Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

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James k
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Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby James k » Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:59 pm

Hi,
On Friday I'm embarking on the longest journey I've made in my Traveller, from Hastings to Inverness in an 11 day round trip. It's a total distance of around 1600 miles and I'll be stopping off in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Gosforth (Seascale), Wishaw, Kingussie, York and Thetford along the way. Before now, the longest journey I've made in the car is to Gatwick airport and back (60 miles each way) so it's a big jump!

Does anyone have any tips on anything? Routes to avoid, driving techniques, things to check/ watch out for, things to carry that might not be obvious etc.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

Thanks,
James

j.davis200
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby j.davis200 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:41 pm

Hi James - I often drive to Scotland for work (from Thetford, Norfolk) and have tried different routes.

I urge you to take the A1 for most of the journey - it's pretty ordinary up to Newcastle, but after that it is a road I always enjoy - a mixture of single and dual, lightly trafficked, very smooth surface, best of all beautiful scenery, particularly after Berwick where it follows the coast.

Plenty of garages (for that tiny Moggy tank!) and interesting places to see.

As you may gather I love this road - probably my favourite of all.

Hope you have a great trip!

simmitc
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby simmitc » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:45 pm

I've done the same sort of journey a few times (Essex to Edinburgh, Inverness and Falkirk). I second the A1 route. If you or a passenger like shopping, try Boundary Mill near Grantham. Angel of the North worth a stop. Make sure the car is serviced before you go. Take some spare oil, water and petrol with you along with some spares and basic tools - this is exactly what motorists always used to do, "be prepared". Whilst in Inverness, pop along the road a bit and have a look at the Great Glen. I hope that you have a great trip.

les
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby les » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:48 pm

------ and don't forget the ear plugs.


Monty-4
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby Monty-4 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:07 pm

I lived in Scotland for a little over three years and made the trip down to family and back up again many times in my Minor. The A1 route is nicer looking but I found it took significantly longer, so be prepared for that.

Take breaks, find a speed that gives a bearable noise level. Stop often, take it steady and stay hydrated to fend off the drowsiness - watermelon is the best car snack for this!
68' 4-door Saloon, another 'Monty'.

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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby GavinL » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:01 pm

If you're feeling adventurous take the A68 or A697 north of Newcastle - generally fewer nutters and more picturesque.

myoldjalopy
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby myoldjalopy » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:42 pm

les wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:48 pm
------ and don't forget the ear plugs.
Eh? In case of bagpipes? :o

James k
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby James k » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:55 am

Thanks for all the replies!

On the way up I'm going to be going via Stratford-Upon-Avon and Seascale so I'll be on the wrong side for the A1. On the way back down I'm going via Edinburgh and York so the A1 will be ideal. I was planning on just taking the motorways (M25 -> M40 -> M6) up to Seascale or is there a better route?

In terms of spares and tools, I'll take as much as I can. I regularly drive to Germany in my 2003 Zafira and I take a lot with me even then (sockets, compression tester, spare plugs, coil, MAF, jubilee clips etc.) so I'll fit as much as I can. I've got a spare coil and distributor and plugs in the car already. Any other bits I should be carrying?


Thanks,
James

j.davis200
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby j.davis200 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 12:52 pm

As to spares, I'd say coil, points and condenser but not whole distributor (depends on space), fuel pump, fuses and bulbs, and fan belt. Bungee straps and cable ties will get you out of many problems. A 12 volt screwdriver/tester is a great help.

A Morrie is always on you're side - it'll usually give you lots of warning signs when it has a problem. But really, you shouldn't worry as a well maintained Minor is just about the most dependable piece of machinery ever made.

Have fun! I hope you'll tell us how it all went afterwards.

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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby Monty-4 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:49 pm

If you're on the M6 make sure you stop at the Tebay Westmoorland services and say hi to the ducks. :)
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Myrtles Man
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby Myrtles Man » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:25 pm

'I was planning on just taking the motorways (M25 -> M40 -> M6) up to Seascale...'

Make sure you leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front - their brakes are a squillion times better than yours and too many drivers deal with changing/adverse situations ahead of them by slamming their brakes on, secure (usually) in the belief that they'll stop before they hit anything. Also watch out for the lane-hopper who thinks it a good idea to dive into the gap you've thoughtfully left ahead of yourself; the assumption of other drivers (many of whom would not recognise a drum brake if it fell on their toe) tends to be that your brakes, too, are able to stop your car on a sixpence (20p piece?)

