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North Coast 500 with Mk 4
Sat 26th Sep 2015 to Sun 27th Sep 2015
organised by Highland Scotland

Car Count : Unknown
[ show pre-run info ]

North Coast 500  26th/27th September 2015
A total of 12 cars lined up on Inverness Castle Esplanade at 07.30 on Saturday morning ready for the ‘Grand Depart’.  We were joined by Ronald Mackay from Macrae & Dick Mazda Inverness who had supplied us with the new Mark 4, and also Claire Farquhar and David Whiteford from North Highland Initiative who are the body behind the North Coast 500 route.  The Mk 4 went across the starting ramp at 08.00, followed by the other 11 MX5’s being waved away individually by Ronald. The convoy then set off with most cars carrying the bespoke ‘Monte Carlo’ style North Coast 500 car vinyls, and stickers.
The aim was to complete the route clockwise and allow all members that wanted to, to have a “test drive”of the new car. Very soon we arrived at Achnasheen and Richard got behind the wheel of the new car.  Charles then took the wheel of his car. Now although the weather conditions seemed dry there was obviously a bit more moisture on the road than we had imagined (that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!) as very soon Charles had the Mk2 going a bit sideways coming off of a bridge!
With everybody arriving safely into Lochcarron, Jean took Gillian and headed off ahead of the group with the aim of getting up to the top of the Bealach to get some good photos of the cars. Greg then jumped into the Mk4, and after a few minutes led the convoy across to Kishorn and up the Bealach Na Ba. Greg was enjoying getting to grips with the new car and the run up was pretty clear until we came across a VW campervan driven by foreign tourists who seemed to think we should all get out of the way for them (there is always one!). Once we were past this obstacle we got a very clear run up to the top. We soon found Jean & Gillian positioned on the first uphill hairpin bend camera at the ready. Once at the top we stopped to re-group and take a few more photos. We didn’t hang around too long though as it was pretty chilly up there. We started the descent and then off to breakfast at the Potting Shed Restaurant in the walled garden.
It was at breakfast that we were able to announce that our trip had attracted some sponsorship from both Macrae & Dick and Mazda UK.  Thanks to their generosity managed to pay for the meals and snacks en route.
Fed and watered, we set off north on the next leg of our trip. Now it was Andy’s turn behind the wheel and he certainly was enjoying himself as the road danced along the side of Loch Torridon. At Sheidaig Bobby took his first drive of the new car as we headed through Torridon and onto Kinlochewe. By now the sun was starting to come out and it was simply a great day to be out in a 5. Katherine then took over for the final leg before lunch as we headed for Poolewe.  We got a great welcome at the  Poolewe Hotel where Martin & Sean joined us. Sean had his bagpipes with him so we were piped into the car park!
After lunch the sun was really starting to shine and it was Alan & Katie’s turn in the new car. All too soon our party stopped at Corrieshalloch Gorge and we had to say goodbye to Greg & Jean, Richard & Katherine and Shane. After the day we had all enjoyed I think most were quite reluctant to leave us.
Eric then took his turn at driving the Mk4 and took us into Ullapool and a fuel stop. We knew Ullapool would be busy as Loopallu was taking place so we planned a comfort break Knockan Crag instead.  Arriving there we realised that somebody was missing however, the mystery was soon solved as they had gone ahead and were waiting for us in a layby.
We were not too far behind the original schedule , but daylight was starting to fade. So after a quick snack in the car park at Lochinver we headed off to ‘The wee Mad Road’ which is the loop around Drumbeg which is a particularly challenging section of the route. Peter was now piloting the Mk4, and he made a point of trying to bring the convoy back together a number of time through this section. At this point those left on the route could appreciate why we were pushing on so much through the day – this is not a section to be done in the dark!
At Kylesku Bridge Debbie reluctantly took the controls of the new car as we headed for our overnight stop at Rhiconich, there was more reluctance when she arrived at the hotel  - she didn’t want to give the keys back. We arrived at dusk so it was fair to say we squeezed as much as we could out of the daylight as we could that day.  It was nice to be welcomed into the hotel without filling in loads of forms, and waiting for your credit card to be swiped. Instead we were just handed keys, and soon worked out where the bar was!  Despite being on a fixed rate deal we were also given full access to the menu and soon we were all sitting round the dinner table and relaxing. The evening finished with us all sitting around an open fire with a wee nightcap in hand!   
After a hearty breakfast we lined up for departure, and Sean once again got his pipes out and led us down the car park and back to the road north. The run up to Durness was really clear and the scenery fantastic.  Another driver change in Durness and John & Alix took the Mk4 around a beautiful Loch Eribol and then onto the Kyle of Tongue causeway where Ali was waiting for us. This spot just never fails to impress and a good number of photos were taken before we headed east to Bettyhill and a comfort stop. There are not a lot of places to stop on the north coast on a Sunday for a comfort break – so this one was very welcome.
Bobby was now back behind the wheel of the Mk4, and he wasn’t hanging about. By now it was a lovely day and really quite warm. As we came into Thurso a nice red Mk 3 was sitting in a hotel car park waiting for us – and sure enough they joined the convoy as we headed to the Seaview Hotel in John O’Groats for lunch.  We introduced ourselves to Vicki who was driving the red Mk3 and invited her to join us for lunch and meet some of the club members. After lunch we eventually managed to work out why Eric’s new CB wasn’t working, and then we had ‘The Brewer’ also transmitting on Hi-5 radio.
After lunch we went up to John O’Groats where members were given their challenge for today to purchase the most tacky gift they could for £2.00 or less. The cars were all sitting in a group and were attracting a lot of attention on this glorious sunny day.
Now it was time to turn south and Dorothy took her turn at driving the Mk4. We headed south and after a quick petrol stop in Wick we headed onto Lybster harbour for the obligatory photo at a lighthouse (and I wish to point out that we drove straight to the lighthouse with no issues). We also took the opportunity to judge the competition. Wendy won this competition with a John O’ Groats novelty condom!!!!
Ali now got his opportunity to drive the Mk4 so Bobby got his chance to drive a Mk1 (I don’t know who was most excited). Soon it was time to say goodbye to Vicki as she headed back north west to Thurso and continued south. Next stop was La Mirage in Helmsdale for refreshments where something very strange occurred. We had arranged a set menu of scones, pancakes and doughnuts with tea & coffee but we didn’t manage to eat it all so members ended up leaving with doggie bags. I am sure this is a first for Hi-5’s? 
Andy then took the new car from Helmsdale and we stopped for a quick comfort break in Tain before Gillian drove the new car to Dingwall. Although Ross County’s Global Energy stadium is not actually an official part of the route ,the photo opportunity certainly kept Charles happy and more importantly provided lots of Brownie points for his wife – after all Christmas is coming!!!!
Now it was the final leg and we drove through Muir of Ord and Beauly before returning to Inverness. There we headed back to Macrae & Dick where we were met by Peter & Kerry with a great big chequered flag.  A few photos, a lot of hugs and then we said our goodbyes.
Until the next time......

