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
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.
VIVA ESPANA! It seems I timed things right for once and got away from the worst of the British weather.
If it is any consolation, it was positively balmy in Barcelona!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!