Waiting at a bridge that spun sideways to let the boats through!
From Edinburgh we hired a car and drove out into the Scottish Highlands, and it was on this day that we had our first really stressful (and quite embarrassing) experience of the holiday. The Sunday night before was the end of the fringe, so it turns out that half of the people in Edinburgh had the same ideas as us and decided to try and hire a car. As a result we were waiting nearly 90 minutes in the Hertz shop just waiting to get a car. Eventually we got one, it was quite a lot bigger than we originally ordered, but it was an upgrade so it wasn’t too bad. It even had GPS which was good. We had taken our GPS with us, but for this leg at least it looked like we didn’t need it.
Anyway, we had planned to spend a full day driving through Scotland, eventually ending up in Gorthleck, which is near Loch Ness, stopping at places like Stirling, and St Andrews along the way. Because it took so long to get going we decided just to go to St Andrews and then be on our way. That is only about an hour drive, or slightly more. Well it turns out it would take a lot longer than that. For those that don’t know Edinburgh, there are quite a few “Bridges” which aren’t bridges over water, but rather raised bits of land where the main roads are, and then probably 10m below this is the rest of the town streets. We kept trying to get up to one of these bridges, but the GPS kept getting us to try and go down streets that were closed for the fringe! So we would turn another direction, and that would only be met with going around in circles or finding a dead end street.
It was down one of these dead end streets that the fun began. We got to the end, and I had to perform a three point turn. Easy. Even in this SUV style car, it didn’t have a horrible turning circle. So turn the wheel hard and get relatively close to the parked car, and chuck it in reverse… wait, that didn’t go into reverse, try again. Whats going on here, i can’t get it into reverse! Hmm look for the manual. No manual in the car. Fuck. Try to find reverse again. Nope, that only succeeded in us inching towards the car in front. And it wasn’t just any old car, it was a brand new Range Rover! Looks like our £750 excess payment is about to come into play here. Now i am starting to panic a bit. Ok calm down, ring the place. FUCK no credit on my phone, i thought i had free minutes? That must just be between the prepaid providers. Try to look up manual on phone. Nope couldn’t get it. This is all the while parked in the middle of the road. This is getting serious. I am about to lose it. Shit, lets get out of the car and try and push it back. but its on a little hill, don’t think that will work. FUCK FUCK.
Luckily a nice old Scottish man saw us and asked if he could help. I told him with my most embarrassed dumb tourist face that I can’t get the car into reverse. He hops in the drivers seat, and within a millisecond he gets it into reverse. WHAT THE HELL. HOW DID HE DO THAT?
Turns out there is a little collar on the manual gear lever that you have to lift to get it into reverse. MY GOD. I felt like such a dumbass. How could it be that simple but yet i couldn’t get it to work.
Oh well. With my new found skills of being able to put a car in reverse we were off, and finally we made it out of Edinburgh and onto the open road. This whole experience of hiring the car and finally getting out of the city took around 2 and a half hours! With my blood pressure gradually subsiding, we finally started to make our way to St Andrews.