Coast to Coast
Fri 3rd Apr 2015 to Sun 5th Apr 2015
organised by Highland Scotland
Car Count : 7
Coast to Coast Easter 2015
Friday 3rd April
Peter & Kerry (the event organisers and local to the start point) were hoping to meet the convoy at the top of the Cairn o Mount, but due to mobile phone issues he had to do a bit of guessing. It wasn’t bad, as only half a mile from the top, in the Kincardineshire fog surrounding Cairn o Mount, out popped an MX-5 (sporting a new pair of stripes) leading a convoy of MX-5’s towards him. The group stopped at the “Clatterin Brig” to wait for them to turn back. Unfortunately it had just closed as it was a perfect coffee stop.
Several members seemed disappointed about Britney being rather naked as Peter hasn’t decided on any modifications / graphic schemes. The Hi-5 Magnets helped though, once he eventually got her clean enough to put them on. Peter assured everyone that he had booked the sun shine for the Saturday, but never thought about the Friday. Not sure if anybody believed him.
The group was then lead through Fettercairn, Edzell and Brechin (with a fuel stop and some tyre inflation for Bob the Builder) to save crossing the A90 dual carriageway in rush hour. It was a bit of a detour but is that not what MX-5’s are all about? This also allowed us to drive past “steptoes yard sale” which I think was probably intriguing enough for a return visit by some of the group.
We arrived at the Anchor Hotel in Johnshaven in good time and once checked in the accommodation provided was well received by all, in fact one couple got a house and one got a flat, never mind just a room.
The evening meal was simply amazing, Peter & Kerry are probably right that it is one of the best restaurants in the area. There were concerns about seeing our new members again though, we were worried they maybe got scared off after the banter at the table.
Peter and Kerry headed home after 23:00 and bets were taken on whether he would have the car washed by the time he returned at 06:30. He didn’t though, although Kerry mentioned he was talking all the way home about how to clean it and put on stickers without annoying their neighbours. She didn’t let him as it turned out.
Saturday 4th April
The whole group (including our new members) met up at the cars in Johnshaven harbour at around 06:30 to watch the sunrise and despite a slight chill in the air, it didn’t disappoint. Once satisfied that it was well enough risen, we put the “coast to coast challenge” on hold and went back in to the hotel for a superb breakfast.
Easter goody bags were handed out by Kerry and slightly later than planned, we set off, leaving the sleepy (except the fishermen who were already out) coastal village of Johnshaven behind. Peter took us on a great road to Laurencekirk and then Fettercairn, under the royal arch again (and watchful of the alloy wheels), then along the bumpy road to Edzell for a quick unplanned pit stop (from the unlimited tea/coffee earlier).
The (mostly) single track roads from Ezdell through Kirkton of Menmuir, Balhall, Fern, Noranside, Memus, Cortachy through to Kirruiemuir seem like they were just built for MX-5’s although the amount of times it happened, you would think that the van drivers thought they were built for them and them only. Luckily Peter knew the road quite well and lead us without incident and with the use of CB radios, the seat covers (passengers) were able to communicate very well about upcoming pot holes, sheep, cyclists and the like.
Shortly after leaving Kirriemuir, heading round Lintrathen Loch and a few miles from our first scheduled stop, despite being some 15 miles from the nearest franchise, we spotted the remains of somebodies MacDonald’s, abandoned at the side of the road. They would have paid 5p for the bag too! This was even stranger for the Hi-5’s as to them they left civilisation over an hour ago.
We had a short drive over the Dam then up to the tip of the Backwater Reservoir for the first photo opportunity of the day. We were 15 minutes behind schedule at this point, much to the dismay of the organiser and his “schedule” but we were still permitted a toilet break, where the ladies were issued with torches and sent down some steps. It wasn’t anything dodgy though, turns out Peter had just anticipated the power being out in their toilet block.
With the table in Pitlochry waiting patiently for us we continued on the “coast to coast challenge” with Kerry warning everyone who had their ears on about impending bumps, potholes, narrow bridges (breathe in), hares the size of baby deer (apparently), oncoming cars/bikes and in one case sparks from Britney!. We were eating up the miles across stunning roads / scenery heading through Glenisla and Bridge of Brewlands, onwards to the Old Military Road on Glenshee where one of the members thought he took a detour on to a “big dipper”. It was brilliant fun for everyone else though.
Turning off the Old Military Road we travelled through Kirkmichael over the hills to Pitlochry and this is just one of those roads that you have to travel on to believe it. With the wide open spaces and no other cars around (except the convoy behind/ahead of you) you do feel like you can’t be further from the city.
