aston Martins, MG’s, a Relaint Scimitar, a Volvo Amazon, a Lotus Cortina and my troublesome RS Escort.
The RS suddenly developed a thirst for oil and covered anyone following in a ‘purple haze’. Dubious un-leaded petrol was a problem for several cars, super unleaded being conspicuous by its absence. The ‘undulating’ roads also caused some people concern and the weather wasn’t quite as co-operative as on recent events. In general it wasn’t bad, and ‘topless’ was the norm most days, but we saw very little of the famous ‘Ring of Kerry’ as the mountains were shrouded in low cloud and the coastline was blanketed in sea fog.
The fabulous rally stages of ‘The Connor Pass’, ‘The Healey Pass’ and ‘Mols Gap’ plus excellent hotels every night, (and an ample sufficiency of Guinness) more than made up for all of the above. In fact the weather was excellent for our circuit of the Dingle Penninsula and the ‘free day’ in Killarney and for much of the run back north to Dublin. The event was rounded off with a morning in the sunshine at the fabulous Irish National Stud where we had a superb guided tour before making for the ferry home.
I am now back home to reality and making final preparations for the Costa Brava Tour and taking bookings for the Autumn Tour. I am also
working on the Ecosse-Monaco Tour (Glasgow-Monte Carlo) and plans for 2014. The provisional calendar has already been met with some interest and there has been a suggestion for an additional tour in Brittany. I think this may have to be put ‘on hold’ for the time being as in addition to the proposed calendar below, it looks likely that I will
be organising a Scottish Tour on behalf of the German Ferrari Club. So little time and so much to do!
After all this organising I have got to get the Escort sorted for the “Rally of the Tests” at the beginning of November. This is a four day regularity and test event held mainly on our local patch, so it just has to be done.
Topless on the north coast of Scotland! Yes, we had unbelievably good weather for the East of Britain Tour with scorching temperatures as we toured the NorthCoast and countryside east of Aberdeen. Whilst this area isn’t as dramatic in terms of scenery as our usual west coast routes there were some really good driving roads in very pleasant countryside enhanced by the glorious weather. So good I think it may need repeating – sometime. We also had our furthest travelled entrants on this tour, Philip, Ailsa and Leanne, all the way from Toowoomba (Australia) in their Ferrari. Well, actually the Ferrari ‘lives’ in England. With a booking from America for the Barcelona Tour, I think I may have to rename the company again and add International to the logo!!
Speaking of which there are still places left on the Barcelona event although I will need to receive final bookings soon as ferries and hotels need confirmation.
All is going well for our other ‘over seas’ tour, of S.W. Ireland with a bumper entry of 22 cars. I may have to recruit extra staff – don’t all rush to volunteer however as I must point out that while my present ‘staff’ may get a pay rise – 50% of nothing is still nothing!
There are still plenty of spaces on the Autumn Lakes Tour at the end of October (25-27th). However, having completed the route survey I have had to amend the itinerary a little. The planned extension of “Route 66” on Sunday to include the edge of the North Yorks Moors proved to be ‘a route too far’. It just wasn’t going to be practical in the day, so, instead of the turning point being at Stokesley for lunch, it will now be Richmond in the North Dales. The whole route will be reversed to give some different views whilst on some roads we have used in the past. There are quite a few new sections though including some new ‘Kirk Roads’. You wouldn’t expect anything else! The ‘eagle-eyed’ among you may also have noticed that the advertised itinerary included two visits to the LakelandMotorMuseum for coffee on Friday and lunch,Saturday. Whilst the museum is very good I don’t think it warrants two visits in one weekend. Instead Saturday’s slightly revised route will visit Cartmel, the home of Sticky Toffee Pudding for coffee and Broughton in Furness for lunch, while Friday’s route will visit the museum for coffee and a new venue, the appropriately named “Route 66 Diner”, for tea. A new itinerary will be posted soon.
I should have more news of the Monte Carlo historic event (January 23-29th), in the next couple of weeks, and then I hope to firm up the 2014 calendar.
Phew! Was that the Costa Brava Tour I have just completed? No, it was the Costa del Dales!! But the temperatures must have been similar. The High Roads Tour 2013 must qualify as the hottest and driest tour ever (in England) – it was so hot some people kept their hoods up!
The fantastic weather showed off the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales at their best and a good group of widely different cars including four newcomers to CCT(MK) enjoyed a spectacular four days.
With the Escort in disgrace I enjoyed the sunny weather ‘topless’ in the Alpine, which never missed a beat until the final day, when the overdrive ceased to function on ironically some of the fastest roads of the tour. However it was still good fun especially on the flowing roads in the north Pennines and Hartside Pass. There are just enough bends to get away without using overdrive.
Speaking of the Costa Brava, I now have more information about the Costa Brava Historic Rally. The event is definitely running on October11/12th based in Gerona and Lloret. There are already entries from such exotic cars as the Lancia 037 above so it should provide a good spectacle. We may have to consider moving the start of our tour forward a day as the rally is now only running on Friday and Saturday (not Sunday) and we shall only arrive in Lloret on Saturday. This would give us an extra ‘free’ day in Barcelona – but obviously there would be an extra night’s hotel to pay for. It rather depends on how many ‘petrol heads’ book and how keen they are to see the rally.
The weekend before the High Roads Tour I attended the Kirkby Lonsdale “Car’s the Star” show, which was also held in brilliant weather and brought out the crowds and some very nice cars. The car of the show was the gorgeous Aston Martin DB5 of CCT(MK) regular, Mike Riley. Absolutely stunning as you can see from the pic, but I suspect he may not use it on many CCT events in the future as he won’t want to get it dirty on a “Kirk Road”.