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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby philthehill » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:33 pm

I used to go to the west coast of Cumbria near Gosforth from Hampshire every Friday and back on Monday in my Ser 2 (for over 18 months) via the M5, M6 to junction 36 and onto the A590 to Greenodd turn right onto the A5092 over Grizebeck Fell to Broughton in Furness then the A595 round the Duddon and Black Combe then over Ravenglass Fell to Holmrook and just a bit further on to Gosforth or turn left onto the B5343 to Seascale.
If you are not in any hurry the scenery is fantastic and once off the motorway a pleasure to drive.
The Lakeside Railway at the bottom of Lake Windermere is worth a visit as is the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway which if on the A595 you will pass over the railway at Ravenglass Corn Mill which is still operating.
I lived and worked near Ravenglass for just over 10 years so know the area well.
Gosforth had and may still have a very good tea shop.
Seascale was always worth a visit.
Tom Rolt in his book Landscape with Figures gives a very good description of driving the south Cumbrian route.
From Gosforth head north on the A595 to Carlisle and then you can choose one of several routes, all good to take you further north.
The furthest north I took the Ser 2 was Rosyth but have travelled the A9 to Inverness and onto Fort George on the Moray Forth several times.
Between Rosyth and Inverness the scenery is spectacular.
The Ser 2 was more reliable than the Citroen turbo diesel BX I normally used.
Have an enjoyable and safe journey.
Phil


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Myrtles Man
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby Myrtles Man » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:38 pm

Did you ever tackle Hardknott/Wrynose in the Minor Phil? :o
Last edited by Myrtles Man on Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

philthehill
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby philthehill » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:07 pm

I may well have done so but at this moment cannot recollect having done so.
Wrynose (not spelt Rynose)
It would have been well over twenty years ago now since I last traversed Hardknott and Wrynose.
Hardknott has the Roman Fort, Wrynose has the three shires stone. Lancashire (north of the sands) Westmorland and Cumberland. All now subsumed into Cumbria.
But I do remember pushing a bed up Black Combe for Charity :roll:
I also remember going over the passes in the 1800cc Marina and Ital 1.7 I had at the time and on the various motorcycles I had when living in Cumbria.


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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby TDV102 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:04 pm

I've done the Lakeland passes in a 948cc Minor and it's challenging, even with a low ratio SII dif. Very steep climb, a lot of first gear and vital to avoid missed gear changes. Avoiding cooked brakes on the way down is even more difficult. I was glad of a spare set as they glazed to hell!
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby Myrtles Man » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:15 pm

Changing down from second to first on the hairpins must have presented a bit of a challenge! :o

panky
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby panky » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:01 pm

We do the M6 run up to Scotland every year in one of our Commer campers (usually the Jennings Roadranger) on our way to Moffat from Widnes, quickest rout by far but it is boring. We stop off at Tebay for a break. nice shop that sells fantastic bread :D
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby palacebear » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:05 pm

Has Tebay services still got that family-run shop etc? Used to be much better than the usual range of franchises at services :)
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby panky » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:23 pm

I believe so. It's a non- franchised farm shop and restaurant run by local folk, much better than the usual crop of burger bars and coffee houses.
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James k
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Re: Driving to Scotland - Any Tips?

Postby James k » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:54 pm

Wow, I didn't expect quite so many responses so quickly!

Phil, that route you describe to Gosforth is exactly what I was planning, I'm glad to hear it's a scenic route! I'm also planning on visiting the Ravenglass to Eskdale railway. It looks like the easiest route from Gosforth to Wishaw will be the A595 then A74. I'll probably just sit with the trucks on the motorways but my car is in good condition so can happily do 70.

I bought a spare fanbelt, bulbs and fuses today and I've got lots of oil, bungees, cable ties, multimeter etc. I've got electronic ignition fitted so no points/condenser. I do have a spare points distributor though in the unlikely case that it fails.

I don't see any reason (fingers crossed) why it should give me any trouble. I fully rebuilt the engine a few thousand miles ago, it's had a new clutch and the gearbox is good, it's got new tyres and new front wheel bearings. I've changed the oil (including gearbox and diff), greased everything, done the valve gaps, new air filter, cleaned and gapped the plugs and adjusted the brakes. I've also got oil pressure and temperature gauges fitted so I can keep an eye on things. I've even got lead additive, which I don't usually use, since I'll be doing lots of constant motorway miles. Still, you can never be too prepared!

I will of course let you know how it goes and post some pictures :)

Keep the suggestions coming! :D

James


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