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Now The Jacobite Experience!
Sun 21st Apr 2013
organised by Highland Scotland

Car Count : 11
[ show pre-run info ]

Now The Jacobite Experience Sunday 21st April

At our planning meeting in December, Greg and Jean had been asked to look at a run incorporating the “Fishing Villages of the North East Coast”.  Which is why we headed South West and ended up in Strontian and Moidart!  But a massive vote of thanks to them both for deciding to go West and take us on what is probably one of the best Hi-5s runs to date.
It is unusual for the Hi-5s to do a reconnoitre of our routes for the simple reason that most of them are pretty far flung.  But this one was an exception and Greg and Jean had gone out and thoroughly researched the route a couple of weeks before, and it showed.
Out gathering point was a carpark in Aviemore where eight cars assembled, including Campbell, a “visitor” trying us out for size, and Stuart one of our friends from Grampian.  The reins were handed to Greg and Jean and it immediately became apparent how much work had gone into arranging this day out.  We were each handed a sheaf of paper with several detailed sections of map and full driving instructions (including turns Dave). The run was a tad over 200 miles and a full day, so detailed timings had been incorporated and specific watering holes had been identified and booked along the way.  After a quick briefing we headed off for our first stop.
We took the old A9 South out of Aviemore and on towards Kingussie and Newtonmore where we joined the A86 down through Laggan, following the beautiful scenery which is Loch Laggan, and into Roy Bridge where we had our first scheduled stop at the Stronlossit Inn where we were booked in for morning coffee complete with scones and jam!
No time to hang about though and we were soon back en-route, joining the A82 from Inverness down the southern end of the Great Glen and through Fort William towards the Corran Ferry.  As we passed through Fort William Frankie tried in vain to capture a photo of Ben Nevis – but she couldn’t find it, shrouded somewhere up there in the low cloud! 
Now to say this was a well organised event  is a major understatement!  As we pulled onto the pier at the Corran Ferry there was the ferry ready waiting for us to board and just about to depart.  A few brief moments later and the ramps were up and off we went sailing across the five-hundred yards of Loch Linnhe and on towards Strontian and Moidart, an extremely remote but exceptionally beautiful area of Western Scotland.
The weather didn’t appear to be improving greatly but several of us managed to keep our tops down for much of the route and the sun was trying to break through when we arrived at the Strontian Hotel just in time for lunch.  Once again the organisational skills of Greg and Jean kicked it and the pre-ordered soup and sandwiches were soon on the tables in front of us.  The Strontian Hotel sits on the Northern shore of Loch Sunart and the views from the hotel dining room and car park are nothing short of spectacular with the mountains of the Morvern Peninsula clawing into the clouds to the South.
The clock was still ticking so it was back onto the road for the next 40 mile leg of our journey towards the Glenfinnan Monument, a long trek before our next coffee stop!
The A861 is an incredible stretch of A-class road winding through the most awesome scenery it is possible to imagine.  The first few miles wind along the shores of Loch Sunart with many blind summits and sharp corners.  It is a real conflict whether to watch the road or admire the scenery, fortunately the road won.  At Salen the road cuts inland towards Acharachle.  Within the next 15 miles it rises and falls three times as it crosses the higher ground between the various lochs which slice into the West Coast.  Eventually you arrive back at sea level overlooking the spectacular Sound of Arisaig, then North East along the shores of Loch Ailort to join the main Mallaig to Fort William road.  Greg had suggested that because of the nature of the road we should split up and not form a convoy until we met back at the Mallaig road.  If there are any roads in the UK which were specifically designed for the MX5 then these are the ones.  Three of us headed off onto roads with long sweeping bends and plenty of forward vision so a lot of fun was had in the 15-20 minutes on this stage of our journey!
On arriving at the A830 at Lochailort you have two options, turn right and head towards Fort William and home, or turn left and arrive in the dead-end called Mallaig, some 15 miles in the wrong direction.  Seven of the eight cars arrived at the T-junction where we waited in a pull-in for Dave but after several minutes waiting we decided that he must be enjoying the scenery so we decided to head off to our next watering hole at Glenfinnan and meet him there as agreed. 
We arrived at Glenfinnan and into the visitor centre beside the Glenfinnan Monument.  The monument commemorates the Raising of the Jacobite Standard, in 1745, of Bonnie Prince Charlie who arrived back on Scottish soil from France to claim back the crowns of both Scotland and England in the name of his father, James Francis Edward Stuart, who in turn was the son of the deposed King James II of England. The uprising ended in failure just under a year later when the Jacobites were defeated by the government forces at Culloden Moor in April 1746.
Having had time to take in all of this history we started to get a bit worried that Dave and Val hadn’t turned up to join us and almost an hour had passed.  Unfortunately mobile phone signals in this part of the world, as you can imagine, are not the best.  After numerous attempts by different members of our group, we eventually managed to tie down Dave – he was just coming into the village – Mallaig! 
Glenfinnan is also famous for the Glenfinnan Viaduct which was built between 1897 and 1898 and has been used as a location in several films and television series, including Ring of Bright Water, Charlotte Gray, Monarch of the Glen, Stone of Destiny, and three films of the Harry Potter film series.
Dave eventually caught back up with us and we headed off on the final leg of our epic journey along the shores of Loch Eil and back to Fort William where we retraced our steps back up Loch Laggan and on towards Newtonmore.  We made one final stop to visit the Falls of Pattack  just South of Laggan, another chance for a photoshoot with the falls as a stunning backdrop. 
As early evening approached we pulled in to the carpark of the Rowan Tree Country Hotel on the shores of Loch Alvie, just a few miles South of Aviemore where yet again Greg and Jean had made arrangements for us to round of our perfect day with a perfect dinner together.  Campbell and Stuart said their goodbyes at this point as they both still had a distance to drive and the rest of us retired to the lounge for a well earned pre-dinner drink and entertainment in the shape of a game of draughts between Dave and Wendy (once they’d decided whether to play on the white or black squares – or possibly both!).  The meal was superb as had been the entire day.  Yet another perfect Hi-5s day was drawing to a close.  We said our goodbyes in the carpark as we all headed off in our separate directions – until the next time.
Again, a thousand thanks from all at the Hi-5s to Greg and Jean for arranging an exceptional day out.  Great scenery, great food and drink and most of all great company!