I am trying to put together a calendar for 2014 but it is difficult to know what to leave out!
There will definitely be a Scottish Tour in May including the Isle of Skye and the Pass of the Cattle and probably some new areas! There will also be a separate event in South West Scotland using areas we have never been to before, and perhaps combined with the Borders or Lakes.
I think I will rest Ireland for 2014 as there is such a bumper entry this year. Holland and Germany are looking likely and I may have a commission for another Ferrari Tour of Scotland. So next year looks just as busy again…………..
PROVISIONAL CALENDAR 2014
Following the route of the Monte Carlo Historic, start in Glasgow driving over the official start ramp.
DEVON AND DORSET???
Start from Crooklands, through Borders, Dundee, Loch Rannoch, Pass of the Cattle, Skye and more.
CIRCUIT OF CUMBRIA
Literally a circuit of ‘God’s Own County’. Right around the edge of the Lakes, along the Solway Coast to Gretna and return via Kielder Forest, Hartside Pass, the edge of the Dales and Morecambe Bay.
SOUTH WEST SCOTLAND AND BORDERS
Galloway, Wigtown, Stranraer etc.
HOLLAND AND HARTZ MOUNTAINS
Just to follow on from last month, the RS has been restored to ‘rude’ health. It did need towing to get it to the auto electricians where a defunct starter AND battery were diagnosed. A few days later it was starting better than it ever has, i.e. first turn of the key, with a new battery and a completely rebuilt starter as a new one wasn’t readily available. Whatever, it seems to have done the trick, and if everything goes according to plan the RS will make an appearance on the ½ Tour of Britain next week. (I had forgotten how good it sounds!). Meanwhile the Alpine is resting in the comfort of the garage until I find time to get the ‘face lift’ organised now that the insurance company has paid out in full!
I was hoping to take things a little easier in 2014 – I’ll be collecting my pension after all!
I will see how the Costa Brava Tour goes this year. There is already enough interest to make it viable, but I am not sure it will be an annual event, yet. Similarly, Ireland looks so successful this year I am not sure it would be as successful a second year. I am thinking maybe a return to the Isle of Man for 2014. Also I hope to do something in South West Scotland using the area originally planned for this years Autumn Tour. I cancelled it for this year because it had to be moved back so late in October, nothing would be open in S.W. Scotland by then. There will of course be something in the north of Scotland --- Pass of the Cattle again anyone???
I am also looking at a possible tour to Northern Holland and Germany visiting the Harz Mountains and ‘Dambuster’ territory. This came about after seeing a TV programme about the Harz Mountains, which looked very nice, after which I realised the town of Rinteln is in that area. Rinteln has no obvious ‘claim to fame’ except it is ‘twinned’ with Kendal and isn’t a million miles from the ‘dambuster dams’. So as Baldrick would say, “ I have a cunning plan”!
I WILL retire --- sometime…
I have just returned from the ½ Circuit of Britain
(we finished in Chester due to lack of demand for the rest of the route). I spoke too soon about the RS. We had electrical problems before the start and exhaust and gearbox problems during the event. We just made it to the final hotel with the exhaust wrapped in Coke tins and in third gear for 50 miles. Classic cars!!!
Other than that it was quite a successful tour, Sunday was unfortunately rather wet, just when we reached one of the most spectacular parts of the route around Lynn Brianne, but Monday made up for it with beautiful sunshine for the entire route through equally spectacular countryside on our way north to Chester. It has given me inspiration for an even better tour of Wales in 2014.
Ironically with all the mechanical troubles I didn’t get time for any photographs of cars, but I did manage a few of trains – well, Wales is famous for them!
Watching 2 tons of motor car hurtling towards you trying to stop on a set of ‘pram’ wheels is quite surreal. I thought marshalling on the ‘Flying Scotsman Rally’ would be quite a sedate affair with all the cars being of pre-1941 vintage. Not a chance! The top twenty or so cars were ‘going for it’ as much as any competitor on any other type of rally. It got really exciting when we had one car stationery in the ‘control’ and another hurtling towards it with the driver hanging out of the car trying to operate the side mounted handbrake! Fortunately they managed to avoid a very expensive accident though it did little for our piece of mind – let alone the competitors. After the first group of ‘triers’ things settled down to a very pleasant afternoon on a very sunny day on the Warcop Army Ranges in Cumbria.
As usual with these events, as you get lower down the field the level of competition descends to the level of a ‘jolly Sunday afternoon jaunt’! A number of navigators had no clue where they were or what they had to do next, and one gentleman racer commented from the driving seat of his huge Bentley; “I say, you don’t get much time for a chat on these events, do you?” I think he hadn’t quite grasped the idea that it was a competitive event. He wasn’t alone, as I came to the conclusion that many navigators, mainly wives/girlfriends had been conned into taking part in a ‘nice ride in the old car in the country’! Nevertheless, some 90+ cars passed through our control and all seemed to be having a jolly good time.
In contrast, I haven’t managed any competition myself this year. The poor old RS has been neglected for a couple of months since the starter motor stopped – starting that is! With the garage on a downward slope to a dead end I have been waiting the opportune moment to enlist assistance in starting it, and/or towing it to the auto electricians to be sorted. Hopefully it will be restored to full health by the time you read this and may even be out on the next tour.
