Thursday 30 June 2016

Rogue Runners Day Two (Three)

The day begins well when one of our number appears outside. Yesterday he broke a driveshaft & was trailered home to Derby, but having tucked the car up in its garage, he returned with his tin-top – well played that man, also in the arrivals was our one Scottish member, with us today from Dumfries to Oban before returning home to Paisley.

So after a hearty breakfast served by a not-very-genial waiter we packed up & left. Almost straight away we were on a fantastic road, constantly twisting & testing the cars – after the Discovery turned off anyway. The road went on for mile after mile with no traffic. After that we headed through Girvan & Ayr before going inland again to the smaller roads & the back way into Largs – a place I frequented in my early twenties. We stopped for a coffee & an excellent ice cream at Nardini’s before moving on to the Old Largs Road a single track across the moor to Greenock, then the Erskine Bridge & after a confusing time with the SatNav we headed again inland, more or less together, past Loch Lomond & then off the direct route to anywhere to find some brilliantly entertaining roads. The sort of roads where you can’t actually break the speed limit. Some of the locals were up for a play as well, one Range Rover was stupidly hard to keep up with considering it’s weight. And so eventually to Oban & the coast road up to Ft William where we would be spending the night.
The guy with the tin-top who had easily kept up all day came over the radio to say I had something wet running out of the back of the car. About this time I started smelling petrol so we pulled into a fortuitous petrol station where I noticed the trail of fuel I’d left across the forecourt. Laying under the car it was everywhere, when the ignition was switched on it fountained out of the fuel pump, but turned out to be a slightly loose clamp (it’s been tight enough for the past year) had been slid away from the outlet by the “G” the Fury was pulling in the turns. A quick bit of spannering & a re-fuel & it was fixed.
So on to Ft William, where there was a terrible drought - they had had no rain for almost twelve hours! We parked in a row outside the Clan McDuff hotel & ate our tea as the sun went down over the cars & the islands.

Rogue Runners Day One (Two)

Day two of the 2016 Rogue Runners trip, or day one for me as I joined today due to family commitmentse.

I was awake at 04:30, so got up & had a drink, sorted myself out & at 05:30 my running mate Duncan appeared from Eastbourne – a VERY early start for him. We motored due north until we hit the M40 & took that as far as Banbury where Reg’s excellent cafe is located – except that on a Saturday it doesn’t open until 08:00, so no breakfast for us.

We refuelled & had a coffee & headed for Birmingham, skirting the outskirts on the M42, until we dived onto the smaller roads just before the M6 toll. We were heading for the Peak District & found a few very nice roads & eventually stopped in the small, stone built town of Longnor, blased with a small town square completely full of hiking types & no fewer than three cafés. We went into the smallest of these & had a truly excellent breakfast & coffee for £5, & later we'd discover that the reast of the group, travelling to a different destination, on a different route, the day before, had stopped & breakfasted at the SAME small café! Spooky. Then we headed off for Buxton – where it all went wrong.
Well, not wrong as such, we did have a remarkable piece of luck on a lovely sweeping A road when we got stuck behind a farmer type on a quad (complete with sheepdog standing on the back) doing 20, I could’ve overtaken but Duncan was a car or two back & it would’ve been a bit risky, so I waited & round the very next bend was a camera van. Oh how I rejoiced.

After that we had to pass between Manchester & I’s neighbours, undoubtedly the worst part of the day. We had only just past a speed camera (mostly painted matt green) when the SatNav would “bong” for the next one. There were 30 limits everywhere even out in the sticks – until we passed the sign for Lancashire, when the cameras stopped, the speed limits rose & the roads got curvy, but the rain started. In fact it pelted down, after a while we found a railway bridge to shelter beneath while we erected the soft tops, but it didn’t really get dry until we reached Scotland.

Lancashire gave way to North Yorkshire & the roads got better, but the weather got worse, until at last we hit the M6 just about at Tebay services, where we had another drink stop, bought some presents to take back & avoided filling up with petrol.

From there it was just motorway, probably a good thing as we’d been travelling for ten hours by then. Shortly after that we were passed by another two of the Rogue Runners pack, but we didn’t try to keep up & eventually arrived at Dumfries, topped up the tanks & went to find the hotel. Which is when I found that I’d written the route on the SatNavs by starting with “Home” & ending at “Dumfries”, intending to go back & put in the hotel Post code later – guess what, I didn’t – oh how we laughed. Fortunately my running mate had a new-fangled phone with internet & was able to get us to our destination, we weren’t even close.
So we met up with the rest of the crew & exchanged stories, turns out I was probably fortunate in missing day one as it tipped with rain, the roads were either deep with water or loose chippings which got everywhere, even into one of the driver’s bra – don’t ask Linda about the boulders in her bra – she’s now heard all the possible jokes. One of the runners had overheating problems, then broke a drive shaft, got relayed home, picked up the tin-top & arrived back at 22:00. That’s dedication that is.