Anne gave me a Mini for my 50th birthday. It required extensive restoration. I was actually given it at Xmas 2004! It was my sister-in-law, Jean’s , before me. She had owned it from new. I started the real rebuild three years ago and it was finally road legal on Wednesday 4th September this year. That story can be followed on the Mini Forum. I wanted to give it a real journey so we planned to take it to Southport for Jean to see.
Tuesday 8th October 2013 (260 miles)
We left Contullich just after 9.00 for our great journey south. We headed down the A9 to Inverness and picked up petrol at Tesco.
We then followed the A9 again. I hate driving the A9. I’ve just done it so often over the years. We turned off at Dalnacardoch onto the Trinafour road. This is stunning countryside and great for Mini driving. We stopped just a couple of miles into the road and had something to eat. A car picnic.
It was slightly drizzley. We also took a wee walk up the hill. The work for the super-pylons was being done. What a mess. The Scottish countryside is being ruined by pylons and wind turbines.
We headed on to Tummel Bridge, then Aberfeldy and onto Crieff. We stopped at Tomphubil Lime Kiln just beyond Tummel Bridge to have a look at the ruins.
There are some funny place named here – Dull and then Weem just before Aberfeldy. We saw Menzies Castle near Weem.
We headed down through Amulree and the Sma Glen. We stopped in Crieff for the loo and had a walk round the town. Its a nice place. The pupils from Morrison’s Academy were out for dinner and were very polite. I was thinking of what our pupils can be like!
Just a wee bit further we stopped in Muthill for our picnic dinner. We sat on a bench in a park – very nice.
Then it was the big effort to get round Glasgow. We bypassed Dunblane and Stirling. The best route goes through Glasgow crossing the Kingston Bridge. Its amazing to be so near the city centre and still doing 50mph. The road then bypasses Kilmarnock and Ayr. Before Maybole we moved onto the Glentrool road. This is wild beautiful country. We stopped for something to eat and stretch our legs. They needed it!
It was then onto our destination for the day – Newton Stewart where we were to stay at the Kilwarlin B & B on Corvisel Road. I had stayed here a couple of years ago and its a beautiful place to stay. Its clean, warm and welcoming. The Dicksons are very pleasant hosts.
We went out and had our tea at Granny’s Kitchen. Now this is a place. It stops serving at 5.30. We arrived late and they still served us – huge portions of lovely food. I had a chicken curry, Anne had scampi and chips. A couple arrived even later and they still served them – now that’s service. And very pleasant people.
We then took a walk down the River Creel but it was getting dark.
We came back to the B & B and sat in the lounge watching TV. We were the only guests so it was a lovely quiet evening. We made our supper in our room, watched a bit more TV and went to bed – very tired.
The Mini is not comfortable to travel in but it did the job. It ran really well.
Wednesday 9th October 2013 (186 miles)
It was pouring in great buckets and the Mini was leaking. I’d wanted to take a photo of the B & B but it wasn’t worth it. We picked up juice, rolls, cheese and the other essentials for picnics. We asked some locals where to get petrol and they advised McCreadie’s Garage on Queen St, so we filled up with petrol and moved off. The Satnav was set for ‘short’ by accident so took us a hilly route. We stopped at a place called Balmaclellan to eat something.
We moved on but stopped to get a photo when we saw a field with Belted Galloways in it.
We bypassed Dumfries and then started to hit the bigger roads – the A74. We didn’t join the M6 but the Satnav took us right through Carlisle.
I had set up a waypoint in the Lake District so we could get a nice quiet route south.
This took us to Dalston where we stopped just beyond it for our picnic lunch, still raining.
We followed a maze of roads south the Satnav set to ‘short’ deliberately.
This took us to Carrock Beck where there was a deep ford. I would have liked to take photos of the Mini going through it and also video it but was not brave enough to retrace and try again. No point getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. We got through it safely so lets not push it. We got out here to have a look at things and stretch our stiff legs.
We followed this beautiful road heading to Ullswater and Patterdale.
We parked in Patterdale managing to avoid the expensive hotel’s car park. We had a wee walk up a track and also went to the wee shop where I had a very expensive ice-cream.
We moved on south over the Kirkstone Pass. This gave the Mini something to think about. We stopped near the top as it was rather stunning countryside.
Time was moving on so we set the Satnav for ‘fast’ and followed better roads out the Lake District past Kendal and onto the M6 at junction 36.
I didn’t really want to use the motorways but if you want to get on quickly you have to. This took us down towards Preston to junction 32 where the Satnav took us in on the Garstang road. I think Satnavs are one of the greatest inventions for motorists. It functioned flawlessly using the cigarette lighter sockets I had wired in. We then followed onto the A59 and A565 to Southport itself where we found our way to Torcross Close to my sister and brother-in-laws. We got there just after five a wee bit weary and stiff.
After tea we went for a lovely walk round the back to Marshside and the sea front. I do like Southport. It was twilight. The nights are racing in. Then we settled back in for the night.