Despite what some people may have thought, we did not travel through any villages called Kirkton of Auchtermuchterfuchter
We managed to park 4 cars into 3 spaces and by still paying for 4 tickets we increased Pitlochry Council’s profit for the day. The fun continued in to Biba Café where we had a good selection of snacks / lunches and between Wendy, Bobby and Peter there was a bit of blueberry pancake swapping.
The organiser permitted a 10 minute shopping spree in one shop (sweeties) and was even kind enough to allow a second 10 minute visit to another shop (sweeties) before delegating the role of follow the leader to Wendy who took us straight to the Dalwhinnie Distillery, surprisingly without a single hold up on the A9. There were some murmurs over the airwaves about a drone and sure enough, waiting to film the early arrival of the MX-5’s in to the car park was another 4 Hi-5 members, with Brian doing some fancy flying with a camera drone.
The Dalwhinnie Distillery tour was put back by 20 minutes (upsetting the schedule) but was very interesting and worth doing, but as it was only the seat covers that could do the tasting, we had some jealous drivers and perhaps one or two tipsy CB operators. We all got to sample some sin free chocolate, but be warned, it is very expensive!
Very much behind schedule we headed off to the Spean Bridge Cafe for coffee and cakes where the convoy really started to lose its pace. The best planning in the world can’t allow for other drivers cruising along at 20-30 mph swerving about in the road (but perhaps they had been to Dalwhinnie?) and this time just couldn’t get made back up. We arrived tired, weary, hungry and needing fuel at Broadford and we proceeded to check- in to the hotel.
We grouped up, discussed our options and the majority agreed that to ensure the trip stayed fun and more importantly safe, it would be best to call it a day and settle in to the hotel.
Had we known we were checking in to Fawlty Towers we may have re-considered though, it was actually such a disgrace that it was almost funny. We can’t post details on here, but suffice to say we will not be going back there.
The meal was a great laugh, including some cracking quotes like “can I get a portion of profiteroles and a waiter please” and someone apologising to a seat after bumping in to it in the bar. The optional run in the morning was cancelled (by the one person that was going to do it) and everyone retired for a well-earned rest.
All in all, it was a great day with the weather improving throughout the day with Britney being the only one who wasn’t topless for the majority of the day.
Sunday 5th April
After breakfast and a somewhat late departure, we took a leisurely drive to the Applecross Inn for coffee and cakes (we really do just drive from one meal/snack to the other)…..
This drive took us in to Kyle of Lochalsh, then across the hills and through a short tunnel (where “the boys will be boys”) and across to Loch Carron where we had a quick stop for some camera adjustments and a couple of bits of home made tablet (thanks to Gillian). No time for pictures here though, we were all excited about the Bealach na Ba (or pass of the cattle) So we pressed on, past Loch Kishorn (and the amazing seafood bar which once again on our travels we couldn’t stop at) and onwards to Applecross.
For those who haven’t experienced the switchback roads of the it is hard to explain the magic, but on this occasion it was particularly special as we had snow banks, low cloud and beautiful sunshine.
We were hoping to meet up with the MX-5 ‘s from Central, but due to limited seating at the Applecross it was agreed that we would beat them there to use their tables for a short while and sure enough we managed to leave before they got there. It was quite a sight seeing them coming towards us as we headed North away from Applecross and yes of course, pretty much everyone from their group and ours commented “you are going the wrong way” – yes the old ones are the best!
From there we were on the lookout for somewhere to stop, as Kerry had organised a game, but Peter was just not stopping anywhere. The roads were very quiet and we made very good progress, despite the frequent calls on the CB for sheep on the road and Flying Cows according to the report from the Duracell Bunny. They were (Highland Cows though, not Flying cows). On a whim, we thought about going in to Sheildag on the hunt for food and boy were we in for a treat. The first (and only) place we tried looked very much average, but once the menus were out it was looking more appealing and by the time the chef started preparing Kerry’s pizza in front of us we knew we were in for a treat. The meal did not disappoint, with sea food platters, battered whales (only joking-just big fish), scrumptiouis scampi and very friendly service. We all agreed we were going back and staying in the adjacent hotel on a future trip.
Once outside and not really able to move from all the food, Kerry forced us into playing a game, a bit of a combination of the old egg and spoon race and pass the balloon between your legs. We all felt and surely looked like balloons though. We might even be on Youtube as one of the locals filmed us.
We must have made some sight but we all did our best and congratulations go to Charles & Gillian for winning the prizes for the inaugural (hopefully not annual) Egg and Spoon with a Balloon Race. Following the very quick prize giving we made a hasty departure.
