As every year for over five years, Classics on the Road has designed and organized a tour of a European country for members of the Aston Martin Owners Club, sometimes coinciding with significant event. This year the chosen country was Scotland and the experience has been excellent.
The collaboration between the AMOC (Aston Martin Owners Club) and Classics on the Road began in 2013, when Aston Martin celebrated its centenary and Classics was selected as the organizer of its “centenary tour”, with 75 cars and took place in six countries: England, Belgium, Holland, France, Italy and Germany.
In 2014, eighteen AMOC members traveled the roads of northern Spain and enjoyed one of the most famous “fiesta” in Spain, San Fermín. The following year, we chose Tuscany, one of the most beautiful areas of the world, matching the dates of the trip with an ancestral festival: the Palio equestrian race in the city of Siena.
In the summer of 2016 the tour was developed by the most famous route in Europe: Saint James Way (Camino de Santiago). Our “way” began in San Sebastián until arriving at the tomb of the patron of Spain in Compostela and ending in Oporto.
The 2017 tour has been the wildest trip ever done for the Aston Martin Owners Club. Scotland, a country well-known by all thanks to tartan, bagpipes, clans and lakes (especially Loch Ness and its slippery monster), is still today a wild and untamed country, qualities that are increasing in intensity as you head north, to the Highlands.
The orography and the vegetation are the main reasons of its charming beauty. Coast with steep cliffs, small beaches of fine sand, hills wrapped in a green mantle, wonderful national parks, towering Munros (mountains whose altitude rises above 3.000 feet), dense forests and crystalline lakes make it possible to see in Scotland some of the most breathtaking scenery in the British Isles.
The Great Aston Martin Tour of Scotland 2017 began on 16th of June in the best possible place from where to start this adventure: Aston Martin’s headquarters and first factory in Newport Pagnell, just over an hour north of London.
The group consisted of 13 Aston Martin from United States, Australia, Germany, France, England, Holland and Sweden. The fourth day was joined by another Aston, in fact the only car from Scotland, being the host in his country.
At Newport Pagnell, the participants enjoyed an exclusive visit to Aston Martin Works and Aston Martin Heritage facilities, classics restoration and aftermarket services.
After the visit and a sweet coffee they started the cars to go to the first hotel, located in Darlington, 200 miles to the north, where the participants enjoyed a welcome dinner and also received a briefing by the team of Classics on the Road, to explained how it was going to develop of the tour and in concrete how it would be the day of the following day. This tonic was repeated in all the dinners of the tour.
ç ç ç
Going to Edinburgh on the second day, the Tour drove through the stunning Northumberland National Park, still in English territory. This park, covering over 400 square miles, is the least populated national park in the UK.
After passing the park, the group made a stop at a location with almost 2,000 years of history, a place that marked the border of the Roman Empire in the north: Housesteads Roman Fort and Hadrian’s Wall.
In the interesting guided visit that the participants had an opportunity to do, they explained that the Hadrian’s Wall, as it is known, since it was this emperor who had it erected at the beginning of the II century, is preserved in part, as well as the foundations of the fort that was established here to protect the imperial province of Brittania from the tribes that inhabited the north of the wall. Those tribes, after the years, created a territory that would be Scotland.
After a stop to eat, we crossed the Scottish border driving in funny roads. Arrived in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, participants stayed at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria – The Caledonian for two nights, because the following day there was no scheduled drive route so the customers could go for a walk in Edinburgh, go shopping and discover the historical city.
The dinner of the second and last night in the Edinburgh was a feast worthy of kings (no kidding!). The Royal Yacht Brittania has been docked in Edinburgh since 1997, which was for 43 years the privately ship of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh; now is a floating museum.
Exclusively reserved for participants of The Great Aston Martin Tour of Scotland, the service of the Royal Yacht Brittania offered the group an interesting guided tour and an exquisite dinner on board in the Hall of Honor. Accompanied by a beautiful sunset, the evening was perfect and became instantly an eternal memory.
To continue feeling part of British royalty, the fourth day brought us a little surprise. From Edinburgh and after driving along the spectacular narrow roads of Cairngorms National Park, we stopped at Balmoral Castle, the summer residence of the British Royal Family since 1852, when it was rented to Queen Victoria and, as she liked it so much, was bought by Prince Consort Albert of Saxony.
