DRIVING RANGE - Monaco to Colonsay part 2

 

Mercedes CL55 on the isle of Colonsay, Part 2

V8, 493Bhp, rear wheel drive, 5439cc 4.8 seconds to 60mph, 155mph (limited) top speed.

 

Click on the map below to load the google maps route;

 

 

The drive approaching the French coastline from the north is fairly mundane motorway until the road opens up and you get to see that first ribbon of blue sea leading you along the coast to a pristine Monte Carlo, the only bug bare can be tourist traffic on the way through, usually not stopping in Monaco just looking. Sadly the departing view isn’t quite as picturesque when you hit the motorway, and if there’s one thing the French know how to do it’s build a motorway. The infrastructure in France is enviable, for the sheer area that the motorways cover they are in superb condition and the lane discipline exercised by its drivers is to be respected. You don’t fully appreciate this until you approach the French side of Eurotunnel at Calais when the accumulation of GB stickers on cars starts to amass along with the British love of the middle lane. Memo to self, the speed limit in Europe is above 70 mph. Grrrr. You can easily do the journey in a day from top to bottom of France with regular stops but to mix it up a bit a detour en route to do some fishing at Lake Beauregard takes the edge of the journey, then an overnight at Chateau de Fere.

 

The following morning after breakfast, an early check out and onto the business at hand towards Eurotunnel who manage to offer boarding ahead of scheduled departure. No sooner do you drive into the mechanical worm than your spat out 35 minutes later in Folkestone, drive on the left, don’t exceed 70mph, observe drink drive limit and brace yourself for some questionable driving.

 

Arriving 11 hours later via the M6 toll road, M74 and M8 into Glasgow to the familiar sounds of Clyde 1 on the car radio it’s dark, dry and cold but the city looks lively with its historic buildings illuminated.

 

Leaving Glasgow towards Oban is a stunning drive up the west coast of Scotland, truly magnificent, passing along side Loch Lomond and then more endless green. By now the CL55 seems like the car of choice but given how twisting the roads are you can still contemplate how rewarding the 430 would have been to drive. Oban always takes you by surprise as to how large and busy it is, generally considered gateway to the islands, CalMac operates numerous ferries from here and the one to Colonsay is on schedule, it’s a relief to see the larger vessel and not one of the smaller offerings as the weather looks changeable.

 

The crossing is quite unique as it passes through a channel of water that has one of the strongest currents in Europe, as such the ship can’t simply take the most direct route to Colonsay and instead heads for what appears to be Islay according to the iPhone GPS which makes you wonder instantly if you’ve boarded the correct sailing.

 

When travelling you rarely feel that you get to truly understand a place or have made the most out of your time but Colonsay delivers on every count. You can drive round Colonsay in half a day, probably even an hour but with such stunning beaches in all weathers it demands closer inspection.

 

The golf course is situated on the West of the island next to the airport which receives flights from Glasgow and is quicker than taking the ferry but you’ll miss out on a great drive.

 

There’s no clubhouse just a seat which faces out towards the course, there might be a sign too but on this occasion it was resting on the ground probably from some previous high winds or sheep. Score cards are in a plastic box underneath a few rocks along with the honesty box, although I found the honesty box I missed the scorecards which made the round that bit more of a challenge, but also that bit more intriguing.

 

At first glance it doesn’t seem a long course as you start off from a fairly high vantage point, but once you get past the sixth hole you realise that the course opens up on the other side of the airport. There’s also random sheep that double as lawn mowers that wander across your line of sight, and don’t seem over energetic to move until you get near them.

 

It’s fair to say that the south of France is now a distant memory and the journey was well worth the effort, not that one place is better than the other as they contrast and compliment each other perfectly.

 

+ Great for conquering continents

+ Adjustable ride height for boarding ferries

+ Nimble for a big ‘un

+ Rare! Click here to see how many left

- 5 metres length

- Thirsty at low speeds

- Don’t switch off traction control unless you know what your doing