June 1951

This is a record of a 1951 trip where Anne’s mum, Dinah Arbuckle with her sister Jeana traveled with Mr and Mrs T. R. Scott to a car rally in Switzerland. I believe the typewritten diary to have been written by Mr Scott though Aunt Jeana is well capable of having done so.

The car appears to be a Riley Kestrel, registration BWS114. This would make it registered in Edinburgh (probably Leith) between May 1938 and May 1939.

The routes shown on the map below are very approximate, roads having changed so much since 1951. The layer icon at the top right hand of the map can be used to select the outward journey or the return journey. Clicking on the bluish marker icons gives the names of the places mentioned in the diary (below).

Thurs. 14th June. Puncture!! Stayed Milnathort Green Hotel.
Fri. 15th. Lunch Moffat.
Dinner Doncaster (Damen Hotel).
Stayed night at North Muskham.
Sat. 16th. Coffee, Newark !!!
Lunch – Epping.
Tilbury – Gravesend Ferry (lhr. wait)
Met others of the party at Metropole Hotel, Folkstone.
Stayed night in Grand Hotel, Folkstone.
Sun.17th. 9 a.m. embarked. Dover – sailed 11 a.m.
Smooth Crossing.
Lunch on board was wonderful. (Soup, Gammon, Peaches etc. etc.).
Ashore 2 p.m. through Customs etc. etc.
Road Signs and Roads very bad. Cobbled Streets.
Flat country. Arras – Great Avenues of Trees. War Graves. Dames, Homes, Cuisine !!!
Arrived Soisson 8 p.m.
Stayed night in Hotel Be is Croix D’or.
Full Moon!!
Bell Pulling etc.!
Mon. 18th. Chateauthery (Rain).
Hooter & Indicators gave way – lhr. by wayside.
Bumpy Bumpy !!
Burst Seat at J. side !!
Chatillon badly bombed.
Poppies and Cornflowers – great fields of them.
Goats – smell ! (Filmier Puant!)
Valley of Saine.
Troyes – Lunch.
Vines & Guernsey Cows.
Arrived Dijon 7 p.m.
Fire Brigade – Ta!Ta!
Soap Box Lecture – T. Scott.
Gt. Food – Burgundy Wine.
Tues. 19th. Left Dijon 9 a.m. following Sapseds.
Crossed Jura Mountains.
Lovely Scenery.
Oxen pulling carts.
Cow Bells.
Lunch – Pontalier. J-rand Hotel with Sapseds, Michael & Bernard .
Arrived Frontier second. Met by Nuffield Reps.
Convoy to Bern about 40 m.p.h. round cliffs! hairpins, etc.
D. Arbuckle, A. Scott hanging on side of car.!!
Neuchatel – thick mist. Police escort through Berne to Sw——–
Cocktail Party.
Bathroom Spray.
Fruit in Bedroom.
Wireless. ‘Phone, Light in Wardrobe etc.
Wed.20th. Trip round Berne.
Saw Cathedral.
Government Buildings in session.
Town Hall where Churchill spoke.
Bear Den.
Clock 1530.
Garden – tame squirrels and birds.
Gurten Finicular Car Railway.
T.R. Scott read Thurs. paper in evening!!
Thurs. 21st. Berne to Lugano.
Very very hot !!
Lovely route – Lake Lucerne.
Fri. 22nd. Grand Hotel Palace Lugano.
Looked round in morning.
Finicular to St. Salvatore afternoon — marvellous view.
Bit misty but very warm.
Church right on summit.
Sat. 23rd. Very warm.
Went Concours d’elegance at La Romantica – what a place – everything in the form of music.
T.R.Scott got La Bomb National!!
Dubonnet – A.S., D.M.A., J.A.A. inter alia!!
Saw lemons growing.
Best hotel we had ever seen.
Went into Italy in afternoon through Italian Customs to Lake Commo – Thunder Storm – water running all over place.
Mendel — Spring Song !!
Sun. 24th. Left Lugano for Brunnen.
Went to Andermaht.
Super hairpin bends.
Very wet weather.
Monday 25th. Looked round shops in Brunnen.
Sailed to Lucerne – took train back.
Flora Restaurant.
Tuesday 26th. Brunnen to Mittel.
Burst spring in car.
Discovered no passports at Frontier !
Hotel lousy!
Wednesday 27th. Vittel to Sens.
Chaumont – religous festival, floral decoration.
Very wet.
Lovely meal at Sens.
Chickens roasting.
Thursday 28th. Left Sens for Paris.
Lunch Grand Hotel Paris.
Went for ride in horse drawn jaunting car to Cathedral Notre Dame.
Arc de Triumph.
Champs De L’——-
3/4d. for cup of tea and one cake.
Lido at night – walked back !!
Friday 29th. Paris to Wimereaux.
Lot of bombing at Abbeville, Boulonge & Wimereaux.
Saturday 30th. Calais 12 Noon.
Left Docks 3 p.m.
Arrived Dover 4.15 p.m.
Tea – Folkstone.
Went through London 10 – 11 p.m.
Spent most restful night on roadside somewhere in England !!!
Breakfast Doncaster.
Sunday 1st. Spent night at Morpeth.
Monday Home.

