Jensen Monday Club
An epic saga involving:
2006 will see the most adventurous journey yet undertaken by the Monday Club. It will go to the part of the world where previously maps said "There be Dragons". And we don't mean Wales...
To test the mettle of the cars and the drivers, a trip to Chris Miller's holiday digs in Scotland was planned. This would involve each car doing over 1000 miles each, and would find any components likely to fail, and whether a bunch of old duffers could cope with a 6000 mile journey next year.
Chris's place is in Dunkeld, just north of Perth, which would involve a 400 mile journey to get there. Chris set off at 6am on Friday morning to get the place setup, and as Steve had to work early on Friday morning, we set off at 10am.
6am, downtown Solihull...
10am, downtown Worcestershire...
This was to be a Gourmet trip, so various mega cheese's were packed...
We set off and headed north on the M5. 136-8779 looking good cruising at 80mph
The journey up the M5 took us past Jensen's and my home town of West Bromwich. You can just make out the sign for West Brom.
The rain and bad weather started to drive in, and "Life Threatening" weather conditions were reported on the news. Nice!
Just after the Lake District, we stopped for tea and a sticky bun. So far so good, and no problems with the cars.
Onward north we pressed into worsening weather. "Somewhere over the rainbow..."
And finally we crossed the border! I guess were not in Kansas any more...
Meanwhile, in downtown Dunkeld, Chris had landed.
We were getting close to our destination now, and the weather was picking up a bit!
We finally arrived at 16:20pm. 400 miles in 5 hours 50 minutes of driving time in life threatening weather. Chris had the dinner on, and we has red peppers stuffed with haggis for starters, and a cracking roast lamb dinner, with an excellent bottle of wine or two to wash it down. Oh and to finish, some cheese!
Top touring tip. Don't sit on your wad for 400 miles or you'll have an arse like a bag of cement like I did when I arrived.
Saturday saw much better weather, and after topping up the cars fluids,
we topped up our own...
and after a visit from the breakfast fairy, with lashing of Scottish square sausage, and pig's pudding, we headed off in the 3 cars for the loch's.
We stopped off at Blair castle to say hello to Tony, but he was busy running the country.
Next we stopped and went to "Queens View" The view this affords along the loch highlights it's remarkable similarity to the shape of the coastline of Scotland.
We even caught a glimpse of the monster!
A quick blast to the highest road point on Mt Schiehallion, at 1081 Metres
Tea and sticky buns at Castle Menzies. Very nice!
Our next stop saw a very windy loch, and some snow capped mountains at Tigh Mor - The Trossachs
We then moved onto Taymouth castle...
And from there to some very impressive rapids at the Falls of Dochart
The roads around the Loch's were tiny country roads, and with a combination of water and autumn leaves, they were entertaining to say the least, with more rear end wiggles than a Miss World contest! Chris went through a large puddle with his window open, and had to spend 15 minutes drying himself and the inside of the car from the tsunami it created. From there it's was home, with 185 miles covered by the time we got back.
Saturday night we went for an Indian. He hadn't done anything, we just went for him.
After a bottle of wine, and a few beers in the pub, we found ourselves in the Darjeeling Indian restaurant in Dunkeld celebrating a 45th birthday. We can highly recommend the restaurant, even though they don't have Bombay duck on the menu, but we'll give being 45 a miss in future.
The full Saturday itinerary - Saturday: "Lochs & Mountains" (183 miles, about 8 hours)
Dunkeld A9 to Pitlochry (petrol stop)
B8079 to Blair Atholl
B8079 to Killiecrankie
B8019 to Loch Tummel (Queen's View) - loch in shape of map of Scotland
B8019 to Tummel Bridge
B846 to Loch Rannoch (Kinloch Rannoch, Bridge of Ericht & Bridge of Gaur)
Unclassified road(s) to Finnart, Camghouran & Inverhadden
Unmapped road(s) to Mt Schiehallion (no sigh of distillary)
Unclassified road(s) to Tay Forest Park
B846 to Aberfeldy via Castle Menzies
A827 to Kenmore (paddling in Loch Tay not possible - beach swept away -
A827 on north bank of Loch Tay, views of Meall Greigh (1000 mtrs), Ben
Lawers (1214 Mtrs) and Meall A'Choire Leith (924 Mtrs)
A827 to Killin and the Falls of Dochart
A827/A85 to Loch Earn (Lochearnhead)
A84 into the Trossachs National Park
A84 to Loch Lubnaig & Falls of Leny
A821 to Tigh Mor Estate via Loch Venachar, Brig o' Turk, Loch Achray & Loch
A821 to Aberfoyle
A81 to Lake of Menteith (only lake in Scotland)
Various "B" roads onto A84 to Callander, Doune and Dunblaine onto:
fast run M9/A9 back to Dunkeld via Auchterarder and Perth
A freezing cold morning, with the cars frozen solid. We had arranged to meet Scottish JOC member Clive Jenkins on Sunday, so we started the cars to get some heat into them, producing clouds of steam
We had heard some strange noises emanating from Chris as a result of a shed full of beer and a curry, but now it was the turn of his car. It was coming from the electromagnetic clutch on the air conditioning unit
and removing it found a sorry mess...
