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North Run - Thurso Area
Sun 18th Aug 2013
organised by Highland Scotland

Car Count : 14
[ show pre-run info ]

Hi-5s visit Thurso and the North

It was another good turnout for the Hi-5s with 12 cars including a couple from outwith the area and a first run for Gillian and Charles.  This time round it was my turn to have something else on when I should have been heading North to meet our Northern members.  Unfortunately an EGM of the Highland Aero Club had been called and I didn’t want to miss the meeting.  So it was that Frankie and I arrived at DFS in two cars.  Unfortunately I could only stay to say goodbye to the troops as they headed off towards Thurso and a lot of fun and I headed off to an EGM in Beauly!

Frankie takes over – So we headed up the A9 and picked up Bobby and Debbie and Charles and Gilllian at Ken’s Garage in Kildary to give us a full crew.  Back on the A9 and it wasn’t long before we started passing some rather nice vintage cars.  On driving  through Golspie we were met by dozens of them being directed through the town before they took their place in the castle grounds for the The Dunrobin Castle Vintage Car Rally and Vintage Vehicle Run. This annual event raises funds for the Police Dependants Trust, a charity that helps families of policemen and women injured or killed whilst on duty. Many cheery waves later we left Golspie and drove on to Helmsdale to the first of our refreshments of the day, and what a treat it was! La Mirage is a jewel in the north, Barbara Cartland would have been right at home. The unusual décor does not detract from the delicious fare however and those seated around the corner from us, ordering tea and scones, were a little put out to find that around our table they had succumbed to the aroma of bacon and were devouring their bacon and egg rolls with gusto (little thought given at this point to the fact that lunch in Thurso was only a short 50 minute drive away).

Shane took up the lead for the drive northwards to Thurso. This should have been a straight through drive but delaying tactics were needed after the La Mirage feast! On reaching Latheron, Shane struck off on the A99 instead of holding to the A9…much to Bobby’s confusion, at this point his map got thrown out of the window (metaphorically speaking).  A detour down to the lighthouse at Lybster gave a great photo-shoot opportunity, photos of cars, photos of cars and lighthouse, photos of people taking photos of cars and lighthouse, the joys of digital photography.
Onwards, and the feeling of flying across wide open moorland, sun on our faces and wind in our hair, the roads the 5 was built for. Causeymire, a wide open windswept moor where a wind farm rises up out of the landscape, towering turbines make a powerful impression on the beholder. More photos and back on the road….lunch must be calling.
Alan B met us in The Park Hotel in Thurso and very generously treated us all to a refreshment at the bar before we were seated for another very tasty meal. We MX5 drivers certainly know how to enjoy our food! However, the enjoyment didn’t end at the food… there was a live music/jamming session in the function suite next door and we were treated to an array of lively  jazz, swing and good old-fashioned rock and roll! Time to hit the road again and out through Thurso on to the north coast road.  At this point I lost sight of the others having been caught up at traffic lights. But this didn’t mean I didn’t let loose and enjoy the open road in front of me all the way to Reay though! Having caught up we continued on until reaching Melvich, where realistation dawned that we had missed the turn off to head back south. Back on route I was having constant update requests from Brian who was not so much playing ‘catch up’ as’ meet up’ somewhere on the Kinbrace road, which we did just a few hundred yards south of the School at Kinbrace.
Brian catches up - Eventually my meeting came to an end and was followed by a quick lunch then into the 5 and heading North.  A quick phone call to Frankie before I left Beauly determined that the group was way behind schedule and were still polishing off what sounded like an excellent lunch in the Park Hotel in Thurso!  I had reckoned that it was 120 miles from Beauly to Thurso so had reckoned with a bit of speed on and I could meet up with the convoy somewhere around Helmsdale, some 67 miles, where they had planned to have their afternoon coffee.

I hadn’t allowed for the coffee and after lunch mints which they were all enjoying, or for the fairly leisurely drive back along the North coast to Reay before turning back South down Glen Halladale.  I was keeping in touch with Frankie by text and found out when I arrived at Helmsdale the the convoy was just at Reay.  They had at least another 45 minutes before they arrived.  Never having been up the Kinbrace road before I decided to keep on going and I had to bump into them as it was the one and only single track road!  And what a road!  Long stretches where you could see well in front with virtually no traffic to worry about.  No wonder I almost made it to Kinbrace before coming across  Shane and Alan B who had had the same idea as myself and had left the convoy some 10 minutes in their wake. 

The convoy was obviously on a mission, heading for their next coffee stop, so they didn’t even stop when they reached our position.  Just a cheerful wave and on they trotted!  I knew my place so joined on to the tail and followed on all the way back South until they eventually stopped for coffee at Bonar Bridge.  A very interesting coffee stop it was too.  The hotel was expecting people in for dinner so they squeezed all of us into the public bar where there was only one small table for all of us.  I was just about up to speed with the events of the day when we were off again heading for home.  It was getting a bit late and there was still a bit of driving to do – especially for Peter and his partner who were heading back towards Aberdeen having left home at very silly o’clock that morning to join us!!

A brief stop at the bottom of the Struy, after a really nice drive, and farewells to the cars heading back towards Tain.  We crossed the Kessock Bridge and waved goodbye to everyone as cars headed off in different directions.  Frankie filled in the details later that evening.  It sounds like I managed to miss the best bits of a really excellent day out with some top notch driving, superb photo stops, mouth-watering food and scintilating entertainment.

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Your Comments
18th Aug 2013 21:47 :: Douglas & Muriel
Shower dodging at its best, tops down all day !! Great drive with some unexpected treasures along the way. Good to meet our generous Northern cousin, thanks Al. Good company, good food, well done to the organisers.

18th Aug 2013 21:48 :: Andy
Many thanks to Jean , Greg and Shane for organising a great run, that coupled with great company and nice little  indroduction lunchtime jazz ..;0)

19th Aug 2013 11:37 :: Debbie &Bobby
Brilliant day brill company,Thank you to the organisers for giving us such a super day and tops down Weather.

19th Aug 2013 14:04 :: Frankie
Many thanks to Greg and Jean for their planning on this run and Shane for the extra add ons. It was a fantastic day, great top down weather and of course, as always, brilliant company. The live swing and jazz at lunchtime a groovy bonus to the event!

19th Aug 2013 19:22 :: Gillian & Charles
Many thanks  to the organisers and members for making us feel very welcome.We thoroughly enjoyed our first outing  with our fellow MX5ers. Looking forward to seeing you all again at the next event- Grantown Motor Mania.

19th Aug 2013 20:36 :: Greg & Jean
Great day, tremendous luck with the weather, who could have guessed we would have tops down all day. Sincere thanks to Alan for his generosity and his company and to Shane for guiding us down Straths Halladale & Kildonan. Great company as usual, new and old. See you all at Motor Mania.

21st Aug 2013 21:50 :: Shane
Great day and company, sorry i had to leave early at Bonar Bridge. Thanks to Greg and Jean for arranging. It gave a chance to drive on a road on which usually you are using simply to get from A to B and have a fun time. Achnavanich, Strath Halladale and the loop from  to Bonar and Struie to Evanton are good fun to drive. See you al again soon!

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