The great scottish grand tour March 2012. Well folks, as I am off work until Monday and the weather was good there was nothing for it, I decided to go on another grand tour taking me pretty much all around Scotland. To hell with the fuel shortages or potential, I wanted to go touring, so I did. Sadly, I injured my back the day before, and I was walking as if I had been passed around a prison shower room, but with the sun shining and a determination to get touring, I packed a change of clothes, some CD's (yes folk still have these) and aimed the shed for the North The route for day one was http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr...KvkgJuOSDFw4993HGgMCg&oq=Kyle+&mra=ls&t=m&z=9 The first photo stop was Loch Lomond, I've never seen it this still, have any of you? The next stop was to come of the A82 and head for Glen Etive. Its a great area to see and take pictures as you can see Sadly however, its not shed friendly. I might have been going 50 maybe 60 and a hump blasted the sheds nose and underside onto the bottom of the road. Ooops. The road is fun, but the cars size did show, as does her soggy soft suspension even in sports trim. I remember getting this car and thinking how poised it was, but its a tad too wollowy for this sort of road. However, perhaps the run over the Kinclohleven road would help things. Bit wider and you can go fast on this road, despite the tight bends and being chucked about the shed hung on well. I stopped for another photo stop as I've never seen the Loch this still. Sadly, I could smell burning tyres, perhaps I'd been giving the shed too much stick. From here, it was up to Spean Bridge for a most delightful lunch of Venison and Haggis burger, for the princely sum of £6. Eating, unlike fuelling the shed, is still very cheap. I tackled the A87 at significant speed, not far off what Sean did in his CLS55 but the CLS AMG is noticeably stiffer and more poised and could carry more speed than I could, I still managed to have a slight RWD moment. It was onto Glenelg. This has tight hairpins and steep hills, in short, its my sort of road. Quick photo stop and yep, the sheds tyres still smell of burning. Ooops. As you can see, the day was rather hazy obscuring a really good view. Once at Glenelg I decided to see the old Brochs, as this is part of Scotlands heritage and something we should be glad that the National trust still provide to us to see FOC. I blasted back up the Glenelg road, found a cheap B&B and aimed the shed for Skye to capture one of the famous sunsets. I hope you are not disappointed. Route for day two http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr...XgXzmQSDFKbgVLNO9Fbg&oq=Loch+C&mra=ls&t=m&z=9 Leaving the B&B I wafted along to Eilan Donan castle, took a picture (well a few). From here, it was time to aim the shed for Loch Carron. There are some road works, and this road will be familiar to a few members on here, but its a really lovely drive and some nice views on the way. Time now to man up, its the best bit of driving in the area. The road to Applecross. This is where the shed came alive. Partly because although she is a wollowy old hector and can absorb some of the worse bumps, but mainly because of a 3rd gear that gets beyond 60mph and the small matter of 221bhp and 368ft/lb of torque. From this picture stop, it was up to 60mph along here as you can see a fair way. The power also means you can really blast out the hairpins and the parameter steering allows you to change direction and get lock on really quickly. After this, a gentle run down to Applecross for Lunch. For those of you who came on the grand tour last year, it was good nostalgia to be back. The next picture will be familiar, as you can see I am at the end of the road. From here I drove down via Torridon, much more sedately and took in the views, which you must say are excellent. I aimed the shed for Gairloch but first I called into a place we used to have family holidays when I was a small person. I've not been here since 2001 and it was great to meet the new owners who will look after the place as well as their predecessors. Coming up here I think is where I get the love of touring from, all these deserted roads with stunning views. The hotel will be doing B&B for £42PP and the fella is a good cook, I will be staying here I think and taking a trip down memory lane. Here is an image of the Island that is Anthrax Island, although I could be wrong as there are a lot of small Islands here. Basically, in the 1940's. Anthrax was tested up here, and the Island remained off Limits for 50 years. I had a dinner in Ullapool and the run to Ullappool from Gairloch is thrilling, big speeds are doable. Past Ullappool big speeds are do-able and again the sheds prodigious grip, supportive seats, flappy gears, and monstrous torque output meant I made Durness in about 2 hours, with stops for pictures. Here is the old ruin near Inchnadamph. After here, you get an amazing uphill road, tight corners that because the road is wide and well sighted, you can really fly through. Quick stop for the Kylesku bridge. The weather was decidedly Scottish and none the worse for it. The run into Durness was a doddle and really really fast, but you can see what a beautiful part of the world this is. Route for day three http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr...wsO3_ylzAnBliweJSDEcuAPInC5-6w&mra=ls&t=m&z=8 A quick photo walk before breakfast, which was much needed. I also went to see "Smoo Cave". This part of the world is inundated with lovely Coves and sandy beaches and you see these easily from the road. Bar the weather, this really is a lovely part of Scotland and we are lucky to have such unspoilt scenery and coast. Just be wary of rouge sheep on the roads The run to Toungue was another test of the shed, slightly too wallowy but very cosseting, but still made good progress. The views IMHO are majestic up here, and the weather was improving as I headed east. I put some diesel in the shed at 165ppl and wafted down to see Greig (the Scots members have met my mate) in Aviemore. The run over the "Struie hill" to Evanton was particularly memorable and where wafting became extreme hooning. Aviemore was great, I had highland chicken which is chicken stuffed with Haggis. Delish!! Greig knows the area extremely well so he directed me to blast the shed up to the Ski Centre. The bends can be taken at speed (60plus) of which he felt his golf couldn't do on the bends, my arse, I bet it could as the shed does wallow about a lot but as a GT is good, but its not a sports car. The views from the Ski centre are IMHO excellent, but I still remain unconvinced that the Cairngorms remain a particularly scenic part of Scotland, too bleak for me. Oh, Aviemore has a beach!!! From here, I hooned across to the Tomintoul via the Lecht. This is a great attack road as because of the Cairngorm bleakness, you can really really go for it. The other lovely thing is you can go back via Royal Deeside. Braemar Castle too rather than the cliche of Balmoral From here, I went to Pitlochary, and did some delightful panic buying. The shed took £70 in Pitlochary, £35 in Aviemore, £20 in Toungue. Expensive day out, but the waft back yielded this, and I beat google maps by 2 hours plus. So, to cut a long story short, how do I feel about the car now after two epic grand tours and no breakdowns since January. I've had a lot of time to freshly re-evaluate the car against driving a potential replacement. The shed does have epic straight-line performance, more than I probably should have, and is a reasonably good thing to chuck around on back roads that I like, given the size and weight of the thing, it does well. Its very comfortable and has enough room for my gear etc. Also, the seat design was good, as a back pain sufferer, and more cronic pain the last view days the shed has proved very therapeutic and comfortable. The seats, bar being leather, really are great. Its a very "nice" car and despite my moans about it, I wouldn't drive something I don't like. The cabin etc and ambience are all very classy. However, it is a tad too soft, actually, not a tad, its too barge like when you are really pressing on. I've definitely decided Shed II will be a smaller more car, with a smaller engine as its galling to go through £200-£300 worth of fuel in a week and a bit off. A C220cdi or 320d Msports wagon as the annual holiday is a BBQ, tents and deck chair thing and all that is a PITA with the shed. I'm not an S class kind of guy, I know thats the aspiration of most merc drivers, but suspect I am happier further down the car chain ladder, in still something nice but a bit more agile and lighter on its feet. The E's make a great luxury GT, just not a particularly sporting one. Haste ye back!!!