It’s really rather surprising that we only received one speeding ticket. And that for 56mph in a 50mph average speed zone. At 9.06am on Saturday morning. Hardly even out the front door. If only they had had the speed cameras rolling about an hour or so later. At that point all the film would have melted. Or recorded a ghost image. A mere willow the wisp passing through time.
For if one is going to make the Cheshire to Islay run for a weekend, only one conveyance will do.
Broadly recognized as a tidal wave on wheels, the Bentley GT continues the heritage of the legendary Bentley Boys.
Them who raced the famous Blue Train from Calais to Cannes. And won. The year was 1930. And the reason was a $100 bet. Apparently the Bentley GT has an alarm which sounds at around 135mph if your tire pressures are not in the correct realm to press on to the maximum indicated speed of around 198mph. But we wouldn't know anything about any of that.
We had convened to celebrate or commiserate the future nuptials of our last single friend. Just four of us. Off on the Bentley express up through some of the finest roads in the highlands of Scotland. In a British racing green GT Speed W12 and a silver GT V8. Thence to the magical isle of Islay. To take in the peaty fumes and examine the finest spirit in the world in detail.
Knutsford, our starting point just outside Manchester, has some of the best pubs in the land. So, of course, we had to try a few of the local ales. And a local curry. As with all such fayre, the nuclear coloring shouldn't put you off. Well. Not unless you ordered the chili masala or phal. In which case you have no one else but yourself to blame as you sprint to the loo. Anyway, we highly recommend rambling from pub to pub to see what real English pubs are about. No chains, no curly sandwiches, just bags of character and beer.
Once we had hyerspaced to Oban some 320 miles away we arrived to clear blue skies, sunshine, and spectacular scenery. All of my childhood memories of sideways rain, grey gloom, and cloud cover at 20 feet were burned away. Save for the midgies. Which continue to have a voracious appetite for human flesh. We boarded the ferry for the 4 1/2 trip to Islay. A mix of magical vistas, pints of Guinness, and games of ‘3 card brag’ ensued.
And thence to the main event. We turned down the local in the souped-up Fast 'n Furious 7 rice-rocket who challenged us to a race across the straightest road in the land. Which after several glasses of all kinds of good things made us feel rather smug with ourselves. And then in the course of the weekend we learned a lot about peat. Digging it up. Drying it. Burning it. And ultimately drinking it. In the form of Laphroaig and Bowmore among others. And damned fine stuff it is indeed…