Touring in the 'Twenties

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Touring was a serious undertaking just after the 1914/18 war, as I am reminded by looking through Edward Burrow’s “Motoring In Scotland”, written by Charles G. Harper, which a reader kindly sent us. Advertisements for Clincher and Partridge tyres and Pratt’s (in the green can) date this bulky little volume, which cost a bob. It contains no fewer than 55 detailed routes, from which to select one’s post-Armistice Scottish tour, not forgetting eight pages about golf links. Edward Burrow himself contributed hints on preparing for the tour, like close-fitting hats for the ladies, not doing more than 50 to 100 miles a day, leaving instructions with the home garage that on receipt of a wire they were to dispatch a new tyre by passenger train, carrying supplies of special oil “if your car will not tolerate other makes” (just how many manufacturers, apart from Fiat, listed their own oils?) and tying on behind Japanese wicker-baskets wrapped in American cloth containing the luggage. Although Mr. Burrow suggested that a good approach to Scotland was “by way of Central Wales, the Wye Valley, Aberystwyth, the Snowdon region and Pass of Llanberis, the North Wales coast line, Llandudno, and thence upward by the main Carlisle road” (!), I suspect that his notes were written for his pre-1914 guides.

The advertisers were wont to use pictures of unnamed cars probably using what blocks happened to be on hand, though Daimler was generous in this respect. Some garages mustered small fleets of cars outside, Campbell’s in Glasgow depicting a Cubitt and Eric-Longden, for which they were specialists, as well as for the SAVA, “the car different from all others”. Valentines Motor Depot at Perth had a char-a-banc in the window but Barrington’s Garage at Crieff had lined up an Albert, a Minerva, a Lancia and an Austin Twenty for the photographer. The hotels, too, tried to have a few motors outside but only horse-drawn brakes and landaus occupied the forecourt of the Annandale First-Class Family Hotel and that of the Buccleuch Arms at Moffat Spa, suggesting that motors hadn’t penetrated that far. There were chauffeurs’ rooms, however, at the Golf View Hotel at Nairn and the Central Garage at Pitlochry was justly proud of tours taken in its new 20-seater Lancia de luxe char-a-banc, on pneumatic tyres. A motor from the Royal Hotel at Stranraer met trains and boats—you can almost smell the sea air mingled with petrol fumes and the leisure of those days!

Macrae & Dick claimed space for 250 cars on the ground floor of their Inverness garage, and Frazer Bros. of Largs supplied Marconi wireless sets. You hear a good deal these days about Cars of the Year, and the Perth garage was describing the Morris-Cowley and Morris-Oxford as “The Light Cars of the Year”. Anyway, let’s hope those tourists enjoyed themselves and came home safely, remembering that Rest and Be Thankful was described as of “considerable note in the Scottish Reliability Trials”.—W. B.