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Decided to take the car out for a longer run today. John O'Groats was the destination chosen.

Set off about 0930 and stuck to the speed limit all the way. Did the journey up there in one with no stops. Arrived just after 1130 with a distance of about 100 miles.

Car was first class on the trip. Very comfortable seats meant no sore back or thighs when I got there. Did have a little bit of discomfort in my shoulders, and I put that down to a poorly adjusted steering wheel. After some adjustments, it now feels better.

The road from Invergordon to John O'Groats is the A9 and then the A99. By normal standards most of the road would be lucky to become a "B" road in most other parts of the country. Apart from a few flat bits up in the Flow Country and a couple of slow hill passing lanes, the road is mostly narrow and winding. There are many hills on the way and you really can't maintain 60 for more than a few miles on any of it.

The car performed very well in these conditions. The engine was never wanting power, even on a 1 in 10 hill. It was a doddle going down these steep hills too, as the engine braking did the job very well.

Pushing the car into to some of the bends a bit faster than was sensible showed the car to be quite stable and not prone to excessive body roll. Felt very safe and the car gives you a lot of confidence it will look after you.

I was ready for a stretch of the legs when I arrived. A couple of hours in a car is a bit of a strain on my bad leg. You know when you've arrived, as you tend to run out of road and end up in the sea.

The island you can see over the water is called Stroma, and Orkney is beyond. Weather was not as good as I thought it might be, but at least is stayed mainly dry. Had a walk around the harbour area and was pleased to see the area is in a lot better shape since the last time I was up here. They're in the middle of a £6 million refurbishment of the harbour and surrounding area.

The John O'Groats House hotel was near to collapse the last I was here, but they have almost finished a rebuild, and it'll cost you up to a £1000 a week to stay in it now.

I think you'd have to be a pretty hardy soul to play a grand to stay up here for a week.

Even at this time of year, there were quite a large number of visitors around. They certainly have a some nice places to visit such as a craft shop and restaurant. I chose just to have a couple of hotdogs and a bag of crisps from the local greasy spoon caravan for my lunch. Very nice they were too.

I didn't want to hang around too long, after all, I was out to drive the car, not wander around the tourist traps.

The journey back was much the same as the drive up. No problems with the car, but I did stop after about an hour to rest my leg. When I continued my journey, I was getting about 33 MPG, but as I reached around 510 miles on the odometer, I became aware of a drop in the instant MPG reading. I had encountered my first DPF regeneration cycle.

To be honest, I would not have been aware anything was happening if not for the trip computer showing the drop in MPG. It lasted about 15-20 minutes and then returned to normal. Did put a little dent in the overall MPG figures, as when the journey was complete, my MPG had dropped to 31 MPG.

Still, I'm not disappointed with 31 MPG, given the sort of driving that was required over the 200 miles of the trip. I'm sure there will be some improvement once the car gets a few more miles on the clock.

Overall impression is the Antara performed very well and I could not really be happier with how things are going. Here's hoping the good news will continue.

Just a final pic to show that I was actually at John O'Groats.

Edited by: Inchindown

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Nice report on today's outing Inchindown and pleasing to know that you enjoyed the trip.

Your last photograph brought back a few memories for me personally. I have only ever been in John O'Groats once in my lifetime and that was nearly 42 years ago when I went on holiday with my grandparents who were doing a "tour" of northern Scotland.

I have a photograph of me standing next to a sign like that. I tried to find the photo but can't put my hands on it as I am not entirely sure that either of those signs/posts were the same as the ones that I remember.

One of the best days on that holiday was when I was taken to a small place in the north west called "Scourie". Brilliant place

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1,758 Posts
looks nice up there. I have never been but make a trip up sometime.

Im glad the car is performing well.

I have been up around braemar and Balmoral with the Antara and I really enjoyed driving on the narrow winding roads. its very comfortable and the engine and manual gearbox was perfect. plenty torque and very little gear changing.
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