Tuesday, 5 June 2012

June 1st. We're away! Scotlandshire here we come!

Friday morning finally arrived after what seemed a long week and my Co-Driver for the event, Peter Fern made good time in getting to my house for 10am. (I had been in the garage at 7am changing the angle drive on the gearbox so we could have a working speedometer!)
After a quick cup of tea we set out and headed across to Chelmsford, then Stansted, onto the M11, A14, A1, sat in a traffic jam at Doncaster and then finally off at Scotch Corner and across the A66 towards Cumbria. We arrived at our hotel, the Graham Arms in Longtown just North of Carlisle at around tea time, checked in and made for the bar. By the evening time quite a few other cars and crews had arrived and a good night was had by all.
Saturday morning saw the start of the autotests at the Townfoot garage just over the bridge. Due to the fact that I was still running my engine in, we decided to skip the competitive autotest parts of the rally and just do the road coverage.
On leaving Longtown we avoided all of the main A roads and headed North West through Newcastleton, then Jedburgh, then cut back to Selkirk before stopping for a coffee in the small town of Innerleithen.

Suitably refreshed we then headed up to Edinburgh and across part of the RBRR route, the Forth road bridge. The next stop was for more Autotests at Glenrothes (again we didn't take part) and then we headed west over to Leven and Crail and then Northwards through St Andrews where we stopped for a bag of chips cooked in beef dripping! We then took the back roads towards Wormit, Creich and Newburgh. We encountered some spectacular views on this part and managed to get some cool pics. 

Saturday night at 7pm we were parked up with everyone else at the Travelodge in Perth. Peter decided to stay in the pub opposite, while fellow Essex members Steve & Tina Poulton and I decided to jump in a cab and head into Perth for an Indian. Very nice (and cheap) it was too. We did return to the pub for more drinks, but the days 230 mile route had taken a lot out of everyone by then and most people were turning in.

Sunday morning and Peter and I decided to get an early start and followed the route heading East towards Creif and then Loch Earn. Absolutely stunning views at this location and a photo stop just had to be done.

We then headed south through Brig O'Turk and then encountered the beautiful Loch Venachar. Again, we couldn't resist it and had to get some more pics.

After leaving here we continued South past Dumbarton, over the Erskine Bridge, then through Kilbarchan and Beith. We then took numerous B roads and continued South until we reached the Galloyway forest. Once through the forest and down to Newton Stewart we turned West again past Dumfries and Annan and back towards where we started from, Longtown. Today's total mileage was 250.
With all the crews in attendance dinner took place followed by the presentations followed by more drinking after. We started off in the Graham Arms, then diverted to the only other pub in the town (Unofficially known as 'The Sticky Carpet pub!') for some live music (if you could call it that) before returning to the Graham Arms again.
At breakfast the following morning, we decided we hadn't had enough yet and to do a bit more sight seeing on the way home. We headed through Kirkby Stephen and over the Buttertubs pass in North Yorkshire. There's some stunning views over this way, so thanks to Dave Langrick for tipping us off about them.

Once again, a fantastic weekend was had by all and Gertie behaved impeccably. My fears of poor fuel consumption due to running too rich were completely unfounded as she was better on fuel than the standard 2000 Mk2 I took last year.  We must have covered around 1100 miles in total, possibly more, so I think I can say that my engine is now officially 'run in'. Oil and filter change to follow then! :)

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