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.
We left the B&B at ten past nine and had a good run up the coast to Caernarfon. We didn't go round Anglesey but drove onto the island on one bridge and off on the other.
From there it was along the coast through Bangor and Conwy. The tunnels on this road were awesome, especially the last one.In Llandudno we paid the toll and drove round The Great Orme and had lunch at the summit. We met some great people there too.
Further along the coast old Numbum developed a misfire at medium revs, most irritating. I cheked the points gap, it was a bit tight so I re-gapped it. It was no better. I took them apart, cleaned and dressed the points, cleaned the distributor, cap & leads.Still no better. OK, better check the plugs. Search the tool bag for the plug socket. It wasn't there. "Oh dear", I said and we limped off to find somewhere to buy one. Eventually found a Tool Station and bought a cheap socket and pulled the plugs. The back two were great, the front two were a bit black & sooty but not too bad. I changed them all for new ones and the misfire wasn't so bad.
We passed through the Mersey Tunnel. Wow! that was wild. Eventually we arrived at our hotel in Southport only to find there was no offstreet parking. Pam had rung ahead at lunch time and had been assured that there was plenty of space. She was not amused and finally were were allowed to park outside the front door. It was too public for my liking but there were CCTV cameras so we took what was offered.
After a quick bite to eat in a cafe just down the street, we got back to our room only to find there was a nightclub next door, blasting out music at high volume. This went on till two thirty. We didn;t sleep well at all.
We left the B&B just before 9am in a strong wind and had a fairly good run up the coast on white roads then we ended up on the road to Llangrannog which turned out to be a dead end. It was such a drag turning round and driving miles back that we decided to abandon white roads and stick to yellow, red & green. This turned out quite well as most of the roads closest to the coast were red or yellow.
We stopped for lunch in Borth, a lovely place with the wind still blowing. Out came the flask, cups and coffee. Spoon coffee from the coffee jar and put in cups. Strange, no coffee in cups but plenty all over the car. It was windy.
The only delays were in towns such as Barmouth, Porthmadog & Pwllheli and we were able to make good time.
We eventually made it to our B&B in Morfa Nefyn. We walked down to a local pub for a meal but didn't fancy the menu or prices so we fired up Numbum and drove about 3 miles to a place more suited to us and had a great meal.
175 excellent miles.
We had a lazy morning waiting for the exhaust to arrive, but popped into town and the B&B staff watched out for it.
Cardigan is a lovely place. The main street is almost devoid of chain stores and is full of local independent shops and cafes.
After a quick lunch and a wander along the main street we got back to Coed Y Bryn to find that the exhaust had arrived. Godfrey, our host had recommended a garage who may be able to help out with fitting it. We drove round to see Paul Edwards who took a look and decided it would be easier to repair the old system than fit the new so he did. Thanks, Paul for taking time out of your busy day to help us out and thanks also to Godfrey for your help too.
With some of the afternoon still left we decided to backtrack and catch some of the coast we missed yesterday and managed 68 coastal miles before stopping at a pub in Mathry for a meal. We arrived back at the B&B ready for another day.
We had an easy run through Carmarthen and found the road to Llansteffan which is just across the Towy estuary from Ferryside where we had coffee yesterday.
We moved on through St Clears and down to Pendine, the historic scene of land speed record breaking in the 1920s. We visited the museum and took a look at the long beach. We got permission to photo Numbum next to the museum and had a chat to some visitors. The exhaust was getting noisy again.
Once we got back on the narrow roads the car developed a misfire.With nowhere to stop I pressed on. The misfire got worse and the car started to die whenever I lifted off the throttle. We made it to Saunders Foot and pulled into the car park. Investigation revealed the points almost closed. I'm not too happy about the quality of replacement points these days. This was a new set fitted before we started this trip. All properly installed with grease on the cam and worn to the point of needing resetting in just over 2000 miles.
I also checked the noisy exhaust and found that all the putty & tape I used yesterday had vanished. Pam found a local motor factors and we headed there to pick up some more repair stuff. This time I chose the metalic strapping to hold the putty in and spent an hour fixing it all up, with the kind help of ex AA man, Huw Adams. Thanks Huw!.
All sorted and quiet again we set off for the coastal roads again. All was fine till just outside Castlemartin when there was the loud roar of an unsilenced motor. The joint repair was fine but the downpipe had dropped through the support plate again. I had some fence wire that they gave me at Killagorden so I wired the exhaust up and smeared some putty round the joint. All was pretty quiet again but by now I was not prepared to risk the lonely coastal roads with things the way they were.
We took the most direct route to our B&B where I rang Moss Motors and arranged for a new front pipe to be delivered to the B&B. We also managed to secure another night so we would have time to get the exhaust fixed properly. Only 67 miles today
Once that was all sorted we walked up into town and found a super Pizza place. Pizzas freshly made and cooked by a large tent filled with tables and heated by a log fire in the middle. Lovely pizzas and a great atmosphere.
The first port of call today was Bridgend Motor Factors for exhaust putty and bandage to try to keep the manifold to downpipe quiet.
They were very helpful and allowed me to carry out the repairs in their car park. Great guys.
After a few wrong turns we found our way out of Bridgend and were back on the planned route with a much quieter exhaust.
We passed through Porthcawl and round Port Talbot & Swansea. Port Talbot wasn't the most beautiful place on the way in.
We reached Mumbles Head after a long crawl in traffic due to roadworks. We lunched on a bench in lovely sunshine. It's a peaceful relatively uncommercial place, a real treat these days.
From there it was along some lovely roads up to Llanelli. We passed the 2000 mile mark in Pembrey.
Along these lovely roads towards Carmarthen we saw a sign for a tea room and quickly turned down the lane. It turned out that they were closed. That was on the sign but we didn't see it. They made us coffee anyway. Super people.
We arrived at Ty Cassell, a beautiful B&B out in the countryside with a river at the bottom of the garden.
108 miles today.
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.