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Tour

Tour – 2024 Spring Run

2024 Spring Run

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This years annual Spring Run began at Moffat Woolen Mill, where entrants enjoyed a breakfast roll and refreshments whilst collecting the route directions to Slaley Hall Hotel.

A stop at the Pottery at Bardon Mill broke the journey with an informative tour around the factory and a chance to buy, if you had the car space! It’s the last commercial pottery in Britain that continues to utilise traditional practises. Fabulous garden pots competitively priced and a very enjoyable visit.

Arrival at Slaley Hall Hotel in the afternoon meant members were able to relax and recount the day.

There were a number of variations on the routes taken as unplanned detours occurred, with one unlucky breakdown which ended happily with only a stone in the brake disk. Dinner ended a great start to the event and our first evening.

Day 2

Following breakfast the route to Raby Castle with some stunning views, alas no pictures! The run was just under an hour with tour guides awaiting our arrival.

A cold day with everyone well wrapped at the start of the tour prior to entering the castle.

Once inside all listened carefully to the guide as we moved through some fabulous rooms each with their varied stories, portraits and furniture.

Many stairs linked the different parts of the castle.

Guide Stephen took the first group who were very interested to learn that Lord Barnard had one of the first motorcars in Britain. Stephen had done some research when he heard of our visit. He elucidated the delivery driver was hired as Lord Barnard’s chauffer and went on to work in the post for over 40 years. There was a copy of a wage slip from 1908 for the ‘Motormen’. A 4 week wage was £8 for the driver.

Raby Castle was full of varied rooms and stories. A visit that was enjoyed by all. Some pictures from our tour give an impression of its splendour and interest.

To round off the visit we enjoyed a packed lunch in the servants quarters.

Day 3

This saw many members taking the morning to explore the surrounding area. Some utilised the route instructions to visit the Discovery Museum in Newcastle. A few members met others whilst exploring the quaint historic town of Corbridge. A lovely little town with an abundance of coffee/gift shops and quite a few antique emporiums.

The afternoon was taken up by a choice of activities:

Clay pigeon shooting; Chris Paton, Hugh MacKinnon, Tony Fleming and Gordon Hood took part in the clay pigeon shooting. The final scores showed Chris and Tony equal best on 16 hits so the instructors organised a shoot out based on both guns trying for the same clay, on a ‘first hit wins’ basis. Chris buckled under the pressure missing all four shots with Tony scoring a hit on his fourth to win.

Archery; The rescue of Maid Marion from the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

Robin Hood (Mid Bruce) and Little John (Charlie Young), complete with bows and arrows were sent off on a quest to rescue Maid Marion from the evil Sheriff. Unfortunately, at this point neither of our two heroes had any idea what Marion looked like!!

However, practice with the Bows and arrows was essential if they were to have any hope of success.

Heading for the range in the forest and despite the totally inclement weather our intrepid heroes took to their task like a duck to water, literally.

Quicker and quicker, the arrows were slotted onto the string and quicker and quicker the arrows flew past their targets!!!

Not a great start!!

However, once Little John put his specs on and Robin started to gauge the correct flight line, things improved, a little!!

Having run out of arrows and having to restring their bows on several occasions, and being soaked to boot, the heroes reluctantly agreed to call of their quest and just allow the evil sheriff should just have his way with Marion, which we are sure suited all concerned.

Thus the story ended. (archery report by Charlie Young)

Quad Biking; Suitably equipped with overalls, wellies, a helmet and gloves, Margaret Smillie, Pat MacKinnon, Hugh MacKinnon, Tom Bicket, Bill Montgomery, Mid Bruce and Chris Paton set off on a quad biking adventure among the extensive grounds of Slayley.

They tackled rough ground, deep puddles and some open land where a good turn of speed could be achieved. Everyone enjoyed the experience with one or two being surprised at the power produced by the 250cc engined quads.

Our Chairman thanked our organisers and members for their camaraderie. All had enjoyed the visit and look forward to doing something new in 2025.

The hotel and route runs were organised by board members Mid Bruce, Meg Sword and Charlie Young. Many thanks for another enjoyable event.

List of entrants:

David Allison / Marie Allison

Tom Bicket / Marion Bicket

Mid Bruce / Meg Sword

Carol Cooper

Nancy Crichton

Billy Cuthbertson / Anne Cuthbertson

Tony Fleming

Ian Gemmell / Louise Gemmell

Gordon Hood / Margaret Hood

Jim Howden / Margaret Howden

Hugh MacKinnon / Pat MacKinnon

Ian Marwick / Wilma Marwick

Bill Montgomery / Eileen Montgomery

Chris Paton / Mary Paton

Ian Smillie / Margaret Smillie

Charlie Young / Elaine McPhee

Report and pictures by Margaret Smillie.

