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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #1
After signing up for Davies Scottish Spring Weekend, thought it would be rude not to show Carole more of Scotland as She had never been over the border before..

So Day 1 was planned to travel up as far as the Lake District to break up what would have been a 465mile direct drive to Pitlochry. With car cleaned and packet, all started well with the top down:


....for a total of 3 miles before it started raining!! (Ok, top back up again....)
Though eventually put the roof back down again way up the M6 Motorway past Manchester and making it to Kendal on the edge of the Lake District (With no queues - Result) in just over 4 hours of driving + stops.

So instead of taking the A6 & "Shap Pass" directly to our hotel, decided to make the most of the afternoon sun by doing a loop out to Windermere:


..after a comfort stop in Windermere, then took the twisty road over the "Kirkstone Pass":


Which gets better as You climb higher: R)



Stopping at the National Trust car park at Aira Force for a top down cuppa from our trusty flask:


Before carrying on around "Ullswater Lake":






Then finally got to our first nights accommodation – An Art Deco country house hotel - The Haweswater Hotel, with our room having a good view down the reservoir:


https://www.booking.com/hotel/gb/haweswaterhotel.en-gb.html?
 

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Registered 2004 SLK350
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42 Posts
Great pictures, need to do the lakes, glad to see it doesn't always rain down there lol, the few times I have been there it has chucked it down!

Dave
 

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Premium Member 2008 SLK55 AMG "Mabel"
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14,860 Posts
Great pics Trev', and a good way to start your tour. :tu:
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #5
Great pictures, need to do the lakes, glad to see it doesn't always rain down there lol, the few times I have been there it has chucked it down!

Dave
Agree that the Lake District looks so much better when the sunshine's, as it did for last years SLK Group visit.. :tu:
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #7
Day 2 - Red Squirrels & Rain Showers....

Though day 2 started a bit dull & damp looking, it soon turned into a special day when while having breakfast the local Red Squirrel’s kept popping by the bird feeders conveniently placed outside the restaurant windows looking for nuts!
(With more than 2.5 million imported grey squirrels now in the UK & our poor out-competed Red squirrel down to 140,000 seeing them so close was a real privilege:




With breakfast consumed & everything snugly back in the SLK and the boot separator deployed (just in case..), thought it rude not to carry on down the side of Haweswater Reservoir, even though it’s a deed end road:






This quit valley right on the N/E edge of the Lake District would be real nice on a sunny day & looking at the map, some good hilly walking to be had as well:


Back on the road, headed up the M6 Motorway and across the Scottish Border – The sun even made a brief appearance to great Us..!!

(Passing the “Gretna Green” sign Carole made a comment about a surprise visit? -- Trev’ = Err, No..)

Carrying on up the A74(M) gave a nod of respect at the “Lockerbie” sign and exited a little further up at “Moffat” to take the more interesting, but showery “A701” cross country to the Edinburgh – No time to visit the Castle, but did stop to put the roof in the boot, to cross the Forth Bridge, while admiring the Forth Rail Bridge on our right & a new bridge under construction on our left:


Onward North up the “M90” – past "Perth" where the road turns into the “A9” and with constant average speed cameras, the sun shining and the roof firmly tucked away in the boot , what could possibly go wrong?


Now I thought that these safety/revenue generating camera’s where meant to stop accidents? But as We closed in on Pitlochry, our trusty TomTom gave the bad news that the “A9” was closed 10 miles short of our destination due to multiple accidents...
Though at the start of the ~25mile diversion I was quite enjoying the nice twist roads, R) by the time We got out B&B in Pitlochry, I was well in need of a Cuppa....
....of course the Cuppa was delayed as We chatted to the other SLK owners also staying at our B&B:
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #8
Davies Scottish Spring Tour & Skyfall

So the big SLK event of the year in UK had arrived – Davies Scottish Spring Weekend 2017.
....and what a sight to see with the 21 SLK’s (Inc 1 x SLC) lined up for the Saturday route:


Having volunteered as a Group Lead Car, (With Carole as My chief navigator) Davie allocated 5 other SLK’s to follow Us....


... So by 9:20am We where off - Now though I studied the days route the night before, with-in a few miles I was so busy checking that they were all keeping up in the rear view mirror, I missed a right turn to get onto the "A9"....
Opp’s sorry - So quick group U-turn and safely heading North on the "A9"
As We climbed, the temperature slowly dropped to 6’c... But with Air scarf running and turning the cars heating up a little bit more, the roof stayed firmly in the boot!

