Fri 6th Apr 2007 to Mon 9th Apr 2007
organised by Central Scotland
Car Count : 10
Easter Report by the Ladies of the group (WAGS)a departure from the usual way of choosing someone to write it, so it came down to 4 of the WAGS to write something from the Navigator's perspective on each of the 4 days. I think it just about sums up how you can all have so much fun with the car and socialise as a group later. It's amazing how invisible you become when at the back of an MX5 convoy and how the waves end with the car in front when driving in stealth mode.
Friday 6th April MX5 Run
After a sharp 10.30am start 4 cars and a Fiesta left Perth with hoods down, we headed north on the A85 via Crainlarich, Glencoe, Fort William and Spean Bridge towards Fort Augustus which was to be the first of the weekend lunch stops at the Bothy Bar next to the canal locks.
Lunch was excellent and the main topic of conversation was the wonderful courtesy shown to us by other road users (especially coach drivers), and, of course, the lifecycle of the humble prawn. It was decided at lunch that a true MX5 member would give their last prawn to another member without question, a task that Chic passed with flying colours.
Following lunch we headed north again through Drumnadrochit on to the A835, through Garve on to Ullapool. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to lose the Fiesta on the narrow windy roads, if only to stop other drivers commenting on that ‘poor Fiesta, stuck at the back of the queue of MX5s’.
We arrived in Ullapool at 4.30pm where we met up with Caroline & Dave and Bill & Linda (North of Scotland), after a swift half in the Ferryman’s Inn we headed back to the Royal Hotel for a pleasant evening in relaxing company. The food and service in the hotel were of the highest standard as per usual, and, aware that we had a long and tiring day ahead of us we retired early to avoid being turned into prawns – sorry, pumpkins.
Saturday – Ullapool/Tongue/Lybster
Evy joined us overnight arriving about 01:30 having had a quite gruelling drive from Eyemouth to the Royal Hotel in Ullapool. She spent most of the last part of the drive avoiding deer grazing by the roadside, I’m sure that wouldn’t have been a pleasant experience at that time of night. Replenished by an excellent breakfast and while waiting to leave as the usual packing and paying for rooms took place, we took the opportunity to refuel and it’s the first time I’ve encountered a petrol station selling the same fuel at two different prices, 100.1 and 101.1 pence per litre , so you know which one we used.
Setting off quite smartly trying to avoid the gathering clouds, we headed north out of the town on the A835 climbing up from Loch Broom we were soon using single track roads and in the true wilds of Scotland, where every turn revealed a stunning vista of mountains, valleys and lochs. Taking full advantage of the truly superb road surface we made quick time as the villages and crofts passed by, Elphin, Ledmore, Inchnadamph and Unapool, on and further north towards Scourie and Durness, with a stop for a short walk to Smoo Cave.
Arriving at Ben Loyal Hotel for lunch where we relaxed and listened to stories of the exploits of stars like Rowan Atkinson, Paul Young (fisherman/presenter not the singer) and Jeremy Clarkson, who took a Landrover Discovery up Watch Hill near Coldbackie. Apparently he was lifted off the hill in a helicopter with the discovery keys still in his pocket. After a photo shoot, with Ben Loyal as the backdrop we headed east across the top of the country through Bettyhill, Melvich and Dounreay, having been led by Richard and Eileen in their 10AE. At Castletown, Linda and Bill took over to guide us towards Wick and Whaligoe Steps where we spent time exploring the tiny harbour at the bottom of the steps, they say there are 360 steps but we had differing amounts from 312 to 367 as we counted on the return journey to the top of the cliff.
Arriving at the Portland Arms Hotel we quickly settled into our rooms, some of us had a quick snooze others off to the bar for a refreshing drink. That evening we had an excellent meal and relaxed sipping wine and reflecting on the days drive. Some of us remarking on how quiet the roads were, it seemed at times we were the only ones using them. Having read today’s papers I now know why the roads were so empty, apparently all the usual caravans and camper drivers spent the glorious weekend shopping in their local centres, Braehead, Glasgow Fort, Stirling and Edinburgh reported bumper takings at the tills. – All the better for us fivers, hope it’s the same next time.