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Tour

Autumn Run 2024

VSMA Autumn Run 2024 – 6th October

This year’s Autumn outing features a trip to “The Best Classic Car Cave in Scotland”

A private collection of classic cars and memobilia owned by Willie Hamilton of “Hamilton Tarmac”.

Starting at the New Lanark Mill Cafe situated in the visitor centre where tea/coffee and a filled roll will be served, the 65 mile route will head across to Ayshire using scenic country roads to arrive at Gemmells Garden Centre in time for lunch, consisting of soup, sandwiches and cake

After lunch we will make our way to Hurlford .

The cost of the outing will be £35 per person and will include tea/coffee and a filled roll at the start venue

The entry form can be downloaded or printed HERE.

 

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The Autumn Run will be held on 6th October – details to follow

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Tour

Dumfries House 2023

Dumfries House Lunch and Tour of the House – 7th October 2023.

This year’s Autumn outing features a trip to Dumfries House.

Starting at Caulders Garden Centre in Newton Mearns where tea/coffee and a filled roll will be served, the 35 mile route will head down to Ayshire using mainly scenic country roads to arrive at Dumfries House in time for lunch, consisting of soup, sandwiches and cake.

After lunch we will be treated to a 1 hour tour of Dumfries House which is part of the Prince’s Foundation having been purchased in 2007 by a consortium led by HRH The Prince of Wales and, in doing so, saved the house and one of the most important collections of Georgian Scottish and English furniture for the nation.

Note: We have been requested that flat shoes (i.e. no high heels) are worn for the tour of the house to avoid damage to the fragile floors.

From Dumfries House participants are free to choose their own route home as there is no set finish venue, however there is a recommended route for those returning to near the start of the run.

Full details of Dumfries House can be found on the website HERE.

The cost of the outing will be £35 per person and will include tea/coffee and a filled roll at the start venue, lunch at Dumfries House and a guided tour of the house.

The entry form can be downloaded or printed HERE.

 

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Tour

Spring Run 2024

Announcement.

Spring Run 2024. Tuesday 16th April – Friday 19th April 2024.

For the Spring Run in 2024, we have initially reserved 16 rooms at Slaley Hall Hotel Spa and Golf Resort, near Hexham, Northumberland. We decided at the board meeting on Tuesday 4th August to go for midweek since those taking part in the run are mainly retired and the rate midweek is substantially less than the rate for the weekend.

From Slaley Hall, Beamish, ” The Living Museum of the North”, Hadrian’s Wall and several other venues are readily reachable.

The cost for 3 nights dinner, bed and breakfast is £514.25 for double occupancy of a double or twin room and £422.45 for single occupancy. In each case a deposit of 25% is required for the booking (£130 for double occupancy and £105 for single occupancy). This will require to be sent A.S.A.P. since the hotel are holding the rooms for 4 weeks in the first instance and at that time bookings will require to be confirmed by the Association.

The entry fee for the Spring Run will be £65.00 per person which will include tea/coffee and filled roll at the start (location yet to be decided), Tuesday evening reception, wine with dinner each evening and entry to venues.

All monies are to be paid to the Association and NOT to the hotel.

Payment details can be found on the Entry Form. 

NOTE: Entries filled up very quickly and all 16 rooms are now booked. If you have not submitted your entry and would now like to do so please submit your entry form to allow us to contact the hotel. If aditional rooms are available we will ask you to pay the entry fee and room deposit so that you can join the run.

Entry form for the Spring Run and Hotel booking are HERE.

 

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Tour

Tour – 2023 Spring Run

Spring Run 2023.

The Run took place April 21st – 24th staying at the Old Manor Hotel, Lundin Links, Fife.

Our meeting point for the start was at Caulders Garden Centre in Cumbernauld. There was tea and coffee served to members, along with a breakfast roll.

The route plan and information for the weekend were distributed to all participants prior to departure from Caulders.

Prior to departure we enjoyed a bite of breakfast and chat.

Setting off for the Fife coast and a quick look at our route instructions before departure.

Our first port of call was Morris Leslie Auctions where we had a very interesting tour of the site. It was fun and informative. 

Some members of the VSMA have a go at being an auctioneer. Not sure what they were selling!