The first proper stop was "Lock Laggan Dam" though not much to see, but did give a quick photo opp’:


Moving on to the Commando Memorial, not far from Fort William, with Ben Nevis it the back ground, (UK’s highest mountain @ 1344m/4409 feet) hiding it’s top in the clouds:


...and by the time We had looked around the Memorial, the next groups where arriving, filling the car park with SLK’s:


After a late coffee stop, passed though Fort William and stopped the other side for another quick photo opp’:


....and again at "Connel Bridge" (These photo points, all thanks to Davies route notes)


Having stopped for lunch at the Glen Coe visitors centre (with one of the last of the lovely meat pie’s), the road there on into Glen Coe is really impressive:


Now part of Davies route notes was a possible detour along the dead end road along "Glen Etive"
... now I’ve toured Scotland four times and not been down this road, so Googled it the night before & everyone had positive things to say about it and of course it was this valley that was used it the James Bond 007 - Skyfall film, so after running it by our group, We checked it out:


Though the actual house that was blown up in the film is no where to be seen (else where in UK), with the temperature up to 12’c and the sun doing it best to come out, seeing wild dear in such a wonderful setting was a good consolation:


... though it made a long days drive even longer, I’d say it was worth checking out "Glen Etive":


Back on the route again it was the final leg back to Pitlochry and a distance of 208 miles by the time We made it back to our B&B... Phew and well done to Carole for map reading, while on the move. :smile:

Quick shower & out for Saturday's Group Meal. :tu:


 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #9
Day 2 of Davies Scottish Spring Tour & Schiehallion

A slightly brighter day greeted the SLK owners turning up at the meeting point for Davies second route of the Scottish Spring weekend:


This second route of the weekend took us briefly South on the "A9" before heading West to "Amulree"
Here Carole our groups Chief Navigator said We needed to take a right up a single track road – Err, OK..!!
Well all was good, past the sun glinting off "Loch Freuchie", brief stopped in out tracks by a flock of sheep coming the other way.
Then the road got more interesting with a double hair pin bend - if only it was a one-way road:
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Pitlochry/@56.543712,-3.9254684,3a,75y,201.41h,71.23t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s3hW6eO-UurkvxGLFfxVJtw!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3D3hW6eO-UurkvxGLFfxVJtw%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D46.844578%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x4886029155e76bb1:0x809611293410407e!8m2!3d56.704361!4d-3.729711
...to take us up onto the moors for our first view of the cone shaped mountain of "Schiehallion" :
 


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schiehallion
During today’s route We’d do a big loop around this ~1083m Scottish Mountain, which holds a place in history for not only early experiments to work out the mass of our planet earth, (I would have used the back of a fag packet, myself?) but also in the creation on contour lines, that are seen on todays OS maps..!! (More contour lines = better R))
 
After a long decent back down into "Kenmore" (Using the flappy paddles to make good use of engine breaking..) We gathered in the Loch side car park for a coffee & cake stop:

 
The next leg of the route was along the Southern side of Loch Tay, which offered good views & plenty of photo opportunities: (Yes, sorry that's Me...!!)

 
After looping around the West end of Loch Tay & passing through Killin, did a left turn for Ben Lawers and its dam, which framed a good SLK line up picture:

 
During our visit to Scotland We’d so far seen lots of lambs in the fields, but this particular road got You up front and personnel with them, as they looked down on our SLK’s
...and I’m sure I heard one of the lambs bleat that He wanted a SLK, when He grew up....!!

 
Though lunch was scheduled for Rannoch Station, our Group decided to have soap & sandwiches at the Fortinall Hotel, which not only has a famous yew tree to look at, but also got to chat to the other groups as they passed through:

 
Next part of the route was past the base of Schiehallion, which was another excellent single track road to drive in a SLK:

 
before a final group stop at the end of Loch Rannoch, where the decision to cut the route short by missing out "Rannoch Station"
http://www.slkworld.com/attachments/united-kingdom-region/394777d1492995092-scottish-weekend-spring-2017-10_loch-rannoch.jpg
 
This turned out to be a good move, as it gave us remaining cars more time to enjoy a place called "Queens View"
...I was a bit sceptical how good this view would be, but yes I’d say the Queen may well have been impressed with this view down the Loch Tummel, with Schiehallion on the horizon, on a sunny afternoon:

 
With everyone making their own way back to Pitlochry, We found a perfect spot to enjoy the view in the sunshine with a Cuppa from our flask:


So all in an excellent second day of this Scottish weekend event, with a more modest 114miles covered.
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #10
Day_5 Our SLK Snow Adventure.....

After a fantastic weekend Carole wanted to check out the shops in Pitlochry and after Her sterling navigation work over the weekend, was only fair to allow Her some shopping therapy!!
An hour later I had a tartan blanket, tartan umbrella and Scottish candle that need to be fitted in a already 99.9% full boot, while still being able to put the boot seperator in place.. :frown:
So ended up heading North from Pitlochry on the "Old Military Road" just before 11am....
All was fine, passing Balmoral Castle (Queens Scottish Holiday Home) with snow showers coming & going.. (Usual "bit like driving in a snow dome"...!!)

 
...till We got to the turning for Tomintoul:

 
Having cycled this route as a teenager, every time I heard on the radio that the "C0ck Bridge to Tomintoul" is closed due to snow, I always knew where they were talking about....
...now taking any high level route in a SLK with summer tyres during snow showers is a risk - But We had a good fuel load, full boot, newly purchased tartan blanket from Pitlochry, water, snacks & hot flask, so Hey-Hoo, why not go for it...!!!

