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Here we go with our first "TR Tale".
On Friday 20 April John Catt, navigator, and I set forth in the trusty TR from home to attempt the Grand Tour Cape to Cape. This involved getting to Cape Wrath and then following a devious route down Scotland, England and Wales to Cape Cornwall over 8 more days. The aim:- to complete the route as prescribed answering various clues and doing a variety of special tests, and to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. The entry included a number of pre-war cars and a few others older than us, but only a TD MG turned out from that group, the others turning up in moderns! The rest of the entry was E-Types, a Healey 3000, Morgans, Porsches, MGBs and a MGC, a clutch of Mazda MX5s and sundry others. We ended up the second-oldest car after the TD. Total entry, 44 cars.
First off getting to the north of Scotland. We went the pretty way via Hereford and Whitchurch to the M6 at Manchester, then to a night stop at Carlisle, and the following day up to Ullapool via Glasgow, Fort William and the Great Glen. This all went without mishap except for the odd very heavy shower, which was a pain as we didn't put the hood up!
Arriving at the Royal Hotel Ullapool at teatime we found we were about the last to arrive. Did all the signing on and attempted to apply sponsor stickers in the rain (failed!). The following morning we were off in sunshine to Cape Wrath (or Durness to be precise as the Cape is only accessible by boat ferry and minibus, and there wasn't capacity for us all to go). Trouble was the event wasn't due to start 'til 12:45 to allow time for the Cape visit, which was a frustration to those of us who had to hang about for 2 hours. Happily the day was fine if cold.
The route took us back to Ullapool for the night, and was relatively short (231 miles - see later!). We got all the clues (e.g. collection times on postboxes, dates on bridges etc.), but missed a secret check for which 4 penalties (penalties equalled fines of £1/point). Again some very sharp showers (literally sharp in the case of a hailstorm!).
Next morning we left Ullapool at 8:00 (a bit too early for me) to drive down the coast roads of West Scotland to the Kyle of Lochalsh, and then across the Highlands to our night stop on Loch Fyne. An absolutely glorious day – perfect visibility and the scenery superb in every direction. Lunch halt at Applecross after a wiggly drive along the tiny coast road, which still accommodated a full-size artic lorry - don't know how he did it. We dropped one clue just before the halt at Applecross – another £4. After lunch up over the precipitous Pass of the Cattle. Two more secret checks, but these incorporated a hill start on 1 in 4 or 5 gradients – you guessed, penalty for slipping back 2 penalties. The second of these was a hillstart in reverse which was challenging, and I overdid the power generating much wheelspin. Happily although we didn't go backwards as required for some time (much tyre smoke) we didn't slide forwards either, and eventually scrabbled backwards over the line between 2 cones.
After a very frustrating afternoon trying to fathom the organisers tulip diagrams giving the route (he had missed one out which didn't help!) we got to Loch Fyne around 18:00. 324 miles that day!