Knockhill and Aikman’s Bar

Well today was a bit different, to say the least!

It was my birthday last November and OH bought me a Rally Car Experience at Knockhill and today was the day we were heading to Scotland’s National Motorsport Centre so I could become the Stig!

Although the weather was awful and the track looked more like a scene from Wuthering Heights than some place you wanted to speed in a Subaru, we were all assured that it was the perfect weather for throwing a car around a hill side. With hindsight, I can confirm they were exactly right.

Helmet on and belted in, I was talked through a couple of laps by Sasha, my instructor. She told me my lines (where to head the car on each corner)  and when to slow and when to add more power. I was then left to my own devices and allowed to throw it about the track myself. Talk about a buzz! I couldn’t believe it – the steering wheel was rapidly being twisted left and right – my feet were accelerating and braking like I was doing the hokey cokey on speed and the smile on my face was as manic as Jack Nicholson’s in The Shinning.

Amazing does not cover it!.

After the first 5 laps Sacha’s feedback was mostly positive but I did think I must have been a bit slow when she said, “Well at least you didn’t get overtaken, which was good.” Hmmm.

I was then given a 15 minute break before doing it again but this time clockwise around the track. Sasha talked me through the lap a couple of times and then told me she wasn’t going to teach me anymore but would be my rally partner and navigator. Therefore, she was just going to use rallying terms and went on to explain them. I promise I did listen but when she was saying things like 90° right tight open to chicane, in my head I was still doing the hokey cokey. http://youtu.be/1e3-k3PPtqc

The last lap was being assessed so I thought I’d try to floor it. All was going well and I was braking and wellying it like a good un right up until I noticed the black car behind me. My only thought was – he is not going to overtake me! It was about approximately 10 seconds later I hit the cones and started to spin. Sasha grabbed my steering wheel and yanked it round. To be honest, I’m not sure what else she said but I did whatever she told me and soon we were back over the blind crest and it was power on again. She then happened to mention that she was glad she got to the steering wheel or we would have been on our side in a ditch. What?? Apparently its a bad bit of the course and notorious. I’m pretty sure she hadn’t mentioned this already.

Anyway, with another short break to allow your heart to stop racing and your blood pressure to drop it was then on to the demo lap. Thank goodness Sasha hadn’t shown me how it should have been done first or there’s no doubt we would have been in a ditch. She didn’t waste any time in getting around the track. The handbrake was never out of her hand as she flung the Subaru from corner to corner. At one point she casually mentioned I had gone quiet – really? She wanted me to chat as my entire life flashed in front of my eyes??

Honestly, she was amazing and I couldn’t believe the control she had as we hit corners side on and she then whipped the back end round to skid into the next one. It was an experience I will never forget!

Back in the clubhouse we had a couple of minutes to relax before there was a presentation to reward all the competitive drivers but I wasn’t really interested in that bit as really it’s the taking part that counts, isn’t it?

½ a fecking point off bronze and a point off of silver!!!! I was robbed, I tell you! I bet it was that sodding cone that lost me points.

I could have been a contender!

Anyway, did I mention it was cold and wet at Knockhill? Long story short, we needed to head to St Andrews after my adrenalin rush so once again we found ourselves in the home of golf but this time cold, damp and yearning for sustenance.

For the last wee while my mum has gone on and on about Aikman’s Bar in St Andrews and it’s amazing Cullen Skink. Now I do love a bit of Cullen Skink but I’ve looked at this cellar bar before and thought “this cannot be the bar my mum means”. It’s a typical student bar with hard seats and wooden floors. There is also a smell of bleach permeating the entrance from the toilets secreted down below.

Menu

We ventured in and saw the blackboard.


OH has since reported the pint was good and reminded him of Prague.
Cullen Skink was indeed top of the menu so I reckoned this must be the place. We also noticed the bar had Kozel on draught (Czech beer you have to try!) so that was it settled. 2 Soups with rolls, 1 pint of Kozel and a diet coke. £11 odds. (OH can’t remember the exact price but joked it was about the same as the price of his starter yesterday).

Image

The soup really hit the spot and was thick, creamy and fishy. The roll was warm and satisfying.

For £6.70 I couldn’t fault the food. The decor is auld, faded and a bit stoorie. The toilets are basic and smell of bleach, the toilet paper comes off in inch sections and the hand dryer hardly puffs on you but there is some very intellectual graffiti on the back of the toilet door you might like.

If you go and expect the worse you will enjoy some lovely, cheap and hearty soup and feel young again for a wee while AND who knows, you might even be sitting on the same seat that Prince William once sat on 😉

  

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