The Alpine went to Scotland on the Western Isles Tour minus front bumper and with the ‘Rally Plate’ hiding it’s broken nose. Apart from the loss of a little clutch fluid it never missed a beat on the whole 1200 plus mile, round trip, and was a pleasure to drive. The weather was typically Scottish, i.e. all the seasons in the week including snow/sleet on one mountain road and glorious sunshine on the Isle of Mull. In all the 40 years I have been visiting Mull I don’t think I have seen it so sharp and clear as the evening we drove back from the south of the island after the Staffa trip. Unfortunately it rained again at the end of the tour when we substituted a boat ride on Loch Katrine for the intended Loch Lomond sailing. (The Loch Lomond timetable just didn’t work as hoped on the day, and as Loch Katrine was only 7 miles from the hotel it seemed a better alternative.) On the whole though a thoroughly enjoyable trip which everyone seemed to enjoy despite a few mechanical ‘gremlins’.
Next on the agenda is a run to Wales to complete the route for the Circuit of Britain Tour. Unfortunately this will now only be a Half a Circuit of Britain as there were not enough bookings to make the Chester to Rutland half viable. The Cotswold and Wales section is going ahead however. The High Roads Tour on the other hand is looking very promising with bookings into double figures already.
Ireland is FULL! I cannot take any more bookings.
There is still room for more on the East of Britain Tour (Northumberland and Grampians) and it is early days for the Lakes Autumn Tour.
The Costa Brava Tour is slowly ‘taking off’ and already there are enough bookings to make it viable but room for plenty more.
After a hectic couple of weeks organising the ‘Devils Own Rally’ I had a ‘busman’s holiday’ and took part in Wigton Moor Club’s ‘Roof of England Challenge.’ This tour through the Pennines was postponed for two weeks because of the heavy snow before Easter. Last week all the roads were passable but the higher passes looked quite dramatic with still large drifts at the side and the hilltops still had a good covering.
Amazingly, Kendal and the South Lakes seem to have been in their own microclimate and we have had very little snow --- except for the morning of ‘The Devils’, when I woke up to a white out. This rather added to the already high levels of stress as the route took in some high ground around Shap Fell. We had a surprisingly good entry of 35 cars, and even more surprisingly they all turned up bright and early for the start – unlike some of the event officials! More stress! Fortunately the snow had cleared from the roads by the start time of 10 am and we managed to find enough hardy souls to marshal all the key points. Despite some long delays because of the lack of manpower on the day, most of the competitors seemed to enjoy the event and it was pleasing to see that out of a mixed entry of all types of cars, historics took the podium places, 1st Mini, 2nd Cortina, 3rd Porsche.
I did run into a little more snow on a recent route noting trip to Southern Scotland. After braving my way through a few snowdrifts I decided that ‘discretion was the better part of not getting stuck!’ so abandoned that day’s work! I got some pretty pictures though.
Going back to the Wigton MC run we were having a thoroughly pleasant day, with the top down on the Alpine from before lunch to the finish. Unfortunately the day was spoilt when a bird watcher in a 4x4, with obligatory tow bar, reversed into the Alpine, severely damaging the bumper and front panel. When asked why he had suddenly reversed on a single track road, he replied, “I was backing up to look at the birds”! I pointed out that it was a pity he hadn’t looked at his mirror first. I couldn’t reverse because another car had pulled in behind me. (I knew because I looked in my mirror!!). Ah well – it is an excuse to get the bumper re-chromed.
Continuing the motorsport theme, my next ‘outing’ will be to marshal on the FLYING SCOTSMAN RALLY, which passes through Cumbria on its way from London to Edinburgh on April 20th. It should be quite a spectacle as all the cars are pre-1940 – and there are 100 of them.
As for future tours, all seem to be going to plan with some bookings on them all. Ireland is now FULL! - 20 cars. There are still places on most of the others. For the ‘petrol heads’ there is an added attraction before the start of the Western Isles Tour.
On Saturday May 11th, Kirkby Lonsdale M.C. are running the Barbon Speed Hillclimb. This is a National Championship event which attracts top drivers (and cars) from all over the country. The entry includes full blown single seater racing cars and everything from modified saloons to historic sports cars, and the course is in a very picturesque setting in the grounds of Barbon Manor overlooking the Lune Valley. Barbon is approx. 3 miles from Kirkby Lonsdale, which is approx. 7 miles from the Crooklands Hotel, the starting point for the Western Isles Tour.
On Sunday there will be an additional tour for local crews, taking in the first day of the Western Isles Tour, with the option of finishing at lunch (after 90 miles) or continuing to Cardrona. This will be the WAVERLEY WANDER. Entry fee is only £20 but no refreshments are provided. Dinner can be booked with the main tour at the finish at Cardrona at an additional fee.
(To enter use the normal booking form – ignore deposit!).
Finally, there was a little confusion over the dates of the EAST OF ENGLAND TOUR. This was because the start hotel wasn’t sure of availability on the proposed weekend. The problem has now been resolved and the event starts on Saturday evening August 10th, with dinner at Linden House Hotel. The driving starts on Sunday and finishes with dinner on Friday 16th near Edinburgh.
PS Current weather in Kendal is back to normal – i.e. rain!
Good news and bad news!
The bad news is I have reluctantly cancelled the New Forest/Isle of Wight/Wessex Tour. With only a month to go and the hotels pressing me to confirm bookings I only had three definite entries. Whilst there were several other ‘possibilities’ it just wasn’t viable to continue. It is a shame, because I don’t like to disappoint those who have booked, but I obviously cannot run at a loss.
