|Colin Jaggard fettling Alan MacKay and friends with Anglia
Campbell Ferrari 328
Ian Smith Imp
Higgins MGBYachts on Crinan Canal
2000 year Yew Fortingall
Smedley Stag Taynuilt
Emerald Porsche Taynuilt
Wadsworth Armstrong Siddeley in Glen Orchy
Mini Course Car at Fortingall
Flash from MX5 in Glen Orchy
Jaggard Landie Glen Orchy
Lamotte mini in Glen Orchy
More photos from
Crofterra Pandemonia - 5 & 6 September
Story - Jim Paterson. Photos Jim Paterson, Andy Thomlinson
Preparing the cars for the start at Fort WilliamCrews
gathered under blue skies and sunshine for the start of Highland Car
Clubs 2015 Crofterra Pandemonia on Saturday 5th September in Fort
William. A great selection of classic and sporting cars, with some
never done it before crews, including Brain and Jackie Hodges in
their MGB Roadster, and Andrew and Josie Smedley in their Triumph Stag
all the way from Nottingham. They all adorned the Ben Nevis Hotel
car park as the drivers fettled their steeds in preparation for the
first leg of some 200 miles down the west coast of Scotland.
Jaggard's head seemed to be more buried under the bonnet of his Land
Rover Defender 90 than most others. Now Colin's Landie is no ordinary
Defender. A 4 litre V8 fed by a couple of big SU carbs makes this a
real beast on the road and can catch most classic cars with ease.
However Colin was suffering real misfire problems, which started on the
way to the start. "I purposely put a new coil on this earlier in the
week" commented Colin as he hunted for a spare. I remember the 2010
Crofterra where we were under the bonnet of his 1956 Morris Minor
solving similar ignition problems on that occasion too. Replacing the
new coil with the old fixed the problem. A guarantee refund on the
cards I can see. No such issues for the supercharged 4 litre V8
500bhp Ford Cortina Mk2 of Chris McCulloch and Michael Skelly.
This monster is usually at home on the drag strip. What a great noise
though when pressing the loud pedal.
We studied the road book Dave Spence had
put together, which was a mix of map with superimposed tulip
instructions at key junctions. Dave has used is design many times and
it works well, better than tulip only which if you lose the place can
leave you with no idea where you are. He also added a Gazetteer
highlighting interesting places and views on our route.
Main and Dave Spence flagged off the 57 starters,with Jimmy 'Alfa'
MacDonald leading the way in his 2600 sprint, to take a few photos of
on route. We headed south toward Ballachulish, to Appin, passing
Castle Stalker sitting proudly in Loch Laich by Loch Linnhe. No sign of
Monty Python who filmed the 'The Holy Grail' there. We then took the
first of many single track loops by South Shian before crossing Loch
Creran at Creagan bridge. Not long before we were off the main
A828 heading for Bonawe. I was not the only one to wrong slot into
Barcaldine House which was just before the Bonawe junction. Tom Niven
told me he had quite a few followers drive through the gates behind him
to the big house! The drive through Gleann Salach was magnificent
offering some fantastic views over the River Esray and Loch Etive. as
we climbed up the pass and down toward the Connel bridge, and the Falls
No sooner were we over the bridge before we turned
hard left over the moor, with its blind summits, to Kilmore, bypassing
Oban on the coast. Rejoining the main A816 provided a chance to open
the throttles a bit and relax. I pulled in at the Culfail hotel in
Kilmelford after spotting a few classics lined up the car park.
Ian and Catherine Higgins in their MGB roadster and Tom Niven in his
MGF were enjoying a coffee stop, so we joined them. Unfortunately Ian
had eaten the last scone, so I had to do without!
wrong slot as I missed the turn up to Loch Avich. not too far before
penny dropped and turned round to get back on route. Reaching Loch Awe
we headed south through Dalavich to Ford, taking in some great views
over the loch, rejoining the A816 to Lochgilphead, crossing the Crinan Canal..
Lochgilphead we continued down into the Mull of Kintyre. This was a
first both for the event and for me as we took some of the single track
routes over to the western edge of the mainland. Tight corners and
blind summits were the order of the day so drivers had to keep their
eyes peeled for oncoming cars, tractors and yes buses. A few breathe in
moments as dived toward the verges, particularly when we met a tour of
some 40 Grasshoppers coming at us. These 3 wheelers are similar to the
Morgan 3 wheeler cars, sporting anything from 2CV to Moto Guzzi engines
in front of the radiator grills. CCHMSC member Tom Rae is often seen on
our events in his, come rain or shine. Thanks to Tony and Shona Leese
in their Honda S2000 for this photo, with the Hodges MGB up
However I still managed
to wrong slot, ignoring my co-drivers instructions (Oops). I saved my
embarrassment by catching a fellow Crofterran's in the shape of John
and Tracey Morrison in their TVR Chimera pulling into a field. What
views we were rewarded with. Jura and Islay were visible across a clear
calm sea, under a cloudless sunny sky. Our TVR friends put me straight.