A quick visit to the Jim Clark statue at his birthplace before heading to the hotel.

Jim dons a cap.

Could this be an aspiration to being a member of the VSMA?

Back at the hotel.

Dining at the Old Manor Hotel with a chance to put on best bib and tucker.

Saturday took us on a trip and visit to the Fisheries Museum in Pittenweem.

A fabulous place and our excellent guide, Ronnie took us around this tardis of fascinating exhibits. Ronnie pointed out some terrific art work and told stories giving a real feel of how hard it was, and still is, for fishermen and women then and now. He spoke with real knowledge as he was a skipper himself and his talk was enthralling.

Mid found the ‘Dress up’ box!

Mosaic by a staff member made from sea glass found on the shore.

This full size boat, which was undergoing renovation, was brought into the museum through the service area on a trailer! It was maneuvered in one movement by the driver, without assistance.

Some of the apprenticeship models show the variety in boats.

Scottish whaling was also on display!

Ronnie describes the use of the navigation equipment and it’s evolution with a captivated audience.

A dangerous and difficult occupation but humour is seen here too.

Apologies for darkness of pictures as although photography was allowed, the use of flash photography wasn’t. Some pictures have been lightened.

After Anstruther and the Fisheries museum a visit to the Kingsbarns Distillery.

Sunday was a free day to enjoy the Fife Coast at leisure and then dinner at the hotel. A suitable end to a thoroughly enjoyable Spring Run.

List Of Entries.

Billy & Ann Cuthbertson

Chris & Mary Paton

Ian & Louise Gemmell

Ian & Margaret Smillie

Bill & Jean Montgomery

Ian & Wilma Marwick

Tom & Marion Bicket

Duncan & Adele Paterson

Jim & Margaret Howden

Barry & Nancy Crichton

Hugh & Pat McKinnon

Bob & Margaret Baillie

Mid Bruce & Meg Sword

Tony Fleming

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Tour

Autumn Run 2022

 

AUTUMN RUN 9th OCTOBER 2022.

This years Autumn Run was a 70 mile route starting outside Biggar and ending in Moffat organised by Charlie Young and Eddie Hawke.

We gathered at the Carmichael Bistro & Tearoom, where the friendly staff served up bacon rolls and other goodies while Road Books and final instructions were handed out.

There was a large car park and it was great to see a variety of “real” cars like Mini, Imp, Lancia Fulvia among others. Some members had opted for their “grown up” cars, leaving the “toys” at home with feeble excuses like “my backʼs too bad to get into the car” and “the carʼs in a worse state than me”! We are the Veterans, I suppose! The staff, leaving the washing up till later came out to photograph us being waved off by Charlie and Eddie, with “itʼs a Run, not a Race” ringing in our ears!

 

Right from the start, the minor, mainly single-track roads were just great. There was almost no traffic and despite overcast but dry weather, wonderful scenery to behold. Must be spectacular in the sun. Most of us were lusting after the excellent road surfaces on almost the whole route and would kill for similar on our major roads in own areas!

We passed signposts to Kirkfieldbank, Sandilands, Douglas Water and then through Wiston to Lamington and then east to Drumelzier before turning south and heading to Tweedsmuir. Here we turned left to cross the river Tweed and travel along the side of the Talla reservoir before ascending the steep Talla hill that would make a great hillclimb that would have rivalled the Rest and be Thankful. It was then up to Meggethead and along the side of the Megget reservoir and out to St Maryʼs Loch in the Scottish Borders.

The finish was in Moffat at the Moffat House Hotel who put on an excellent afternoon tea. There was a happy and relaxed atmosphere as everyone had enjoyed the Run. Charlie took a bit of good natured leg-pulling over some spelling in the Road Book which caused wrong-slotting and u-turning!

Thanks to Charlie and Eddie for organising this excellent event. We all went off in our separate directions, looking forward to meeting up again at our Reunion in November.

 

 

Ian Smillie.

Entrants:

Colin Laird and Brian Shute (Hillman Imp)

Ian Marwick and Wilma Marwick (Lexus LUX)

Tom Bicket and Marion Bicket (Porsche 944)

Nancy Crichton and Barry Crichton (BMW)

Margaret Smillie and Ian Smillie (Porsche Boxter)

Chris Paton and Mary Paton (Morris Mini)

Bill Cuthbertson and Anne Cuthbertson (Jaguar XK)

Linsey Giles and Dan Wright (Aston Martin DB7)

Jim Howden and Margaret Howden (TVR Chimaera)

Rouben Phillips and Hope Phillips (Audi TT Roadster)

Anne Head and George Head (BMW Convertible)

Ian Gemmell and Louise Gemmell (Ford Sierra Cosworth)

Craig McGibbon and Kirsten Brown (Lancia Fulvia Coupe)

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Tour

Tour – 2022 Spring Run

VSMA Spring Run 2022

Friday 22nd – Monday 25th April 2022

Based at the Old Manor Hotel

Lundin Links

A total of 22 attended the event. Around 7 other couples were unable to attend and had to pull out near to the event mainly due to illness.