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Your Comments
27th Sep 2015 21:02 :: Wendy
Would just like to thank all those involved to making the north coast 500 run so successful a great weekend

28th Sep 2015 19:41 :: Chuck & Gill
Following a fantastic weekend "doing the NC 500" We would like to thank the people who who helped pull this one together. Ronald MacKay at Macrae & Dick who came up with the original idea and gave us the new car to play with and along with  Mazda UK also gave us a cash budget which allowed us to lessen the cost of the trip for our members. Claire Farquhar at North Highland Initiative (the body behind North Coast 500) who organised the Inverness Castle departure for us, along with some publicity. Iain Fleming,who runs the marketing operation for the club,helped produce the logo and organised the special event clothing for us. Andy & Dorothy for taking on the social media role for the trip, they both did a great job.We doubt if a Hi-5 event has ever been seen/viewed by so many people before.
The biggest thanks, however go to all the members who turned out to support this event - you did us proud.

29th Sep 2015 13:21 :: Peter,Kerry & Isla
What a fantastic weekend away once again. Words can never do these trips justice so I won’t even try this time.

Very pleased that every single MX-5 was completely faultless the entire trip.
Not pleased, but funny in a way that the “support vehicle” had to limp back to Inverness and then complete the second half of the trip the next day.

Big thanks to everyone, again words aren’t enough!

29th Sep 2015 21:18 :: Chuck and Gill
Event report now posted.

29th Sep 2015 21:34 :: Alix and John
Thank you for a wonderful time over the nc500 weekend both John and I had a brilliant time and wish it hadn't ended.  Many thanks to Gillian and Chuck for organising the event and co-ordinating everything it was perfect and can't wait to do it again :-D :-D :-D

29th Sep 2015 22:14 :: Richard & Katherine
We thoroughly enjoyed being part of the NC500 run with our club on Saturday. Weather was perfect and the scenery amazing. Driving the MK4 was very enjoyable.
Thanks to all involved in the organising and particularly Chuck & Gill, who clearly spent a lot of time getting this one just right!! 

29th Sep 2015 22:22 :: Debbie & Bobby
Wow what a weekend.....a big thanks to Chuck and Gill for pulling this one all together and to Dorothy and Andy for keeping our followers up to date .
It was lovely to be away with the allways great fun !!!

30th Sep 2015 00:13 :: Andy & Dorothy
We echo the sentiments of those before us!
What a weekend, it had it all! A first class start, amazing scenery, top quality picture opportunities and most importantly great company! Well done to Chuck and Gillian for this well run need to find new hobbies to fill in your spare time now :)
Here's to the next one.....the possibilities are endless!

30th Sep 2015 12:59 :: Jean & Greg
What a memorable day!!
A huge thanks to Chuck & Gillian for all their hard work and didn't we all reap the benefit. A great driving route, good food and as always, great company. The Mk4 wasn't too bad either - dream on! Sincere thanks to Macrae & Dick and to Mazda UK who really made the day for us. Thanks also to North Highland Initiative for all their involvement and for the spectacular launch from the Castle. Just sorry we couldn't do the two days.

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