|problems at the start
Ian Dixon in Tulip MGB/GT
Rose Midget on test 3
Heirs Saab on a charge
Duncan Massie in TR7
McGee Escort on Test 3 John O'Kane Escort from Skye
Fraser Avenger on Regularity 2
MacInness Subaru on the Cairngorm mountain Rose MG and Heirs Saab on CairngormLeese Mini on CairngormBMW Mini ready to go
Sunset over Cairngorm Mountain Prizegiving
Great Glen Rally - 28 September
Story and photos - Jim Paterson.
Lineup at JJ's in Fort WilliamThe
heavy rain forecast for the Sunday passed over on the Saturday night so
the event enjoyed a some great 'highland' weather with blue skies and
the occasional burst of autumn sunshine. 20 cars started at Fort
William looking forward to 10 tests along the 120 mile road route, which included 2 regularity sections.
was helping to marshal the event and left home near Edinburgh at around
4.30 in the morning enjoying making good time on empty roads on a dry
run north, until reaching Glencoe, where the heavens opened with
horizontal rain and visibility down to several yards. Thankfully
reaching Fort William the dawn rose with a clearing sky. There I
met fellow CCHMSC member Tom Niven and we would work as a team along
George McGee from Erskine was the first competitor
to arrive at JJ's Café in his Escort Mk1. His crew and a
friend had camped overnight. Bad idea as the rain had poured all night!
Soon all the crews had arrived and were tucking into hearty
breakfasts care of the JJ team.
and I headed of to our first assignment at test 3 Ceannacroc where we
met fellow CCHMSC member John Stuart. He had brought his camper van and
slept overnight nearby. Like our campers he also woke during the night
as the roof seal failed and the rain dripped on to his forehead.
HCC's Charlie Munro was running the test site and we were
allocated our positions. We avoided radio confusion over hearing the
marshals at test 2 down at Cluanie Dam by quickly selecting
The first of the cars arrived as the sunshine
broke through. They had already driven the first regularity at
Brackletter and missed out test 1 near Invergarry which was cancelled.
Our test was tight and very slippery in places, with more than a few
crews making a wrong test by skirting the cones on the wrong side! I
recognised quite a few of the crews, some from the Crofterra earlier in
the month with Tony and Shona Leese driving a mini in place of their
Honda S2000 earlier in the month. Ian and Gladys Dixon brought the
MGB/GT, last reported on driving the Tulip Rallye. Car 20, the Vauxhall
Corsa of Donald and Harris Wilson from Pitlochry kept up a fast time on
all the tests, which would secure them the overall winners trophy come
Some of the cars by now had expired, including
Norman Macfarlane and Richard Bartniczek in their Mk1 Escort had
experienced misfiring soon after leaving Fort William, and despite
changing plugs and trying a few other things had to succumb to
stopping. We met again at the final test as spectators.
closing the test our next marshal station was test 7 at Farr Wind Farm.
We took the easy route along the north lochside to Inverness and down
the A9 to the Garbole road. Inverness however proved a nightmare to get
through as roads were closed and lengthy diversions in order to support
the Baxters River Ness 10K, part of the ‘Festival of
Running’ event. What should have been an hours run turned into nearly twice that.
Great Glen crews missed all that heading back to Fort Augustus for a
lunch break, then into Glendoe for a couple of tests. At least that is
what they expected but the second run had to be abandoned. A great test
6 at the Corkscrew made up for the loss. Like an alpine climb this
road is always a great blast.
We were setup at test 7 Farr Wind
Farm just in time to meet the early runners. My next stop was ITC on
the second regularity along the Garbole Road.By now it was getting
chilly and a little cooler on the high ground. Most were keeping good
time over the regularity section, but one or two decided they had lost
the plot and drove straight through without stopping for a time! Oops.
more tests, one at Tomatin Distillery (no warmup samples on offer), and
Carrbridge old woodyard set the crews up for the final bash at the
Coire na Ciste Car Park at the Cairngorm Mountain resort. The clouds
were almost below us and the rain seemed not too far away. More
slipping and sliding on the slick surface was great for
Another Escort crew, Davie MacRae
and Paddy Munro form Glenshiel collected the class H1 trophy, while
Ranald White and Karsten Brown won the first in class T1 trophy driving
Ranald's great looking Rover P6, the '2000; in sky blue. It was still
in good fettle despite being out on the Doonhamer the week before,
which had some really rough test surfaces. Bryan and James Morrison
from Elgin took first in class T2 prize in their MGB/GT, Class T3 prize
was lifted by car 25, a BMW Mini.
Final lineup at Cairngorm MountainAfter
refreshements it was time for us all to head home. Just over 400 miles
for me, by time I reached home, looking forward to a long sleep.
great HCC event, with tribute to the organisers for their selection of
a wide variation in test sites and a making the navigator work on the
Clouds on Cairngorm
Wilson winning Corsa
Updated 1 October