Gil­lian de­cides to sneak her clas­sic into the Fly­ing Scots­man. Will any­one no­tice?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News - Gil­lian Car­moodie CON­TRIB­U­TOR

Gil­lian has snuck her Stan­dard into The Fly­ing Scots­man, David's been us­ing his BRM and Mur­ray's lent his MX-5 out.


Idon’t know what all those Bent­ley, Lagonda and Ford Model B own­ers would have made of it. For one day, the grand drive up to the Gle­nea­gles Ho­tel was their stomp­ing ground – and I’d brought my hum­ble 1950s in­ter­loper along for the ride to crash the party.

The Fly­ing Scots­man rally (re­port, page 8) had me hooked when I went last year as a pho­tog­ra­pher, and I’ve been fas­ci­nated by cars of the 1920s and ‘30s ever since. There’s just some­thing about the noise and ap­pear­ance of these pre-WWII ve­hi­cles – and the ef­fort the en­trants put into run­ning them – that im­me­di­ately won me over when I saw them tack­ling one of 2015’s spe­cial stages at Perth’s Scone Palace.

I wasn’t go­ing to miss catch­ing up on the Scot­tish ac­tion to­wards the end of this year’s event – but I needed a four-wheeled com­pan­ion to get me be­tween the stages. Cue the per­fect ex­cuse to get Henry, my beloved Stan­dard Eight, out on a mis­sion.

This year, 100 crews were bat­tling against the el­e­ments, mod­ern day traf­fic and pre-WWII me­chan­i­cals on their epic jour­ney be­tween Le­ices­ter­shire’s Belvoir Cas­tle and the grand fi­nale at Gle­nea­gles. And as I opened up the garage they were prep­ping for another day’s ad­ven­ture at Knock­hill Cir­cuit, 25 miles away.

But while the cars tak­ing part might be more than seven decades old, they weren’t slow. I had a mere 803cc and 28 of Stan­dard’s se­date horses to keep up with them. Opt­ing to give our lo­cal cir­cuit a miss, I in­stead de­cided to aim for the burgh of Pit­lochry, some 50 miles north.

The route ini­tially took Henry and I along some very fa­mil­iar roads. We nav­i­gated our way through the vil­lages of Falk­land and Strath­miglo be­fore turning onto an un­named road that passes the en­trance of Pitmed­den For­est. From there, we

‘Once I’d dodged the black ice and pheas­ants I had to deal with the in­clines of the A9 – which re­duced Henry’s top speed to 38mph’

went through Aber­nethy Glen, which was as spe­cial as ever. More re­cently, it’s been part of my com­mute – and that meant reg­u­larly dodg­ing el­derly trac­tors, ice patches and pheas­ants! Once I’d nav­i­gated through all that, the Stan­dard had to tackle the in­clines of the A9, with a new top speed of 38mph.

But it was worth it just to see the hills and forests of the High­lands roll into view. Af­ter a slow but in­ci­dent-free out­ing, 995 UXP ar­rived at the pic­turesque sur­round­ings of Atholl Palace. It didn’t take long be­fore the quiet tran­quil­lity of the Higlands was im­pres­sively punc­tu­ated by the first throaty roar of a vin­tage car’s en­gine.

I won­dered what the crews, dressed in pe­riod cos­tumes, and driv­ing all those Bent­leys, As­ton Martin, Tal­bots and Lagondas, would have made of the lone pho­tog­ra­pher stand­ing next to a 1950s sa­loon on their jaunt up to the palace.

As the teams tucked into lunch within the palace, I once again started up Henry, and we headed south. We pulled into Bir­nam for a brief lunch stop be­fore con­tin­u­ing on to­wards the Gle­nea­gles Ho­tel where the crews would shortly be due to com­plete their three-day driv­ing marathon. My Eight dili­gently pressed through a strong head wind, pass­ing Aberuthven and Auchter­arder, as we made our way to Gle­nea­gles.

No sooner had I swung my cam­era strap over my shoul­ders, than the first fin­isher of the Fly­ing Scots­man sped up to­wards the ho­tel and a kilted bag­piper be­gan an en­thu­si­as­tic mu­si­cal greet­ing for all those ar­riv­ing. For a short while, the vin­tage stal­warts came in thick and fast – I was a very busy snap­per at the event’s fi­nale.

It was good news for Henry too; he’d be joined at Gle­nea­gles by a 1928 Ford A Sports Coupé and a 1936 Ri­ley 12/4 Spe­cial. The Stan­dard fit­ted in per­fectly in the glo­ri­ous nos­tal­gia of it all, so clearly a 1950s Austin sa­loon doesn’t look too out of place on the Fly­ing Scots­man.

Be­fore I headed home I couldn’t re­sist a cheeky jaunt down to the rally’s fin­ish line. I left Henry to pose out­side the ho­tel for just long enough to get the req­ui­site shot, mak­ing a hasty get­away just be­fore all the com­peti­tors started ask­ing how a 1950s Stan­dard had sneaked into the event.

Un­til next year, chaps…

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