Driving with Heavy – Brent Craig

Valley 1984 – 86, Kinloss 1986 – 88

Several years ago, in the early eighties, the Valley Team headed north for one of the grants as had happened on many previous occasions. The weather was promising, and we were already sweltering in the wagons as we left a pit-stop just north of the border. We had a fair-sized convoy, as back then an opportunity for a trip to Scotland was not to be sniffed at. Alister Haveron was team leader and Heavy D.T.L. and both had great plans to show the northern teams just what we could do.

As usual travel was a little ponderous with our old vehicles loaded to the gunnels and the bank holiday traffic increase. I was shotgun in the short wheelie, with trailer, accompanied by Heavy and Bill “Nasher” Nash sitting in the back on the kit. Heavy had driven the start and handed over to me after the stop off near Lockerbie, the convoy was split with wagons all over the place as we headed up through the borders, bypassing Glasgow and onto the slightly clearer A9. Just past Perth, Heavy in his usual polite manner told me to pull over as I was driving like an old woman and he wanted to get there sometime today.

As we went to pull out from the lay-by a large 16-wheeler that I had passed a few miles back went back past us and Heavy accused me of being a stupid masturbating fatherless child (and a few other words I didn’t understand) for being slow swapping seats. Anyway, we were soon caught it back up bumbling along what was then a much slower A9 than today as it had no dual carriageways or passing lanes. We were weaving along the road quite a bit as Heavy tried to find a way past the wagon which was to be fair managing a fair speed except on the hills. Heavy was getting more and more inpatient teaching myself and Nasher some new words about the driver in front who “was clearly an English B**t*rd”. Nasher had woken from his slumbers in the back and was feeling a little queasy from the rocking motion of Heavy’s weaving manoeuvres as he sought to overtake.

This went on for a good few miles and by now Heavy was bouncing up and down in his seat and telling us to shut the f**k up as we offered “helpful” comments. Suddenly our opportunity came, we breasted a rise and the road was open in front of us down the slope and up the other side. Heavy rammed the wheel over and slowly we picked up speed down the hill, Heavy jumping up and down in excitement. We had drawn abreast of the Wagon’s cockpit and Heavy was shouting derisory remarks at the driver who was studiously ignoring us. Myself and Nasher were being thrown all over the place and the trailer was bouncing around like a beach ball.

Ever so slowly the wagon started to gain back on us and Heavy inventing a few new expletives decided that in fact the driver must actually be half Welsh. As we hit the bottom of the slope we had started gaining back on the wagon albeit very slowly, when over the brow of the hill in front appeared a mahoosive great wagon. Heavy was urging our wagon to speed up by rocking forwards, shouting and banging on the dashboard. Nasher and I were now urging him to back off and pleading that we could get past on the next hill, but Heavy was having none of it. The wagon coming towards started looming larger and larger as Heavy took off his glasses and threw them in the back shouting that if he couldn’t see it we would be alright (or it might have been f**k this we’re going to die anyway!)

For anybody who doesn’t know Heavy, his need for very strong glasses at all times was legendary and Nasher and I started frantically scrambling towards the back of the wagon. Inch by inch we were slowly drawing past the 16-wheeler but foot by foot the cab of the other wagon sped towards us. In the back our efforts at trying to open the back door were stymied by the hitching point of the trailer. The cacophony of noise was unbelievable, Nasher and I were screaming at Heavy, he was yelling f****************ckkkkk me, the wagon to our left was leaning on his horn as was the wagon speeding towards us. At the very last moment Heavy slammed the short wheelie hard to the left, the trailer actually left the ground, hanging to the right before swinging violently to the left pivoting the Land Rover back onto its forwards path. Looking back the 16-wheelers lights were flashing angrily; they’re was black smoke roiling from its tyres and a large angry looking man was shaking his fist at us. The quiet was unbelievable, the only sound was that of our hearts trying to break out of our chests and the violent expulsion of our breath as we started to breathe again. Even Heavy was quiet for a few seconds until he turned to us and said you f**kers had better find my glasses or we will have an accident.

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