Jane Fish a friend of Jean’s who has become a friend of ourselves over the years called in. Her father has just passed away and the family were coming up for the funeral.
Thursday 10th October 2013
This was a day out of travelling. It actually stayed dry all day but with a very cold north wind. We spent the day in Southport. The four of us walked into the centre – just over three miles. We went up to Marshside and along the golf course.
It’s good to get exercising. We passed the artificial marine lake and the carousel where Charlie was nearly sick as a wee boy.
We headed to a bank where we got some cash passing through a Victorian Arcade.
We had our rolls sitting on seats on Lord Street. Then we into the open street cafe and had something to drink and eat. I had coke and a vanilla slice – very good.
We went to a smashing bookshop Broadhursts of Southport Ltd, which had a coal fire for warmth. I bought an old magazine “The Motor-Cycle” dating from 1956.
We then went to just about every charity shop in Southport trying to find ornaments for our son Shug’s house (or manse). He wants character figures particularly one of an old tramp. Aunt Jay used to have one in her dining room. We found one of an old soldier with a child. I liked it but the others thought he looked a bit dodgy so we left him. We found a rather horrible one of an artist and took it as we were getting desperate and then finally we found an old tramp in the Hospice Shop. Just up Hugh’s street!
We then stopped shopping and headed back by Chris and Jean’s church, Parish Church of Emmanuel, and into Hesketh Park.
The cafe here was closed so we moved onto the Cafe Moo Moo and had something there. It had a bit of a cow theme to it! It was good to stop. I was pretty tired by now.
We headed back to Chris and Jean’s house. After using the loo and having a wee rest we went to the chip shop on Fylde Road (Fylde Fish Bar) and got suppers. Fantastic value – I had a pie and chips, Anne a sausage and chips all for just £5. And they were beautifully done. We went back home to eat them and had a very lazy evening watching TV. I’m really enjoying the series Educating Yorkshire. When Jean checked her pedometer we had walked over 10 miles today.
Friday 11th October 2013 (70 miles + 20 miles to Leyburn and back)
We had breakfast about 9.20 and then I checked the Mini over. No oil or water had been used but the rear right tyre needed a bit of inflating. It has a slow leak anyway. We packed the car and it was off.
Here’e the Mini’s original owners.
Our first stop was a garage for petrol (MRH Retail Crossens) and the Mini took very little. On checking later it seemed to have done almost 65 miles per gallon on the last league!!
We pushed onto Preston and through it making one mistake using the Satnav – it soon sorts it out. Then it was up the A59 towards Clitheroe and Skipton. We stopped for something to eat by the side of the road just before Clitheroe.
At Skipton the Dales start. It is just so lovely to get into the Dales. We love this part. We bypassed Grassington heading to Kettlewell. Here we branched onto the Coverdale road. This is an adventure in itself. The gradients didn’t seem to be marked but some seemed almost vertical. Its a stunning road and on the top you pass into Richmondshire.
Anne got me to stop, shot out the car, abandoned the great video of climbing through Coverdale in the Mini because she saw a hedgehog. Notice her saying hello to the hedgehog! What am I married to!
Going down the other side before Horsehouse we passed Middle Farm at Woodale where our B & B was to be tonight but pushed on to Leyburn. We pulled in at a field entrance and had our picnic lunch. We parked in the field car park at Leyburn and put our money in the honesty box. Then we went for a ramble. It was very cold.
After lunch we walked down Leyburn to the industrial estate. We went into a charity shop on the way and saw an ornament of a clockmaker. Anne said to leave it but I thought Shug would love that one. We went to the Chocolate Factory and the Tea Pot Factory where we bought a tea pot for Kirsty and Charlie and a wee novelty one for Mairi. We walked back and went into the Parish Church of St Matthew.
Back at the car we had more to eat and then went to more shops. By this time the rain was on and quite wetting but we had to pass time till tea time. Eventually tea time came and we moved the car to the centre and went to the Dragon Inn for a Chinese meal. The people were lovely and we had a super meal. Anne had sweet and sour chicken with rice, I had chicken Chow Mien. It was very good and we were ready for it.
We were given fortune cookies!
When we came out it was still raining and we headed back to Middle Farm at Woodale and our B & B. We had a nice room with an enormous bed.
We were left alone and had a nice evening watching TV. We watched an interesting programme where an Indian boy had the limbs of his partially formed twin growing from him. Makes you humble and grateful for God’s mercies to you. Then we watched a programme on the making of Tubular Bells and Mike Oldfield. It was interesting and quite tragic.
Saturday 12th October 2013 (167 miles)
We were up for our breakfast at 8.30. I resisted a cooked breakfast! It was still wet and pretty miserable. I took some photos and settled up our debts – £39. We had already paid a deposit of £20. What a wild and stunning place.
So we headed down to Leyburn. I couldn’t resist it and bought the Clockmaker for our Shug.
Then the Stanav took us to Richmond. We came in a lovely road with a super view of the castle. I wish I had phographed it but it was too wet. We passed through Richmond centre a place we just love. The Satnav is great when set to ‘short’ as it takes you places you’d never dream of going to. It took us north to a place called Aldbrough St John which was rather nice. We stopped here to eat and have a quick walk as the rain was off. It soon came on again.
