Getting in Touch with your Wild Side
All pictures and maps are on the picture gallery for the event.
The Highland 3 Day Classic Tour has been held virtually every year for the last 20 years and I have to say that it strikes me, from all the comments, cheers, laughter and ‘rib digging’ that has gone on over the last few days, that 2016 has been the best one yet. There are many people better qualified than me to confirm that, as we were ‘newbie’s’ completing this event for the first time. It has to be said that the support and guidance we received from many of the ‘old hands’ present was fantastic. So, a great big thank you from us, to all of you for making this Tour an amazing experience.
Clearly, this is one of those events where once you have done it….you are hooked and want to come back for more! (We were registered for next year’s event before we had even finished this one)!
There were 18 cars registered for this tour, they included everything from Alfa to Volvo including, BMW, Rolls Royce, Audi, Mercedes, mini, Jaguar, on to Porsche, MGs and Healey,not to mention a daffodil and a luminous lime green Fiesta driven by Mike (the tour organiser) don’t ask!
Whilst I must confess the event does require a ‘modicum’ of stamina due to early starts and challenging drives, it was overall a fantastic tour to be part of with even a little bit of time to visit the Highland Stone Pottery shop (thanks Kirsteen). Mike and the team’s organising skills are second to none. Marvellous hotels, excellent food stops, challenging road events and the all round good fun was wholly down to the organisation and huge efforts made by the organisers. I know we are not the only ones who want to say ‘Thank you’ to everyone of them (Mike, Catherine, Owen, Tracy, John and David)
As I have already said, there was some serious driving to be had on this Tour, with an excess of a 150 miles covered on each day.
The roads and views were amazing. Yes, we did stop to take photographs, how could we not, with views like this. We were not the only ones to take photos, thanks to Owen for this brilliant shot taken on Day 1. I must confess, that I was so busy concentrating on Tulips I couldn’t always appreciate the views (mind you there were one or two who travelled so fast they didn’t even see Scotland! Not that any speed limits were broken, of course)
Stuart did all the driving in our 50 year old Daimler V8 and it is fair to say he was more than pleased with her performance. He says, “The old girl was well behaved and the car was even better” (Thanks for that!). We did lose a wiper arm in high winds on Day 3 but that was much preferred to Mike’s Healy which was taken home on a low loader after losing the clutch on the Hill Climb, hence the lime green Fiesta for the rest of the tour!
Day 2: As you can see from the map, day 2 took us high up in to the Scottish highlands where the population is about as sparse as waitresses at the Jury hotel in Inverness. A short navigation event preceded the longest journey of the event. The east to west cross-country drive was mainly a single-track affair but the further west we travelled, the better the scenery seemed to get. The approach to Lochinver was absolutely stunning with mountain formations looking more like Sugar Loaf in Brazil without blue sky of course.
The Inver Lodge Hotel is a true diamond in this part of the world with a top draw lunch provided in very comfortable surroundings overlooking the bay. After lunch we made our way down towards Ullapool with scenery looking more and more like the set from a Hobbit movie.
Now, some of the regulars to this event had baulked at the idea of going to Scotland without visiting Applecross, so Mike dutifully added in an optional leg for Day 2. Not easy to judge how long this would take but as some found out, it was a long haul and with most of it covered in cloud. Some about turned and headed back without taking in a tea or coffee from the busiest pub in Applecross. For those that made it, the rewards were indeed a nice cup of coffee and the dubious prospect of having to re-traverse the cloud covered hairpins of Applecross where lampless cyclist’s believe in their divine safety along with a few day-trippers. The return back to the Jury Hotel in Inverness was a little testing at times with Google suggesting an 8hour 40min drive without including the daily navigation event!
Day 3 followed the line of the Great Glenn. The weather remained kind to us and only short, hard bursts of rain occurred to challenge the one wiper Daimler.
Now for some of the ‘fun events’. As already alluded to, amongst all the fabulous driving was a daily Navigation task set by John Hartley. I am not saying we had a lot to learn but…it can be disconcerting to find you are the only vehicle travelling North on a single track road amongst another 17 travelling South! Not to mention finding out that what you thought was a perfect, first time navigation test run, actually had 10 miles of road and track missed out!
At this point, we really must thank Andrew Ogden for his patience and knowledge, providing lessons to several new members on how to map and then traverse the navigation routes. It also helped greatly when we found out what Via and Boogie Boards are along with ‘spot heights’! Thanks to you John and David, we definitely got better as the days went on.
Day 0 (Thursday) included The Forrestburn Sprint and Hill Climb Test curtesy of the MSCC (where Mike lost his clutch!) and Day 1 at the Grampian Transport Museum at Alford. We had never participated in one of these before and neither had Janet and Steve. This event showed them in their true colours (competitive speed freaks). Janet positively threw her car around the bends, screeched to a halt on the stop lines and roared off to get the Trophy! (sadly, she did not get a real trophy (there are no prizes for winning) so this photo will more than make up for it! (one for the album Janet!)
The competitions are all just part of the fun. Not wanting to show off (but going to anyway) we managed to win one event as well…….It matters not that it was the silly hat competition, we still won one event on the Tour and no one can take that away from us!
All in all the Highland Tour has been a superb experience; I really cannot praise the whole event enough. We have made some fabulous new friends that I know we will keep in touch with. I think most of us will be back again next year and we will certainly be bringing other people that we know that will enjoy and add to the event.
If you are one of those who has never participated do put it on your ‘to do’ list, I promise….you will not regret it!
Lynda and Stuart (fondly known as George) Mason
Colin and Dawn Hare
The dates for 2017 are Wednesday 20th September if you want overnight accommodation at Hetland Hall near Dumfrise Day 0 starts on Thursday morning first car off 09:00 heading up to Helensbourugh on Thursday 21st for the start of the 3 day tour on the Friday 22nd up to Dundonnel for two nights Friday and Saturday then back to Helensborough for the 24th Sunday evening then home on Monday to recover.
More details will be posted on www.highlandtour.com in December.
You Know you should come! Mike