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Your Comments
21st Apr 2013 21:45 :: Frankie
What a fantastic day! Report and photos to follow. Thank you once again to Greg and Jean for their organisation and to everyone for their excellent company.

22nd Apr 2013 12:49 :: Greg & Jean
Great day! Tremendous drive and super company! Weather was surprisingly kind to us even although we failed to get our top down - what a pair of wimps!        Sincere thanks to all who took part in it

22nd Apr 2013 13:27 :: The ALs
Can we also thank Greg & Jean and congratulate them for organising a fantastic day out: Superb roads, brilliant driving, good food and as usual great company.
Just one small point i'd like to make to Jean & Greg, on your typical MX5 (all Mks) you will find that the controls for the windscreen wipers are on the right of the steering wheel and the controls for the indicators are on the left. By just remembering these simple things you can save yourself from unnecessary and potentially embarrassing indicator flashing :-)

22nd Apr 2013 16:06 :: Greg & Jean
Sincere thanks to the The Als for their invaluable instructions! Could you also remind me on which wrist I wear my watch? That would be a great help!!

22nd Apr 2013 17:35 :: Douglas & Muriel
Thanks G&J for a great driving day out. How you arranged to miss the rain I don't know ! Great company, great food, let's do it again!!

24th Apr 2013 15:52 :: stuboy
Thanks to Greg & Jean for a great run & to all for brilliant company & a stoater of a run !! pics will follow

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