Then we headed north all the time following roads to Corebridge. Some lovely country was passed through but all rather dismal. We then got onto the A68 and stopped on the border. We had our picnic lunch here the only car in the car park.
And here’s the Satnav with us just on the border.
Then it was north to Jedburgh where we stopped at Jedburgh Woolen Mill and bought a couple of things but more importantly got toilets.
The next haul was all the way up to Edinburgh. Once in Edinburgh the driving gets interesting to say the least but we found our way to Ferry Gait Place where our son Charlie is married to his very nice wife Kirsty. My daughter Mairi lives in the flat immediately underneath – how convenient. So it was nice to stop, have coffee and biscuits and catch up. Mairi had joined us all in Dave (Charlie) and Kirsty’s flat.
We went for our tea to the Toby Carvery out near Cramond. What a lovely meal at a reasonable price. And so efficient. I went for chicken and pork. Then we went for a walk in the twilight at Cramond. Then back to flat to blether. We watched the film ‘The King’s Speech” which I really enjoyed. Tonight I am staying with Charlie and Kirsty, Anne is sleeping in the flat below with Mairi. It’s lovely to be with family. Family are just a special blessing. Life is full of surprises. I never expected that having a family would be such a blessing. And I never expected that as the family got bigger with a daughter-in-law that the blessing would be even more. God is good.
Sunday 13th October 2013
This was a nice quiet day. We all joined together for breakfast in Charlie and Kirsty’s flat at 8.30. After that we went for a wee walk – the day was dry. Then we went to church at Craigroyston Community High School. The service was just lovely. This is the newly planted North Edinburgh Reformed Presbyterian Church. The minister, Peter Loughridge, preached the best. A sermon which challenged, which comforted and brought you closer to the Throne.
The people were very few but very nice. After a cup of tea we moved to one of the member’s flats – Chris and Jenny. All were invited. What a witness and what an example of what Christians should be like. I am so proud of my three and their part in this church. There was also a lady from Holland, Marion, worshipping and a London man, Paul, who was a reformed and converted drug addict.
We left mid-afternoon and went for a walk on Corstorphine Hill for old times sake. Anne was born in Edinburgh and brought up on Corstorphine Hill Crescent. So Corstorphine Hill has a lot of memories for us. We always came here with the children for holidays. The house looked almost the same apart from the garden needing a bit of care. I gave a warning about the dog’s dirt on this hill. We had a nice walk interrupted with poor Kirsty standing in dog’s dirt. She did a right good job hitting it longway on! So we all had a bash at cleaning this mess. Took me right back as this happened to the children almost every time we came here. I can remember giving them a big lecture on watching where they put their feet when I stood in one. Why can’t owners look after their filthy dogs and clean up after them. It’s the law.
We came back to the flat and the others went off to their evening meeting. I went to the Free Presbyterian Church at Gilmore Place. I didn’t get much from the experience and apart from the elders on the door no one spoke to me. I have met lovely people in the FP church but they really have to make an effort with people. It was so different from the lovely welcome and soul feeding of the morning.
We all got together in the flat and had a nice time just talking and putting the world right. We went to bed early as Dave and Kirsty were working and leaving at 7 in the morning. Mairi was to be doing voluntary work in the morning. A nice day. Any day with our children is a nice day.
Monday 14th October 2013 (203 miles)
Up grand and early. I far prefer getting up than killing time in bed.
We said cheerio to Charlie and Kirsty and went to Mairi’s flat for breakfast. Mairi reminds me a lot of my sister, Liz. She looks like her and Liz would never eat ordinary food. Mairi is kind of the same so we had Pita bread for breakfast, but it was very nice.
We left before eight. It was lovely to see our young people and its always hard to go.
It was dry but the rain soon started. We picked up petrol in Morrisons and found our way out of Edinburgh and out to the Forth Road Bridge. Then we went up the M9 to the St Andrews turn off and headed through Fife to Newport on Tay to Aunt Jeana’s house on Station Road. We had a coffee and something to eat.
We took Aunt Jeana over to Dundee in the Mini so she could get her shopping in Tesco.
We put her home after shopping and then headed north again.
We went through Dundee making an enormous mistake because of the redevelopment but eventually hit the Cupar Angus road. We followed this to Dunkeld when the only mechanical problem to hit us happened – a wiper and arm came flying off. I was able to retrieve it and fit it. We pulled into a lay-by near Pitlochry and had our picnic lunch, for the last time.
As we headed north it got drier but the showers kept coming. We stopped at Ralia for the loos and also went for the woodland walk seeing it was dry.
We continued up the A9, which I hate driving, to Inverness and went to see my old mum and dad. My dad is very poorly.
Then it was on again over the Kessock Bridge but called in at Evanton to get one or two groceries. Then another 5 miles and we were home.
A long journey – 906 miles altogether. Good old Mini. Tired, stiff, aching but I enjoyed it.