Scottish Malts 2023, Syd Stelvio Day 2 | Oban to Inverness – 178 Miles
Oban was a tiny fishing village until 1794 when whisky changed everything, the opening of the distillery here, one of the oldest but also one of the smallest in Scotland, caused the village to swell into the town it has now become, so it was an appropriate staging point for the second day of The Scottish Malts. It was a second day of sunshine too, a pleasant rarity this far north in the UK and in the warm of the morning sun the competitors were getting sweaty.
Well, half of the competitors anyway, as the first of two tests on the runway at Oban Airport (don’t worry, it’s not quite Heathrow) required a Le Mans style start, which if you aren’t familiar with the concept begins with one crew member sprinting to the car. There were a variety of running styles on display, the “waddle”, the “cat on a hot tin roof” and the “I’m not running at all, you b******”, but, unlike the London Marathon at the weekend, nobody was dressed as Big Ben or a Dalek. Still, it got the blood pumping, did we mention this event is all about the fun?
Up until this point it has been a fairly quiet Malt’s for the mechanical assistance crews, although that has no doubt now cursed the rest of the event for them. They were required to use their expertise and cunning this morning though, when the beautiful blue Mercedes Benz of Peter Fitzcharles (GB) + Debbie Fitzcharles (GB) gave up halfway down Oban Airport runway with ignition problems. Take off aborted, and with no replacement coil it was time for the sweeps to make a coil from a Ford Cortina fit, a transplant that is so far working remarkably well.
Fast forward to the end of the day and the lunchtime top three has remained the same, as the competitors prepare for a loop north of Inverness tomorrow, that will allow the rally to push much further north than it ever has into territory that is usually the domain of LeJog and it will be a new experience enjoying this part of Scotland during the daytime, I can’t wait.