It was quite a few years back, 20 to be precise, that my "Discover My Country" obsession began.
We Sarted in Crieff Perthshire, gateway to the Highlands, and embarked on a journey I will never forget.
My first "car", bought for me by my Farmer Parents, was an old Hydro Electric 1.1 deisel Ford Fiesta Mini Van. I am sure the mileage clock had gone round at least 3 times, oil constantly tried to escape from the rust ridden engine and the radiator went through water like a weggie on Irn Bru. Despite this I decided to cram two Ozzy friends, my best friend, myself and a lot of camping equipment and two case loads of Tennents Lager. I should point out that it was a very compact two seater with very little room in the back compartment and we had only 72 hours to discover the West Coast, the Grampian Mouintains, Braemar, Angus and then back to Crieff.
A rough plan was mapped out and was to take an overly optimistic route. First to Stirling for food supplies which takes about an hour, this part of the excursion went without a hitch.
Next stop was Kenmore on the banks of Loch Tay where we drove up the Moniche (pronounced Monzie (???) to Aberfelday back road and turned off at the first left single lane road which leads to our first proper destination. Beautiful scenery abundant, avoiding roaming sheep and sometimes having to stop and get out to scare them off the road, a high cliff ledge to our right and a very long drop to our left and very few passing places. After about an hour, travelling at about 26miles an hour due to the gradient of the hill, we encountered what seemed at the time the largest Bin truck I had ever seen. No room to pass, a drop to our demise at one side and a verry impenetrable cliff on the other, there was no way round and no way the truck driver was reversing. It was up to little, inexperienced me to reverse about three quarters of a mile to get back to the last passing place. I begin to reverse and to my horror the rear window was so small and dirty I couldnt look out there to navigate, I had no passenger wing mirror and the driver side mirror was pock marked with the kind of bubbling you only see in old victorian mirrors. We where DOOMED!
Slowly but surely, helped by my passenger hanging out his window, I started to reverse with the bin truck coming toward us in a very threatening manner. Just as I thought we were going to make it there was a scream from my three passengers, I panicked and instead of hitting the brakes I hit the accelaralator before hittng the brake. We were inches from plunging to certain death, and all of us were white with fear. I clambered out of the car, sorry van, and walked to the back and realised we were closer to the edge than we first thought. One wheel was over the edge and the other Flat. You guessed it, bloody rear wheel drive.
The four bin men, environmental technitions as they are known as nowadays, jumped from the cab of the truck and rushed to the back of my rust bucket vehicle and pissed themselves laughing. by this time my friends had joined me and we all burst into nervous fits of laughter that only occurrs after avoiding a near catostrophic accident.
The kind gentlemen helped us push my wee van to the middle of the road, changed my tyre and we all elected to push it down to the passing place to avoid another disaster.
We thanked them for their patience and help and handed over half a case of lager for their trouble, let them pass and slowly, much slower than before, eventually made it to Kenmore where we elected to go to the only pub, get very drunk and stay the night and leave very early the next morning to head on to our next stop. Onich.
19 hours gone 53 to go!