|Posted by Marie & Buster on August 6, 2014 at 11:50 AM|
After many months of planning Ken & Silvia and Ian & Jackie set off in the MG’s to tackle the run from Lands End to John O’Groats. From the outset it was decided that it would not be a race but a holiday! Leaving Folkestone on the 12th June we headed to Bodmin (Devon) for our first stopover. It was a hot and sunny day and once we cleared the Motorway system it was a lovely drive along the A303/A30 to Exeter and from there across Dartmoor on the B3212/B3557 and eventually to Bodmin for a two night stay. The next morning in glorious sunshine we headed to the Eden Project at St. Austel for a full day there. What an interesting place it was too. We returned to the Travelodge via Fowey a beautiful port and still a big exporter of china clay although you would hardly notice it.
Day 2 and a southerly route along the south coast via Truro and Helston to Lands End with a picnic lunch overlooking the harbour at Porthleven. Finally we arrive at Lands End for our photo shoot and the start of our journey to John O’Groats!
Day 3 and we head for Kidderminster crossing the River Seven at Bristol/ Chepstow and make the Travelodge for our two night stay and in time for a drink before dinner! We spend the next day at the Iron Bridge Gorge Museums near Telford, can’t believe how good the weather is!
Day 5 and we head for the National Memorial Arbouretum at Alrewas, what a marvellous memorial to all those who gave their lives for this country. Heading further north we reach Stoke, for our next two night stay. The cars get a rest day and we walk along the canal towpath to the Wedgewood Factory for a tour of the works and marvel at the craftmanship of the artists painting the plates and vases.
Day 7 we head over the Peak District and up into Yorkshire on our way north. In Yorkshire we find ourselves on roads being decked out for the forthcoming ‘Tour de France’ and the road surfaces are as smooth as can be! We finally arrive at Chester le
Street in County Durham for a two night stay at yet another Travelodge, at £29 a night what would you do and the Pub next door was excellent! Next day we are off to the Beamish Open Air Museum a place Silvia & Ken last visited in the late 1970’s. What a change now that it is all completed. It is a re-construction of life in the mining communities of the Northeast in the first half of the 20th Century, there was much to see and remember from our younger days!
Day 10 and we head for Edinburgh via Consett, Corbridge and Carter Bar where we cross the ‘Border’. At a picnic lunch in Jedburgh we were presented with a kilo of Bavarian smoked sausage by a German coach driver who admired our cars. The last of the sausages was consumed at Scourie and they also kept the midges at bay!
On our free day at Edinburgh the cars were given a well earned rest and we used buses, £3.50 for ‘all day’ travel. We visited the Royal Yacht Britannia at Leith, brilliant. Edinburgh Castle, quite a climb and of course Princess Street for some retail therapy!
Day 12 saw us driving into the Highlands, first to Perth then onto the A93 for Blairgowrie, The Spittal of Glenshee, Braemar, then the A939 over Tomintoul and down into the Spey Valley for the A9 to Inverness and our overnight stop. The days drive was spectacular, empty roads, magnificent scenery and no speed camera’s!
It rained overnight in Inverness, our first rain so far but the morning dawned fine and sunny for day 13 and the drive up the A9 to John O’Groats. The road hugs the coast for most of its length and we passed through pretty villages along the way. No visit to Scotland would be complete without a visit to a Whisky Distillery, so no surprise then that we had a tour of the ‘Old Pulteney’ distillery at Wick. Finally we arrive at John O’Groats for the obligatory photo shoot and congratulation all round!
Two nights at a B&B in Mey and a full day trip to the Orkney’s from JoG visiting Scapa Flow, Kirkwall, Skara Brae (Neolithic settlement) and the Standing Stones, bit like Stonehenge. A nice relaxing day smooth crossing and luxury coach travel!
Day 15 and we head due west visiting Dunnet Head the most northerly point of mainland Britain, Thurso, Tongue, Durness and finally Scourie for our nights stay at the Edrachilles Hotel with spectacular views over Badcall Bay. We experienced fantastic scenery and views on this days drive and mostly on single track roads.
Day 16 and we head south on the A894 & A835 to Ullapool where after we take the A832 right round Wester Ross to Poolewe and Kinlochewe. Now we take the A896 via Glen Torridon all the way to the Kyle Of Lochalsh. Another spectacular day of driving, scenery, mountains, Glens, Lochs, cattle grids and sheep, it had it all! We arrived at our B&B in Balmacara in need of immediate sustenance!
Day 17 and it’s a round trip of the Isle of Skye for us happy travellers. What an interesting place, everything you want to see in Scotland is all on this Island. From sandy beaches to mountains, from sheer cliffs to flat pastures, it’s all there.
Day 18 We leave Balmacara heading south again visiting Fort William and Glen Coe, Oban, Inverary and the ‘Rest and be Thankful’, where we are joined by friends with their MGB for the final leg down to Helensborough on the banks of the river Clyde.
Day 19 and the homing instinct is setting in as we head south again! We cross the Clyde on the Erskine Bridge (take note all bridges are free in Scotland!), down to Ayr then onto Dumfries for the nights stay in a B&B with huge four poster beds and 42” flat screen TV’s, and more flowers than Covent Garden!
Day 20 and we make our way to Gretna Green and actually see a wedding taking place whilst there. Onwards to Carlisle and then of to the west on the A595 to Cockermouth. From here we tackle the B5289 ‘Honister Pass’ and eventually arrive in Keswick after a challenging and beautiful drive in the sunshine. After Keswick we pass through Ambleside, Windermere and Stavely Bridge before pitching up at the Derby Arms in Witherslack for a couple of nights. This Pub has the highest bed you
have ever seen, they even provide a stool to help you climb in! Excellent beer is available here and the food was good too! Next day we explore Grange over Sands and Arnside before going to friends for an evening meal at their house. We also discovered that the ‘Furness & South Lakes MGOC’ meet in the Derby Arms, when they all turned up wanting to know who our MG’s belonged to!
Day 22 and not long to go now! We leave Witherslack for Kirkby Lonsdale, Settle and Skipton. On route we make a quick deviation at Ingleton to see the Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle railway line and re-join our route at Settle. We continue cross country to Wetherby and join the A1/A1(M) heading south to Ollerton, near
Newark, for our last night on the road, all together now, Ah! The Hop Pole Hotel turns out to have the cheapest beer prices anywhere on our trip and with comfortable rooms what more could we want.
Day 23 and we take the A1/A14/M11/M25 to the Dartford crossing where we are stuck in a traffic jam for an hour. We keep calm and think of Scotland’s quiet roads! The final whiz is down the M2/A2 and we are home.
Now for some facts and figures, we never had the hood up once whilst driving, we covered 2900 miles, used 370litres of fuel, averaged 35.5mpg and neither car gave a spot of bother throughout the trip! Ian & Jackie’s V8 averaged 30mpg. Total cost of the trip, don’t even ask!!!