Thanks to a special permit (it was not necessary talk with The Queen) all the Aston Martin could enter the enclosure of the castle and parked in front of him; its passengers made a quiet picnic in their gardens with a lunch offered by the organization of the castle.
At this point of the tour joined us and for the rest of the trip another participant of the Grand Tour (the Scottish car) and came with another nine Aston Martin of Aberdeen! These last nine cars only accompanied us that morning but thanks to them we got a unique stamp: 21 Aston Martin in front of the main facade of Balmoral Castle, summer residence of the British Crown.
The day ended at the Achnagairn Castle in Kirkhill, a resort that was reserved exclusively for the group. This castle is located on an impressive 30 acres estate seven miles away of Inverness.
Guests enjoyed a pleasant evening in their gardens and a wonderful night in this luxurious castle, thanks to its facilities and above all its charming and wonderful service.
Dinner was served in the Ballroom, a domed room that gave the dinner a delicate atmosphere of luxury and tranquility.
To start well on the fifth day, we made a visit to a distillery of (obviously in Scotland) whisky: Glenmorangie Destilery, owned by the LVMH group (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), whose facilities have that sole of the work of decades and their liquors are truly Very good
After the visit to the distillery, the group had the rest of the day to enjoy the route to Dunnet Head, the “most northern point of mainland Britain”, a incredible place with impressive cliffs in which green fields and where some of the people were lucky to see seals!
To end this wonderful day the gropu stayed in perhaps the most surprising hotel of the whole tour, a castle of the XV century conditioned as a luxury hotel with 20 rooms in the east bay of the Highlands. Ackergill Tower is an astonishing place in which the group enjoyed a relaxed the afternoon feeling part of another era.
An exquisite Scottish dinner was served in the Great Hall, the main room of the castle, which still retains that noble and medieval air.
North Coast 500 Road is the name of the road that crosses Scotland by the north of east to west. That was the route that during the sixth day made enjoy the wheel to the participants of The Great Aston Martin Tour of Scotland.
The customers spent the day driving to travel the 142 miles that separate Ackergill Tower from Lochinver, the city where was the next hotel: Inver Lodge Hotel.
The N500 magnifies the purest Scottish spirit, the authentic Scotland: narrow and winding roads, fields of different shades of green, brown and yellow, beautiful lakes, terrains infested by sheeps with the wool that is only available here…
Inver Lodge Hotel in Lochinver is one of the best hotels in the Scottish Highlands, and for that reason and its location, the tour spent two nights there, where our guests enjoyed the restaurant Chez Roux of exquisite dinners. The participants of the tour were able to know this area of Scotland during the following day, that some dedicated to visit the town of Lochinver or the nearby localities, others made boat trip in Summer Isles bay and others relaxed in the hotel facilities.
On Friday 23th of June, just one week after the start of the tour, we had the longest day of the tour: 240 miles that would bring us back to Lowlands.
The landscape that accompanied that day is one of those places that are already cataloged as a mythical place by the popular imagination, thanks to its beauty and its legends, or is that no one has wondered if Loch Ness monster really exists? For several miles Loch Ness was the traveling companion of the drivers, because the road were we drove runs parallel to the famous lake.
We visit Urquhart Castle, a fortification erected in the XIII century and partially destroyed in the XVII century. Due to its current state, in addition to the location, makes a great impression.
After the exhausting journey, Gleneagles Hotel hosted us for the last two nights of the tour, offering drivers and co-drivers all kinds of exclusive activities and luxurious services to make their stay memorable.
Last day of the trip, the group drove up to Loch Lomond through the Trossachs National Park, a spectacular natural environment full of contrasts, with undulating landscapes from lowlands in the south to high mountains in the north, with a lot of lakes, rivers and forests.
At Loch Lomond the group enjoyed a lunch on board as they cruised through one of the most beautiful lochs in this area of Scotland, surrounded by tall and green mountains.
At the end of the day, the travelers returned to Gleneagles Hotel where they enjoyed a great farewell dinner. The participants of The Great Aston Martin Tour of Scotland 2017 could not leave this beautiful country without trying their most typical dish: haggis! It was presented in the Barony Room by a bagpiper in the typical way in Scotland. Haggis was delicious!
These 10 days in Scotland have been a real success and from Classics on the Road we thank the members of Aston Martin Owners Club to be part of this adventure, which has become an experience that will last forever in the memory of everyone.