Lost who's lost. No such thing on the Crofterra. Simply an
opportunity to explore nearby interesting places! The Gazeteer feature
in Dave's road book meant lots to see on the way round.
Mull of Kintyre heads all the way down to Campbeltown but we looped
back when we reached sight of the island of Gigha, heading back up the
eastern side of Kintyre to Lochgilphead.
The route headed into
Kilmichael Glen to Loch Awe on the south side to Cladich and Dalmally,
signaling the final leg for the first day as we used the A85 back to
Oban for the overnight. Exhausted but what a great day. I was glad to
see Ian Smith had arrived with his Hillman Imp. Unusually he had not
been forced to stop to take it apart anywhere at all. Daughter Tracy in
her Riley Elf was also going strong.
together in the Rowantree Hotel in Oban gave us plenty time to swap
stories before Roddie got up to start the traditional raffle. Lots of
interesting and unusual prizes on offer, but I failed to have the
tickets for either the bottles of wine, or whisky. By the end of the
evening some £650 had been raised for Maggies Centre (Inverness)
for cancer support, and Woodlands Centre for adults with Dementia and
Alzheimer, which would extend
to over. £1200 by time the second raffle at the finish venue was
Sunday morning awakened with a sea mist which had
cleared by time we met for the restart at 10.00am. Nice of Highland
Club to arrange an easy start, being kind to those who may have over
indulged the night before! The mini of Willie Preece and Graeme
(Hawkeye) Finlayson was sounding quite throaty as we headed out of Oban
on the old road to Taynuilt, climbing past McCaig's folly, looking like
the Colosseum in Rome. No gladiators today though. These little used
roads have some great open sections, even if they are single track, and
some of the more enthusiastic drivers used them to clear the cobwebs
from both themselves and the cars. Adrian Harper found his Ford Mustang
had plenty of torque and grunt to keep up, but sheer size was a
problem. Never attempt to keep up with HCC crews, especially in hot Mk2
Escorts, which is where it came to grief for Adrian. Bottoming out
after a slight 'yump' fractured the gearbox casing leaving vital fluids
on the road. Retiral and return home to North Yorkshire was on the
cards. Real pity as this is the first we have seen Adrian for a few
years. Let's hope we see him again soon, hopefully in some other exotic
Once back on the A85 the crews could relax
for a few miles on their way to Glen Orchy. This popular motorsport
loop alongside the River Orchy was unusually quiet this time, missing
the motor home brigade coming the other way. After the 10 mile drive to
the top of the glen it was back to Tyndrum and the Green Welly, where a
few crews had pulled in for a coffee stop.
Fully refreshed we
pressed on to Crianlarich and along to Killin, through Glen Dochart,
under the gaze of Ben More. We took a white at Auchlyne crossing gated
roads. After Killin we cut off toward Bridge of Balgie, passing
Ben Lawers and the dam. At Fortingall we once more met a selection of
Crofterran's had pulled in for refreshments. Mags and Don Campbell in
their Redish Ferrari 308 were there, and the car and crew will be with
us on the Montagnes de France in a couple of weeks. Fortingall is home
to the oldest tree in the UK, a Yew which states 5000 years old, but
experts reckon nearer 2000. It looked old to me, almost as old as Dave
and Roddie, as it bathed in the sun in the churchyard. Legend has
it that Pontious Pilate was born in the shade of its branches. Hope he
enjoyed the local hospitality which we did.
in our sights we drove toward Loch Rannoch, visiting Kinloch Rannoch,
as we pushed on through the Grampians to Trinafour and the A9 at
Dalnacardoch Lodge. Jumping off the A9 past Dalwhinnie distillery we
took a loop by Laggan to Kingussie preparing for our final 'loop' by
Feshiebridge, Coylumbridge, Boat of Garten, Carrbridge, where I caught Balmore and
Cawdor. Tom Niven and Karen Wilson in the MGF came to grief when they
picked up road debris that sliced a water hose losing all the coolant.
A recovery and repair in progress. The rest of us pointed our bonnets
toward Inverness and the finish at Fairways.
Presentations for the finishers and a great buffet meal with lots of stories to be told.
how Dave and Roddie will top this Crofterra route is hard to see, but
I'm sure they will come up with something just as exciting for next
year, when I hope we will see you all again for the 12th running of
Crofterra Pandemonia 2016.
Jag chases Porsche toward Carrbridge. Avenger and Ford Cortina in Glen Orchy.
Updated 9 September