Highland 3 Day Report 2016

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

Fellsman 2016

The Fellsman is a Touring Assembly within the MSA definitions but includes an element of skill from the navigators seat not normally seen on LAC events. As such it attracts a smaller but, shall we say, more dedicated following. The format remains as previous events with John Hartley devising ever more devious tests for the navigators. We don’t give awards and there isn’t any timing but the crews get the satisfaction of pitting there wits against John and his team.
My job is simple I drive car ‘0’ following the route marked on the maps confirming that car ’00’ navigated by Mike Wood (yes THE Mike Wood!) has put in via boards in all the right places, none have gone missing and that the route is passable. We sign any diversions necessitated by road closures etc if required and run about 20 mins before car 1 – simples.
All nice and simple all I need is a navigator and the Mini does the rest. Unfortunately this year my regular navigator had to call off at the last possible moment as his dad had to be taken to hospital. That meant I arrived at the start with an empty seat on my left – not good.
However there was a spare bod looking round the cars. Doing anything today I asked followed by can you read a map. My luck was in I had latched onto a bleary eyed Nigel Worswick. He had been up till 3.00 am and was planning to take in the start before going to bed ahead of a quick flight out to the Caribbean where his WRC car was waiting for him and crew to do a stage rally.
Nigel being a good sport then signed on and joined me in the Mini for the day. It’s not often you have a rally driver of this pedigree sitting next to you be he seemed happy enough as we pulled out of the start.
The start was from a new venue at the Bayley Arms, Hurst Green who made us most welcome. The route went out through Stoneyhurst and then out towards Jeffery Hill but with a little twist to take in the first via board. We then went west again through Barton and into the ‘Catforth Maze’ where I cut my teeth rallying in the late 60’s. A great area for a navigational test. We then swung north towards Pilling. Meanwhile the 30+ cars had been streaming off  the start line following in our tyre tracks.
Nigel’s navigation was spot on as we checked off the via boards. Sounds easy but Mike Wood sometimes misses one or adds one on purpose so we need to stay awake! Then out towards Abbeystead and onto the northern section of the Trough of Bowland before some more deviations. The rain threatening at the start came as short brief showers and the views of the fells and out towards Morecambe Bay with the Furness peninsula beyond were magnificent. Brian Taylor had positioned himself by the Jubilee Tower to get the cars as they came though.
Then on to Queermore and on to Caton for a lunch halt. Got there a bit early but right on the tail of Mike Wood and his team. Ted Heath was there to greet us and he set up a simple control in the pub as the rain start. The Station Hotel did us proud with a great spread. Mikes team got away and we waited for the first cars to arrive. Mud splattered cars but happy crews were soon filling the car park. Time to go. Nigel got back on there maps as we headed into the hills towards Wray and beyond. A very nasty cattle grid had been signed by John Hartley to prevent car damage and the gated section proved time consuming with many gates to be opened and closed.
Now south east towards Wigglesworth and on to Waddington Fell following the section of road used by the LAC as a hillclimb before the First World War (not a lot of people know that. By now we had caught up with Mike, he takes time whilst the heavy crew hammer in the via boards. Simple section to get home except we then met a mobile road block in the shape of a flock of sheep which delayed progress somewhat. Them back round Mitton and on to Hurst Green for the finish at the Bayley Arms. Nigel was beginning to droop a little so stayed for a coffee and made his way home to bed. Hopefully he has a great time on his rally – rallying and sun sounds like a great combination.
Shortly afterwards the first crews started arriving with tales of detours and the usual why did we see you going that way questions to each other. A great day, great cars and truly great organisation by John Hartley and his team. Here’s to 2017.
Chris Lee

2016 St Georges Day Tour

This years St Georges Day Tour start from Blackburn Northern Sports where some 140 entrants in 70 cars enjoyed a bacon butty before setting out on their travels. The Lancashire Automobile Club took the opportunity to invite the Blood Bikers along to present a cheque for monies raised at the raffle at the Barry ‘Whizzo’ Williams Sportsmans lunch held late last year.
The route was quickly into open country travelling to Gt Harwood and on to Pendle Hill and Sabden before turning north towards Barrowford and on to Skipton.
Then it was north again towards Kettlewell before turning west to pass Malham Tarn via some interesting ascents taking in some great views. A brief stop at the Helwith Bridge Inn where the entrants were welcomed with a roaring fire and a cake stall raising money fro the local school. Then the route descended via Waddinton and Stoneyhurst College to cross the River Ribble at Ribchester before returning to Blackburn Northern Sports for light refreshments.
The route totalled some 90miles with the first entrants returning about 2.30pm. A really good event with some fabulous cars.

8mm Film of the First Veteran and Vintage Car Run

Howard Greenwood of the Pendle Movie Makers emailed the club with details of a film of the 1963 Manchester to Blackpool which he has put on YouTube. It’s over 17 mins long!

The film is fascinating for many reasons. The cars on the run are all vintage and at least one is steam powered.

Of interest to us now is what is going on in the background. At the time they were the modern everyday cars. Now, they could be entrants!

“This standard 8mm transferred film shot on 21st April 1963, shows a wide range of cars from yesteryear on a rally from Manchester to Blackpool. There are many makes of cars at least one of which is steam driven. Iv (SIC) manged to save this old film as much as possible, but due to damaged sprocket holes at the begining the picture has a tendency to jitter slightly but clears up shortly after. This film is a must for all vintage car enthusiasts and to the people of the Lancashire Automobile club who arranged this event back in 1963.”

