It's been a busy week since we got back and it wasn't until today I got chance ro have a look at Numbum. Using a borrowed jack and my axle stands I got the old girl up high enough to see what I was doing.
The reason for the noise and vibration was obvious. One cup had vanished from the universal joint.
The reason it vanished was a cracked yoke.
Parts are ordered and it shouldn't be long before the old gal is back on the road.
After a hearty breakfast it was time to set off for home.
No more ritual checking the oil & water. No more carefully assembling the 3D jigsaw puzzle of the luggage in the back of the TA.
It was open the boot, chuck everything in and drive. So boring.
Our egos took a bit of a hit as nobody's heads swivelled as we drove past. Nobody suddenly rushed to get a camera. We were cloaked in the anonimity of a Ford Focus. We were just another couple in just another car. It was a bit sad really.
The journey home was uneventful and once we had unloaded the car it was almost as if we'd never been away.
This is a sad day but even so there were some good parts to it. Last night I had spent about 45 minutes looking for a B&B in our price range in the Fort William area with no luck at all. I eventually found an hotel with a room but at an eye watering price. The cost was not refundable if we didn't make it. This is a relevant factor in why we made the decision we did.
When we woke up it was a damp drizzly day. By the time we had eaten breakfast it was raining, not hard but certainly wetter than earlier. For the first time in the trip we set off in wet weather clothing.
We fuelled up and set off along the A38. For a couple of days Numbum had a slight vibration in the driveline but it was liveable with and we'd carried on.
Today the vibration suddenly worsened and the car was almost undriveable above 30mph. We limped along looking for a garage and found one in Kilmartin. When I saw an MGB on the ramp I knew we'd found a good place.
The guys there were absolutely wonderful. We soon had Numbum over the narrow pit and the problem identified as a collapsed UJ at the front end of the propshaft. Off came the shaft and a good UJ was nicked from a Ford Escort shaft and fitted. They also identified and fixed a couple of battery cable issues.
Off we went again. With the vibration gone it was smooth as silk. Unfortunately about 9 miles down the road there was a loud clunk and the serious vibration was back. I pulled onto a safe place and tried to ring the garage but had no signal. Pam was sat under the brolly and I spent some time wandering up & down the road looking for a phone signal with no luck.
Eventually a lovely lady drove me to her house and let me use the phone. She also provided us with a flask of hot water. I rang the garage and they were prepared to look at the issue again if we got the car recovered to them. There was a strong possibility that we would be there till Monday if not Tuesday before we could be moving again.
Not only would this have lost us a hefty hotel room cost but we would have had to find B&B locally and be there with no transport for the weekend.
Neither of us fancied that so it was with a heavy heart that I called the RAC for recovery.
0nly 69 miles today.
The company the RAC used had been trying to ring us with no luck so sent a driver to give us our options. They didn't have a driver with enough hours available to take us home so would bring a loan car to us and take Numbum back to their depot for delivery home later. This sounded good to us.
About 8.10pm the loan car arrived on a flat bed and was unloaded. We quickly took all of our gear and chucked it in the boot of the Ford Focus and helped to get Numbum onto the flatbed.
The rain had stopped while we were waiting but a chilly breeze came along and we were quite cold. Some improvisation was called for. We were quite cozy in there.
While we were waiting in our improvised tent we heard the rumble of a diesel motor. Was this our recovery man? Nope, it was a driver who had seen us and turned back to see if he could help. He couldn't but he gave us some biscuits. Great guy!
We were still 92 miles from the Invergarry Hotel and they closed the doors at 11pm. That was a bit of a push in a strange car on strange roads in the dark but we made it there at ten to eleven.
We got checked in and by just after eleven we were drinking coffee and eating fruit cake before collapsing into bed.
In May 2014 we were in this area with The MG Car Club Caledonian Centre on their Three Day Scenic Tour. We were in the MGB GT then. We revisited a couple of places.
The first was a viewing point for the Kyles of Bute. The first picture was then, the second is today. Quite a difference.
With thoughts of taking the ferry to Tarbert we headed to Portavadie to check it out. Given out previous experiences with ferries and Numbum's exhaust I wasn't going to use the ferry without seeing the angles of approach. It was a no go, but we did get another then & now photo.
Reminiscing over it was back on the road again. This bit was a bit boring just trundling along the major roads. Pam almost fell asleep a couple of times. We stopped for lunch at a garden centre near Inveraray.
We eventually picked up a road more suited to old Numbum, where we met some locals who outnumber humans, and headed on down to Campbeltown for the night.
Having made good time we kept on going on a narrow coastal road which we planned to do in the morning.
185 mostly super miles.
Another day of beautiful weather. On the advice of our host we took the Carrick Hill Road to Ayr. That was superb advice. The view from the top was marvellous. We stopped to take pictures and a lovely gent gave us a donation. What a great start to the day.
