Tour – 2012 Spring Run

Friday 20th to Monday 23rd April

This year’s run was a departure from the three previous runs which had been based at the Grant Arms in Grantown-on-Spey.  Although the Grant Arms had served us exceedingly well in the past, it was felt that a change of location and scenery was about due.  As it turned out, we couldn’t have gone much further south and still remained in Scotland!  Bob Baillie and Mid Bruce had devised a route which took us to the North West Castle in Stranraer as our headquarters for the three nights.  Entries were down slightly from previous as you can see from the List of Entrants below.  Most Entrants were from Ayrshire and the central belt but some came from much further afield.  Unfortunately, David Fotheringham and Susan Gould had to pull out at the last minute due to illness.

List of Entrants

Bob & Margaret Baillie, Mazda 2, Mauchline    Ian & Margaret Smillie, BMW, Milngavie
Barry & Nancy Crichton, BMWCumbernauld   Stuart & Mairi Parker, MGBLarkhall
Charlie & Netta Young, Mercedes, Strathaven  John & Jay Thomson, Mercedes, Hamilton
Tom & Marion Bicket, Mazda 6, Symington   Bill & Eileen Montgomery,  Perth
Ian & Louise Gemmell, Land Rover, Mauchline  Jimmy & Arlene McInnes, MGTF Troon
Walter & Bette Gray, Mazda MX5Perth    Billy & Anne Cuthbertson, E Type, Troon
Pat & John Smith, Vauxhall Corsa Elgin    Mid & Val Bruce, Quantum 2+2Annbank
Tommy & Elma Scott, Audi A3,  Kilmarnock  David Fotheringham & Susan Gould,  By Stair

Friday Morning and Afternoon:

Those not from Ayrshire had been given a route from Garrion Bridge on the Clyde, which took them to The Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway where they were to meet up with the others.
The New Award winning Burns Museum in Alloway
After a welcome cup of coffee in the new museum shown above, at around 11 am, we departed to follow a common route which took us down, as close to the coast as possible, to Ballantrae. This year Bob had decided, instead of using the familiar ‘ball and arrow’ instructions, to use Google’s downloaded instructions from the net instead! These appeared fine on paper but heads were being scratched no end over the whole weekend as a result!  I suppose it did add to the fun (but not to some tempers)!  From Ballantrae, we headed inland via Colmonell and Barrhill to Newton Stewart where we stopped for lunch and a stroll around the town.  By this time we had driven about 65 miles from Alloway (those from Garrion another 41 miles while those from Elgin another 240 miles!!)  Fortunately, so far the weather had been pretty fair.  The three “going open”, the Cuthbertson’s E-Type Jaguar, the McInnes MGTF and the Parker MGB, had only to stop once because of a rain shower, to put their hoods up before we got to Newton Stewart.  From there, it was only a short main road 25 miles to the final stop at Stranraer.  Unfortunately, the McInnes and the Cuthbertson’s, who had decided to go open again, were really caught short by a sudden and torrential hail storm halfway along the A75.  But we all arrived unscathed and looked forward to what the hotel had to offer.
 We were certainly not to be disappointed with the North West Castle Hotel.  The accommodation and food were really excellent, certainly, up to the standard we had come to expect in previous Runs.  Before dinner, many entrants took a stroll around Stranraer harbour. 

  Friday Evening:

Bob Baillie had laid on a reception before dinner in the Hotel’s Jubilee Room. After dinner following custom, our Chairman, Mr James W. McInnes entertained the company with a few amusing tales!  Thereafter the proceedings continued in the Jubilee Room.  Gordon and Karen Clendinning had again brought their very large Scalextric track for us to enjoy.
Friday evening’s competition was laid out to allow for a marathon Knockout Race Competition.  Names were drawn from a hat and paired.  The winner of each pair going on to the next level until the eventual winner was found.  This turned out to be Tom Bicket with Bill Montgomery as runner-up.