The good news is that in contrast the Irish Tour is now almost upto 20 cars and having just returned from the recce I can say everything is looking good for September. We found some excellent hotels and superb routes – even some new ‘Kirk Roads’! Full details are now on the itinerary page and there are some pictures below. (No I didn’t go in an Avenger –it just happened to be there!)
Just one precautionary note however – if the exchange rate continues to drop I may have to add a surcharge to the costs. It is not a problem at the moment but who knows what may happen in 6 months time?
Most of the other tours still have availability but look comfortably viable while the ‘High Roads/Peaks and Dales’ is already into double figures.
I am currently busy with the Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club’s ‘Devils Own Rally’ which was postponed from November, having been postponed from August for a variety of reasons. If we don’t get it off the ground this time I am definitely retiring! (After organising it for 11 consecutive years I did actually retire, but when it looked as though no-one else was going to take it on, I didn’t like to see those 11 years work to have been in vain so foolishly started again.)
I have just come back from taking part in the MONTE CARLO HISTORIC RALLY! Well, the Glasgow start at least. We also did the ‘Heritage Run’ to Dumfries which as tours or rallies go wasn’t that exciting in itself, all A roads and motorway, but the atmosphere was absolutely un-believable. The event started from the ‘People’s Palace’ in Glasgow Green Park, south of the city centre, and despite the huge snowfalls elsewhere in the country that weekend, the weather couldn’t have been better. Glasgow seemed to have escaped the snow altogether and after heavy rain on Friday night we woke up to beautiful blue sky and sunshine on Saturday.
This obviously helped bring out the public in their droves. Somebody must have done some excellent publicity/PR work because it was estimated that 15,000 people watched the cars go over the start ramp! (Ironically I only discovered at the last minute that the actual ramp had been borrowed from our local ‘Malcolm Wilson Rally’ – the one I helped erect in Ireland last year. Now I can say I have driven over it.)
There were 100 cars on display and all got to go over the ramp waved off by the Lady Provost of Glasgow and accompanied by ‘period’ music. The first ten were the only actual Monte Carlo competitors and included an original Australian Holden which had done the Monte 60 years ago. One crew member was the son of the original driver and another was Craig Lowndes of Bathurst fame. Other cars included a more modern Holden and a Skoda 130rs.
The next ten or so cars were touring to Monte and included a Lancia Stratos replica and a Standard 10. Some cars were only going to Loch Lomond, others like us were going as far as Dumfries and some were going to Barnby Moor down the A1. We (Mal Capstick and myself) were in a team of two RS2’s, with Neil and Sue Williams from near Liverpool. The cars got a huge amount of attention at the start – I could have made a fortune charging people to take photos – but it was even more amazing when we set off. The ½ mile or so through the park was lined with spectators on both sides waving and cheering and once out of the park there were crowds on every motorway bridge out of the city. Even when we got down to Kilmarnock and took the A76 there were crowds on every roundabout, in every lay-by and in every village. Even more photographs were being taken all the way down the route until it got dark.
The finish at Dumfries was a bit of an anti-climax after all this. It was described as a ‘Welcome Point’, but I never saw anyone welcoming us! There were a few frozen marshals directing traffic and the Auldgirth Inn was serving bar meals but there was no formal finish. Despite this it was a tremendous experience which I can recommend to any Classic Car ‘nut’ especially Historic Rally fans. I’m already thinking of going all the way to Monte Carlo next year --- must get a heater in the Alpine!
I’m hoping to get over to Ireland soon so I will be able to give more details of the September tour on my return. Bookings are already in double figures! So don’t wait too long if you are interested.
Having recce-ed the proposed Montjuic Revival/Barcelona Tour, and due to unfortunate unforeseen events there, plus customer feedback, we have decided to bring our Barcelona Tour forward in the year to October. This should ensure warmer weather, although it wasn’t bad in December in Barcelona, and snow free mountain roads. The Montjuic Revival may still take place in some format in December, BUT, the same organisers are also responsible for the Costa Brava Historic Rally in October. This is based at Lloret de Mar, which is conveniently on the route we had recce-ed. Therefore the ‘petrol heads’ or rally fans can still get their fill of some exciting action and some exotic cars (Lancia Stratos and 037’s, Porsches, Audi Quattros, Gp4 Escorts, Renault Turbos etc. etc. The event is a round of the FIA EUROPEAN HISTORIC CHAMPIONSHIP), while there will still be time to spend some time in Barcelona sightseeing/sun bathing? Or even early Christmas shopping!
Therefore we propose to run the original planned route, with just an extra stop over in Lloret. This does mean however we will have to re-think our Autumn Lakes Tour and find an alternative date. We may postpone the Borders/Lakes Tour until next year and do a more traditional Lakes weekend at the end of October.
SEE ITINERARIES PAGE
Meanwhile, while the south of England is deluged with snow putting the media into a frenzy, I am quite pleased to report that we have virtually no snow in Cumbria and the main roads at least are completely un-affected. The hills look very pretty so here are some recent photos of the Howgills and Semer Water (Dales Tour).
I am off to Glasgow next weekend for the Ecosse-Monaco Tour although I will only be taking part in the Scottish section to Dumfries. I have opted out of using the Alpine because although there is no snow at the moment, it is very cold – and there is no heater in the Alpine. Instead I will be making up a two car team of Escort RS 2000’s. There isn’t much of a heater in the Escort but at least it has a roof! More news and pictures next month.
If it is any consolation, it was positively balmy in Barcelona!
VIVA ESPANA! It seems I timed things right for once and got away from the worst of the British weather.