Howard Greenwood ( A Member of the Pendle Movie Makers Group )


Californians in Caledonia (2014 Highland 3-Day) by Jeff and Tessa Thomas

Last year at home in northern California our friends Paul and Lily English invited us to join them on the 2014 Highland 3 Day Classic Tour. Without hesitation we said yes. What were we thinking? We didn’t know an Austin Healey from an Aston Martin and thought a Tulip diagram was about flower anatomy. The prospect of driving hundreds of miles on the wrong side of the road in someone else’s cherished car seemed quite daunting. However, our motto is “Carpe Diem” and after flying into London and spending a few days getting over jet lag we headed north in a rental car.

Motoring up the M6 in bumper to bumper traffic in a downpour was a white knuckled introduction to driving in the UK-we thought the traffic was bad in LA! Once off of the motorway we felt particularly incompetent negotiating the endless series of roundabouts. The subtleties of English signage seemed to escape us as we developed vertigo in the roundabouts never certain which exit to take. Our performance did not bode well for the upcoming tour.

We finally arrived in Broughton and received a warm welcome from Mike and Catherine. They introduced us to their beautiful MGBGT which would be our ride on the Highland Tour. Luckily for us, Mike did not seem at all concerned about loaning the MGB to a couple of classic car neophytes that he had just met. We loved driving the car and the fact that it is an automatic (while heresy to purists) meant that we avoided the additional cognitive challenge of shifting gears.

We headed north into Scotland relieved that the recent election had kept the UK intact.

During the next four days we met many friendly members of the Lancashire Automobile Club who made us feel welcome. The Tour route drove through some of the most beautiful country we have ever seen. The Isle of Skye was particularly stunning and included a walk to the Fairy Pools. We stayed at unique and charming hotels and enjoyed regional cuisine including haggis, black pudding and Cranachan. Tessa evolved from being a chronic back seat driver to a skilled navigator who took to the challenges like a pro. I really enjoyed the driving tests, happy to have not crashed the car while avoiding the pylons. We started to feel rather smug (as if we knew what we were doing) when strangers would speak admiringly of the(our) MGB.

The tour ended in great form with the Ceilidh in Dunkeld. Modeling a kilt in front of the group was educational and has made me rethink my wardrobe.

Our drive through Scotland left us with many great memories and we are very thankful to Paul and Lily for expanding our horizons and especially to Mike, Catherine and everybody involved in organizing the Highland Tour for their hard work, generosity and kindness.

Jeff and Tessa Thomas

2014 – 22nd Coast to Coast

What a difference a day makes! Wall to wall sunshine from start to finish on this now well established event, brought out the sun cream for those with soft tops, and quarter lights open for those in tin tops.

Starting again from the Art Deco Midland Hotel Morecambe, on the Lancashire Riviera, with distant views over the bay towards the Lake District hills, nearly seventy cars lined up for the ‘off’ on a super route eastwards, via all sorts of interesting features, including the two ‘Thankful Villages’ of Nether Kellet and Arkholme, thankful, because in the first world war, all the young men of those villages who enlisted returned home safely, no doubt a rare occurrence in those terrible times. Arkholme is a doubly thankful village, as all their young men returned from the second world war as well. It does make one reflect, and we do have a lot to be thankful to those young men for.

The Fat Lamb at Ravenstonedale again provided a pit stop, and route control, and a rare sight was all the ladies queuing for the loo!! There was only one, (see photo) whereas the boys had plenty to go at!! But standing room only! Thereafter village after village had decorated for the Tour de France which had passed through the area a week earlier, before taking to the high ground, still in the tyre tracks of the ‘Tour’ boys, it was hard work in a car, it must be difficult on a bike. However, even the Police in Leyburn had entered into the spirit of the French Invasion, with Tour shirts and bunting decorating the ‘Cop Shop’

Lunch at Akebar Park gave drivers and passengers the opportunity to get fed, and have a natter with old chums before the afternoon session. Less hilly than the morning, but taking in many new roads as the cars made their way to Scarborough, eventually reaching the ‘Coast’ at Sandsend, where the North Sea provided it’s Sea Fret bank of cloud, but it was offshore and didn’t get in the way. Passing through a busy Whitby to Scripps Garage at Goathland for another check point, after which it was a short drive to Dalby Forest, for a sedate meander through the trees, unlike the rally days of the past, where cars screamed through on unsurfaced roads

The final control and finish was at East Ayton Lodge Hotel where the Lady Mayor of Scarborough, Councillor Mrs. Pat Marsberg together with Mayoress Mrs. Hilary Groves welcomed all finishers and presented each with a finishers certificate and medal. Ladies Who Loo Award winners were, the Mayors award: Anthony Lund and Margaret Polley with an Austin A110, a car owned by Anthony for forty two years. The Presidents award went to Leslie and Jane Ellis, in their Morgan +8.

The event was sponsored by Bowker BMW and Mini, and club member Tony Wood, of Blue Butts Chequered Flag Classic and Specialist Cars, who also completed the event. As ever the unsung heroes of all motoring events are the marshals, and route organisers, without whom nothing would take place, our grateful thanks go to them.