Trip to Edinburgh

This was a big one, a 900 mile trip from London to Edinburgh and back. I've been waiting to do this ever since I ordered the car, and this week there was a perfect window of good weather to do it. 

Why Edinburgh? Well the reason I sold my previous 7 was to fund a Masters course at Edinburgh University. I then stayed on to do a PhD and postdoctoral work, so I ended up living there for nearly 10 years. I still do work with a colleague at the University so it's partly a business trip, but mostly I just want to do the drive in the car. My plan was to drive up in one day, and then split the return trip with a stop overnight in Manchester to catch up with a friend in Bromley Cross. Having scanned the weather forecasts there seemed to be a nice 4-day block of settled weather from 30th August for the rest of the week, so on Sunday I made the decision to go for it and booked my hotel in Edinburgh.

I spent most of the bank holiday Monday preparing for the trip. This was my first major outing in the car so I had to decide what to take as well as making sure the car was ready. The boot was filled with a travel bag for my clothes and overnight stuff, and a small rucksack that holds the wheel clamp and a spray bottle for cleaning the windscreen. That left just enough room for my laptop and the Soft Bits shower cap, plus I took a 1 litre bottle of engine oil. In the cockpit I had a small shoulder bag for essentials like hats (baseball and woolly), gloves, phone charging cable, sunglasses etc. Late on the Monday I decided that a pair of bluetooth headphones might be a good idea, so a quick visit to Richer Sounds and I had a pair of Sony over-ear, noise-cancelling cans that connect to my phone. These would prove to be an excellent purchase! So having done all the basic checks on the car it was an early night to bed.

I got up at 3am to start off at 4am from London. My route would be simple, a short blast around the M25 to join the M11 to Cambridge, and then the A1 East Coast route all the way up to Edinburgh. I've done the trip many times before, both driving and on the train that follows the same route. I had planned to start with the hood on, but stepping out at 4am the air temperature was already in the mid teens. So, off with the roof and I'm just wearing a t-shirt and gilet as I get going.

This was the first time that I've driven the car in the dark, so I get to properly test the new LED lights. They're great! Even on the unlit parts of the M11 I have a bright view in front of me. By dawn I'm already motoring up the A1. I've got the headphones on and my newly compiled driving playlist. The sun rises on a clear day to the sound of Roxy Music and Tears for Fears, combined with the glorious tone from the Jenvey throttle bodies and exhaust. It's an exhilarating moment, and totally why I bought the car. There's very litte traffic so I'm just in 5th-gear with my left foot resting under the clutch pedal, and modulating the throttle for bursts from 3000 to 4000rpm. The engine will be very well run-in by the time I get to Edinburgh! When I left London it had under 400 miles on the clock.

Driving up the A1 the scenery isn't particular interesting until you get past York. That was partly the reason for leaving so early, to get the first half done. By 8am I'm through York and it's getting better.

I've stopped for breakfast and re-fuelling, and soon we're past Newcastle and into Northumberland. I always love this part of the trip, next to the sea from Alnwick to Berwick, and in the 7 it's just great. Finally by midday we're heading past the power station and on the last section that leads into Edinburgh. The sea disappears to my right as we head towards Musselburgh, and then finally at around 12:30 we get into Edinburgh. It's kind of weird driving around the familiar streets of the Old Town in my new car, but here we are at the Q-Park in the Quarter Mile. That was some drive.

With the car tucked away in the underground car park the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday is all meetings and social events, ending up at the Banshee labyrinth at 2am. I'm trying not to drink too much as I don't want to be super hung-over for Thursday's drive. From Edinburgh I'm heading down to Bromley Cross outside of Manchester. 

I'm not doing an early morning on this drive. I check out of the hotel at midday, and finally leave Edinburgh at 1pm. The route down to Manchester is the classic A702 to Abington and A74 to Carlisle. Then it's the M6 down to Manchester. The scenery is amazing as you head down through the borders, and it's sunshine and fluffy clouds the whole way. I'm just wearing a t-shirt. Most of it is single carriageway so you do get stuck behind tractors etc, but my engine is run-in beautifully now so overtaking is easy. The car is properly quick when you get over 4000rpm on full throttle, it's also very loud! Here we are having crossed the border into England.

The final part is down the M6 to Preston and then we're heading across the hills and into the north of Bolton. All fantastic scenery in the beautiful sunshine and at 6pm we arrive in Bromley Cross.

After a very nice evening with the lovely Jennifer and a trip to Asda in the morning for supplies I set off for the final part of the journey. My route was across the moors to Chesterfield to meet up with the M1 and head straight down to the M25.

The first part is a crazy drive. All hill-climbs and twisty roads through the Derbyshire Dales and tiny villages, proper rural England.

And then finally we're just cruising down the M1 and the traffic is not too bad. I get to the M25 at 7pm and just blast round back to home. It was a tremendous trip, and the car performed great. The only thing that went wrong was the indicator switch came loose. The mileage now reads 1,200 miles. Luckily I booked the first service when I picked up the car, it will be going in at the start of October. More adventures to come!

P.S. It did take a whole day of cleaning to get it immaculate again..