Police Scotland Inspector Lynda Allan in Portree recently returned from a long road trip across Europe in a car that has seen better days.
With husband David, she bought a 14-year-old MG ZT 6 for £500 to take part in the Rust 2 Rome rally that set off from South Queensferry near Edinburgh on 2nd July.
The Rust 2 Rome “banger rally” involves driving a car costing £500 or less on a 4,500-mile journey through Europe.
“We bought the car from a chap in Edinburgh at New Year and brought it back up the road to work on the broken bits for a few months,” Insp Allan said. “We got it serviced at Kenny’s Garage in Dunvegan and new tyres fitted at Highland Motors prior to going. We thought we would be getting rid of it the moment we got back but we grew very attached to it, despite its apparent illness.
“We went via places such as Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland and Ace Cafe in London and on to Paris, where we parked near the Eiffel Tower and guided two young boys from Blackpool via CB radio who had no satnav and had never been to Paris. I also had to explain to Davy that when I said ‘Subway’ on the left to the boys (he advised me it is called the metro in Paris) it was in fact the sandwich shop I was talking about.
“We also drove round the Grand Prix circuit in Monaco, through the French Alps (Col de la Lombarde/Col de Turini mountain passes), then Pisa and finally Rome on 10th July.”
Lynda’s husband turned 60 this year so the couple decided to embark on “different experiences” because, Linda says, David is still 18 at heart. “Just that same week he finished his course with Skye Sailing Club, learning to sail. We had heard about Rust 2 Rome from friends/former colleagues. By chance, one of my former road policing colleagues was on it with his son this year too, and we thought it would be fun as we both love driving.
“It was a great trip and we met so many lovely people – many were doing it for very different reasons. We were car 08 and car 09 was being driven in memory of a young lad who was killed in a fatal collision last year. He got the car to do the trip so his dad, family and friends did it this year in his memory. Some were doing it for charity, some as a holiday with friends etc.”