We found fuel in Ayr and headed off up the coast in heavy traffic which didn't clear until we passed Ardrossan. From there it was plain sailing to Gourock where we looked for the ferry to Dunoon. The plan was to cheat a bit and have some quiet time in Dunoon. We couldn't find the ferry and a guy we spoke to for directions said it was no longer a car ferry, just a foot passenger one. On the way out of Gourock we ran into roadworks with lane closures which was very slow going.
With no ferry the only option was the roads and we drove round Glasgow and across the Erskine Bridge.
The lunch stop was a layby near Rhu, overlooking Gare Loch.
Round the top of Gare Lock there was a stunning run down the side of the loch, very close to the water, on a narrow road, into Kilcregan. Then it was back up the loch. We picked up the major road again and stopped for a break and a cuppa in Arrochar at the top of Loch Long.
We picked up two lovely narrow roads, B828 and B839 which made a welcome change from the major roads. It was quite a surprise to find an artic on here.
From there it was an easy run down to Dunoon to our B&B for the night.
161 lovely miles today.
We left Rivergarth about 9.20, after a super breakfast and found a filling station to top up the tank.
Last night both of Pam's USB pens corrupted and she couldn't back up the many pictures she took so it was off to find some more. We managed to find some memory cards to do the job and hit the road.
In shirt sleeves again we headed up the coast to Newton Stewart and down the peninsula to the Isle of Whithom.
We stopped for lunch overlooking Auchenmalg Bay.
From there it was on to Portpatrick where we stopped for a while and had ice cream. We love this part of the trip. Covering good mileages but still having time to stop and take in the sights is wonderful.
Some lovely roads up to Kirkcolm and down to Stranraer and with little traffic we were motoring along nicely. The sea was so close on this road that Pam felt she could almost put her hand in it. It got a bit busy on the A77 after Stranraer but we were still moving.
After 168 miles we reached our B&B, The Arches in Knockden. Once we got checked in we travelled about six miles to a pub for our evening meal. Just as we were leaving a guy ran up to us and introduced himself as a member of The Carrick Round Table and he gave us a very generous donation for Harrison's Fund. Thank you so much and please pass on our thanks to the other members of The Round Table.
We'd had some trouble with the internet connection last night so we hadn't been able to find tonight's B&B so getting that sorted delayed our start this morning. We eventually got away from The Bower House in Holmrook about 9.30.
The misfire was still with us and Pam wondered if it was fuel starvation. I tended to agree with her and we stopped at a motor factors in Whitehaven where I picked up a new fuel filter. I fitted it and things were much improved. The old one didn't look that bad but it obviously was restricting the flow somewhat.
After navigating the speed bumps in Whitehaven without issue we headed on up the road.
A short run on the M6 took us into Scotland and we hit the coastal route just west of Gretna.
This is where what had been a mostly fun trip really came to life and was brilliant. Mile after mile of almost deserted roads and we could really start to put some serious miles on. This was the start of beautiful view overload.
It was an easy run all the way to our B&B, Riversgarth in Kirkcudbright. We checked in then took the mile walk along the riverbank into town for a meal. We needed the fresh air after being in the car all day.
163 wonderful shirtsleeve miles.
We thought the nightclub noise going on till 2.30 was bad enough but at half past four there was yelling and shouting and the bang and crash of waste bins being moved and bottles being chucked about.
We did get some sleep before breakfast but it wasn't really worth getting up for. Everything was almost cold including the fried eggs. Coffee was almost undrinkable..
We did complain but they weren't interested. The hotel was full most of the time so they didn't care about the occasional complaint. The Scarisbrick Hotel in Southport was the most expensive place we stayed at so far and without doubt the worst.
The tonneau cover had been tampered with overnight and we wondered if anything may be missing, not that there was anything of great value left in the car. We unsnapped the back and rolled it forward to load the luggage. Nothing was missing. Once loaded we refastened the back and opened up the front and we noticed pound coins and 50p pieces on the seats. It wasn't people trying to pinch stuff but people donating to Harrison's Fund
The run up the coast through Lytham St Annes, Blackpool, Fleetwood, Morecambe, and on to Grange over Sands was easy going. We took a short break near Baycliffe with wonderful views over Morecambe Bay with Blackpool Tower just visible in the distance.
The roads were getting easier and traffic was lighter and we made good time until we got a bit lost trying to find our nights B&B.
Eventually we got there and I was surprised to find we'd covered 182 relatively pain free miles.
Take an old couple and an even older car, add in over 4000 miles of driving and this is the result. This is the story of Numbum's drive round the UK coastline, driven by Owen and ably navigated by Pam. We hope you enjoy the journey. We will.