The start was at Caulders Garden Centre, Cumbernauld on Friday morning. Breakfast roll, tea/coffee was provided as part of the entry fee.

A route book containing all the routes for the weekend was issued. The routes were drawn up by Nancy Crichton using the ball and arrow system.

The first section was between Caulders and Lundin Links approximately 90mls stopping at Sterling Mills for lunch. The route ran through Kilsyth, over the Tak-ma-doon road, through the Carron Valley to Fintry, onto Kippen , Callendar, Dunblane, Bridge of Allan and along the Ochil Hills to Sterling Mills.

After lunch the route wandered through Dollar, Yetts of Muchart, Milnathorp, Strathmilgo, passed Faulkland and onto the Old Manor Hotel.

The usual Drinks and Nibbles Reception was enjoyed by all as we looked over the Forth from our special event room which would be exclusively for us all weekend.

On Saturday we visited the Secret Bunker used during the Cold War a short journey of 13mls from the Hotel. It was a very interesting experience. This bunker was built in 1953 in response to the threat of nuclear war with the USSR. Government and Military commanders would have run the country from there if Nuclear War had broken out!!

Pictures from the secret bunker

We then journeyed on to Kellie Castle (a NTS property) which was very close by for lunch.

Kellie Castle is a Victorian style Castle the oldest parts dating back to the 14th Century, home at one time to the daughter of Robert the Bruce. The interior was refurbished in the late 19th Century by the Lorimer Family.

After an excellent lunch there was a tour of the Castle and Gardens.

On Sunday we made our way from the Hotel through St Andrews to the Discovery Centre and V&A Museum in Dundee, a journey of approximately 25mls. Entrants had time to visit the V&A exhibition before moving to the Discovery Centre for lunch (excellent soup and sandwiches). Lunch was taken on the 1st floor gallery which had an excellent view of the ship.

After lunch a tour of the discovery was available to us. The Discovery was built in Dundee because they had a great deal of experience in building whaling ships. The ship was used to travel to Antarctica to conduct scientific research and make magnetic surveys in Antarctica. After a five month journey Antarctica was reached in January 1902.

Pictures of the Discovery

After the Discovery we moved a short distance to tour Verdant Works, a restored mill which was used for Jute production, the original buildings dating back to 1833. Jute is a natural fibre obtained from plants and used during the 19th Century to manufacture among other things sacking, ropes, carpets and tents. The raw material came from Bangladesh and was processed in this mill from the 1860s to the end of the 1800s. The highlight of the tour was the 82yr old female volunteer who had worked on the sight following in footsteps of her parents and grandparents.

Sunday Evening

On Monday, after a most enjoyable few days the entrants made their way home a few pounds heavier due to the excellent food they had had at the Hotel. All entrants were most complementary about the runs and the accommodation which had been arranged for them by Secretary, Nancy and Chairman, Bob.

It was agreed to provisionally book the Hotel for the Spring Run 2023.

Pictures: Margaret Smillie

Report: Barry Crichton  

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Tour

Tour – 2009 Highland Run

“Highland Run” 8th/9th May

Friday Morning –  To accommodate the many members who come from many different parts of Scotland, the Run really got started from the Altnamore Hotel, Blairgowrie although Bob Baillie and Mike How had arranged easy runs up from the west and Edinburgh respectively for those members living in the central belt.  Driving up from the south to Blairgowrie the heavens opened up with torrential rain most of the way!  However, this was no matter as what a great weekend it would turn out to be!  The 49 member “competitors” and partners congregated at the Altamount House Hotel, Blairgowrie, where we had a pleasant lunch.
Waiting for the Start at the Altamount House 
The car park at the Altamount was like a Concours D’Elegance with several beautifully prepared vehicles –   E-Type Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati, MGA Coupe, MGB, MGF, etc.
Click on an image below to enlarge a few of the cars in “Parc Ferme”  

After lunch, by 1.30 we were flagged off by Mike How, who was only able to be at the start due to business commitments.  Our final destination was the Grant Arms, Grantown-on-Spey.  The sun had eventually decided to appear and ‘hoods down’ was the consensus. This was fine for those who only had to press a button, but for those like your scribe (who had forgotten the intricacies of an MGB hood), this was a somewhat slow and verbally heated process.

