Thursday 3 April 2014

April Run - The Road to Dundee

Welcome to a new year of MG fun.
Our first trip of 2014 will be a visit to the new Museum of Transport in Dundee
They expect over 100 classic cars.

We'll meet at Dobbies on Sunday 27th April at 10.00am.

Then we'll have a scenic trip to the River Tay.

See you at Dobbies.

Friday 30 August 2013

War Memorial Tour

Eight of us met for coffees before setting off on our run to visit War Memorials and gardens.
This was a rather more 'industrial' tour than our previous outings. The towns south of Stirling suffered greatly in both wars.
We had a TD, a Midget, an MGBGT and our own MGB.
Our first stop was at Doune:
This involved pulling over onto the paved area on the A820. We then reversed out onto the main road. Peter suggested later that we should rename the Run, the Dangerous Manouevres Run.
The Monument has dozens of names from the Great War as well as a few from WWII.

We drove on through Dunblane, passing the War Memorial down the hill near Allan Water before following the A9 to Bridge of Allan, where we stopped at the cash-point:
Then on to the Memorial Gardens.
 There's a forgotten War Memorial on the A907 at Causwayhead, here photographed by Morven as we passed by:
We drove to Dunipace on the A872– pausing  at the War Memorial RHS in churchyard and on to Denny, where the War Memorial  is on the wall on RHS:
At this stage we had already passed Memorials to hundreds of men who had died in the Great War and several dozens from WWII.

Our trip over the hills had us bowling along, (click on any image to enlarge):

The A803 took us to Kilsyth. and the Memorials in Burngreen. This is a quiet and beautiful park in an otherwise unglamorous town.
Well over a hundred names are recorded:
There are also two Memorials to Kilsyth bandsmen on the old bandstand, 18 men killed from just two local brass-bands:

Here are the names from The Kilsyth Town and Victoria Band, how evocative that these young men had once played together for leisurly, sunny Saturdays and then joined-up to fight for King and Country:
We drove on the A891 to Milton of Campsie, but decided against a photo on the pavement, Peter's comments were ringing in my ears:
Lennoxtown has a remarkable War Memorial in the shape of the cemetery gates. We couldn't stop for a photo, it was on the top of a hill, on double yellow lines.
Yet more young men from 1914-18.
At this stage we had passed over a thousand names...
We turned right onto the B822 for Fintry. A beautiful climb up the Campsies:
Culcreuch Castle for lunch. Good food but a pint of beer cost over four quid. Tap water next time.

Our return was by way of the B822 to Kippen, where the War Memorial is in style of Mercat Cross:
Then on to Stirling, where we passed the main War Monument and the Memorial at the Castle.

 Next month, we're off on holidays. Does anyone want to arrange the September Run?

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Unexpected Waverley

There wasn’t a formal club-run during July; rather we went our own ways. Here's one of the runs we took in our own wee MGB.

It was a lovely morning so we decided to head for the hills. The A811 had a tail-back caused by a crash outside the Safari Park. This is such a frequent occurrence, with a driver slowing to turn and another, belting down the straight road, realising too late that the car in front had stopped - one of the disadvantages of straight roads and beautiful scenery.

We passed the picturesque village of Drymen then into Balloch. Here we turned north along the banks of Loch Lomond taking the B-road to Cross Keys and the unclassified road through Glen Fruin to join the main road outside the submarine base at Faslane. 

A short stop for coffee in Garelochhead followed.

We travelled down the west side of the Gare Loch to Kilcreggan where we saw the PS Waverley, the last seagoing passenger-carrying paddle steamer in the world. She was just about to depart and there was great excitement, with a bagpiper playing a rousing send-off.

 Click images to enlarge

Driving north on the coast of Loch Long, then over the hill to Coulport, we were driving over a state secret. These hills are the home of most of the UK's nuclear weapons, buried deep underground in a huge armaments depot. 
 We turned onto the A814 to the head of Loch Long to Arrocher, where we had lunch in the garden of the Village Inn, overlooking the loch, which was once used for torpedo testing. Read about the history here, good pictures and a map:

We travelled north along the narrow strip of Loch Lomond to Crainlarich, through Glen Dochart and down to Lochearnhead, where once I spent a happy but very cold week as a Boy Scout. 
Not me but I was there

We bowled along the north side of the loch to Comrie where we turned south on the pretty B827 and then onto the A9 for home.

Sunday 30 June 2013

Visit to Waterloo

What had been planned as a Run to visit places in the wrong place eventually became a visit to Waterloo, a small village north of Perth, rather than the battle between Wellington and Napoleon, featuring the famous charge of the Scots Greys.
Click all images to enlarge - this is Lady Butler's Scotland Forever
Six of us met in Dobbies and struck off for a short stretch of the M9 to Dunblane (the bye-ways would come later). We passed the Queen Victoria school, for the children of Scottish servicemen. They often provide a pipe-band at Murrayfield.
Then on to Kinbuck and Braco, turning towards Auchterarder at the Roman Fort we visited last month. It's a narrow road but we passed along it without incident.
Auchterarder, with its fine shops, sits just beyond Gleneagles Hotel:
On to the dual carriageway A9 for a short hop to the turn-off to Fido Gask, crossing the Roman Road at the top of the ridge then turning east to head along the quiet road towards Huntingtower. Even in the grey weather, the Perthshire countryside is beautiful.
We drove north through Pitcairngreen to Bankfoot and Waterloo.
Then back to Bankfoot for lunch at the Inn. We were tempted by the Sticky Toffee Pudding but restrained ourselves. The smokers standing outside the Inn seemed unimpressed:
After lunch, we made a quick detour for Dunkeld, around the Mercat Cross and then back on to the A822 for Crieff. This is a lovely route which runs through The Sma' Glen. We stopped to admire the scenery.

