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Walsh Morgan Plus 8

Leese Lotus Elan

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Murison Triumph TR6

Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Loch Ness Classic  -  8 June 2024    Report by Ormond Smith

The Loch Ness Classic Car Tour run by the Rotary Club of Inverness Loch Ness ran successfully on Saturday 8th June despite blustery winds and squally rain showers, indeed the weather was in fact a lot more pleasant than the forecast had predicted.     

Although the organisers had hoped for a larger entry, the quality was on show with cars ranging from the 1950’s through to a brand new Alpine A110GT.  The Keir brothers from Dufftown had their usual immaculately presented 1959 Austin A105 Vanden Plas and of the same vintage, Fraser and Wilma Hutcheson brought their beautifully restored Morris 1000 van, both vehicles never missing a beat all day. Brian Garden and Alan Fyfe from Inverurie were in their splendidly growling 1968 Austin Healey 3000 and Tony Leese took his well prepared 1968 Lotus Elan from Elgin.  
Two local crews of Patrick Walsh/Gordon Leitch and Graham and Liz Rae appeared in their respective Morgans, the Plus 8 of Walsh/Leitch sounding quite magnificent and to their credit, the hood stayed down all day, despite the showers!  Another sports car of the 70’s was the rare Bristol 412 of Donald and Margaret Campbell (only 97 ever produced) and they had to cope with a jammed driver’s door window all day – did it put them off, not a bit.     

The Triumph range was represented by David and Lorna Murison’s TR6 from Tain and the Stag of Alan and Angela Radin from Dingwall. More modern “desirables” included Gordon and Jane Syman’s Jaguar XJ8 all the way from North Berwick and the father and son crew of Neil and Max Hampton in their recently acquired BMW M5, making the trip down from Dornoch.

Flagged off by Jackie Hendry, the Depute Provost of Inverness City Council, the route of this year’s Tour left the Inverness Ice Centre base and headed east through Cawdor to the A939 and up to Ferness where the crews took in the loop around Lochindorb and its impressive ruined castle. Skirting Grantown, the B9102 was driven as far as Marypark before the participants turned south up Glenlivet to the lunch halt at the Clockhouse Restaurant in Tomintoul, the parked entry in the nearby public car park drawing a lot of interest.      

Suitably “refuelled”, the crews headed back north over the moors and through Nethybridge, Boat of Garten and Carrbridge before a short blast down the A9 took them past Moy, under, yes under, the A9 and down Strathnairn to Gorthleck. It was then a short scenic drop down to Foyers and the run to the finish along the iconic Loch Ness, and without any sightings of “Nessie”!

This year’s Tour was raising monies for CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland) and the Highlands and Islands Blood Bikes, both charities doing sterling work in the Highlands and both representatives were very impressed and grateful for the sponsorship raised by the crews on the Tour.

After the awards were handed out, there was one additional award this year. CCHMSC member Louise Wall from Burgundy, the widow of the late Ranald Bruce who will undoubtedly be remembered by readers, contacted the Rotary Club to donate a Fair Play award, two engraved wooden charcuterie platters with cash donations to the recipients and also both charities. 

The organisers, in the absence of any “on event” incidents to fulfil the criteria of the award, decided to give it to a crew who have supported the Tour since its inception in 2017, always entering in a classic vehicle from the 1930’s to the 1950’s and their cars are pristinely presented and the brothers themselves are enthusiastic and thoroughly enjoy their visits to the Highlands

George and Ian Keir from Dufftown received their awards from Andy Cowan, a close friend of both Louise and the late Ranald, and as Andy remarked “no doubt that Ranald would be nodding his approval”.

Published 12 June 2024