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