The bearing had collapsed, and the heat had burned out the electromagnet. There were only half the number of ball bearings there should be left in the pulley bearing, and as it is a major engineering project to re-route the belts to do away with it (the belts that drive this clutch also drive the alternator. The are several obstacles in the path of the belts which prevent you from fitting shorter belts directly from the crank pulley and the alternator). This left us with 2 options:
We needed to get off to meet Clive, so we all piled into one car and headed of to Arbroath to meet for lunch. After 40 minutes of driving and walking around Arbroath, we couldn't find a single restaurant, so a call to Clive arranged a meet in Montrose...
On the way, Steve ran over a plastic carrier bag, and shortly after noises like the rear axle had fallen off came from under the car...
We met with Clive and his son Ricky in Montrose, and we headed off for a traditional Sunday dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and sticky toffee pudding to finish. Marvellous!
While we were admiring Clive's rather nice 1975 MK3, with resonators made from 3 inch stainless steel pipe salvaged from a disused whisky distillery (what else on a Scottish Jensen, and a fantastic exhaust note!)
Clive and "wee man" Ricky, and their excellent MK3
Steve sleeps off Sunday lunch...
This harmless looking plastic bag* had wrapped around the prop shaft, and had been force fed into the differential oil seal, tearing it to pieces. The seal is one of the newer Jaguar types, rather than the old leather type the cars came with. The diff oil was leaking out at an alarming rate, and with no way of changing the bearing, another car was going to be making a very slow journey home...
We limped home for tea, cheese, and lot's of worried looks, to work out how to get 2 wounded cars home.
The full Sunday Itinerary - Sunday: "Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Sea" (118 miles,
about 6 hours)
A924 from Dunkeld to Blairgowrie via Loch of the Lowes (Osprey sightings
obscured by mist)
A923 to Couper Angus
A94 to Glamis
"B" roads & A92 into Arbroath (lots of smokies, but nowhere for lunch)
A92 then "B" roads to Montrose via Lunan Bay & Boddin Point (plastic bag !)
Sunday lunch with Clive at Montrose
A935 to Brechin
A933/A932 and "B" roads into Forfar
A926 to Kerriemuir
A926 back to Blairgowrie
A923 back to Dunkeld
Steve left at 5am in the morning to avoid the traffic and cruise as gently as possible to nurse a bone dry diff. We had decided that I would follow Chris, and if we had to take off the drive belts, I could top his battery up occasionally with jump leads. Phone calls to Steve during the morning saw him making good progress, and no problems with the car. Chris and I dawdled along at 60mph until we reached the Lake District, when we threw caution to the wind and cruised at 80mph to get home in a reasonable time. We made it back with no problems other than the spindle of the windscreen wiper mechanism stripped all the spines off on the drivers side wiper on 136-8779, so the rest of the 300 miles was made with no wipers!
Leaving Dunkeld on Monday morning.
Steve changed the diff seal on Monday, and found this sorry state.
Facts and Figures.
Here is Steve's breakdown of the trip:
"I did 1140 miles and used 67 gallons = 17.1mpg total. The best bit was I
cracked the magic 20mpg over the last 160 miles and did 20.35mpg; hoo
bloody ray at last.
The funny thing is I was doing 2000 rpm ( about 75mph ) and the fuel consumption was better than when I was doing 60mph (1600 rpm ). I can only presume the engine is labouring or it is not "on cam" at those revs. The funny thing is on Friday Kerry and I were doing 85 + and I was still doing 19.2."
So, all in all, an excellent weekend, with great food (thanks to master chef Miller), stunning scenery (thanks to Scotland), the enjoyment of driving an Interceptor on the sort of journey it was designed for, and meeting Clive Jenkins, who I still haven't forgiven for buying a pair of Dick Landy ported heads off E-bay for £26!
Roll on next year!
* Steve Payne had a phone call from Jensen guru Dave Barnett who told Steve of a BMW he had just repaired. A plastic bag had pulled out the drive shaft on the BMW, so a damaged seal was minor in comparison! Take care if you see a plastic bag in the road...