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Little fiat 500 sets off from Paisley

Team Wilson Team Dixon and Team Duncan arrived in hull time for a swift bite and pint before ferry

Chris and Zoe Sherrington on the ferry
Alan Duncan with Celica in Belgium snow

Brits lineup at Reims

Aussies pack sandwiches 

Land crab supports Aussies 

Ready to depart Reims

Over the ramp

Ranald's Rover 2000

Line up before starting trip home.

Triumph Spitfire awaits Chis and Zoe

Jim Wilson checks Vitesse for trip home

While Duncan Massie does an oil check

Twin Avengers

Out to Reims Gueux racing circuit

Heading back to the ferry

Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
 Ecosse to Reims Heritage Tour - 28 to 31 January
Story Jim Paterson, Photos Alan Duncan

Crews toast success at Reims

Following the seven Monte Carlo Historique starters at Paisley were the 15 Heritage Ecosse to Reims crews. Both groups were heading over to France 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.

It all 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! 

The 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!

The 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 the 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 no exception.

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 back!

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.

Thursday 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 coil. 

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.  

A relaxing 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 journey south.

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.

After waving the Historique cars Bon Voyage the Reims tour crews retired for a dinner and awards at the hotel, swapping tales of their experiences.

Next 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 yesteryear.

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