>> Map: http://www.slkworld.com/attachments/united-kingdom-region/396321d1493079799-scottish-weekend-spring-2017-3_cock-bridge-map.jpg
 
...Well as We climbed above 500m the slush turn to snow, the back end of Tin-Top started to do little wiggles and the ESP light was doing a good Christmas fairy light impression... then with only about a ~mile to the summit, the cars & vans came to a grinding halt on the final incline ahead:

 
I held back some distance and the motor cyclist that was behind Me overtook and promptly skidded over while passing the cars further up the line – lucky they got out to help Him get the bike back up...
 
Then I spoke to a local coming the other way who had given up trying to get over the pass & I didn’t need any more reason to continue climbing and did a prompt 3-point turn...
 
....unfortunately it was a rolling route back down & We failed to get over one of the long inclines (15% gradient up..) to get down the pass, so parked in a lay-by out of the way to watch the 4-wheel drives escape & the front wheel drive Seat Leon's not.... Now as by luck this lay-by half way up a mountain had good mobile phone signal, so while I was giving live updates on "The Pitlochry Pack" WhatsApp Group, Carole was messaging Her daughter, who happens to work in media. So with Carole’s daughter was sending out #Pray for Carole messages on twitter and SLK member Gareth replied back on the "WhatApp" group kindly offering to drive 50 miles to help tow us out, so certainly didn’t feel alone... :tu:

 
After the snow plough had gone past twice & a police 4x4 was pointing everyone back down, before they shut the pass for the night, due to more snow coming in:


....We made a dash for the incline - "Manual Mode" - "2nd Gear" and when it ESP started cutting in too much near the top, turned it off, which helped to keep the wheels spinning...!!!
 
>> YouTube - https://youtu.be/GjLPqGNQAgo
Sorry, not had time to edit, but get the idea of how slippery UK wet snow can be..
 
Though going down round a sharp bend was a wing & a pray, as 0.5mph was to fast on the steep road, but needed to let the brakes off to get any sort of steering control.... The worry being that any slide into the Scottish scenery would most likely be the end of our Scottish Road Trip.. :frown:
....then with a third pass of the snow plough, made it onto the "Black Stuff" as the police called it -- Phew...!!!
 
>> YouTube - https://youtu.be/L3g-n0m4Sy0 (Note the silence in the car..)
 
Getting back to a junction that We had been at 3 hours before:

 
With the snow stopped for now & the sun out, it was just like a Christmas Post Card driving the long way around to our nights accommodation near Aviemore. Could have put the roof down, but the trees where dropping "snow bombs" from above..!!

 
Following on from yesterday, got some more good Lamb pictures..!!

 
So that was our snow adventure, on leaving @Davies "Scottish Spring Weekend - 2017"
 

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Premium Member 2018 SLC43
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Discussion Starter #12
Day 6 – More Snow, Search for Nessie and Glen Shiel.

After a nice steak dinner & a bottle of Merlot to celebrate not spending a night stranded on a snow covered mountain pass, We awoke to 3.5” of snow that had fallen over night:




Luckily by 11am, the roads where all clear of snow, so all was good for our first leg of the day..??
Well no, what our Road Atlas for the UK doesn’t show is the “A9” from Aviemore to Inverness goes over “Slochd Pass” (1328ft/405m) which as We approached the summit with falling snow brought on a deja vu feeling as the snow was settling on the road - Though not a bad as yesterday, We did have an 18 wheeler lorry tail gating.... (I pulled over & let Him go..)

Once over the pass and started to drop down to Inverness at near sea level the road conditions improved and stopped snowing – Next leg of the day was to check out Loch Ness & find a coffee/lunch stop:


Now I’ve got the magnifier glass out & check the pictures, but if anyone has better eye sight than Me & spots Nessie the Loch Ness Monster in any of our pictures, please PM Me back & We’ll split the earnings..!!!
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2086120/loch-ness-monster-real-new-sighting/




Leaving Loch Ness & heading North on the A87 the scenery improved, more than likely helped by the sun being out, snow on the mountain tops and the roof in the boot..!! R)


...and the road leading up to “Glen Shiel” was looking very dramatic, (with the Five Sisters of Kintel that I walked many, many years ago..)


Next stop was Eilean Donan Castle – Re-built in the 1930’s (As used in James Bond Spectre film), bit late to have a look around, but not too late for a Cuppa, while waiting for the sun & clouds to play their part to snapping a good picture:


Leaving the A87 and heading North again on the A890 – Thought at one point We may be forced to try driving top down through a snow shower, but it missed us..!!


...if We had not been delayed by the last two days of snow We might have just had time to do the Applecross pass, though possible at 2053 ft / 626m could have been pushing our luck, with the Northerly blast of cold air that We were currently experiencing...

Just before the Applecross Peninsula is a small Loch side village of “Plockton”
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Plockton
which was our overnight stopping point & they even welcomed us with a rainbow over the bay :tu:
 

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Long Time Member 2005 SLK350
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great stuff

Sat in the garden at home with a hangover reading your thread Trev.

Was a great read and brought the memorys back of a fab weekend.

So good is your thread that I have to ask when are you organising a scotland tour :grin:

Cheers pete
 
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