By Jackie Reid
The Cally Palace Hotel, Gatehouse of Fleet was our base for our annual Three Day Tour.
Set in over 150 acres of ground and former 18th century mansion house. A beautiful setting! Of course we had to get there first, so after registration and the customary breakfast roll, the first of 53 cars left from the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld to the sound of a piper and a visit from the local constabulary, who stopped for some friendly banter with organiser Jim.
We travelled through Lanarkshire, Elvanfoot to New Galloway and further on, to our home for the weekend at the Cally Palace, some persistent low cloud was determined to hide any views travelling south. There was no set lunch stop but pulled in with other MGs at a church hall for lunch where we were warmly welcomed, seated, given a bowl of home-made soup and bread and told if we didn’t want quiche or lasagne then we would have to eat scones, so of course, we did, we had to. Then a trolley was wheeled over with two huge fruit pies and a pot of cream by Mrs Overall, who then apologised for not looking after us as well as they could have. We all passed on the final course. All this, for a donation to church funds. What a start! What service! So we all waddled out and tried to fit back in to our wee cars and headed for the hotel.
Canapés and sparkling wine were on hand in the lounge before dinner which gave everyone a chance to mingle, meet friends old and new, and also the opportunity to buy regalia. Tables were set in the very lovely dining room with a seating plan for the first night and dinner was followed by a quiz to round off the evening by Barclay and Alison Henderson which was great fun.
The run on The Sunday was to the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse and Portpatrick. Again, low cloud and fog made it difficult to see any views and we all hoped it would burn off. It had been arranged to sound the fog horn at the lighthouse. Well done the man who arranged the fog, very atmospheric. There was the chance to climb the one hundred and fifteen steps of the lighthouse to see the views of the Isle of Man and Ireland or the fog. Most people enjoyed the tour and the talk on the lighthouse, birdlife and dolphins. Not a bad wee cafe too! Great news, the sun finally made an appearance. Portpartrick was bursting at the seams with people, cars and bikers.
Canapés and Pimms preceded Sunday evening’s dinner, a charity raffle which raised nearly £400 on the night and presentations brought the evening to an end.
The Cooper bowl was awarded to Barclay and Alison Henderson for their contribution to the Caledonian Centre, especially their organisation of the Arran tour last year and again in 2018. A delighted Anne Howitt with her 1953 TD received an award for ‘the car you’d most like to take home’, and Peter Jung who broke down in his RV8 soon after the start so was able to go home and bring his very pretty pink BMW to complete the tour was awarded the breakdown trophy. There were a few cars with bonnets up at some point over the weekend and Roddy and Fiona Strachan’s lovely 1954 TF returned home via a recovery truck.
The last leg of the journey was superb, in brilliant sunshine all the way along the Solway coast via Gretna to Jedburgh where we had a lovely lunch.
We had good weather, stayed at a lovely hotel in an area that’s not been used for the three day tour for a very long time. Of course, some things are out of the organisers control like Giant Size Potholes, dead badgers and fly tipping. Maybe one day someone will invent a road surface that can cope with our weather. Road users seem to be taking care of the badger population so maybe we can start a cull of fly tippers.
Many thanks to Anne Howitt, Jim and Lorna Greenhill and Iain and Margaret MacLeod who were persuaded to take on this event in the bar last year at the Cardrona. Should’ve gone to bed early!