By Fiona Davies …
This year’s Scottish MGA Day saw 12 cars assemble at the Homes and Gardens Centre outside Alexandria. We left Edinburgh early with hood down and made good progress with little traffic – not a horsebox in sight – and encountered only a brief shower as we passed Drymen.
We had no sooner parked when George’s Dove Grey Coupe pulled up beside us but instead of Wendy in the passenger seat it was Peter Long! As this was the model of MGA Peter owned many years ago George took him for a wee spin, this was a trip down memory lane which George had kindly provided. Four coupes in total were joined by a couple of Twin Cams, and six Roadsters two of which were Mk IIs, spanning the period 1956-1962. Participants were given a warm welcome from the Garden Centre Manager and reminded bacon rolls were ready and excellent they were too.
Drivers and passengers duly refuelled, Blueberry set off with Peter Long in the rear view mirrors since he was without a navigator this year. As we drove down the side of Loch Lomond, unlike in previous years, we could actually see the “Bonnie Banks” but the scene could more accurately be described as “dramatic” with black clouds overhead making the waters look particularly menacing. The smell of wood smoke wafted into the cockpit as campers prepared their breakfast. Not unexpectedly there was a fair volume of traffic but we made good progress along the lochside turning off at Tarbet and heading for Crianlarich which has a new bypass. A fair stretch of the A85 now has a 50 mph limit on it but this did not stop a Mini Cooper overtaking half a dozen cars in one manoeuvre. Before reaching Lochearnhead we came up behind a coach, Harris Executive Travel from Bromsgrove, and that was the forward view for the next 25 miles. Frustratingly it turned off at Kilmahog and over the Duke’s Pass. As it was wider than the lane, there was frequently braking/stopping to allow oncoming traffic to take to the verges so it could get through. Fortunately when it met 2 other coaches in procession they met at the only wider section of the road. Having thought we might arrive at our lunch stop well ahead of the suggested time we found ourselves 30 minutes later than anticipated. For those MGAs travelling a few miles behind us they encountered the coaches and were delayed then arrived in a group. Perhaps we should start a campaign to stop vehicles of this size using our narrower roads?
Lunch was promptly served and after Barry Crichton gave a vote of thanks on behalf of all participants to George and Wendy for organising the event. Before setting off again on the afternoon route there was plenty of time to mingle in the car park, chat (would the Coupes please drive a bit quicker as those in some Roadsters behind were getting wet) and look under bonnets. Because of recent road closures – a lot of resurfacing had been going on in the area – Wendy had to change the original route but the one we took was great driving. The only thing to slow us down was a very large flock of sheep which were being transferred from one field to another! This was our first time going over the Crow Road and with little traffic we zoomed up the twisting but well surfaced road enjoying the views before putting the brakes to the test on the way back down. We raced the showers as we joined the A811 passing through Buchlyvie and Arnprior towards our final stop of the day at The Woodhouse. With black clouds now overhead we put up the hood before going inside to enjoy a delicious tea. “Let them eat cake!” For those at the front of the queue that meant having the last few slices of rhubarb and gooseberry cake but there were plenty of alternative goodies for folk to get their teeth into. It was a great ending to a grand day out in good company while driving our much loved MGAs.
Thanks again George and Wendy – hope you are up for doing it all again in 2017?