Easter Sunday morning dawned bright and breezy, which might be a more apt description of the weather than of the condition of the occupants of the cars who, after a pleasant breakfast and the conclusion of the Malaysian Grand prix, departed the Portland Arms Hotel in Lybster with a leisurely drive along the scenic coastal sections of the A9 where we experienced a variety of weather conditions which included strong winds, dust showers (yes dust showers), and not forgetting the sunshine. We continued on the A9 over the Cromarty and Moray Firths, viewing the seal colonies on the way, before continuing along the A96 and then, taking various B roads, we passed through Grantown-on-Spey stopping at Tomintoul before heading over the Lecht – where the drivers got their thrills and the navigators came up with a few new words to describe the Lecht. We continued onto Kildrummy and Easter Sunday Lunch at the Kildrummy Inn where Douglas and Linda were awaiting our arrival. It was also good to meet Paul & Elaine from Findochty in their red MK-1. After lunch we left the Inn to head on to Huntly – and with marvellous timing Ian and Jacqueline, you couldn’t have planned it better, proceeded to come along the road just as we were departing the car park which enabled them to join us for the final section of our days touring which ended up at the Castle Hotel in Huntly for our last night. Here we enjoyed a relaxing dinner in a private dining room reminiscing the weekend. It would appear that the owners of the hotel thought it better to isolate us from the rest of the guests which might have been a throw back to the Mx-5 group who had visited 3 years ago and were obviously not of the same quiet, sober nature as this year’s group. Midway through the evening we said cheerio to Evy as she was heading back to Edinburgh bright and early on Monday morning. After dinner we enjoyed more laughs and memories of the weekend in the relaxing lounge bar and even managed to offer some mechanical assistance to the hotel vehicle before heading off to our beds for a peaceful sleep.
Sunday & Monday...A WAGS Tale
Oh dear! Feel I must redeem myself after getting Ian into sooooo much trouble for putting the top up ‘cos I had a pain in the neck… (Hmmm, had one or was one LOL).
Anyway, Douglas asked for some girly stuff about the Easter outing and although we only joined up for Sunday/Monday part we did our best to catch up on the weekend.
We met up with everyone purely by chance just as they were leaving Sunday’s lunch spot at Kildrummy and we slipped into the pack (top up!!! as the red car which tailed us for a little while said on the Forum). Not knowing what the plan was but aware that we were only a short distance from the hotel, we ignored constant instruction to ‘turn left’ ‘turn around when possible’ and zigzagged in all directions seeing some very peculiar sites…. In particular the strange female form on a street corner, fag in face and very taken by our Chav rear-ender in the F word car. Had he been in his usual top down mode, she might just have clambered in to take advantage of our defenceless and bruised member. He had a lucky escape I think.
After some time we rolled up to our welcoming hotel where we had a specially reserved area to park. Douglas did the opening ceremony by rolling up the string and the handsome beasts slipped gracefully into formation (decide for yourselves whether I mean the men or cars).
Naturally we all met up in the bar (surprise, surprise) where the hardy weekenders recounted some of the fun we had missed.The family run hotel made us very welcome and had to bow to Richard’s superior knowledge of their stock by finding some Bulmers Cider they didn’t know they had.
We freshened up for dinner and gathered in the bar again (another cider hunt from the bar staff ensued and as soon as the cider appeared, the glass disappeared as a new staff member was particularly zealous and swooped on the empty glass). Finally everyone had a drink and it was time for dinner…. and wine.
Water was served first in the larger red wine glasses. The wine waitress then filled up the small wine glasses of most, though some were more resourceful and poured the water from the big glass into the small one so that a decent measure was had (you know who you are, you wily coyotes you).
Eileen was the perfect hostess. She pursued the waitress who appeared to be a wine control freak and made sure that the precious bottles were opened so that those who were drinking could relax and enjoy it.
Dinner table conversations ranged from handbags to hot and cold showers, from top speeds to foot massages (Eileen had used her magic hands the day before and there were puns flying back and forth about corny conversations, nailing it, toe’ing the line, feeling a heel, but bunions was too big a challenge and de-feet-ed us).
After dinner, Ian and I wandered from the dining room through the door nearest to us. This took us past a very interesting display of sparkly girly things. Before I knew it I was wearing a new necklace and bracelet! Lucky for Ian I don’t have pierced ears or I would have the set.
Back in the bar the banter continued. Chavin took a lot of stick and rose to and above it showing wit and humour. There was great excitement for the men when the owner needed some help to start his bus and a mass exodus occurred. When they came back, Bill appeared to have tried to connect jump leads to his pecs. The strange oily marks on his shirt gave it away as did the admission from his own lips and an electrifying night was on the cards. I’m sure you will all agree ladies -men are odd.
Perhaps because Ian and I hadn’t been there for the whole weekend, we were last in the bar with Dorothy, Chas and the owner. We all exchanged life experiences and insightful, profound thoughts (prove otherwise).
Next morning we were all up looking bright and fresh (some more than others, again you all know who you are).
