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Spittal of Glenshee Run
Sun 19th May 2002
organised by Central Scotland

Car Count : 21
[ show pre-run info ]

If this had been a Grand Prix, Murray Walker would almost certainly have called it "a race of attrition". Things started badly for me when I flashed my lights at Behnam who had just joined us, crossing the Forth Road Bridge, only for one light to raise perfectly and the other to do an impersonation of a Lo-pro and refuse to drop again. By using the dashboard button, I was able to get both to raise fully, but only one to drop again. I was at least able to wink at people in the car park, but spent the day with my lights up, looking like my 5 had just received a nasty surprise. The problem was finally solved at the Caithness Glass Visitor Centre in Perth at the end of day thanks to the most unusual piece of mechanical engineering I've ever seen, but more of that later.

The forecast had been for changable weather or for a sunnyish day or for rain all day, depending which programme/website you consulted. The morning, from Caithness Glass Visitor Centre in Perth, up until the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel was indeed fine allowing top down motoring all the way. 19 cars turned up at the Visitor Centre and we headed off up the A9 while Christine phoned the hotel on the mobile to give them updated lunch numbers. Richard had told us that he would join us for lunch having spent the previous evening at a 21st birthday party. As we left Pitlochry I spotted a blue dot in my mirror far behind, but gaining quickly and rightly assumed this was the Mariner Menace of Richard and Eileen. Sure enough, less than 2 minutes later he was on our tail.

We arrived at the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel at the same time a group of Lotus 7's were stopping for petrol and a group of motorcyclists were just leaving. We went through for lunch, which, as it did last year, consisted of an excellent hot buffet and a trifle to die for (i.e. take any of the trifle that Graeme has his eye on and you die) for £6.50 per head and we were ready to head off on the second half of the run. Unfortunately, Mandy and Keith had to drop out at this stage and call the AA after they discovered the bolt holding their alternator in place had sheared off leaving the alternator to wander around in the engine bay at will. I got back in my car (which still looked like it had just sat on a pin) to find the parcel shelf was wet. We had put up the hoods to go into lunch and it had finally started raining then. The reason my parcel shelf was wet was because the glass rear window had come out of it's rubber seal at the bottom and was channelling all the water off the roof and the rear window through the gap. People were already leaving when we noticed this and we had no choice but to drop the hood, unzip the window and put the hood back up again.

Having 20 cars on a run shows you in no time at all the benefit of having radio communication between at least some of the cars. We had dispersed those with radios throughout the convoy and were able to transmit important (and not so important) messages up and down the convoy. This proved invaluable when one person took the wrong turning and took six cars with him. We were on to the mistake within 50 yards of it happening and got the "deviants" turned around and back into the convoy. It also helped us at the back to be able to approach the stationary convoy and radio the leader to get them going again without the need to stop.

We stopped at Dunkeld Car Park for a comfort break and 5 people gathered around my stricken rear window and master minded its return to the seal.  I was inside the car attending the seal on the outside while Gavin, Richard and Sandy took care of the seal on the outside, either by forcing a screwdriver to open the seal or by holding the window in tension to allow the process to take place. One kind soul held his umbrella to keep me dry whilst not noticing it was emptying itself all over my legs.

A quick blast down the A9 took us back to Caithness Glass Visitor Centre where unfortunately we arrived too late for a coffee. I popped the bonnet catch on mine to see if I could find any reason for the lights not working and, much the same way that if you switch a light on it will attract moths, people came over to see what I was doing. (Hoping people would come over and fix my lights was what I was actually doing and it seemed to work!). I had pushed the dash switch again and my working light had dropped back. The other was still raised. This was when Richard wandered over. In a Uri Gelleresque fashion, he simply gave the light a hard stare (no physical contact was made). The light stared back, the way a sulky child would, before realising it wasn't ever going to win this particular battle and dropped, defeated back into the body work. Richard simply shrugged like this was the way he always fixed things.

The rain in the afternoon was a disappointment, but I still caught enough sun in the morning to have a sore neck now, so perhaps it was better that the afternoon was spent with the hood up. It was good to see some new faces and to see some faces we haven't seen for a while. Bill and Linda had travelled from Inverness to meet us and, such is the size of the Central Scotland area, Calum and his mum had left home at 6am to get to us for the 10am departure from Perth. Think about that the next time you wonder whether you can be bothered going on a run in your local area. Our members, as in this case, sometimes have a 6 hour round trip to go to a run *in their own area* and we love them for it.

[by Graeme]

This was the first run that I have prepared and reccy'd for the club, but if it was as enjoyable as this then it's something I'll gladly do again (but I'll deny saying that if ever brought up again!). 

I met up with Graeme, Christine, Roxy and Dave at South Queensferry, and afer fighting our way through the Crail Max Power boys we eventually made it up the M90 to Perth.  We pulled into the Caithness Glass Visitors centre to find about 15 cars already there .... at this point there would have been a funny smell in the car if I didn't have the roof down because I was slightly nervous about not having prepared the route properly or having something go wrong during the day that would spoil it for someone (sorry Mandy :-()

The run itself was fairly uneventful, but several oversights by one of our regulars (you know who you are) caused the convoy to stop and regroup on more than one occasion.  The two-way radios that were dispersed throughout the group were invaluable and provided a means of halting the convoy when necessary.  (As an added bonus, they also allow Dave and I to compare notes on any top talent we may pass!!). 

Of the 112 photos I took on the day, only a selection will make it onto the site (poor quality being a MAJOR factor) so if I missed you then I'm sorry.  Of all the photos I took of cars and their owners, only one was out of focus (sorry Benham).

(more photos will be added in the next day or two .... but for now I need some sleep)

[by Simon]

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