Ecosse to Reims Heritage Tour - 28 to 31 January
Story Jim Paterson, Photos Alan Duncan
Crews toast success at Reims
the seven Monte Carlo Historique starters at Paisley were the
15 Heritage Ecosse to Reims crews. Both groups were heading over
and would meet up in Reims. Organiser Jim Wilson had designed a more
interesting route for the Ecosse to Reims cars and crews, with a
stop over near Carlisle on the way south to the ferry to the
continent from Hull to Zeebrugge. Before that the cars would have time
to stretch their legs on a run round Croft and Oliver's Mount
circuits in Yorkshire. At least that was the plan.
started well, with the departure from Paisley seeing all the cars on
their way, Jim in his VW Beetle heading the tour starters off the ramp.
As I reported in the main start story he was going so well off the ramp
I thought he was easily going to catch the main Historique cars that
had left earlier in front of him!
rest of the tour entrants followed, with Ian Dixon in his MGB/GT who is
a veteran of continental rallies, see his exploits on the 2014 Tulip Rally
. Alan Duncan, who provides so many photographs of his events that I
fear the flickr website will crash, joined in his well presented Toyota
Celica, one of two he owns. Duncan Massie brought his Triumph TR7 along,
and together with Ron Adam planned to head all the way to Monte after
visiting Reims. John Ducker brought his MGB/GT, white so as not to be
confused with Ian Dixon, also great camouflage in the snow!
Wilson clan, in the shape of James, also took a Triumph Vitesse,
last seen in 2013 when it was planned to go to Monaco, but
failed to get farther than Dover. This time it would succeed to get to
Reims and home again without any issues. Paisley is the home of Rootes
and two examples of their legacy, in the shape of the Hillman Avenger,
joined the tour. Member Alan Clark who has been seen over many years
driving Avengers, often through forest stages kicking the tail out on
the turns, teamed up with Gordon Gray. He was joined the Andrew Struthers and Kenneth Philips Avenger. The
famous blue Maxi with the go faster white stripe of Des
Cannaway and Alan Mackay was ready to go too. This pair have taken
Maxi to France on several occasions, not always without incident. A
good stock of spanners is a must for any BMC machine, and the Maxi is
The Fiat 500 of Peter Martin and Paul Murphy was by far the
smallest in both size and engine capacity. You have to be very
friendly, and in no hurry to get anywhere in one of these. Oh and
remember to travel light as a weekend bag is about all you ll get in the
After calling in at Auldgirth Inn near Dumfries, the
finish of the run to the Borders Heritage tour, for a comfort break, the
Reims tour crews headed to Carlisle for their first overnight stop.
morning provided a real Christmas card sight, with a snow covered car
park. While the crews cleared the snow from their cars Jim picked up
that the chosen route over the Pennines to Croft circuit in Yorkshire
was closed due to snow, as was his prime alternative. Maps out on the
table to find a second alternative and soon the cars were on their way.
Soon after Dave Douthwaite in the second Toyota Celica developed
trouble, straining to reach 60mph. Decision to cit and run home was
made, luckily as the fuel pump failed soon afterwards. An AA fix
got them going again, only for the sparks to fail due to a fried
Unfortunately the snow,which had drifted down from
Scotland the night before, had made Croft a 'no go' area, as was Oliver's Mount. It was decided to run straight to Hull for
the ferry, with a quick stop for refreshments before boarding.
All safely on board, the little Fiat 500 bringing up the
rear, just before the ramp was raised. Well with a top speed of 45mph,
and snow everywhere, they did really well.
overnight crossing saw the crews ready to go when they docked at
Zeebrugge. The snow had followed the ferry and Belgium and northern
France had a fine covering, just to make the crews feel at home!
A quick sprint down the road to Reims was in order to arrive
in time to see the Monte Historique cars before they set off on their
Our intrepid Reims tour cars arrived at their hotel in
time to get a good view of the Monte cars in central Reims, including
all the crews from Paisley. Ranald White was there in his Rover
2000 P6, though not without incident. Brake problems, oil leaks,
and lost bolts holding the alternator on had befallen the car but
a bit of spannering, oil and brake fluid, and spare bolts from French enthusiasts, seemed to do the trick! Meanwhile the glen family,Gordon with Opel Kadett, and David with Triumph Dolomite were both on song.
waving the Historique cars Bon Voyage the Reims tour crews retired for
a dinner and awards at the hotel, swapping tales of their
morning was the start of the return to the UK. A bit of fettling and
checking of fluids in the cars before heading out for the obligatory
visit to the Reim Gueux GP circuit of
No classic car run is complete without a visit and a photo
beside the old stands, still displaying the logos of past year, which
are still kept up to date. CCHMSC continental tours always make a photo
call, come rain or shine. It's just what you do when in Reims.
After the goodbyes, some crews heading south to Monte for the finish, the main group headed
north through fog, rain and sunshine. Must have felt
like being home in blighty already. The Fiat 500 decided to throw a
wobbly when their alternator brackets sheared, leaving the little car
to struggle on battery until flat. A cut and run to get some welding
done in a local garage got them back on the road, which in their case
led to Calais to catch a ferry to Dover.
Back in the UK Jim
Wilson decided to try Oliver's Mount circuit again, this time
successfully, despite horrendous rain through Scarborough on the
approach. From there it was a straight forward, if rather tiring drive
north to reach the Scottish border and home.
A tired set of crews and well worn cars have many more tales to tell for a Le Grand Tour. Perhaps we will hear some soon.
Look out for more continental adventures.In fact what about the continental tour later this year
Updated 3 Febrruary 2015