This is from Aunt Jeana’s photo album.


JUNE 1951

Getting ready for the road

Car being lifted on
boat at Dover.

Mr. Scott on board reading Sunday Post. !!!

White Cliffs of Dover.

Car coming off boat at Calais.





Berne Clock.

At breakfast in Lugano.

Views from St. Salvatore, Lugano.


La Romantica.

La Romantica.



Sailing on Lake Lucerne.

Hotel we stayed in at Brunnen.

Lake Lucerne.




Opera House, Paris.


Back Home!!

I believe the following are Mr Scott’s photos.

Lucerne sail

Lake Lugano



La Romantica

La Romantica

La Romantica

Opera House, Paris





Berne Hotel


Berne Champagne Party


The following article was in the 1951 September edition of ‘Motoring’

La Romantica Restaurant at Lugano, where Motoring Rallyites held a private Concours d’Elegance.

THE 1951 ” Motoring Rallye Lugano” organized for us by the Motorists’ Travel Club was voted a one hundred per cent. success by all who took part.

Our party was a mixed bag, from the car-owning point of view, including a 1938 Riley, a 1939 Series ” E ” Morris Eight, a ” TC ” M.G. of the same year, a 1947 Morris Series ” M ” Ten, and an assortment of post-war ” TC ” Midgets and Rileys, yet, apart from trivial mishaps, all battled through rain and storms to complete each day’s schedule.

Good weather, which, unfortunately, did not prevail for very long, gave us a calm crossing on the Townsend Ferry Halladale, enabling a quick disembarkation at Calais, so that cars were early away on the first leg of the journey, across the fast roads of Northern France to the first night halt at Soissons.


Soissons lingers in the memory because it was there that we had our first real taste of the joys of unrationed steak, cooked to perfection by the chef of the Croix d’Or.

The next day found everyone fighting fit for the 190 miles run to Dijon via Troyes and Chatillon, but rain marred much of the fun. Most participants were pleased to find that, despite 150 miles completed after lunch the first day, they were not so fatigued as they had expected. One explanation may be that the absence of hedges on the main French roads makes driving less tiring.

Our arrival in Berne on the third day was memorable for us, if not for the large crowd which, seeing the parking lot outside the Hotel Schweizerhof cleared by the police, gathered to see what famous visitors were expected !

Earlier, the Berne Nuffield agents had met us at the Swiss frontier and led us in convoy to a pre-arranged point in the capital. Here a motor-cycle police escort took over and, our passage thus safeguarded, we swept up in grand style outside the hotel.

Later, having unpacked the luggage, the cars were again given the police escort to convoy them to a reserved parking lot.

About 500 miles had now been covered, and people were getting to know each other. A grand fillip to the development of friendship was the champagne party given by the Nuffield Riley Distributors for Berne, Messrs. Waeny, and the Morris and Wolseley agents, Garage F. & E. Schwarz.

It is difficult to describe the difference between the reception accorded English visitors by the French and Swiss, but one little gesture from Jack Gauer, the proprietor of the Schweizerhof, may help to convey my meaning. On arrival in the bedrooms each member of the party found a basket of fruit from Jack and his wife, welcoming them to the hotel and expressing the hope that they would enjoy their two-night stay in Berne.

It is no duty of mine to rhapsodise over the architectural beauties of Berne, its holiday and shopping amenities, or the fun of visiting the bear-pit, but one husband confided that he had been compelled to visit the Bureau de Change three times in one day, and still had not bought his nylon shirt.

One piece of bad news received there was that as a result of the tremendous snowfalls earlier this year, the St. Gotthard pass was still closed. Here, the value of the presence on the Rally of such an experienced traveller as Colonel Hubert Bland—a director of the Motorists’ Travel Club—was appreciated to the full. With the help of the Automobil Club de Suisse, alternative routes were prepared for those who did not mind a considerable addition to their 160 miles itinerary to Lugano, while the others were advised to go by rail through the Gotthard tunnel.

Unfortunately we arrived at Lugano when the weather was fickle, but little imagination is required to appreciate what a wonderful holiday centre it can be.

It was a pleasure indeed to eat one’s breakfast during one of the early morning fine spells, sitting under the loggia in the garden of the Grand Palace Hotel surrounded by magnolia trees and summer-flowering jasmine. A few optimistic gardeners asked for cuttings of the latter, but, if they didn’t leave them behind on their later travels, we shall have to wait until next year to hear of their success in cultivating these rarely scented plants.

The rain luckily held off while we carried out our private Concours d’Elegance in the grounds of the attractive La Romantica Restaurant, with its numerous ” period ” dining saloons which look out over the lake.

There Motoring was pleased to be host to all competitors, but the proprietor, Jacky Wolf, insisted that the winners should each drink a glass of champagne as they came up to receive their prizes. Here we must pause to thank B. J. Ellis & Co. Ltd. for their generous prizes of a Smiths travelling clock, an electric car cigarette lighter and a set of plugs, our Lugano Nuffield agent, Pietro Mazzuchelli, for his vases and M.G. and Riley silk scarves, and J. H. Keller of Zurich, Nuffield Distributors for Switzerland, for their book prize.

