|young Westie rear end fix
Smith Riley fix too
Robb Hotrod on Garbole road
Campbell Sunbeam on Skye Smith Vitesse PortreeAlexander Cobra Replica
Ron Adams BMW325iPorsche on to the ferry
Hugh McGouran beaches Elise on ferry ramp
Westfield at Applecross
Author's Mazda on Skye
Morrison Tiger on Skye
Whisky prize donated to nearest coin. Raised another £50 plus for Highland Hospice
Hawkeye determined to win!
Crofterra Pandemonia - 6 & 7 September
Story - Jim Paterson. Photos Jim Paterson, Andy Thomlinson, Dave Spence
10th running of this event attracted over 50 crews to retrace the
route of the original Crofterra back in 2005, over the sea to Skye. The
Highland Car Club organisers had designed two routes on to Skye, one
over the bridge, the other on the Glenelg to Kylerhea ferry, a small 4
to 6 car community run ferry that crosses the 600 odd metres of water
at that point . The event was also fund raising for Highland
Hospice, the only hospice serving adults with incurable life
limiting disease in the Highlands of Scotland,
greeted the starters at Fairways in Inverness, but the softops were all
folded down on the selection of MG's, MX5's, Honda and the like. The
driving west into clear skies awaited us. The start was not to be for
the Fiat 126 BIS of Jonathan Smith and Scott Erskine, complete
with ice cream cone on the roof. The car suffered terminal problems
before moving on to the start line. "Just one more cornetto" was
the cry as the crew struggled in vain to fire the car up.
and Jonathan Young carried out some 'pre-flight' checks as the rear
suspension looked suspect on their Westfield SE when it rolled of the
trailer. This would be overcome and the couple drove the route
completely open to the elements, with smiles on their faces the whole
way. That's what I call 'real motoring'! Our friends from the north
east of England, and regular Crofterrans, Colin Wilkinson and Barry
Thompson, brought their Ginetta G15. The pair had overhauled much of
the machine in the week previous but the cold overnight had the engine
cranking slowly for a while before it finally fired into life. Tracy
Smith in the Riley Elf was fixing a rubbing rear tyre on the wing.
Roddie Main, being the gent he always is, put his weight behind a few
'minor' adjustments to solve the problem.
headed east then south to Tomatin toward the Garbole road,
our first taste of the highland peaks, and once a special stage on the
Rally. A few quick stops for the soft top cars to wind up their tops,
as the heavens opened and visibility reduced drastically. The single
track road has its fair share of blind summits and potholes (all
cautioned in the excellent roadbook), but one or two fell into the odd
pothole. Charlie Donaldson was driving Jimmy Macdonalds Alfa Romeo as
the course car heading to Skye Bridge. Over enthhusiasm caught Charlie
out as he took a pothole too quickly,
to hear a loud 'crack' from behind. That was not good, and inspection
discovered a broken rear axle! Return to Fairways and on to the trailer
while firing up Charlie's MX5 to complete the trip. Ian Smith was true
to form when he drove his Imp deep into a dip after a blind summit,
tearing the water pipe off the front mounted radiator. Never one to be
flustered Ian made running repairs and was soon chasing the pack again.
now we were heading north west and by time we reached the shores of
Loch Ness to head back west the rain had passed over and back to tops
down again. Sticking to the scenic route down the south side of Loch
Ness we reached Fort Augustus, and Invergarry where we picked up the
A87 Road to the Isles. A stop for lunch in the shadow of the 5 sisters
of Kintail prepared us for the final mainland stretch, for some to the
Skye Bridge, and others, including me, to Glenelg for the ferry
trip across to Skye on the little ferry was interesting. Run by the
community this ferry is the only one I have seen with a deck that can
swivel 90 degrees, allowing the boat to tie up alongside the pier and
rotate the deck to enable the cars to drive on and off. The six
car capacity would mean very small cars, with four, and a
motorcycle filling up the capacity for our crossing. The ferry has
to negotiate the tidal flow through the straights of Kyle Rhea, which
meant a sharp left turn half way across to drive head on into the
flow. At the selected point the captain cuts the power and the ferry
simply rotates to point directly at Skye and is washed with the tide
toward the pier. I prefer to think it was skill rather than luck that
we arrived intact to see Dave Spence and Roddie Main in the mighty 5
litre Capri waiting to welcome us. How they made cattle swim across
from Skye to Glenelg, on their way to lowlands cattle sales in past
centuries, beats me.
single track with blind summits awaited us as we headed to the head of
Glen Arroch to pickup the A87 crews arriving over the Skye
Bridge. As we crossed the River Sligachan we took a left toward
Dunvegan to be rewarded with a terrific view of the Cuillins.
up the west coast of Skye along Loch Harport we turned right
before reaching Dunvegan Castle, eventually picking up the A87
north of Portree and driving up to Uig, near the north end of the
island. In the MX5 I had fallen in behind Tony and Shona Leese in their
Honda S2000, who were maintaining a good rate of progress across some
exciting single track sections. From Uig we returned to the east coast
of Skye at Staffin for the run down to Portree. Views to the islands of
Rona and Raasay to our left were complimented by The Old Man of
Storr to our right.
A welcome beer and meal awaited us at our
overnight and the organisers put on a raffle to raise money for the
Highland Hospice charity.
start at Portree headed straight for the bridge and back to the
mainland. Ian and Catherine Higgins MGB started to suffer misfiring
which a fellow Crofterran provided a spare rotor arm. Unfortunately not
the problem so it was a limp back to Inverness as things got worse.
Compression loss on number 3 cylinder turned out to be the problem,
Over the bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh we
turned off to Plockton, made famous in the TV series Hamish Macbeth.
Pressing on to Kinlochewe passing the Stromeferry bypass, supposedly
the most expensive road in Scotland, being frequently closed due to
rockfalls. Heads down and don't hang about just in case!
the climb over Bealach Na Ba (Pass of the Cattle) we met Andy
Thomlinson in his MGB/GT looking back across at Skye from the summit,
before heading down to Applecross and lunch at the Inn where we caught
up with some of the crews.
Passing the Submarine and
torpoedo testing range in the waters between the mainland and Skye we
reached Glen Torridon and the mountains finally reaching
Back on normal roads our group of
cars headed by Tom Dromgoole in his MGF, followed by Tom Niven in his
new MGF, purchased just days before, due east to Achnasheen and Tarvie,
before heading for Muir of Ord and the Glen Ord Distillery. Oh the
temptation to take some refreshment!
Last leg home and back to
Fairways for the presentation of awards, the buffet and the final
raffle for Highland Hospice. In total over £1300 was raised over
the two evenings by Crofterrans for the charity.
route from HCC, offering great places to visit and sights to
see. Skye in the dry is a rare thing and everyone enjoyed their
time on the island.
Looking forward already to 2015, and where we will visit.
Updated 11 September