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Tuesday 8th May 2012


PH BLOG: ROADSTERS IN SCOTLAND

Time to round-up the Scotland blogging with a gallery of pics from the trip


What are you up to for the bank hol then? Myself, Racing Pete, techie Matt Dell and pal Ben are heading up to Scotland for a bit of a roadster roadtrip in, respectively, my Eunos, Pete's newly purchased Honda S2000 and Ben's S1 Elise. I did something similar last year in the Eunos and was absolutely blown away by both the scenery and the roads and in the 'just get out and drive' spirit we're here again. No particular plan, just find some promising looking squiggles on the map and go drive. Worked last time!

Our numbers are sadly diminished from the original plan but we can hopefully bring you a flavour of the trip right here with, connection permitting, a bit of an update after each day's driving and regular picture updates over on the PHFacebook page.

Stay tuned!

Dan


So, 1,200-odd miles, a surprising amount of sunburn and a lot of fuel later here's a gallery of our weekend in Scotland and why, if you love driving, you need to point your wagon north...

Until next time!

Lots of this, everywhere!
Lots of this, everywhere!
On the A87 near Invergarry
On the A87 near Invergarry
Deep fried Haggis? Don't mind if I do...
Deep fried Haggis? Don't mind if I do...
The bargain option for Scottish fun
The bargain option for Scottish fun
A mini PH traffic jam forms
A mini PH traffic jam forms
Bridges and soft drinks made of girders
Bridges and soft drinks made of girders
"When I grow up..." and all that
"When I grow up..." and all that
Ferries break up the driving a bit
Ferries break up the driving a bit
Yes, the roof was still down
Yes, the roof was still down
Dalwhinnie distillery in suitably moody climes
Dalwhinnie distillery in suitably moody climes
Keep up boys!
Keep up boys!
Singletrack road + epic view = Scotland
Singletrack road + epic view = Scotland
Another attempt to keep up with Racing Pete
Another attempt to keep up with Racing Pete
On the main road to Campbeltown
On the main road to Campbeltown
We wondered if the Lotus could float across
We wondered if the Lotus could float across
Refreshment stop in Fort Augustus
Refreshment stop in Fort Augustus
What do you mean watch the fuel gauge?
What do you mean watch the fuel gauge?
Haha, that bit of land looks like a.....
Haha, that bit of land looks like a.....
Back into England and ... the rain!
Back into England and ... the rain!
The hilarious A68 borders rollercoaster ride
The hilarious A68 borders rollercoaster ride




Sunday: Blair Atholl, 2100h (...but it's taken until now to find some bandwidth!)
So, brace yourself for another slightly wired, windblown and - shocker! - sunburnt report from PH's mini Scottish tour. Last night's campsite was high on vistas and hospitality but, frankly, by the time we'd bumped our way back to the A83 along another 12 miles of singletrack road I'd kind of done the whole bumpy narrow road thing, two close shaves with oncoming Land Rovers and, possibly, a dinged wheel or two to show for my troubles.

The Commando memorial at Spean Bridge
The Commando memorial at Spean Bridge
Key goals for the day were to a) get lunch before 3pm b) chill out a bit and calm down on the mileage and c) make camp before nightfall. And we failed on all three. But, hell, what a fantastic day of driving we've had. Hard to know where to start but Scotland has delivered - and then some - on the epic scenery, amazing roads and schizophrenic weather. Where else could you be driving with a clear blue sky, shades on and be simultaneously pelted with rain. Or, face glowing with sunburn, suddenly find yourself driving through a snow shower. Gotta love it!

Things just seem more switched on up here too. The number of times we've come up behind a slow moving car that's obligingly pulled over or just backed off, left indicator on to let our noisy little convoy through is astounding if you're schooled in the dog eat dog driving elsewhere in the UK. And even the speed limits seem to be more sensible, the handy countdowns to arrivals in 30 zones really welcome and the sense that limits are intelligently applied according to the hazards present rather than just arbitrarily set in keeping with some random council initiative meaning you have a much greater sense of mutual respect than you might get elsewhere.

Small cars, big landscape, etc
Small cars, big landscape, etc
Many thoughts have gone through my head today but the key one would be this; if you own any sort of tasty car you owe it to yourself to bring it up here and give it a proper go. Doesn't matter if you drive an MP4-12C or an MX-5. It's just a lovely place to drive - if the scenery don't get you the endless miles of flowing, well sighted and mainly deserted (avoid the run into Fort William) roads will. Seriously, all the money/leaky roofs/stupid fuel bills/insurance costs/depreciation/mechanical fettling/delete as appropriate you put up with for running your car will suddenly make sense. Today I've spent more time in the upper limits of the rev range than I probably should have, have driven constant radius corners that seemed to last for three miles at least, seen vistas that will live with me to the grave and generally had the drive of my life, all of this just a few hours up the motorway from Hertfordshire.

Forgive the emotion, it's been a long day, but, really, you owe it to yourself to take a few days out, find a few squiggles on the map north of the border and go have some fun...



Saturday: Port Ban campsite, 2230h
Having chased signal around Scotland and arrived a bit sunburnt, a tad cold and very, very late at the beautiful Port Ban campsite I can finally put a bit of an update up on our day so far.

Saturday started as Friday ended: on the M6. Thankfully not for too long though and we were soon off and onto some delightfully twisty and less delightfully bumpy B-roads en route to Dumfries. 360 miles, two ferries, two grounded out sumps, a few scared sheep and a load of fuel later we're very gladly accepting the charity of the campsite owners who recognised a bunch of windblown and hungry PHers in need of feeding and very generously plied us with barbecued meat and cold beer. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Frankly the day has melded into a bit of a blur of simply stunning scenery, a lot of maxed out (and very noisy) revving from the Mazda trying to keep up with the Lotus and Honda and more and more amazing roads the further we go. And where have we been? Er, not sure actually. But a highlight includes a lap of the Campbeltown peninsula, that bit that sticks out of Scotland that, um, well, if Viz designed coastlines this one would be all their own work. We travelled down the eastern side on crazily undulating, single-track road and then back up the western one on the absolutely stunning A82. Right now this is the most amazing road it's ever been my pleasure to drive upon.

Other revelations? Apparently the Eunos does, on occasion, spit flames from its exhaust. As if I didn't love that car enough already this alone has made the weekend for me. I may need to hold that thought though. Because tonight promises to be on the chilly side.




Saturday: M6 Burton North Travelodge, 0730h
Plan for the first stage was to nail as much of the boring bit - AKA the M6 - as possible on Friday night, bed down at the Travelodge (ooh the glamour) and then we can all head off together in convoy and onto the first bit of proper driving across Dumfries and Galloway.

The M6: looks better by night
The M6: looks better by night
The M6 certainly delivered on the boring front, though was mercifully quiet and we made good progress, the Eunos singing its little heart out along the way. I've just picked it up (literally just picked it up, hours before!) from some suspension tweaks by the guys at Performance5 who've added some rolling updates to their dampers and changed the eyelet bushings to deal with some NVH issues. Looking forward to feeling the difference as we go on.

It's a nice little group of cars too. Pete's new Honda looks good and is, by some margin, the most powerful car here, Ben's Lotus should be in its element as the going gets twistier and ... I've got the loudest exhaust.

Time to rally the troops and for the most important appointment of the day - breakfast! I think we'll pass on the delights of the BK and Café Ritazza here at the services and put in an early 20 miles or so to the delights of the Tebay Westmorland Farm services a little further up the road. Well worth it in my experience.

 

 

Author: Dan Trent