Wednesday, 6 June 2007

La Carrera Caledonia

Set off to IJmuiden last Thursday afternoon to catch the night ferry to Newcastle. Despite some worries about the engine (especially the water pump) I got to the ferry without any problems. Even sitting in a traffic jam in the blistering heat for nearly an hour didn't give any problems.

After a rather uneventful and quiet crossing I got off the ferry in Newcastle. As I had all day to drive to Bradford to pick up my navigator for the event, Mik Davies, I had decided to take a nice detour through the Yorkshire Dales. So from Newcastle I headed over the B6278 and B6274 to Richmond for lunch. After lunch it was time for ever more interesting roads, into Swaledale;

Then over the Buttertubs Pass. The best bit was blasting down the south side at full throttle in 3rd and 4th gear. The brakes indeed are very confidence inspiring!

And from there over the Langstroth Chase to Kettlewell;

And eventually via Skipton to Bradford where I met up with Mik, my navigator for the event. The evening was spent at the Old Stone Trough in Kelbrook where the annual P&P P&S & Gymkhana were held that night. We should have gone to bed earlier!

Next day saw us heading up to Gretna for the start off the event. As we were a bit late it was just a matter of signing in, say hello to McJim, hand over the vlaai and off for the start.
The first day where mainly flowing through roads which went on and on. I only managed to annoy an elderly couple in a Volvo with a caravan behind. As they were in front of a long queue off cars I thought it better to quickly pull in to the road in front of them. And then he seemed to become very hasty and tried to overtake me, which off course I couldn't allow. I got the impression that he was not very pleased with that manoeuvre!
Without a doubt one off the best bits the first day was when Mik decided that we had more than enough time not to  take the A817 through Glen Fruin. So we took the old and rather more twisty road that still runs parallel to it. And this despite the fact that it had started to rain, as a result of which the road surface became very slippery indeed. Especially the last bit going very steeply down to the Faslane Naval Base was very interesting indeed.
The day ended with dining and drinking, as a result of which we missed the Rest-and-be-Thankful hill climb. And to make everything complete the second day started with some glorious Scottish rain, which actually lasted all day.

When we arrived at the start at Rest-and-be -Thankful all the teams had already gone so we could do nothing else then to be gone also. Despite the weather it turned out to be a fantastic route over some very nice roads through some stunning scenery. The best bits being chasing some cars on the road along the northern shore off Loch Awe, the road through Glen Orchry with its stunning scenery and the "road-that-will-not-appear-on-your-road-atlas" between Killin and Lawers;

This also turned out to be the worst bit off this year’s LCC.  After having to endure a soaked driver’s seat after the lunch halt in Killin (water coming in through the back off the sunroof) the wipers decided that they needed a break, just south of Loch Lyon. The timing couldn't be better, right in the middle of nowhere and in the pouring rain!

It turned out that the fuse had blown due to the choke light switch being rattled apart and short-circuiting. Nothing very worrying but I got soaked nevertheless getting out off the car to check lights and get the spare fuses out of the boot. But the stunning scenery more than made up for that.

As we were running late we had the good fortune that it stopped raining before we started up Glen Quaich so we stopped there to take some more pictures;

From there on it was all fairly straightforward except the last bit off road, the B970 into Coylumbridge which was also great fun to drive. That evening again turned out to be a great "social" event, where 't Kreng even managed to achieve the "Best Triumph of the Event" award. Again a big thank you to McJim for organizing this great event. Also many thanks to Mik for doing the navigating bit.

All in all the car clocked up exactly 2700 km over the weekend and used up some 290 litres off fuel, which is a rather decent fuel consumption I have to admit. And the water pump? That seems to have healed (or better resealed) itself as there is no more visible leak and I didn't have to top up the coolant.

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