A.H.C.Northern Centre.
19th/21st Sept. 2003 Highland 3 Day Classic Tour.
Report by Mike Smith. Photos by Jan Brinkhorst, Paul Garstang, Alisdair Reid and Mike Smith.

     DAY ONE.
Starting at the Lovat Hotel in Perth, the route headed North East through Kirriemuir and Edzell, sweeping around through Ballater and Crathie, close to Balmoral. Lunch was taken at Nethy Bridge to the South of Grantown on Spey. Then heading through the Glenmore Forest Park past Aviemore we headed South West to Kingussie then doubled back to head North, turning off through Strathdearn and Strathnairn to arrive for our overnight stay in Inverness at the Craigmonie Hotel.
     DAY TWO. A fast drive up the North East coast along the A9 over the Firths of Moray, Cromarty and Dornoch, then we turned inland and headed North along the quiet narrow roads, with passing places, to Tongue and lunch at the Ben Lovat Hotel. The scenic coast road took us to our most Northerly point at Durness, then through villages with such delightful names as Scourie, Clashnessie and Lochinver. We enjoyed the spectacular scenery of the Inverpolly Forest national park before passing through Ullapool and so to our overnight stop at the Dundonnell Hotel on the side of Little Loch Broom.
     DAY THREE. Along the West coast road by Gruinard Bay and past Inverewe Gardens to Gairloch. Then beside Loch Maree to Kinlochewe and Upper Loch Torridon. The dramatic Applecross hairpins followed, (always a must on every Highland 3 Day!), stopping for lunch at the Loch Carron Hotel. Then the route headed through Glen Shiel to Invergarry and down the banks of Loch Lochy, through Fort William and down the coast through Oban to the overnight halt at the beautifully situated Loch Melfort Hotel.

Hover on thumbnail photos for titles, click to enlarge.

Bernard & Clare Jones leave the start.


Burning coach on the first morning delayed lunch.


Line up outside the Nethy Bridge lunch stop.


Howard & Lesley Seaton prepare to leave the Inverness hotel.


      Breathtaking, the picture below says it all. And the roads were immense fun in our ageing classics.

Typical of the fabulous highland scenery en route.


On the whole pretty good, certainly we had the tops down a lot more than up, driving though the light showers and with the heavens opening on just three occasions.

Team Scotland take a coffee break.


Wet lunch break at Tongue.


Beach break and a well earned rest for Ivor Davies's 100.


Overnight stay at Dundonnell on Little Loch Broom.


     23 cars started the course and 23 finished with relatively few problems apart from the odd puncture, broken fan belt and loosened shock absorbers.
     There were 17 big Healeys, but no small ones. There was an MGA an MGB and for good measure an MGC. A Morgan, a Mini Cooper and a Datsun 240Z completed the list.

An alphabet of MG's (A B & C)


Group photo by Little Loch Broom.


Intrepid Clerk of the Course, Mike Raven, ready for all weathers.


Mike & Catherine Raven take a brief respite.


Good quality hotels with excellent food and often in dramatic locations. All entrants appeared well pleased by the high standards.

Ken Broster & Charlotte Hesketh.


Typical woodland scene.


The road to Oban.


More breathtaking scenery.


       Again, all credit to Mike Raven and his band of helpers for yet another highly successful Highland 3 Day Tour. Jan and Paul had assembled such a vast array of quality photos that I was spoiled for choice which ones to include - great quality too, I will have to invest in a better camera myself if I am to compete.
       The tour was not without incident and the billowing smoke ahead of us on the first morning signaled, not a BBQ at the lunch halt, but a coach which had burst into flames just prior to our arrival, delaying all of us by an hour or so. Fortunately no one was hurt in the fire but the bus was gutted. (See photo)
       Bernard Jones had a close call when the car in front he was overtaking seemingly did not see him and pulled out, Bernard's spinner neatly removed her hub cap. Henceforth he will be remembered as Bernard 'Boadicea' Jones.
       Many thanks to Mike on behalf of all we competitors for such a memorable event.
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