Reflections on the Jacobite Jaunt: 4th – 6th May 2019
The magnificent scenery and superb driving roads in the Highlands of Scotland were the main attraction for this Caledonian Centre Three Day Tour. Having been on a previous Caledonian event in the Borders, I knew Kay and I had an enjoyable weekend in prospect.
We arrived in Stirling on the Friday evening, meeting up with many of the entrants for dinner where we found a good number of MGCC friends from across the UK.
Saturday morning dawned bright if cold. Following sign-on at the Highland Gate Hotel, and receipt of our goodie bag we enjoyed hot bacon rolls and coffee, before the indomitable Lorraine Noble-Thompson introduced herself, Tony Smith and Gordon Thomson (The Jacobite Team) and gave us the Drivers’ Briefing.
An eclectic mix of 64 MG cars started the event, the earliest being the MG TD of MGCC Vice-President Bill Silcock.
Bill and Sally were flagged off first, by Caledonian Centre Chairman Paul Snee, waving a suitably large Saltire flag. The rest set off at regular intervals with the route taking us north to Inverness, some 158 miles away.The excellent route book guided us into the Loch Lomond National Park, to Callander, Crianlarich and our chosen lunch stop at the King House Hotel, situated at the gateway to Glencoe, amidst suitably stunning scenery. We then drove on through Fort William, past Ben Nevis, to Fort Augustus. A right turn brought us onto an amazing single track road called the Corkscrew, which was a brilliant drive that took us to Foyers, and a welcome coffee stop at Foyers Café. From there we drove past the foot of Loch Ness
…………………………………………………… and on to the splendid Kingsmill Hotel in Inverness. Following an excellent dinner at our hotel, a charity Casino was on offer where one could partake of roulette, blackjack or the “Wheel of Fortune”. Having never been to a casino before, watching the croupier manage the table was as entertaining as placing our bets.
On Sunday, cool and dry, we had a choice of three routes; the one we opted for took us to the Moray Motor Museum, which houses an amazing collection of cars, and a chance to visit the workshops where many more cars, including Aston Martins and Jaguars, were on display. From there we headed for Grantown on Spey and a lunch halt. The finale of this 115 mile route was a visit to the dramatic Culloden Battlefield Experience, before heading back to Inverness.
Another route took people in search of Nessie along the banks of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus and aboard a boat from the fleet of the Cruise the Loch Ness tours during the 40 minute cruise we were entertained by one of the tour guides who was a fountain of knowledge on the Loch and produced many sonar readings or large contacts that have been picked up in the loch the size of a great white shark so they cannot disprove that there isn’t a monster. from here we travelled to Culloden battlefield and the Clava Cairns before heading back to Inverness a total run of 78 miles
The third route was a circular tour of the Black Isle, a short run of 50 miles
Sunday evening was a Scottish Themed Gala Dinner.
We were entertained by the Ceilidh band “Tweed”, who guided us in the art of Scottish Dancing, and the dancefloor was soon alive to the “Dashing White Sergeant”, and an incredibly complicated dance called “Strip the Willow” amongst others.
Monday dawned bright and sunny, encouraging top-down motoring for the final route taking us south to Perth, roughly tracking the A9 towards Aviemore. It started to snow as we climbed the Drumochter Summit on the A9, so a hurried stop to erect the hood! A coffee and retail therapy stop at the House of Bruar was a welcome break before the final 30 miles drive that took us via a steep, challenging and enjoyable single track road near Loch Tay. We finally arrived at the delightful Huntingtower Hotel at Perth, for a nice buffet lunch, and after thanking the organisers for a truly splendid and very well organised weekend tour, we all said our goodbyes.