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Signon and breakfast

Fleming MG Midget

Waite BMW 2002

Petrie/Jones Bond Equipe

Houghton Alfa Romeo

Bax Smart Roadster

Hemmingway / MCIntyre MGB

Chatham Honda CR-Z

Shand Seat

Prentice/Wall Audi TT

Millar /Telford Astra

Bald Lexus NX300

Knight Templar

Herring Road

Stage 2

Honey Farm Café Bus
& the Garage....

Always wanted a Porsche, but a Porsche tractor was not the image in my head!

Petrol cans in every shape and size (but are they full?)

Stage 3

Phillips audi TT

Paton Mercedes

Waite BMW 2002

Kirkness/Watt MGB/GT

Main Mercedes

Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Rally of the Borders – 24 September.
Story & photos Jim Paterson, Andy Thomlinson  

weatherman is not always right. Sunday 24th was to be horrendous storms. The tail of Storm Nigel was crossing the Atlantic and forecast to hit Scotland for our event. 
However, dry and brightening sky welcomed some 30 crews to the start of the Rally of the Borders. Perhaps the sight of our crews in their steeds gave Nigel a fright causing it to swerve away. Whatever it was we were thankful it did.

Jim Paterson delivers the Drivers Briefing
After refueling of cars and crews (great breakfast at Elginhaugh Farm diner) we headed south, using. many little known roads not used on our previous events taking us across magnificent countryside, passing and visiting new and unusual places.

Paton Mercedes SLK

Kirkness/Watt  MGB/GT

Waving the start flag was Karen Wilson. First off was regular entrants Chris and Mary Paton in their 2000 Mercedes SLX, seen on recent tours, followed by Helen Kirkness and Fraser Watt in a 1978 MGB/GT. Tony Fleming in his 1970 red MG Midget is another regular with Ruairidh reading the roadbook. All the way from Lydney in Gloucestershire, made Graham and Sally Waite in their 1972 BMW 2002 the farthest travelled to our event. It was great to see the couple again and catch up on previous rally stories. Another familiar car from previous tours was the ’69 Bond Equipe GT4S of George Petrie with Janet Jones on the route. This car is fitted with the later Triumph Spitfire engine giving it a bit more power.

John and Lillah Houghton returned with their ’75 Alfa Romeo GT1600. I would apologise later at the drivers
briefing for again misspelling Alfa as Alpha on the entry list. Kevin and Ann Bax continue their saga of oil  leaks on the ’72 Healey, so turned out in Ann’s Smart Roadster. A good plan B. Regular Ken McCrombie brought his ’70 Ford Lotus Cortina Mk2 with Scott Cornett on the roadbook. Geoff Hemmingway joined the MGB team in his ’74 MGB/GT V8 with Sam McIntyre calling the route.

Crombie/Cornett Lotus cortina

Thomlinson Subaru WRX

Main / Stuart Mercedes 320SL

McGibbon/Brown Lancia Fulvia

New members Campbell and Susan Chatham arrived in their 2013 Honda CR-Z, standing for 'Compact Renaissance Zero' an early hybrid sports coupé. Roddie Main brought his trusty ’95 Mercedes 320SL from Inverness, with John Stuart, much closer from Galashiels, guiding Roddie round the route. George and Jean Shand in their Seat headed off next followed by new members Andy and Janet Thomlinson in the 2016 Subaru WRX Sti. Andy is normally found behind a camera taking great photos of many events, not always cars! 

Head BMW

Cobb Toyota MR2

Rodger Mercedes 450

We were delighted to see Ann Head again, after her husband George passed away back in February, return in her 2004 BMW 318 convertible with Rogan Mackay navigating.  The 2004 Toyota MR2 of Cobb crew, Stuart and Jennifer have been seen on many previous tours and folded the hood down, daring the skies to rain!  Craig McGibbon loves his ’72 Lancia Fulvia Coupé arriving with his regular navigator Karsten Brown. Charles Rodger is another regular in his ’77 Mercedes 450 SLC, this time with Julian Livingstone navigating. Top down too for Rueben Phillips in his 2004 Audi TT, with daughter hope on the roadbook.

Phillips Audi TT

Massie Jaguar XK

Forbes Porsche 911

Glen Volvo 122S

The pair have successfully completed several tours in the car. Duncan Massie arrived ready for any weather in his 2007 Jaguar XK Coupé with Drew Scott on the maps. Great to catch up with Drew after a long break from events.  Ann Prentice was driving the 2007 Audi TT of Louise Wall, who was map reading this time, another crew top down challenging the skies. A special welcome to Jock Millar and Linda Telford in Linda’s 2007 Vauxhall Astra. Jock usually seen in his MG Midget returns after replacing worn out parts in his own joints. Takes we humans a  bit more recovery time than swapping parts on the classic car! Event organiser Ralph Forbes brought his 2007 Porsche 911 with Willie Macleod on the road book, to see how it is really done!.

