Sunday 01 February, 2015 by Uncle Spike
Some of the most famous lochs of Scotland have roads that hug the edge of the water for miles on end. One such road would be the A82 that follows the western side of Loch Ness for some 28 miles (45km). It’s a superb road, with many lovely twists and turns, as well as long stretches as straight as you could imagine.
On my last trip up there, I was newly widowed and had sought a few days solace behind the wheel touring practically the entire coastline of Scotland. In hindsight I was probably driving on ‘automatic’ for much of the time, but I clearly remember the A82 road and Loch Ness… There was an old car driven by some young Muppet who wanted to outshine this old fart. Alas, for him, it was not to be – haha punk!
I was taking my late wife’s car for a final spin before selling it to pay off a few things… it was an Audi TT which we had bought third-hand just eight months before she died. It was cheap, with high mileage, but was mechanically sound. We had no such plans at the time, but for some reason, literally on a Sunday afternoon whim, we saw the car, traded in our Beetle on the spot (complete with a full tank of gas, doh!), and drove off in this silver beast. In retrospect, what a great decision that was; providing her with her life’s dream car as her very last drive 🙂
Anyway, as a 1.8 litre twin-turbocharged 225 bhp low-slung mid-life crisis vehicle, it was extremely fun to drive, one of the best drives I have known – albeit for just a few short months.
Back to the young muppet and Loch Ness…. Well, this dude, with his scrappy old car and just the beginning of some facial fluff and a back turned baseball cap, had for some insane reason decided that the miserable looking old guy in the silver TT was fair game – idiot.
The quattro four-wheel-drive system of the TT, combined with computer-controlled traction control and a fairly swift motor, soon laid to rest the ambitions of the aforementioned young monkey. But as much as my younger days would disprove the following, I am in fact a careful and rather defensive driver – apart from when driving in places like Istanbul, Athens, Rome or Ankara, when I slip into ‘local mode’, according to my wife.
This the road in question – nice, eh?
The speed limit was 60 miles per hour (around 100 kph), being the national speed limit of the United Kingdom, and therefore Scotland. Using a steady foot rather than cruise control, I set Top-Totty (my late wife’s car, hence named as such) to trundle along at 60.
Now, young person in old car saw this as easy pickings, as he slowly gained on me in order to blast past at perhaps 71 mph (told you it was a crappy car), but as fast as he caught up, along came a bend, or in some places, a great series of bends, and he naturally was forced to slow down to negotiate the road. Not I. The TT stuck to the road like paparazzi to a celebrity, on BOTH the straights AND the bends.
I never slowed down once, sticking to 60 mph for the whole damned length of Loch Ness. That poor lad, he tried time after time after time…. but he never did get to pass me. I often wonder if his ego ever recovered.