I work in the U.S. Navy. We travel quite a bit and in a recent trip to Faslane, Scotland, I was adopted by members of a local Scottish Subaru club. Here's my story.
My primary job in life is a member of the US Navy. As you might expect, we tend to travel quite a bit and with my recent trip over to Faslane, Scotland I wanted to see if I could contact some foreign Subaru owners for the first time. Having studied the geography of Faslane, I found out that unless I had some local contacts, Faslane would probably not be too much fun. So after much internet searching, I discovered that the majority of Scottish Subaru owners tend to hang out on www.sidc.co.uk. So I went there, signed up, made an initial post, and waited with great trepidation. I was immediately scooped up and adopted by members of Glasgow and Strathclyde in Scotland.
The first day my ship pulled into port, Graeme Mcfarlane was there to pick me up. We met up with about 5-7 other Subaru owners and I spent the day riding in many different Subarus with many different owners. Different cars and different points of view to share about Scotland; it couldn't have made for a nicer match.
The first day was spent being shuttled to hill climb event. A hill climb event is much like an autocross only it's going up a pretty fierce hill. The most exciting car there that day was a full race Subaru RS with a built motor and PPG dogbox. It accelerated in the rain with the same intensity as most sport bikes in the dry. Stunning!
Then we caravanned over to a local performance shop and then a trip to a local Subaru dealer. Wow! A new STI in Scotland is like $45,000 USD! I snuck out with a Prodrive hat and bear for my daughter and was happy they were only like $50 USD.
Lunch was then held, where else? McDonalds! It was chosen in honor of us fat Americans. That being one of the many jokes traded in the Scotland vs. USA verbal battles enjoyed by all. After eating, Graeme allowed me to drive his Subaru STI, bless his heart. Driving on the wrong side of the road, with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car and shifting with the wrong arm….not as easy as it sounds, but I survived my biggest fear: calling Geico from Scotland to tell them I had an accident on foreign soil in a car I'm unlicensed in and do not own. I have a feeling that would have been one of the calls that is recorded and talked about at Geico for years.
We visited the William Wallace Monument, Stirling Castle, and a monument for Robert the Bruce. We then headed to Glasgow to meet with some more owners at a Chinese restaurant. I defended our American honor by winning the Scotland vs. America eating contest. Those that know me well will know that this was an easy win for me! We were then driven home by Graeme who reaching 155 MPH on the highway... at night... in the rain. Those crazy Scotsmen!
The following day was a long trip to a racing circuit at Knockhill, Scotland. Very unusual place as it featured a road coarse, skid pad, rally course, and all other sorts of neat things in one location. You know... the kind of place you would build if you won the lottery and there were no lawyers left in America. So for around $30 USD, you got to fling whatever you drove in around the track as long as you had a helmet. Ferraris, old school Legacy wagons, Porsche GT3s, the Euro equivalent of the funky Ford Festiva, and crazy tube frame chassis things all on the same course.
After that event was more McDonald's of course! Then we went for a scenic trip along some of the most amazing roads I've ever seen. We went all around a channel up and down and left and right through the most beautiful hills and valleys. We visited Argyll Castle and since it was closed, we had the place to ourselves for pictures. While there, being the devious sort that I am, I noticed the pristine and empty gravel lot designed to accommodate motor homes adjacent to the castle. I mentioned that it would be un-American for us to leave the castle without whipping some proper donuts in the lot. Glances where exchanged amongst our Scottish hosts. This is when they finally came to the realization that we Americans are in fact, geniuses.
Then we ventured back to the ship via the narrowest and hilliest road in all Scotland just in time for my ship to pull out to sea. I have many fond remembrances of my time in Scotland and am most proud of the relationship and camaraderie I shared with the people. Having traveled extensively in the US, I have had a taste of Western, Midwestern, and Eastern Subaru owners. Each, like the Scottish, is wonderful and wholly unique.
I should wish to thank Graeme, Alistair, Grant, Stewart and his wife, Tosh, Brian, Billy, Noel, and Peter for agreeing to meet this humble American and for sharing your perspectives and knowledge of your beautiful country. I wish to also thank you for your wonderful sense of humor, as much of my time was spent trying to defend our American honor whilst hurling back proper insults.
Having traveled literally all around the world, Scotland, due in much part to the Subaru owners there, definitely ranks in the top 5 favorite spots I've ever visited. Pretty impressive considering I've visited probably 50 countries in my last 18 years of Naval service. So if you ever find yourself on your way over to Scotland or are looking for a vacation spot, remember Scotland; the land and the people are waiting.
This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"