Pulling up the last departures were new members Brian and Brenda Collins in their 2016 Honda CRV, so should be able to handle storm Nigel if it should hit us. Another new crew Douglas and Gail Bald arrived in their 2019 Lexus NX 300, while regular touring crew Gordon and Isobel Glen, usually seen in a Rolls Royce Silver Dawn, this time brought their 1968 Volvo 122S fully kitted  out Monte Carlo Historique car. Linda Forbes and sister Janice Lowe set off in the BMW X3, handy if you have two dogs to carry as well. 
Last but not least was Ton Niven and Karen Wilson in the 2005 MGF, today with a hardtop fitted,

Tom taking no chances should storm Nigel break on top of them.

 Leaving Elginhaugh Farm, the name comes from a Roman fort built in the 1st century only half a mile from our start, the most excavated timber built fort in the Roman Empire, we set off on stage one. Passing through Carrington village we arrived at Temple village. The name "Temple" refers to its historical connection to the Knights Templar. In 1237, the town name was recorded as "Ballentrodoch", from the Scottish Gaelic Baile nan Trodach, which means "town of the warriors", again a reference to the Knights Templar. The roadbook caution was real, the speed bumps being some height, more an alpine climb for low slung sports cars.

Driving into the borders we passed Soutra Aisle, the House of the Holy Trinity at Soutra, founded by the Augustinians at the request of King Malcolm IV in about 1160. It was one of the three most important hospitals in Scotland.

Sited approximately mid-way between Edinburgh and the Border Abbeys and served by what was at the time the most important road in southern Scotland, Dere Street.

Soutra Aisle
 Built by the Romans but still the main route south from Edinburgh for many centuries afterwards. Parts of Dere Street remain and can still be traced on the ground near the Aisle.  Andy Thomlinson in the Subaru found time to take a photo of it today.

Dunbar Fishwives

Poppy Scotland Sportive

Pushing on toward Humbie village we picked up the ‘Herring Road’. The fishwives in the 18, 19 and early 20th centuries would arrive with their cured Herring from Dunbar, 11 miles north on the River Forth  on their way to Lauder market, some 17 miles ahead. We proceeded along the north side of the Whiteadder Reservoir. Some crews met the Poppy Scotland Sportive cycle event raising funds for the charity.

Eventually we reached the town of Duns, with the Jim Clark Museum being an optional stop to visit. The town also offered coffee shops for those wanting a refreshment, and fuel stations for petrol.

Stage 2  took us south from Chirnside, home of Jim Clark, heading toward the English border at Norham. We crossed the Ladykirk bridge over the River Tweed into Northumberland. A few miles on we reached our lunch stop at the Chain Bridge Honey Farm. The cafe is housed on a classic Bristol Lodekka double-decker bus, serving tea, coffee, cold drinks, sandwiches, homemade cakes, scones and Doddington Ice Cream. You could watch the honey combs being stripped and the honey put into jars in the small factory unit next to the café. Also on site was the ‘Garage’ with a collection of classic tractors, caterpillar diggers, even a steam traction engine, all being restored.

Stage 3 headed over the ‘Chain Bridge”. 
The Union Chain Bridge or Union Bridge, a suspension bridge that spans the River Tweed between Horncliffe, Northumberland, England and Fishwick, Berwickshire, Scotland. It is four miles (6.4 km) upstream of  Berwick-upon-Tweed.
When it opened in 1820 it was the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world with a span of 449 feet (137 m), and the first vehicular bridge of its type in the United Kingdom. 
Back in Scotland we headed north west toward Coldingham, taking in magnificent views across the River Forth, spotting Edinburgh on the Pentland Hills in the distance, and Torness Nuclear Power Station closer by.

We crossed the Pease Dean Bridge spanning the Pease Dean ravine. Designed by architect David Henderson, it opened in 1786. It was the tallest bridge in the world at the time of  construction. 
Thomlinson Subaru

 It’s four arches stand at 130ft tall. Now the bridge stands in the Pease Dean Wildlife, an ancient semi-natural woodland, full of wildlife and nature.

Back over the Lammermuir hills, taking care over the cattle grids and looking out for sheep wandering across the road over the moors. Reaching Gifford we were on the home stretch through Pencaitland to the A68 and a short sprint to our destination at the Stair Arms hotel.

A delicious high tea rounded of what turned out to be a great day touring, some 140 miles where we proved the weatherman’s dire forecast of storm Nigel rains, which was thankfully wrong.

Lookout for our end of season High Tea at the George Hotel in Perth on Sunday 3rd December, where stories and tall tales of the years tours and a peek at the 2024 events, amongst friends and colleagues is a great run up to the Christmas season. Put the date in your diary now.  

Published 26 September 2023