A bit of an odd one today, we were sharing our hotel with a bunch of guys on ruffty-tuffty touring bikes & inevitably conversations were struck up. They recommended a loop of road off the main Ullapool to Durness road that I’d looked at several times but never been able to fit it into a route. So we decided to go freestyle.
The plan was simple - head to Ullapool, re-fuel, turn right
heading for Durness, park in the Kylesku Bridge car park, head back towards
Ullapool, but take the first right, after travelling some way, set the SatNavs
for home & follow them. Simple. A fool could do it
It didn’t take long to unravel.
I turned my attention back to the petrol station to see how the Seven in the queue was getting on, but it too had vanished – sort of – Linda (the driver) was bouncing up & down on the pavement waving her arms in the air. I curbed my natural instincts to run away from the clearly mad woman & went to investigate. The blue Seven had boiled over while waiting in the queue & had been pushed to one side. With the bonnet off there was a little coolant left in the header tank, so not a blown hose, the thermostat housing (which are known to crack in Zetec engines) was dry, so not that either. That left the nightmare scenario of a blown head gasket (home on the “trailer of shame”) or a problem with the cooling fan. With the coolant topped up & the engine started the temperature climbed to over 100deg & the fan remained resolutely stationary.
At around this point the garage man came out & asked us to move as the car was parked on the forecourt’s main tank & he had a delivery due (he was quite understanding about it), so the Seven was driven to the other side of the forecourt & a couple of biker types came & helpfully told Linda it was the head gasket & she was going home on a truck. One of the items in Linda’s big box of useful things was a jump wire to remove the fan switch from the circuit, I installed that & still no Breeze. The fan was dead then.
So that was actually one of the least-worst outcomes. I suggested that Linda went “Hot Rod” & drove without the bonnet on, but that idea earned me a wrinkled nose, so we trundled round to the main town carpark in search of toilets & a brave pill before running for home. By now it was pretty clear that the other cars had moved on some time back, so I left a message on the WhatsApp & we headed back east.
So, another adventure was had.