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Morris Minors and MGF.

Line up at V8 Cafe before the weather closed in.

Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Drive it Day - 26 April 2015
Story and photos - Dave Spence

All clear at the start
Drive it day - it’s supposed to be the springtime and the day classic car owners take their cars out for a nice run in the spring sunshine, isn’t it? Well, the weather gods, at least here in the Highlands, had different ideas!

A run for drive it day is organised annually by the Highland Classic Motor Club and this year was no exception. CCHMSC members Dave Spence and Roddie Main, and Donald and Margaret Campbell decided that, having had such a great day out the day before on Highland Car Club’s Tour of the Lochs, they would take part in the run. Cars assembled at V8 Café in the Longman Industrial Estate at 11am on Sunday 26th April. The usual eclectic mix of vehicles turned up, varying from a 1920’s Rolls Royce to Dave’s 5 litre V8 Capri which was getting its first airing of the year. About 30 vehicles turned up, numbers being slightly down this year.

The route took the crews from Inverness via the A9 then B9006 to Culloden Moor, then down the valley of the River Nairn under the Culloden Viaduct towards Cawdor, joining the B9090 then B9101 to the coffee break at the Covenanter’s Inn in Auldearn. The convoy of classics turned out to be a bit of a plodding affair with the Roller leading the way. The Capri boys felt the pace was a bit slow but couldn’t really do much about it.

Donald and Margaret and son Ewan joined the event at Auldearn with the 1955 Sunbeam Mk3. All then set off duly refreshed via a series of back roads to join the A939 over Dava Moor towards Grantown on Spey. The weather by this time, having started off being pleasant and bright was looking increasingly menacing, but never mind it was still dry. The pace over Dava again proved much too pedestrian for the Capri, so at last its legs were stretched over some of the fantastic straights on the A939, proving that 5 litres of Detroit muscle is the way to go! A quick series of overtaking bursts saw the Capri arrive at Grantown second!! How was that? – A Citroen Dyane had arrived first – must have cheated and taken a short cut!!!

A leisurely lunch in Grantown then time to go – Dave and Roddie decided to go home via the B9007 and Donald and Margaret retraced their steps over the A939 only to be met with the same fate – the weather, which had been gloomy before lunch, turned out to be decidedly wet after lunch. By the time both crews reached the high points of their routes (about 1000ft above sea level on both), the wetness had turned into whiteness, with blizzard conditions being encountered. The Capri’s heater proved completely useless at demisting the windscreen, and that, combined with the car’s tendancy to go sideways at the merest hint of rain, far less a full-scale blizzard, made for an exciting (?) journey.

Likewise the Sunbeam crew had to stop several times to clear the windscreen of snow, the poor little wipers being totally incapable of coping with the build-up of snow. However both crews made it home eventually after a more adventurous journey than had been anticipated. Presumably all the other crews made it home safely.

In spite of the lovely spring weather it was still a very enjoyable day out.

Now read about the Saturday Tour of the Lochs

Meanwhile over toward Aberdeen, the local Drive it Day cars were having their own dilema. This picture was taken by James Parker at one of the less intense periods in the blizzard (from his roofless Fraser  Nash).

Steve Wallace couldn't actually see through his windscreen, condensation inside snow outside.

One couple in a 1933 speed 20 did the wise thing, B&B'd it at Duffton. Chris Chilcott, wife, nephew and Labrador were in a late 20's Alvis with a roof but no side screens. They went to a friends house, dropped off the Alvis and borrowed his Audi to go home in.

All in all quite challenging but it adds to the memories. 

Updated 2 May 2015