I have just returned from a very interesting two week run through France and Spain with mixed results. The routes and hotels we ‘recced’ proved very good and will make the basis of an excellent tour. However, the whole reason behind the trip, a visit to the Montjuic Revival was a bit of a disaster! After 37 years trying to resurrect the race, which hasn’t run since there were several fatalities in 1975, ironically the 2012 version was stopped after a serious injury to a marshal in only the third race. This was a great shame as everything looked spectacular and there was a terrific atmosphere at the start. The circuit is a real circuit with nothing artificial and there were 140 superb cars of all shapes and sizes plus about 100 classic racing motorbikes. It all looked set for a fantastic weekend but apart from one processional run behind a police escort, everything was finished by lunchtime on Saturday. By Sunday morning everything was being dismantled and most of the cars were loaded on transporters and gone! End of event!
It was disappointing for us, but I cannot begin to think how the organisers must have felt. They are adamant that they will run something similar in 2013, but I have my doubts.
Therefore it leaves me in a bit of a quandary. As I have said we have found the basis of a superb tour – but possibly without the focal point of the event at Montjuic. Consequently I am considering running the event earlier in the year when the weather is likely to be even better and there is less chance of snow on the roads. We did encounter two passes that were quite heavily covered in snow but passable (we followed a 40 ton artic over one so we were confident we could get through!), but we did have to re-route at one point to avoid roads over 1,000ft a.s.l. Nevertheless the route we chose was still quite spectacular and the snow covered mountains made an impressive back drop. Oh! And yes! We did find at least one “Kirk Road” – Hardknott Pass on steroids – but what a view.
Even if there is no motorsport event, Barcelona is definitely worth a visit and you could do some very early Christmas shopping and have a day or two on the beach.
I am considering October as a possible date, after the Autumn Tour, but until I know what the Montjuic organisers are planning I won’t make a final decision, but having done the ground work I think I will definitely run the event at some point. As usual – ‘watch this space’.
Other news is that the Irish Tour has been moved back a couple of days as I hadn’t realised the original date clashed with the Goodwood Revival. Therefore it will now start on MONDAY September 16th and finish on the 24th, which will allow people to come straight from Goodwood. The itinerary will be as advertised and I will be able to give more details soon.
2013 brochures should be in the post and hopefully you will receive them before Christmas so that you can make your choices and book early!!!
Having been away for the last two weeks I am afraid I haven’t had time to send out Christmas cards, so
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL CCT (MK) CUSTOMERS
I’m off to sunny Spain!!
Yes, I have decided to leave the arctic blast behind and go and seek some sun. All in the interests of ‘research and development’ of course. We are going to drive across France to the MONTJUIC REVIVAL in Barcelona with a view to recce-ing a tour for next year. More news and info. when I return.
2013 brochures are just about to go to print so should be with you by Christmas (those on the mailing list) and in the meantime the web site is being updated. There may be a few anomalies until we get everything sorted out so please bear with us. The basic details for next year are there. As ever, the itineraries are written as things stand now but things can change during the year but we will endeavour to replace ‘like with like’ if anything has to be changed. I am hoping to get over to Ireland in the New Year so will be able to do a more detailed itinerary after that visit.
I am still waiting for more details from the Caledonian Historic Motor Sport Club of the Ecosse - Monaco Tour. Keep an eye on the web site.
Information so far;
Monte Carlo Rally Start - 26January
Following the successful 2011 Monte Carlo Historique Rally start from Blythswood Square in Glasgow, the 2012 Monte start will begin from Clydebank, in the shadow of the famous A-listed Titan Crane. Clydebank will join Barcelona, Oslo, Turin, Reims and Warsaw as the 2012 official starting locations for the rally, which is one of the most famous motor sport events in the world.
It is hoped the occasion, will exceed the over 6000 spectators that came to Glasgow in 2011. The new location has plenty of parking space to accommodate spectators.
Join the starters as they line up from 2.00pm on the Sunday afternoon before they depart on their 2190 mile trip to Monte Carlo from 5.00pm. Cars leaving Clydebank will drive through the night to Dover and over the English Channel to Calais. They will finish the event, if successful, on February 4th with a grand ceremony after participating in the famous regularity runs in the mountains above Monaco.
Bylthswood Heritage Run
For those with Classic cars not going to Monte Carlo there is the Blythswood Heritage Run which departs over the ramp, immediately after the Monte starters have all departed on their way to Monaco. Similar to the 2011 event, but with a new route, the event gives owners and spectators a chance to see a wide range of cars that competed in the Monte rallies of the early fifties and sixties.
Competitors will have the choice to either follow the Monte rally cars on their first leg toward Dumfries, or a shorter route to finish at Drymen. Entries can join the line-up of Classic Cars in the Monte Carlo show, (see below), so come along for 2.00pm and make a day of it.
Monte Carlo Show
A special period Monte Carlo Show will be located on the site of the former John Brown shipyard before the Monte cars leave the start ramp in front of the Clydebank College campus. Located beside the College bus terminal, in addition to some great club and trade stands, will be a show of around 100 pre 1980 Classic cars that would have taken part in past Monte Carlo Rallies.
If your car fits the bill and you would like to join the line-up of Monte and Heritage Run entries, then contact email@example.com
Monte Carlo Historique Rally Start - 26 January
Glasgow once again has been chosen as a start point for this famous event, joining Warsaw, Barcelona, Reims, Copenhagen and Monte Carlo as start venues. Using a route to Dover drawn from events of the fifties the crews will cross to Calais and head for Reims, Valence, Gap and down to Monte Carlo.