As the St. Gotthard was still closed, Col. Bland had again to work overtime finding a suitable alternative route for the journey to Brunnen, which was again worked out with the willing assistance of the Automobil Club de Suisse.

Competitors in the Concours, which was one of the outstanding features of the Rally, line up for the judging after a “wash and brush up! “

Clouds brooded too long over beautiful Brunnen but, despite the showery weather, everyone was sorry to leave this delightful resort and to say good-bye to the incredibly polite hotel porter of the Hotel Waldstatterhof who never failed to doff his cap to each and every caller.

The time to say good-bye to Switzerland —we were there five days—came all too quickly, but the return journey through France was enlivened by the second night’s stay at the small Hotel Paris in Sens, where they grill your chicken before your eyes in thirty-five minutes exactly, so woe betide those who linger in the bar for one for the road.

Ringside Table

From Sens it was a short seventy miles journey to Paris where again husbands were kept pretty busy visiting the Bureaux de Change, as nearly everyone arrived before noon and so there was a good six hours of shopping time ahead. For the evening the M.T.C. had arranged a special party for ” Le Lido ” in the Champs Elysees—a ringside table for those who wanted to go to see this famous floor show, and most of them did.

The last day’s run to Wimereux seemed long to some of us, possibly because we could not resist one last look at Paris the night before, and dawn was breaking over the famous roof-line before we went to bed, but our tiredness was soon dispelled by the cuisine of the Grand Hotel. After the war it was just a tattered shell with one wall standing, now it is a fine three-storey building ready and willing to give first-class value for money.

Monte Bre

And so back to Calais, another pleasant trip on the Halladale, through the customs, a tankful of petrol at 3s. 6½d. per gallon instead of more than five shillings, and the very necessary reminder : ” Remember, keep to your left.”

That, briefly, is a very inadequate day-to-day summary of a wonderful holiday, but there are a lot more memories which will never be erased.

One evening we took the Riley 1½ litre saloon up the serpentine hairpins of Monte Bre to overlook the night lights of Lugano. There, 3,000 feet above the lake, we sat on the verandah of a Swiss country ” pub ” drinking a glass of wine, and watched the fireflies give their endless imitation of an illuminated aerial circus.

By contrast, half an hour later, we sat looking towards that same hill, by the shore of the lake in Italian Campione, while a band played dreamy waltzes and the searchlights of the motor-boats picked out the ripples on the water ahead.

The Rally cars arrive, escorted by a police motor-cycle patrol, outside the Hotel Schweizerhof in the Swiss capital of Berne.

Another unforgettable experience was the drive to the top of the St. Gotthard pass, through Andermatt, devastated in the tragic avalanches earlier this year. At one time there was hardly room for two cars to pass between the twenty-foot walls of snow which towered on each side. On the way up we paused to watch the torrents of angry green swirling waters tumbling down thousands of feet to the river below, still in full spate in mid-June due to the extraordinarily heavy snowfalls. On either side mountain waterfalls shot down in an almost sheer vertical line to the beds of the valley where the force of the cascades had penetrated below walls of snow twenty or thirty feet thick to add their quota to the creaming waters.


No fear, we should imagine, of things like power cuts and load shedding in a country like Switzerland where they know how to utilise their natural resources to make cheap electricity available in the meanest cowshed through hydro-electric power stations.

Paris by night, and the indescribable sight of the illuminated Arc de Triomphe at one end of the Champs Elysees, with the twinkling lights of hundreds of headlamps moving towards you.

The war-shattered provinces of Northern France, where new towns are still being built, the ruins of Abbeville, the town of Poix, all new bricks and red paint in contrast to the general shabbiness of much of the rest of France.

Mr. J. Waeny, Riley Distributor in Berne, took the chair at the dinner which followed the champagne party. On his left is Mr. Suter who, earlier this year, drove a “TD ” M.G. across the Sahara.

The judges examining one of the entries. Second from right is M. Pietro Mazzu­ chelli, the Nuffield Dealer in Lugano, one of the foremost automobile and aeronautical engineers in Switzerland.

The little kindnesses displayed by members of the party to each other. A young member pausing to change the wheel of our veteran member, aged seventy-three, who chose the Rally as his way of celebrating his golden wedding. Later the veteran suffered another puncture, and many of us were convinced he had it on purpose to prove that he could change his own wheel.

Another member had ignition trouble and two young men in an M.G. followed him for a whole day because the horn was not operating. This fault was remedied by yet another Rallyite whose knowledge triumphed when all the owner could get from the French mechanics was ” Pas de toot toot.”
Such events have to be experienced to get the full feeling of camaraderie and friendship which develops as the holiday progresses.

And all the time you have the reassuring knowledge that if you do get into trouble from which your schoolboy French, German or Italian cannot extricate you, there is a man like Col. Bland to put things straight and give you sound advice.