There is a gallery of Photos at the bottom of this page
Although the trip to Arran was due to start on the Friday for some with an overnight stay at the Red Squirrel and the rest meeting on the ferry at Ardrossan on the Saturday. The excitement started on the Monday before!! A text from our ferry provider Caledonian Macbayne informed most of us, I understand not everyone got the text, that the ferry we were booked on was cancelled due to mechanical failure!! Please dial this number to rearrange your ferry booking! I can only assume that Barclay’s blood pressure may have increased slightly on him receiving the text as well. After a short time a reassuring email from Barclay calmly explained what we had to do and once we had changed our booking just to let him know what time we would be arriving. So a phone call it was, changed my booking to the 0700!! Best book the Friday night in the Squirrel otherwise I might be attending the weekend by myself. Time to relax now until Friday, or so I thought. So on Wednesday Barclay kindly sent an email informing us all that he had managed to get us space on the 0820. By now I was well rehearsed in changing my booking so after a short while on the phone a new booking was made and 0820 it was.
Friday duly arrived and after a short journey to The Red Squirrel joined other members having a meal and listening to conversations on the price of wire wheels, paint schemes and roads driven before turning in ready for the long awaited trip to Arran.
Having watched the weather forecast all week and praying for a pleasant start to the weekend my prayers were partially answered. It was a gray cloudy start to the day but not raining. On arrival at the ferry terminal and after a quick and pleasant check in found myself parked ready to board the ferry. After a short while the lane I was parked in was filled with MG’s of all shapes and sizes their owners out talking to old friends and receiving their goody bags from Barclay and Allison with final instructions for our first day on Arran. After receiving the goody bag owners where seen hastily fitting the rally plate to the front of their cars. Once fitted the tour has officially started.
The boarding of the ferry was straight forward and once parked up all made their way to the passenger lounge and for some the smell of the freshly cooked breakfast drew them into the restaurant area. I myself choose to have a quick walk around the upper deck to ensure all the lifesaving equipment was serviceable; that would be the old sea dog in me coming out. Once complete a coffee and relaxing watching Arran come closer with ever turn of the propeller.
At the request of the captain we all made our way down to our cars ready to disembark. I had brought my passport just in case but was simply waved off from the ferry and on to the Isle of Arran. Our presence at the Arran Heritage Museum wasn’t required until 1300 and as most of the group had been on the 0820 ferry there was lots of time to kill. So our first port of call for most of the cars was the Little Rock café along from the ferry which was recommended to us by Barclay. I have to say his recommendation was spot on, the breakfast was very nice.
So with a couple of hours to spare it was time to take the roof down and explore the roads. I decided to head towards Lamlash and drive anti-clock wise around the island. The weather was still holding and every now and then the sun would break out. The roads as promised where clear and at times challenging with tight twisty corners which gave my arms a work out; oh to have a car with power steering, no scrub that it was good to have to drive a car for a change. With every corner turned a different view greeted you. Views of Ailsa Craig and beyond down to Mull. After a short while we started to pass the cyclists taking part in the sportive around the island. Some even looked as though they were enjoying the challenge, others not so.
Taking ‘The String Road’ to head towards the Heritage Museum so that I wasn’t late after promising Barclay I would help him with parking all the cars on the lawn in the grounds of the museum.
On arrival and with directions from a man who must have directed so many people to park cars, I was handed my Hi Vis vest to make it look as though I knew what I was doing, the cars started to arrive. The on duty car parking attendant did an excellent job of correcting people’s left hand down and right hand down instructions whilst reversing their pride and joy’s. We even managed to push one of the cars into position after a slight ‘starting problem’ which turned out to be a dirty rota arm. In no time at all the cars where duly parked, all at a jaunty angle ready for the people attending the museum to view. Some people gave their cars a quick wipe down, lower hoods and even take the opportunity to tighten their wheel nuts!! A short time afterwards the Jazz band struck up and played several catchy tunes followed by the Arran Pipe Band, both of them doing a sterling performances. As the afternoon wore on and the delights of the café where sampled, I can personally recommend the Guinness cake. Tickets were sold for the raffle and also the competition to see which MG you would most like to take home. The weather all afternoon had been very kind to us with the sun shining brightly for long periods but as always the Scottish weather can be unkind and as the raffle and the MG competition was been announced the air was starting to fill with small drops of rain. The winner after a very close run thing, in fact by one ticket for the MG you would like to take home was Graham & Pat Stubbs, with a very nice TF1500. Their award was donated by the museum. It was also good to see that the main raffle price of a bottle of whiskey was won by Paul & Jeanne Dean. The whole afternoon was a very enjoyable way to spend the first day of the tour.
On completion of the Jazz bands last song the tour departed to the hotel allowing time for people to relax and prepare for dinner. Every one met in the bar around 7 and then headed to our exclusive dining area, well the room at the end of the restaurant. When all seated and introductions passed the conversation about who was having what stared. We’ve all been there, ordering something months before hand and not writing it down. But lucky for us Barclay had that all covered. In our route books he had placed a copy of our emails to him with our choices. However I feel some of us might not have seen that piece of brilliance and unfortunately on both nights the very patient waiting staff had problems delivering our meals to the correct people. This in turn left some people not receiving the service or standards they would have liked.
The evening ended with the customary quiz and prize for the people driving the furthest to attend the tour. This was won by Graham & Pat Stubbs who I believe travelled from the Oxfordshire area. The quiz was won by a team named the A’s. With the score they got they must have all got straight A’s at school as well!!
Sunday duly arrived with an overcast sky and the threat of rain. Seen as this was billed as a weekend of relaxation Barclay had recommended a few places for people to visit on the Sunday which allowed everyone to do as much or as little as they wished. For Julie and I an early breakfast and out to visit the waterfall and Giant Grave Stones which we managed to achieve before the rain arrived, which was only a shower. Once back at the car it was decided to take a leisurely drive round the rest of the island and stopping where our fancy took us. The journey round was one of good and bad road surfaces and once again a different view with every corner turned.
Once again the day concluded with us all meeting in the bar and then the customary photo shoot of all attendees before heading back into our exclusive dining room. Once again another evening spent with people with different stories to tell and great company.
The weather for the final day was set for rain later in the day and the start similar to all the other days. After a final breakfast we all made our way down to the ferry and the trip back to the main land and a short journey to our lunch stop at Largs. The route from the ferry took us over the top with a spectacular view back across to Arran and also the entrance to the Clyde with the Isle of Bute in the back ground. It was disappointing to here not all ventured on the route provided but choose to take the main road to Largs, oh well I’m sure they must have all driven it before. On arrival into Largs once again the car part attendant from the museum was on hand to pass us our parking tickets before heading into Nardini’s for a very tasty lunch and the end of our tour.
Barclay and Allison did a first rate job and their attention to detail was second to none. I’m sure I am speaking for everyone when I say a big thank you for all your hard work bringing the tour together and an excellent weekend.
To hold the photo place your cursor over the Photo.