Thursday, June 29, 2017

Conquering the Magnetic North Coast 500 in a 1979 Porsche 911 Turbo by Martyn Goddard

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The big sky was as clear as the back roads we had driven to reach the lighthouse on the 330-foot cliffs of Dunnet Head. The most northerly point of the island of Great Britain, Dunnet Head overlooks Pentland Firth, a straight that separates the British mainland from the Orkney Islands and is known for its fast tides. The residents of Dunnet Head — razorbills, kittiwakes, and puffins — have a magnificent panorama from their cliff ledges as far as Cape Wrath 60 miles to the west.

Resting nearby is the silver metallic 1979 Porsche 911 Turbo we’re driving on the coastal tour of the Scottish Highlands that is the North Coast 500. I first traveled the little-known loop in 2001. Said to be one of the world’s greatest coastal routes, it can be considered Britain’s answer to California’s Pacific Coast Highway.

The North Coast 500 begins and ends in the frontier town of Inverness. With a population slightly less than 50,000, it’s the most populous place in the Highlands. As you can imagine, the population of vintage Porsches is even lower. This 930 hails from Yorkshire in Northern England, where its part of a growing collection owned by entrepreneur Mike Pickles.

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