Heritage Runs - 26 January
This year the club have put on three Heritage Runs aimed at giving all classic owners an event to remember
Ecosse - Monaco Follow in the tyre tracks of the historique cars to Monaco. This tour takes a more leisurely run to the Cote D'Azur while still meeting up with the competitors at some of the main control points.
Run to the Loch. Experience the feel of an alpine drive through Scotland's countryside. A 40 mile tour to a famous loch.
Run to the Borders. This tour will take you to a border control following the route of the Monte cars.
Run to the Moors. for the more adventurous this tour heads for one of the famous passage control points of the fifties and sixties events.
All the tours include Rally Plates and Roadbook. Cars representing those that would have taken part in the Monte Carlo Rallies from the 1940’s through to the 1970’s will be especially welcome. . The event will be flagged off from the Start Ramp of the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, once the Rally cars have been cheered on their way.
Back on the ‘home front’, the ‘new’ Golf Diesel hasn’t really had a taste of what is to come, and I am actually going to Spain in someone else’s vehicle, but once the season starts I am hoping to see the benefits of that better fuel consumption. In the meantime I am amazed at the performance of the diesel, almost as good, if not better in some circumstances, than the VR6, but somehow it hasn’t got the same character – or ‘grin factor’. Just too d…d efficient, no hooligan element! (And black is a s-d to keep clean this weather!) Ah well, better go and check the anti-freeze in all the cars and then pack my sunglasses and sun cream.
News Update Nov 2012
Rumours of my retirement are greatly exaggerated! Due to popular demand (well from some people!!) far from retiring (I wish), we have some exciting new plans for 2013! We will be branching out onto the continent and into Ireland.
The first event is really for the ‘petrol heads’ who want more adventure than luxury. The Caledonian Classic and Historic Motorsport Club are organising the Glasgow start of the 2013 Monte Carlo Historique, and to make it more of an occasion want as many cars as possible to pass over the ceremonial start ramp in Glasgow. Therefore they are also organising a purely touring run to follow this iconic event with various options as below. CCT(MK) will not be involved in the actual organisation but we can arrange entries and accommodation for anyone interested.
Our other venture onto the continent is our own MONTJUIC REVIVAL TOUR.
The first Montjuic Revival Meeting takes place in Barcelona in December, and while we may make a recce visit there this year, we will not have time to organise a full tour. However we should be in a better position for the 2013 event next December. The provisional idea at the moment is to spend 3 or 4 days driving down through France and on to Barcelona. Three days in Barcelona watching the ‘racing’ and Christmas shopping, before a two day run across country to Santander for the ferry home. We hope to have more details soon. Regular customers are welcome to join us on this ‘recce’ trip as long as they accept it is not a tour as such.
Our other major ‘overseas’ event is the Tour of South West Ireland. Our last Irish Tour was to Northern Ireland and ever since then many people have asked for a southern route. So that is what we have planned for 2013. The ferry will be included in the package but there will only be one option, probably Holyhead to Dublin. If a different crossing is more convenient for you then you will be free to organise that yourself.
Other new events include the New Forest-Isle of Wight Tour which opens our season in April. This isn’t entirely new as we planned to do The New Forest part last year but had to abandon it due to the tanker drivers strike. The Isle of Wight is new to us, as is the following event the Tour of Wessex. We were so impressed with the Dorset countryside on our 2012 Devon and Dorset Tour that we thought it warranted some further exploration. Also, the hotel we used in Sidmouth proved so popular we felt it would make a good base for touring some of the areas we missed last time.
In May we make our annual pilgrimage to ‘Bonnie Scotland’ but this time we return to the West Coast after the 2012 trip to the Orkneys. We will cover familiar ground on the Isle of Mull, and return to Arran for the first time for a few years and stay overnight. There will be new routes on the way and on the Mull of Kintyre.
The Circuit of Britain is a new version of a ‘1000 mile tour’ we previously considered. It will actually take in most of the National Parks in England and Wales as well as visiting some areas, such as the Cotswolds, where we haven’t really been before. There will be the option to do sections of the route as a separate tour.
The High Roads Tour is something we have done before but we will have some new routes in the Dales with different themes, e.g. The Little Devils Tour will follow the route of a previous Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club ‘Devils Own Rally’, another day will feature ‘superlatives’!, i.e. the highest railway station, the highest main road, the highest waterfall and the highest market town, and there will be the ‘Bar T’at and Bronte Tour’ which will visit Ilkley Moor and Howarth Parsonage.
The Autumn Tour will be slightly different with just one day in the Lakes and several in the Borders and an area we haven’t used before, the Wigtown peninsula in South West Scotland.
In order to keep my recce costs down on all these new routes I have reluctantly parted with my trusty old VW Golf VR6. With 186,000 on the clock and approx. 27mpg, I’m afraid she just had to go. Instead I have purchased my first ever ‘oil burner’. First impressions, after only a couple hundred miles are very, very favourable. M.P.G. is almost double – driving steadily, but it still goes incredibly well – it is a Golf GTDi. I must still say that the VR6 was the best car I have ever owned and the diesel is a case of head ruling heart for once in my life. However I am pleased to say, (fingers crossed) my other toys, the RS2 and the Alpine are both going well and providing the smiles per miles.
I hope I have wetted your appetite and that you will have plenty of smiles per miles in 2013. New brochures should be in the post before Christmas.