After breakfast it was time for the roundup and photo call but not before some of the ladies liberated some adorable teddy bears, which were being held to ransom in the hotel for £12.50 each. Dorothy, Linda, Eileen and Heather all carried out the escape with stealth and skill. They are obviously experienced negotiators and the men were very gallant and did their bit by parting with the cash, as was their duty.
However, the bears were subjected to some pretty rough handling in the car park and also when placed on the bonnets for the piccy taking. (Again, you know who you are.)
We then headed off into the sun and careered (good word that) around the beautiful countryside finally descending on Gleneagles Hotel for some munchies.
More good company and conversation before heading back to our cars (though the men got a bit anxious when they realised that Gleneagles was a dangerous place to end a weekend without shops).
The cherry on the cake was when Richard’s car made a strange noise when he started it up. It was decided that 4 cylinders were better than 3 and the swift diagnosis and fix was the perfect finish to a wonderful event.
Thank you all for being such good company and special thanks to the organisers (you know who you are).
Looking forward to the next one. See you soon.
From one of the WAGS,
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| 9th Apr 2007 16:30 :: Bill Bennett|
Absolutely fantastic weekend!!!! Just got back home at around 4:00pm , first class company as always. Played lots pf games like 'Nut the Steps' and 'Lets see who is the fastest hotel evacue'. Can't wait for next Easter to come around.
| 9th Apr 2007 18:15 :: Gavin|
I can echo Bill's comments. Thank you for letting me tag on at the back in stealth mode. You don't realise how close I was to cancelling after my accident.The whole trip was a laugh a minute, all 790 miles of it. Thanks to richard and Eileen for organising the hotels and pit stops.
| 9th Apr 2007 19:01 :: Jacqueline & Ian|
Many thanks to Richard and Eileen for a great weekend, pity we could only make the Sunday night but it was definitely worth the drive up to join the rest of the group. Now that we've attended our first overnight MX-5 event we will know what to expect in the future, simply even more funnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
| 9th Apr 2007 19:41 :: Heather & John|
Thanks to richard and Eileen for organising the event - an excellent weekend - great roads and 847 miles door to door - was simply magnificent
| 9th Apr 2007 19:50 :: Heather & Chic|
Many thanks to Richard and Eileen for all their organisation - it was a fabulous weekend - with great company, plenty of laughs,fantastic scenery and not forgetting the drive down the Lecht, what a way to get rid of your stress levels !!! thats if you had any before you went down the Lecht !
| 9th Apr 2007 19:56 :: Heather & John|
Thanks to richard and Eileen for organising the event - an excellent weekend - great roads and 847 miles door to door - was simply magnificent
| 9th Apr 2007 20:45 :: Bill & Linda|
Yes, I forgot to mention the organisers!!!
And also the Kildrummy Inn \'Pi** on a copper\', Huntly Castle Hotel \'How to get the People carrier' started, (MX5 Scotland style!!! 6 bodies, one set of jumper leads, one brain, and a Jaguar!!! (and a round of drinks on the house), and also thanks to the Royal Hotel in Ullapool for installing airbags on the steps, the Portland Arms Hotel in Lybster for their prompt action when the fire alarm went off, (Chic was not to blame, but one wonders what kind of heat he and Heather were generating in the bedroom), please, please, please, can we do it again next weekend? Linda and I have missed our extended family (club members) so much over the past year, and anyone found to mistreating a 'Huntly Castle Bear' will be dealt with very severely!!!!
| 10th Apr 2007 08:34 :: Chic and Heather|
Not as much heat as was generated going over the Lecht, Bill, what with my brakes and Heathers explatives..
| 10th Apr 2007 09:55 :: Dot and Chas|
Well what can we say that hasn't already been said?
What a fantastic weekend ,thanks to Richard and Eileen for the choice of route,hotels and lunch stops.we have seen parts of the country we have never seen before.Thanks to everyone for for the fantastic company and fun evenings.Also to Gavin for letting us poke fun at him all weekend!
Maybe next weekend is a bit too soon Bill,but lets do it all again!
Dot,Chas and Huntly Bear
| 10th Apr 2007 10:26 :: Evy|
Well this was my first Easter weekend with the MX5 Scotland team and it was the best Easter ever!!! Thanks loads Richard and Eileen for organising the whole event. The hotels were fantastic, lunch stops were great too, not to mention the absolutely stunning scenery!!! What better way for a little foreigner to get to see Scotland! Great company and things just couldn't have been any better. Thanks loads and please count me in for next year!!
| 9th May 2007 22:25 :: Heather|
Just browsing through my photos and found this one of Linda in relaxation mode.
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