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Ulster Pre-War Austin Club

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Report on the DONEGAL WEEKEND 14-16th. May 2010

 

What a weekend and yes as predicted in the preview in a previous Newsletter all those who were unable to attend will probably now have to listen to how brilliant a time we all had.

 

It all started on Friday when 23 of us met at the Mellon just outside Omagh for a finger buffet. We then travelled in convoy to our base at the Beach Hotel in Downings; of course we just had to stop for an ice cream break on our way into Ramelton. Godfrey claims his car had a fault – when it saw the ice cream sign it just swerved into the lay-by and refused to move again until everyone had ice cream. We arrived at the Beach Hotel, and what a welcome. They had been e­­-mailed a photo montage to show what types of cars we use, but two colour copies of this had been printed and framed, one at reception and one in the lounge. Some cars on trailers had got dirty but that was no problem. Not only were buckets of water and cloths provided but the boss’s son even helped in the washing. Later on that evening we all had a beautiful meal. We then knew that we had definitely picked a gem of an hotel. Their friendly brilliant service continued throughout the whole weekend. Many thanks to Charlie, Mairead, their son Darragh and daughter Shona and all the hotel staff. We’ll be back.

 

Saturday morning dawned early (very early!! – that man at the front must have an obsession with good time keeping). 18 cars carrying 37 people left the hotel before 10am and right away the awesome scenery started with a trip round the Atlantic Drive, stopping at a number of viewpoints. This is some of the most beautiful scenery to be found and of course is best viewed travelling in a vintage car at 15mph. It was then across the new bridge joining the Rosguill and Fanad peninsulas, along the edge of the coast right up to the Fanad Head lighthouse. Everyone even managed to negotiate that acute hairpin, some needing a three point turn. All were sensible with no one trying to hand brake round the junction. We stopped at the lighthouse, with most people taking the opportunity to walk right out to the edge of the coast. Again we then continued round the coast road arriving into Portsalon where we stopped for a soup lunch, excellently provided by the Golf Club. No time for a round of golf so we headed off. Our route instructions warned us to prepare for an exciting climb – and what a climb as we snaked our way up through the two hairpins to the top of Knockalla. It was brilliant for those who had the nerve to look over the edge and see the long queue of cars make their way up the hill. We stopped at the top to let everyone recover and get their nerves settled. It was then across the Knockalla mountain, down into Kerrykeel, up the East side of Mulroy Bay into Millford, crossing Bunlin Bridge at the most southerly tip of Mulroy Bay and turning South along a very narrow road, crossing our fingers that we would meet no one. Luckily the tractor and digger we did meet was able to pull in. It was a tight squeeze for Sam but after he got Shirley to breathe in he just made it! The narrow road was worth it because it brought us onto the Lough Salt Mountain road. More beautiful scenery followed as we travelled right along the edge of Lough Salt stopping for our last time at the view point to look down over Lough Greenan. Only a few miles to go as we travelled through Glen village turning up the hill to high Glen. Another hairpin, again no hand brake turns and we turned back towards Carrickart. Those eagle eyed should have been able to pick out our hotel away in the distance over Sheep Haven Bay. And so 18 cars started and 18 cars arrived safely back at the hotel just before 5pm. The early start had allowed us to have a totally relaxing day, taking our time to take in all the beautiful scenery.

 

Suitably refreshed we all sat down for a lovely meal at 7pm, after which a few short speeches were made thanking the relevant people, followed with everyone having a lovely relaxing evening, reliving all the experiences we had during the day.

 

After breakfast on Sunday morning we discovered the hotel had booked a photographer from the local Co. Donegal press to take some photographs. We had great fun organising the cars in front of the hotel, followed by what can only be described as a great deal of posing. It was then on the road back north stopping for a carvery lunch just outside Letterkenny. All that is left now is great memories of a brilliant weekend.

 

All in all a brilliant weekend, enjoyed by all, with everyone agreeing a weekend event is a great opportunity to allow club members to bond and have a good bit of banter and crack.

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