If I have really wetted your appetite there is one event I haven’t mentioned. The ‘Stuff the Turkey’. This is a one day “Treasure Hunt” event based at my local pub. If you fancy a couple of days away from the Christmas excesses I can arrange accommodation either at the pub (Station Inn) or the Crooklands Hotel, 4 miles down the road. If just one day isn’t viable I may be able to organise a short run to a place of interest such as the Lakeland Motor Museum, the next day, depending on the weather.
DECEMBER ’12 Thursday 27TH STUFF THE TURKEY TREASURE HUNT
Based near Kendal.
PROVISIONAL 2013 CALENDAR
JANUARY 23-26th GLASGOW MONTE CARLO
1.Run to the Loch – a short run for a social gathering at Luss, Loch Lomond.
2.Run to the Borders –following the Glasgow Monte Carlo Historique Starters to the Welcome Point in Dumfries.
3.Run to the Moors – following the Glasgow Monte Carlo Historique Starters to the Passage Control at Barnby Moor, Yorkshire.
4.Follow the Monte Carlo Historic competitors on a touring route from Glasgow all the way to Monte Carlo.
More details later.
APRIL Sat/Sun 6/7th NEW FOREST AND ISLE OF WIGHT TOUR
Based at Lymington.
Mon-Wed 8-10th TOUR OF WESSEX
Start at Lymington, 3 Nights at Sidmouth.
Visit Weymouth and Portland Bill and Fleet Air Arm Museum
MAY Sun-Sun. 12-19th WESTERN ISLES TOUR
Start in Lake District, through Borders,
2 nights on Mull, 1 night on Arran.
Visit Staffa, Iona, and Bute. Finish with cruise on
JUNE Wed – Sun 15-25th CIRCUIT OF BRITAIN TOUR
Start Stratford on Avon, Cotswolds, Brecon Beacons,
Black Mountains, Snowdonia, Chester, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, Yorkshire Moors, Yorkshire Wolds, finish near Rutland Water.
JULY Wed-Sun 17-21st HIGH ROADS TOUR (Peaks and Dales)
Start Derbyshire, through Yorkshire Dales,
finish Lake District.
SEPTEMBER Sun-Sun 8-15th SOUTHERN IRELAND
Start/Finish Dublin, Killarney Lakes and Dingle Peninsula.
OCTOBER Wed-Sun 16-20th AUTUMN LAKES AND SW SCOTLAND
Lakes and Passes, Borders and South West Scotland.
DECEMBER MONTJUIC REVIVAL TOUR
Drive across France to Spain for Classic Racing Cars and Christmas Shopping in Barcelona. Return ferry Santander to Portsmouth
It has been another busy period with the North Wales Tour and the Dales and Moors Tour since my last ‘blog’. Both had relatively mixed weather. We skirted the flooded areas around Aberystwyth on the Welsh Tour and left Cumbria in an almighty deluge on the Dales Tour, but on both occasions things improved as we went on. I’m now preparing for the Isle of Man.
But in amongst all this I am delighted to say that I have got the Alpine back on the road. Oh ye of little faith!, it does exist and here are some pictures to prove it!. There are still some minor details to sort out but in general I think she is looking good. The new colour looks even better out in the sunshine – so lets hope we have some! The plan was to use the Alpine on the Isle of Man tour but with barely 20 miles under her belt so far and a niggling carburettor fault it might be wise to roll out ‘Old Droop Snoop’ (RS2000) again. After all, the Isle of Man is legendary rally country so the Escort might be more appropriate. The Alpine should make the last two tours of the year though, the Northumberland/Borders and Lakes Autumn – spaces available on both at the moment!
Hi Mike, Just a short note to say thank you for another lovely time in the north east. Even the car breaking down didn't spoil it thanks to your care and attention.
It was a really magical trip and that scenery was stunning! Looking forward to the next one in October. Regards Sue and Tim.
Thanks Mike we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We really appreciate all the time and work you must put in to ensure such a high quality event. For us, it`s the ideal way of having a holiday.
Best regards, Marie and Roger.
It has been a very busy time recently. I returned from a very successful Scottish Tour to have one day at home before going off to Wales to finish the route notes for that tour next week!
The weather was very kind to us in Scotland – not so much of the ‘Vivaldis’ this time. The week started cold and cloudy but got better day by day. It never quite got up to the balmy temperatures of the recent heat wave but this probably helped the visibility. In crisp bright weather Scotland looked its best from Glen Shee to the Orkneys and back to Loch Ness. Even the Pass of the Cattle was blessed with sunshine and the coast above Applecross looked magnificent. The tranquil seaside coffee stop at Shieldaig was so idyllic many people didn’t want to leave – ever! With three nights at the charming and peaceful Coul House Hotel, north of Inverness, many people didn’t want to leave there either. The splendid MacDonald group of hotels provided accommodation for most of the other nights and so the combination of fantastic scenery and sumptuous living made for a tour which will be hard to beat. And that is the sentiment of the participants;
Thanks Mike we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We really appreciate all the time and work you must put in to ensure such a high quality event.
For us, it`s the ideal way of having a holiday.
Marie and Roger.
Firstly a big thank you from Chris and I for yet another superb tour, routes, hotels, food you even organised a calm crossing to and from Orkney!!!! everything SPOT ON!!!!!!!
Very many thanks for a fantastic tour, we very much enjoyed it. Super driving roads, great hotels, good company and superb organisation, everything we needed to make a perfect tour.
Book us in for Mull next year.
Lawrence & Margaret
The best Scottish Heineken Tour to date, reaches the parts other tours never see, fantastic! A tour to include in everyone’s 1 of 100 things to achieve before popping ones clogs.
