Matt heads north on his holidays aboard the trusty 2000
Scotland is a wonderful place to visit for many reasons, with great driving roads that snake their way between breathtaking scenery being just one of them. So it was with a great deal of excitement that my partner and I hit the road at the end of July. Our first destination was the capital city of Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities. We decided to overnight in Yorkshire to break up the journey north and, after enjoying our stay so much on the recent Britain’s Best Classic Cafe tour
(PC, July 2017), Solberge Hall in Northallerton was chosen as our first halt. Richard Smith, Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Classic Lodges, arrived in his MGB GT as we were preparing to leave in the morning and suggested that we’d be better of taking the A19 to the Tyne Tunnel and avoiding Newcastle. This turned out to be excellent advice – thanks Richard.
By the time we’d followed the A1 as far as the Scottish border the weather had very much turned for the worse. Scattered showers became ever heavier and the rain stuck around for most of the weekend, though this didn’t stop us enjoying Edinburgh to the max. It just meant that more time was spent hiding from the rain and sampling the excellent local ales on offer, which is no bad thing in my book.
Come Monday morning it was time to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind for a welcome change of pace. A blast up the M9 kicked things off, followed by a pleasant trundle along the A84/ A85 that skirts the Trossachs before we picked up the A82 all the way to Glencoe. I’ve driven this road numerous times before as part of the Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run but familiarity doesn’t make it any less magnificent.
Outstanding in our field
Our base for the next two nights was the Glencoe Camping and Caravanning Club site at Ballachulish. The sun beat down as we got the tent up but soon we were relaxing with a cold drink while enjoying the mountainous scenery all around us. Two days of exploring the local area passed all too quickly before it was time to strike camp (unfortunately in the rain) and hit the road once more. With our airbed and damp bedding filling the 2000’s back seat and the sopping wet tent stuffed in the boot, we made a snap decision to cancel our Wednesday night camping booking in Shiel Bridge and seek alternative lodgings – the
though of a hot shower and a warm bed was just too tempting. In the end we went in entirely the opposite direction and ended up in Lossiemouth, having taken in the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, followed the A82 along the banks of Loch Ness to Inverness and continued north. This turned out to be a great decision, especially once the downpours of the start of the day cleared up and bright sunshine returned – typical.
Thursday saw us back on the road again, first visiting the Dallas Dhu whisky distillery at Forres. The distillery closed in 1983 and today is owned and run as a visitor museum by Historic Scotland. A state-owned distillery!
Coast to coast
After a spirited run up the A835 – an excellent road previously unknown to me and one with plenty of long, sweeping bends to enjoy – we arrived in the picturesque town of Ullapool. I first visited in 2016 and was captivated by the place, so had been looking forward to this leg of our trip. Our room at the Caledonian Hotel overlooked the harbour and ferry dock while affording us superb views of Loch Broom and the surrounding area. A seafood supper was enjoyed and we retired to bed as two very happy people indeed.
Friday dawned and I had a long drive ahead of me – 236 miles down to Lanark and the New Lanark World Heritage Site. Not a problem for the mighty 2000 though and after a stop in the rather touristy Pitlochry for lunch (excellent Scotch pies) we made it to our destination without incident. Saturday involved an even bigger mileage – 280 miles to Leicester to visit friends – and by the time we got home to Peterborough on the Sunday the Triumph had clocked up 1259 miles. I’d call that a success.
With one successful trip behind me, thoughts quickly turned to the next adventure – the Club Triumph 10 Countries Run across the Channel in Europe. The 2017 event will be my third 10CR and I’m very much looking forward to it. With the car in rude health after Scotland I simply changed the engine oil for some fresh Heritage 20w50 from Classic Oils (plus a new filter), topped up the fluids in the cooling/braking systems as required, did the same for the gearbox and diff and gave all the UJS a few pumps from the grease gun. The event begins on September 6 – the same day that this issue hits the shops – so as you thumb these pages my regular co-driver Lee Dreher and I will be piloting the 2000 across north-west France en route to our first overnight stop at Mulhouse. Should be another great trip!
SCENES… Routine checks took place on the shores of Loch Achtriochtan.
Richard Smith of Classic Lodges (in his 1979 MGB GT) welcomed Matt to Solberge.
Eating cereal by the side of the road… well all that driving made Matt hungry!
At the border as the Scottish weather set in.
More than 1200 miles without incident – result.
Triumph was a hit in Edinburgh.