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
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
I was somewhat dismayed to wake up the next morning to a complete ‘white out’. I still had some of the highest roads in
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.