Ray and Ruth
April News Update
Apparently some of my customers have re-named my company as “Vivaldi Tours” – because we seem to get all ‘Four Seasons’ on each one! This was certainly the case on my recent route noting trip to Scotland. I had a beautiful run upto Loch Rannoch where I tried out the MacDonalds Hotel there. Purely market research of course!
I was somewhat dismayed to wake up the next morning to a complete ‘white out’. I still had some of the highest roads in Scotland to cross. The receptionist at the hotel re-assured me however; “Och it will be nay bother, it never sticks in April.” (Or something like that.) She was right. Despite a good covering of snow over Glen Shee and The Lecht, there was a continuous black ribbon of tarmac everywhere. Ice Road Truckers eat your heart out!
Unfortunately, I still had to miss one bit of route due to road works. The diversion took me 20+ miles out of my way. We will just have to see what happens on the day but I have noted the diversion just in case.
The rest of the trip was relatively un-eventful with a lovely crossing to and from the Orkneys. There were some big hailstorms while I was there but “it never stuck”! The Orkneys are certainly different, and not like any other part of
I also called in at Coul House on the way back. Some interesting new lager/beer and an absolutely superb meal bode well for our three nights there.
The journey home should have been very pleasant as again I was favoured with bright sunshine but again it was a road closure that spoiled things. The main A82 down Loch Ness was closed necessitating a massive detour. I did not make notes of this as it was due to an accident, so hopefully we will not encounter anything similar next month.
I am pleased to report that all remaining tours now have enough bookings to make them viable, although there is plenty of room for more bookings. The Welsh and Dales Tours are in quick succession after Scotland so if you are contemplating booking it would make my life easier if you did it sooner rather than later! All this ‘high living’ sampling hotels for your benefit is OK, but then I have to spend days typing up the notes and sorting all the paperwork and then planning the next recce. I have said it before --- it’s a hard life etc.
PHEW! That was a fraught week or so, wondering if the petrol drivers strike would happen and if the panic buying would mean I would have to cancel the first tour of the year, THE DEVON AND DORSET TOUR. As a precaution I cancelled the first day in the new forest and then the strike was called off, but it was a close run thing!
In the end we need not have worried, we had no problems with petrol at all throughout the route.
Unfortunately the same could not be said about the weather. The first two days were run in clear blue skies although temperatures had dropped considerably from the previous week, but many crews still managed to go ‘topless’. Wednesday morning was a little damp but the visibility for the run along the North Devon coast was good and there were some stunning views as we made our way through the ‘Valley of the Rocks’ and Porlock Toll Road. We left Porlock Weir after lunch in heavy rain but were a little surprised to run into snow on Exmoor. The higher we went the worse it got and visibility was zero. The roads were passable and the sun came out by the time everyone returned to Barnstaple.
The following day’s route over a different part of Exmoor wasn’t troubled by snow – just fog! So again there was no visibility. This means I am going to have to run this tour again next year on the principle of “third time lucky”. I was slightly consoled by the fact that a local crew said I couldn’t have picked a better route for views – if we could have seen them. Ah well, you can’t win them all, and the weather is very difficult to organise!
Next up is Scotland with a full entry and then Wales followed by the Isle of Man. There are still places for the Welsh Tour but the Isle of Man is filling up quickly so if you are thinking about it, get your booking in now!
A couple of weeks ago I managed to escape from the dull, grey north to the sunny south. Whilst I completed my final recce for the Devon and Dorset Tour in fantastic sunshine, it was bitterly cold. I called in to see a few old friends and customers and they all assured me it wasn’t normally this cold ‘down south’. One of them even e-mailed me the week after to say I wasn’t welcome back again as the day I left the sea froze over!! They all assured me it will be positively balmy in April – just like I assure everyone it never rains in the Lake District? The only place I had trouble was Exmoor where week old snow had frozen solid, thawed to slush and frozen again. Discretion proved to be the better part of valour and I abandoned this bit of the route and turned for home. This wasn’t a problem as it was a section of route previously used on a GWR Tour so it wasn’t vital to drive it this time. Mind you, whilst I had a perfect run home and encountered no traffic or weather problems between Bath and Kendal (on the same day Heathrow was closed), I was a little shocked to see the road through my own village had snow several inches deep at the sides and neighbours informed me I would have struggled to get home 24 hours earlier.
I was pleased with my recce and found some really good driving roads and some stunning views. The early part of the route has so many places of interest it is going to be difficult to keep to any sort of schedule. Participants will have to keep an eye on the time and the distances still to travel. Talking of participants, I am pleased to say 12 cars are booked for the Devon and Dorset and there may be one or two just doing the New Forest section on Sunday.
The Solway South West and Highland and Orkneys is now fully booked. All other tours are starting to fill up, so fingers crossed, it looks like a busy year ahead.
PLEASE NOTE – Photo ID is needed for everyone crossing to the Orkneys.
On a personal note, I competed on an Historic Rally in Scotland last weekend and I’m delighted to say we came away with a Class win! So the RS has redeemed itself and ensured a place in the garage for the forseeable future. The weather was absolutely glorious and the scenery around Pitlochry was stunning. Although the Scottish Tour passes through this area and I did a little recce-ing, I unfortunately didn’t take my camera so I have no photos – participants will just have to wait and see.
The Alpine has passed an M.O.T. but I haven’t put it on the road yet. I hope to have it going soon and if it seems reliable may use it on the Devon and Dorset Tour. Watch this space for some photos once it is out on the road.
Scotland – hard to sum up really. You will just have to go and see for yourselves!