Saturday Morning and Afternoon:

The weather on Saturday was more settled being sunny but cold. We started off at 10 o’clock more or less in convoy. The route for the day was to take us all around the Mull of Galloway.  We headed south initially to Logan Botanical Gardens where there was a stop. Everyone enjoyed walking around this well-established garden – amazed at the variety of flora and just how far ahead the plants were compared to our own gardens at home, due to the gulf stream weather.  
From Logan, we travelled as far south as possible to the lighthouse at the end of the Rhinns of Galloway.  Just before the lighthouse was the Gallie Craig Coffee House where we had a welcomed lunch looking out over the Irish sea.  
The weather continued to be fine as we drove up the Rhinns to Portpatrick – for another stroll and another break for more refreshments!
Hotel on left where most Entrants stopped for a ‘cup of something’
Portpatrick’s harbour – popular with visitors
The route then took us up to the north of the Mull to Kirkcolm where there were wartime bases for Sunderland Flying Boats – then it was straight back to Stranraer –  and for some a welcomed siesta!

Saturday Evening: 

A reception was followed by another excellent dinner, which again was followed by a story or two from our Chairman.  These were enjoyed not only by our own company but also by the adjoining table of golfers! Thereafter we adjourned to the Jubilee Room where Gordon had laid on a slightly different layout for a five-lap Time Trial.
Entrants were given a few practice laps prior to being timed officially. There appeared to be no limit on the number of shots that were allowed so the competition became quite fierce, especially among the female entrants. As you will see from the results below showing the top dozen results, the ladies showed the men just how it was done! The slowest time of the evening was recorded by our esteemed Chairman and Story Teller in Chief (who shall remain nameless to protect the McInnes family name).  It should be pointed out that not all present cared to show their talents, or lack of same, by not entering the competition!  Enough said!

Sunday Morning and Afternoon: 

As some were heading home at the end of the Sunday run, at breakfast Bob presented the prizes to the Scalextric Maximum Attack winners.  He also presented Gordon Clendinning with a cheque for £385 from V.S.M.A., again to be given to the Glasgow University Trust towards Gordon’s leukaemia charity.
After photographs were taken (for Cutty Sark the Spring Run’s sponsors) we set off shortly after 10 o’clock.  We again went south, this time as far as the Isle of Whithorn village.
We stopped at the Isle of Whithorn for a quick look around the harbour before heading north to Gatehouse-of-Fleet where lunch awaited us at the Murray Arms Hotel.





Lunch in the Murray Arms, Gatehouse-of-Fleet
With little time remaining, we headed up to Laurieston to the Bellymack Farm in time to see the Red Kites being fed at 2.0 o’clock.  Unfortunately, when we got there the rain started but we were able to make use of the ‘Hide’ where an officer of the RSPB enlightened us on these marvellous birds.  If you have never seen such a spectacle as their feeding, I would highly recommend a visit to the site if you are ever in the area.

The group broke up after the Red Kite visit, with the majority making their way north for home, while the dozen who remained made their way back to Stranraer.  As the weather was still slightly inclement (it was bucketing), few, if any of us, took Bob’s recommended route to Newton Stewart and hence to Stranraer, via the Raider’s Road through the Galloway Forest.  The main road was hard enough!
Compared with the previous two evenings, Sunday night at the hotel was very quiet!

Monday Morning:

The remaining few said their farewells on Monday after breakfast.  It was unanimously agreed that it had been another most enjoyable weekend.  Looking forward to the next one.  Bob Baillie had again provided the ingredients for the Spring Run – interesting route, interesting places to visit and some not so gentle evening competition!  Many thanks again Bob and Mid. Well done.
Many thanks are also due to all the entrants who sent in the above photographs.  Much appreciated.
Stuart Parker  17th May 2012

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Saturday’s Time Trial Results (5 laps)

1st   Mid Bruce                    56.7 seconds
2nd  Tommy Scott              56.4 seconds
3rd   Bill Montgomery        56,7 seconds
4th   Eileen Montgomery    57.9 seconds
5th   Anne Cuthbertson    58.0 seconds
6th   Billy Cuthbertson     58.5 seconds
7th   Margaret Smillie      60.0 seconds
8th   Mairi Parker             62.0 seconds
9th   Bob Baillie                 64.0 seconds
10th  Ian Gemmell              65.0 seconds
11th  Pat Smith                   67.0 seconds
12th  Margaret Baillie        68.0 seconds