And each other's MGs

We headed down to Crieff before going our separate ways.

The last Sunday in July seems to be a problem for many due to holidays etc. I will try to arrange an alternative date.
Watch the blog for updates, or listen out for phone-calls.

Sunday 26 May 2013

Roman Run

I turned up at the famous cafe at the auction mart to find that it was closed. The sign now read 'Closed Sundays'.
Mike was already there.
We went to Dobbies for coffee, leaving a sign for any late-comers. In the end no-one else arrived so we struck off in a small convoy of two.
I had planned a route around some Roman sites in the area, these were part of the first frontier of the Roman Empire, now known as the Gask Frontier
Our first stop was Doune Primary School, which was built on top of the southernmost fort in the system.
This fort would have been the base for c500 Auxiliary soldiers, comprising a mixed infantry/cavalry cohort or an all-cavalry unit.
Click all images to enlarge
 We travelled on the B 824, passing the statue of Col Stirling, founder of SAS, before travelling through Dunblane to Kinbuck B8033. We crossed the route of the Roman road running NE before the first Cromlix entrance.

Through Braco to the next fort known as Ardoch. The Auxiliary unit here was from Spain.
Ardoch Fort - No Parking Here
The fort was reused several times over many decades, which explains the multiple ditches. It is the best-preserved turf site in Europe.
We stopped at Kaims Castle Fortlet, this sits in the garden of a private house but the convention is that people let themselves in. So we did.
Through Muthill (admiring the old church etc) towards Creiff before turning on to the B8062 for Kinkell Bridge.
We passed Innerpeffray chapel. This was almost certainly the site of a watch-tower for the Roman fort at Strageath, which is on the opposite side of the River Earn.

Turning left before Kinkell Bridge, up onto the Gask Ridge. We could see the Roman road off to the left, there’s a good watch-tower base just a few yards down the path.

On our journey we kept encountering vintage Bentleys and Rolls Royces. There was obviously a big event in progress.
Since there were only two cars in our Roman adventure, I took the chance to park and walk down a track to one of the watchtowers, most are harder to find than Muir o' Faulds, which sits in a clearing, passed by a straight track, all that remains of the Roman road.
Mike looking about at the watchtower:

The Roman road runs for several miles in a series of straight sections, here it is being used by two of the expensive vintage cars:
We passed other watchtowers and the Midgate fortlet before heading to Dunning for lunch, good quality.
Anita knew that we were coming and left her MGTF outside but I forgot to take a photograph. The journey back to Stirling was uneventful and sunny.

We are planning another  run for the last Sunday in June, get in touch if you'd like to come.
Oh, and we'll meet at Dobbies from now on.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Falkirk Wheel

I had agreed to arrange the all-Scotland event for 2013. It was held at the Falkirk Wheel. 
 Click to Enlarge all Photographs
When we were planning the day, mid-May promised good weather.
In the event it rained and was so cold that if I hadn't been involved in running the occasion, I would have stayed at home. Many others decided the same thing to the extent that the largest contingent was the Aberdeen MGOC who had started out much earlier in the early morning sunshine.
As in previous years, we called the event The Gathering o' the Clans but our numbers were such that Johnnie Cope wouldn't have had much trouble at Prestonpans. We ended up with 30 cars and fifty people.
Some late arrivals aren't featured here
I had coined the motto Nemo mg impune lacessit, based on the Scottish Royal Crest (Wha Daur Meddle wi' me) or more literally, No-one attacks mg with impunity. No-one else thought that this was clever or funny.

The plan was Gathering from 11.00am with Full Assembly by 12.00 noon. Lunch was available in the Café or other outlets - several visitors even had picnics in the hope of a sunny day.
There was an optional Boat Trip using the Wheel 14.10. Here's a video of the wheel in action:
My hand-out noted 'Please sign-up and pay for the 14.10 sailing under the blue umbrella. MGOC discounted price £6.50 or pay full-price (£8.95) at the desk'.

With the high wind, our blue patio umbrella blew away and was broken
Here it is flapping forlornly after being tied to a stand-pipe.
You can see that Morven has abandoned the chair and little table in favour of a clip-board.
Here she is with our crack security team (thanks to Paddy our son for volunteering)

I had completed a Risk Assessment which concluded that the biggest risk was theft of the ticket-money but I included 'Please take care when moving around cars and when walking near the canal' in the hand-out just to be safe.
At 13.30 we all met in the cafe for a special MGOC 40th Birthday celebration. I made a speech to welcome the visitors
and was shown how to cut the MGOC 40th birthday cake
After cheers and cake, twentyfive of us trooped outside for the boat-trip. Photos were taken:
And we boarded the Antonine. Archimedes was already in use.
We saw some of the members leaving as we ascended:
Coincidently, there was a sponsored abseil for a local charity and a young man who had arrived with a member volunteered. Some of us had an informal whip-round and boosted the charity's funds by £30.
The safety team organising the abseil were not the usual grizzled ex-marines:
The hardy few, mostly hard-tops or TFs, seen from the returning boat:

Our next club-run will feature Roman forts and roads. See you at the cafe on the 26th May.