As we should have expected, the sun shortly disappeared and it was ‘hoods up’ for the rest of the trip north.  Over the Lecht the rain gave way to sleet making the last leg down to the Spey valley quite exciting!  However, we all arrived safely at Grantown-on-Spey late on Friday afternoon, where the Grant Arms Hotel awaited us.


Friday evening started off with a cocktail reception when everyone got to know each other a bit better and quite a few members bought the latest embroidered VSMA headgear which was being enthusiastically sold by your Hon. Secretary!

Some snaps taken at the Friday evening reception 

Then it was off to dinner during which President Jimmy and Bob Baillie made a few remarks of welcome!  After dinner, it was down to practice for the serious business of the “Highland Speed Challenge” (to be held on Saturday evening) on the Scalextric circuit, which had kindly been provided by Gordon and Karen Clendinning.

Track and vehicles on the “Highland Speed Challenge” 

Bob had divided the group into two classes, Drivers and Co-drivers.  It was thought that the men would be the more competitive but surprise, surprise it was the ladies who turned out to be extremely aggressive and with several excellent times!  So much so that Bob decided that he would have to get a Ladies Prize for Saturday night’s main event.


Saturday morning saw most of us up bright and breezy, although some showed early signs of post-competitive stress somewhat strangely relieved by Alka-seltzer!  The first outing was a trip to Aviemore and back on the privately owned steam train.  This brought back pleasant memories for most of us and it was nice to be driven for a change!   In the afternoon for most of the “Competitors”, it was off to the Macallan distillery near Aberlour for a conducted tour and a wee dram at the end.  Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the evening festivities. 

Saturday Evening – an excellent dinner was followed by the serious business of the “Highland Speed Challenge”. The gentlemen were desperate to beat the ladies on the track – an almost impossible task. It was suggested by more than a few gentlemen that “thems wimen must have been practising”.  Anyway, apart from Ian Gemmell who had obviously been practising hard, the men were put to shame.  The track closed down at 11 pm when most retired to drown their sorrows.

Results of Highland Speed Challenge

1st Driver             –   Ian Gemmell with a time of 1 minute 34 seconds

1st Co-Driver       –   Nancy Crichton with a time of 1 minute 38 seconds

1st Ladies prize    –  Netta Young with a time of 1 minute 36 seconds


Sunday morning  – breakfast saw the presentation of prizes to the winners of the “Highland Speed Challange” – bottles of Macallan whisky and Macallan jam!!

Presentation of Prizes 

Sunday afternoon and evening   –  After breakfast, apart from those souls who had decided to stay for another day, everyone else made for home and a rest!  After seeing everyone off, the remaining 16 went there separate ways, visiting garden centres, visiting local friends, watching Osprey nests, etc., but generally having a quiet and restful morning and afternoon.  Dinner in the evening was much more subdued than on the Saturday with an early night for some!

Monday morning departure 

Finally  –   It was unanimously agreed that this had been a great venture, with the repeated plea “When is the next one?”.  From the proceeds of the Highland Speed Challenge plus the donation from Tunnocks we were able to donate a grand total of £500 to Glasgow University Trust Fund for leukaemia research.

Many, many thanks are due to Bob Baillie, the Clerk of the Course, Chief Marshal and altogether general factotum, for all his hard work before and during the event. Thanks, Bob.

Stuart Parker

2009 Highland Run “Competitors”

Kenny Allen & Kenny Gunn      Fraser Anderson & Alastair Clark    Bob & Margaret Baillie
Donald & Lilian Brown              Mid & Valerie Bruce              Gordon & Karen Clendinning
Barry & Nancy Crichton       Bill & Ann Cuthbertson       Chris Edwards & Andy Fenwick
Ian & Louise Gemmell                Walter & Bette Gray            Jimmy & Arlene McInnes
Hugh Mackinnon & Olly Ross    Bill & Eileen Montgomery          Malcolm & Anne Noble
Stuart & Mairi Parker                 Duncan & Adele Paterson           Ian & Margaret Smillie
Pat & John Smith                        Ron & Elspeth Smith                Bill & Frances Thomson
Graham & Margaret Wright      Alexander & Carol Anne Young       Charlie & Netta Young

 

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