Well, I survived the ‘invasion’ of German Ferraris. It was hard work but luckily I had an excellent team of helpers who made sure things went as smoothly as possible. There were a few early hic-cups but these were mainly due to ‘cultural differences’ and the sheer numbers involved, 70 people and 37 cars. Fortunately the weather was very good and the scenery looked at its best in the early Autumn colours. It was quite a spectacle everywhere we went. Most places had never seen that many Ferraris all together and we estimated that it was the most expensive car park in Europe when we stopped at each hotel. There were the inevitable breakdowns but ‘my team’ coped admirably, even sourcing one of only 2 tyres of a particular type in the country, and getting it couriered up to Inverness in time for the car to complete the route. Electrical problems on another car were
beyond our scope but we got him to the main dealers in Edinburgh and he completed the route in a hire car. At least one driver was so taken with the Scottish kilt that he bought one and wore it during our run over the Pass of the Cattle. I was relieved that the wind at the top didn’t lift him up like a parachute and blow him away!
All in all it was quite an experience – but I might limit numbers on future events!
More news later when I have fully recovered.
Just a quick ‘blog’ this month as I get ready to host 38 German Ferraris on a tour of Scotland next week.
The Holland and Harz Tour was almost more successful than expected! The weather was generally good, the hotels and food were excellent and apart from an incredible number of ‘Umleitungs’ (diversions) the routes worked well. I thought Britain was bad for closing roads at a whim, but it seems EU Health and Safety must rule everywhere as we had roads closed almost every day and I think the record was 3 or was it 4, in one day. Luckily everyone managed to find their way around without too much trouble. In most cases it didn’t spoil the intended route except for the little rope ferry which we had kept as a surprise. Luckily one person’s determination to get through the road works (i.e. he moved the barriers) encouraged most people to persevere and experience this little gem of a river crossing. It must have made the day for the otherwise rather bored ferry man. At one point he had a Porsche 912, a brand new F-Type Jaguar and an MGB filling his tiny ‘raft’.
The VW Autostadt was as amazing as expected
and we even had a cruise on the canal. There was more to see than could comfortably done in a day, although the individual brand ‘pavillions’ were a little disappointing (except for Bugatti), not much more than rather average show rooms. On the other hand the car towers and the museum were excellent.
Everyone enjoyed the train trip up the Brocken Mountain regardless of whether they were steam buffs or not, and a rather eccentric museum/fun park entertained another day.
On the down side I have decide to cancel the Autumn Tour as there weren’t enough bookings to make it viable and the planned base at Kirkby Lonsdale didn’t work out. At least some of the route (Forest of Bowland) will probably be incorporated in a new event in March next year. See below.
I am trying to firm up dates for next year, see below, and a new brochure should be published before Christmas.
PROVISIONAL PROPOSED CALENDAR 2015
DEVILS DIAMOND 60 TOUR
Celebrating 60 years of Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club. A tour on some classic Cumbrian Rally roads and a chance to watch the Classic Devils Own Rally.
KENT TO COTSWOLDS (5 days)
Romney Marshes, South Downs, Salisbury Plain, Cotswolds, Stratford upon Avon.
JAGUAR ENTHUSIAST CLUB TOUR OF SCOTLAND (7 days)
Start Nothumberland, Jim Clark Rooms, Falkirk Wheel, Glen Eagles. Loch Rannoch, Loch Ness, West Coast, Rest and Be Thankful. Loch Lomond and Trossachs. Return run to Leeming House
May be repeated as ‘open’ event following same route later in month.
WESTERN ISLES TOUR
As Jaguar tour above but including the Isle of Mull.
GRAND TOUR OF YORKSHIRE (7 days)
Dales, Moors and Wolds, Start at Crooklands. 3-4 nights in York with free day in York. Castle Howard, Sledmere House, Whitby, Buttertubs, Blubberhouses (some of the routes featured in the 2014 Tour de France).
SUMMER MONTE (11-12 days)
A repeat of the 2014 tour following the route of the Monte Carlo Historic Rally
Calais, Reims, Valence, Massif Central, French Alps to Monte Carlo. Col de Turini, return via Route Napolean, Millau Bridge, Dordogne, Loire Valley.
CIRCUIT OF CUMBRIA (4 days)
Every ‘Kirk Road’ in the county of Cumbria! Barbondale, Garsdale, Stainmore, Gummers How, Corney Fell, Wastwater, Cold Fell, Crummock Water, Ullswater,
A new area around Whitehaven. Caldbeck, Solway Coast, Gretna, Kielder Forest, Alston, and Hartside.
The last two tours went off well although both were blighted by one day of bad weather. The High Roads Tour started off well in Derbyshire although fog on the Cat and Fiddle didn’t bode well for the day. Things brightened up though and some new customers enjoyed the day. Later on we had the worst possible weather on the day with the most spectacular scenery. Thick fog and torrential rain completely obliterated the spectacular scenery around the western lakes. I was amazed that most people completed the challenge of Hardknott and Wyrnose Passes with grins on their faces and comments such as “wasn’t that a challenge”. It certainly was! I was not so enthusiastic as the rain got under the hood, ran down the hood supports until it overflowed onto the steering wheel, over my hands and down my arm until it dripped onto my legs! Oh the joy of classic motoring! Of course the sun came out afterwards for the last 30 miles and the rest of the tour was done topless – well, hood down and in shirt sleeves.
The recent Solway South West Tour was equally successful but again pouring rain on the first morning on Arran and a rather dull day around the Wigtown peninsula interrupted what was otherwise perfect weather for classic motoring. Some new routes through the Galloway Forests had everyone in ‘rally mode’. It was almost surreal being at the back of a convoy which consisted of a Volvo Amazon, a Porsche 911, an Aston Martin DB6 and an AC Ace all being driven enthusiastically on some superb roads including the wonderful Dalvene Pass – a real drivers road.
The Cally Palace hotel proved to be an excellent stopover and I think we will be visiting again in 2015. Talking of which I have the following in mind for next year.
On the car front’ the Alpine has done sterling service on all the tours this year after a new clutch and general overall in May. The gearbox is leaking oil and the carbs need setting up again, but apart from that it is going well, still fun to drive (except perhaps in a Lakeland Monsoon!). The Escort now has a roof! I am not sure if I mentioned but it was a convertable for a while!! My ‘restoration man’ wasn’t keen on doing the chassis repairs until he investigated what horrors were hidden by the vinyl roof. And, yes, there were some horrors. The guttering on both sides was completely rotted away as was part of the roof itself. It was decision time. Restore or scrap. With the rise in values of all classics, and Escort RS’s getting rarer, plus the amount of money I already had invested in it, it just had to be restore. We are now back to the stage when I first took him the car, all the chassis and inner wings to repair. Looks like I won’t be retiring for some time as I try to keep my cars in the manner to which they have become accustomed.