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Tour of Argyll
Sat 7th Sep 2002
organised by Central Scotland

Car Count : 24
[ show pre-run info ]

"Why go to France? The scenery is wonderful, the people are friendly. Why would anyone go to France?" Not my words, but the words of one of our Dutch visitors half way through the run today.

It started quietly enough at McDonald's Newbridge for 6 cars which left at 9 to drive the hour or so to Drymen to meet our friends from the Netherlands OC. When we finally found the hotel, complete with 10 left handed 5's, plus Richard's Mariner Blue, we said our hellos and headed for Balloch to meet the rest of the Central Scotland contingent. I spent the whole morning getting in and out of the car Austin Powers style over the door as mine had decided in a fit of petulance to refuse to unlock the drivers door. Luckily most of the day was hood down in true Scottish Weather fashion (ie don't worry if it's nasty weather, it'll be fine round the next corner). Everyone from the UK contingent except Richard went to the car park in Balloch and waited, while the Dutch went with Richard to fill their cars with petrol, having arrived late last night. When they all wheeled into the car park, we established a line up of all 24 cars and everyone took photographs or video. Small groups formed, Richard opened his bonnet (which is an event we should run a sweepstake for: how many minutes before Richard gets the bonnet up?).

Leaving late and in the rain, we headed up the side of Loch Lomond and while the majority took the correct turn to the left to go up the twisty military road, 5 of us got lost and stayed on the main road. No matter, we all met at the next stop 15 minutes later, where we had more small groups forming and more poring over cars.

We then headed up towards the wonderfully named Rest and Be Thankfull, but decided not to stop, carrying on instead to Glendurael for lunch in a small pub. More poring over cars, a look at a turboed Mariner Blue and general mooching around looking at 5s, searching for differences (and finding them) while Richard valiantly collected money for the ferry, which depended on whether you were on your own or with pasenger. We had found that if you paid on the ferry, it would cost nearly �, but if you bought a book of return tickets, you could use them all for a single journey (1 uses the outward and 1 uses the return) the cost dropped to �50. We arrived at the car park and the attendant agreed to get us all on one ferry. At this point from a blue sky it hailed. Not so much four seasons in one day, more four seasons in one car park. Hailstones like TicTacs pelted us from the heavens (and they hurt!), then it all cleared and blue skies returned. We loaded up the ferry (and my door lock gave up it's protest!) and the ferry set sail while we all stood on the deck for a group photograph or two.

Once off the ferry we regrouped and those who were leaving to go home left and were treated to tooting horns and waves from us all. The rest of us headed to Drymen via the Erskine Bridge and a short stop in Nedsville to make sure we all had the right road. Then back to the hotel where the Dutch signed in for the night having been disgracefully dumped from their previous hotel that day. We enjoyed each other's company over a drink for another hour or so, during which Richard and I were given gifts of collector's models of MX5s and one extra which we will raffle for area funds.

Our guests told us that they had had a wonderful time and I know we all had a great time showing them our patch and trying to encourage them to come back for next year's National here in Edinburgh. Thanks are due to Richard and Eileen for arranging the route and for keeping 24 cars reasonably together.


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