Dave Spence ties up the club banner at the start line
Sturgeon / Ferguson Nova
Ritchie crew Boxster
McGarrie Alfa Spider
Young MX5 before pothole
Telfer crew with dogs
Roddie Main Mercedes
My next classic at Chollerford
See you at the end
Massie Jaguar XK
| Tour of the Wall - 25 March 2018
Story and pictures - Jim Paterson
sunny if rather chilly morning at around 2 degrees greeted the 30
starters for the club's first event of 2018. We gathered at Dobbies
garden centre to the south of Edinburgh and crews fueled up on bacon
or egg rolls, or for those who had travelled far to reach the start, a
full Scottish breakfast.
signing on completed the cars and crews were flagged off to head south
into the Scottish borders. Many of the classics were on their first
outing of the year and David Alexander turned out in his MGB
Roadster fresh from a complete front end suspension and brake overhaul.
With son Matthew as his co-driver the pair were using this event as a
'shakedown' before heading for Ireland in the car. Don and Mags
Campbell were giving their '55 Sunbeam Mk3 its first airing. A regular
on club events the car and crew from the sunny shores of Loch Ness can
often be seen on HCC events.
veteran Craig McGibbon, who has several Monte Historique's under his
belt brought his Volvo Amazon with Karsten Brown, another Historique
regular, usually guiding Ranald White in his Rover P6, keeping Craig on
the right road.
Chris and Mary Paton were out with the mini,
always resplendent, but would it be so shiny come the finish, as we has
some great single trackers on route, no doubt with their fair share of
mud and muck! Colin Laird and Ian Paterson in their '67 Hillman Imp
would feel the bumps and mud as well, being so close to the ground.
Good Hillman Avengers are becoming rare and speaking to Drew Struthers
I found his welding torch rarely cools down on his '71 model. Great to
see this marque still active on the road.
John and Julia Mellon always
steal the show in their bright orange '74 Ford Escort RS2000, which
sounds as good as it looks. In the Triumph camp its always a
delight to see George and Elizabeth Ferguson in their '78 Yellow
Dolomite Sprint. With the alloy wheels so polished I had to be careful
the sun glinting didn't crack the lens on my camera!
Janet Telfer arrived in the MGB/GT complete with dogs in the back.
Would that be 1 woof for left 2 for right? I was tempted to push a
microphone into Brian's hand to provide a running commentary at the
start, something he is well known for at Monte historique starts in
Glasgow and Paisley.
Chris Sturgeon and Jen Ferguson secured a late
entry with an '84 Vauxhall Nova. More 'rat' than 'concours' this once
common marque is disappearing fast from our roads. David and Ann Scott
were in their '85 Golf GTi, While Ann and George Head started in the
familiar '96 BMW Z3. Painted in a unique purple/blue metallic, this car
was a limited edition. So special we had two identical Z3's in
our event, how good is that? Ron and Jan Adam also have one of these
rare models, both on their first outing today.
Mazda MX5's are a
favourite and this event brought out a few. Vaughn Taylor and Jim
Campbell sported a '98 model, Reuben Phillips a 2003 version, Charlie
Young a 2007 variant, and I would follow as closing car in my 2010
folding hardtop model. The joy of one button roof up /down cannot be
Darren McGuiness from north of England was listed in a BMW
Z3 but arrived with Simon Crowe from north Wales in a Porsche Carrera,
complete with a wonderful throaty roar. Another keen Porsche crew Craig
and Rod Ritchie turned out in their red 2000 Boxster. The top was down
as they took off the start line, and would remain so to the end, despite
the odd shower they would encounter on route. Keeping with power
machines, Brian and Suzanne Pringle drove their 2000 Subaru Imprezza,
looking great in the instantly recognisable blue.
A last minute
quick change switched Roddie Main from opening car to replace Maureen
Spence, in Roddie's Mercedes 320SL with wife Sylvia. Maureen would
drive the opening car with Dave Spence. Duncan Massie with Drew Scott
drove in style in the Jaguar XK which has seen a few of the club's
Italian cars were represented with Brian
McGarrie and Sheila Anderson in a 2000 Alpha Spider. Patricia and David
Robertson joined the team in their day car when the BMW convertible did
not want to play.
Late entrant Geoff and Bev Ramsay managed to
complete repairs to his MGB/GT and get it Mot'd with only hours to
spare before we set off. Great to see such determination, to make the
start come what may. Hope we see more of this team on future events.
Another last minute but very welcome crew was Alan Garfagnini in
The drivers briefing complete the crews headed south
Selkirk, over the country lanes. Not long before Ron Adam caught the
low sun which blinded his view of an oncoming pothole. Front wheels missed it
but rear clipped it with a sickening thud which ripped the wall. On
with the 'spacesaver' spare, but what to do with the now flat alloy? Too
big to fit i n the boot, and I'm sure co-driver Jan would not be happy with it
on her lap! White Knight to the rescue in the shape of Duncan Massie
who threw it in the back of his Jaguar XK. With most of the route yet
to run Ron took the decision to set off for a slow journey home toward
Potholes would catch Charlie Young in his MX5 later in the
second leg, when it ripped out the wall of one of the rears as well. The
can of 'goo' to seal the tyre was never going to work, and I met up
with him just as he was fitting a 'skinny spacesaver' spare which he bought recently for
just this possibility. Like Ron he decided to cut and run home, slowly!
I don't need to tell you that the state of our roads is now worse than
I have ever seen in some 50 years of driving. They know how to
charge on road tax, but precious little ever finds its way back to road
maintenance. My next vehicle will have to be a half track to survive
Passing Keilder Forest we crossed into England
to reach our lunch stop at Chollerford. A light lunch was put on for
the crews and I met some of the tail enders just as they were leaving,
heading to Hexham to fill up their tanks.
We were now
heading back in time following the route of Hadrian's Wall. We passed
Vercovicium, or Housestead Roman Fort built in 122 AD where barrack
blocks and hospital are still identifiable, as well as the oldest
toilets you'll ever see. Vindolanda, one of Europes most important
Roman archaeological sites, with its newly refurbished centre, displays
many artifacts from the Roman occupation. By look of the car park it
was a popular attraction on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
off the road that would end up in Carlisle, heading north to Gilsland,
Spadeadam, toward Langholm, catching one or two sudden rain showers,
hailstones when I arrived. Now where is the MX5 raise hardtop button?
back into Scotland, leaving the Romans behind, we were on the final
section taking us by Eskdalemuir, one of the coldest places in the UK
during winter forecasts. Fortunately today was not one of those, as we
passed the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery. From there it was over to
Innerleithen, Peebles, and our finish location at the Cringletie Hotel,
set in beautiful grounds between Peebles and Eddleston.
More travel weary cars at the Cringletie finishA
great run of just over 200 miles, plus the odd detour to visit the
Roman forts, under mostly blue skies and sunshine made this opening
tour a great way to see our outstanding countryside, learn a bit
about Roman Britain, before heading 'back to the future'.
Look out for more exciting tours and events later in the year from the club on our events page.
Published 28 March 2018