Progress was good all the way through Kinlochewe with very many pleasant drivers more than happy to pull over in plenty time to let us past. Once on the main road we let a minibus (in a hurry) take the lead, while Britney kept her ears on but her eyes closed (while Baby Face slept) until we took a detour (guided from Sat Nav at the rear) in to Strathpeffer for ice-cream (courtesy of Bob the Builder). This was just what we needed before making some plans for future trips and saying our formal farewells as a group.
Temperatures were up to 18°C and again with the exception of the car with the pregnant lady, the tops were off the whole day. Everyone will have had their own highlights from the trip, but driving South of Aberdeen on the way home, Peter, Kerry and Britney witnessed the best sunset of the year so far, which perfectly ended an absolutely brilliant weekend.
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| 3rd Apr 2015 13:21 :: Frankie & Brian|
We will be joining you for the run tomorrow....daytrippersRus
| 6th Apr 2015 11:31 :: Chuck and Gill|
Wow - these Easter weekend trips are really something special. It was a weekend that just kept getting better as it went along.... Many thanks to everybody who came along and contributed so much to the weekend, but special thanks to Peter & Kerry who came up with the idea and arranged the whole event. Also special mention for Eric & Rachael who came along for their first run with us. We hope to see you back with us very soon.
| 6th Apr 2015 23:12 :: Debbie & Bobby |
What a brilliant weekend...A big thanks to Peter & Kerry for organising it,..we had excellent time with excellent food,company....tops down 99.9% brill !!!
| 6th Apr 2015 23:47 :: Andy & Dorothy|
What a great weekend ..It had it all Drones , whiskey great roads ..., nice to get back to Applecross and to meet new members , good to see blue skys on the return leg .Thanks to Peter & Kerry and also to Bob providing the departing ice cream again lovely , even the ice cream man was more cheerful .see you all soon
| 7th Apr 2015 01:16 :: Eric & Rachael|
Had a great weekend, and its a big thank you to all you good people who made us feel very welcome on our 1st trip, look forward to the next one, thx to Pete & Kerry for the route, great roads.
| 7th Apr 2015 06:28 :: Britney|
Hello all, my first post here and just want to say how happy I was to meet all of you at the weekend. The whole weekend was absolutely brilliant.
It was a bit strange being told that I don’t look good naked, I think I am lovely, but admittedly looking at photos of my predecessor I can understand where this is coming from. Hopefully my two seat covers (Peter & Kerry) take notice and book me in for some modifications soon.
I should also mention that I wasn’t happy having everyone else looking at my bum the whole weekend (even if it is lovely), it would have been nice to see some others, but hopefully next time. Wendy’s bum was much the same as mine, only a different colour, so that was a nice treat on the cruise up to Dalwhinnie. Speaking about bums, I didn’t really enjoy scraping mine on one of the bumps over by Forter Castle, but that is the risk you run having a low centre of gravity like me. To be honest I would rather be lower and sportier – Zoom Zoom.
One good thing about leading the convoy was that I really got to have some fun, it was the first time I got to warm up my tyres, but then I was showing less than 1,000miles on my clock when I was taken out the garage on Friday. It was a shame Peter kept putting on the brakes spoiling my fun, but OMG how much I enjoyed myself.
I feel that I missed out some of the banter by not being invited to meal times, but then again, not one of you know what we all got up to in the carparks when you weren’t looking. It is just a same that once we are parked up, we don’t always get to see a nice view because of all this Health and Safety reverse parking nonsense – GIVE US A NICE VIEW OF A LOCH OR A HILL ONCE IN A WHILE!!!
I enjoyed getting a little bit dirty too, but only because I know I get to go home for a bath, however I was not impressed when I was taken to a grotty jet wash, but then when I ended up wearing those magnet things it seemed worth while.
I’m very much looking forward to the next trip, and the next time we do the “Coast to Coast Challenge” I will not be giving up. None of this whisky stops / toilet stops etc. I will leave the seat covers behind if necessary.
On one last point though, my sister was called Britney and I don’t want to be called Britney too, so please, oh please, convince Peter to give me another name…… (suggestions welcome).
Britney (for now) XXX
| 7th Apr 2015 18:07 :: Peter P Smith|
Well folks, that is some of my photos uploaded here and the trip report is being edited. It was a brilliant weekend and I hope you all enjoyed it at least half as much as I did. Thank you all for supporting me on my first ever trip as the organiser,I am now planning the next one so watch this space! Peter (and Kerry)
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