After the excitement of the day’s drive, some relaxation was needed, so I invited Mike over to share a tipple or two. When I say a tipple or two, I must admit that I lost count after the second. It’s safe to say that come dinner time, Mike and I were very well conditioned for all forms of mealtime conversation.
At dinner, Mike and I reflected on the Continental R, both agreeing that it far exceeded our expectations. After consuming our well-prepared dinner, we took the opportunity to get to know some of the other drivers a little better.
As I’ve alluded to previously, many of the people we spoke to were friendly and generous with their time.
With so many people on the drive who were leaders in their own fields, I’d expected there to be a little caution with one or two working out where they sat in the pecking order. But in all honesty, none of this was evident. We simply talked about food, Scotland, families and, of course, Bentleys.
The following day was one of relaxation, no driving. It was a perfect opportunity to head into Edinburgh and do some shopping and sightseeing in preparation for what would be the perfect culmination to my time with the Bentley Drivers Club — dinner on The Royal Yacht Britannia.
Due to the number of people, a coach was laid on to take us to Britannia. It was a 45-minute journey but seemed far less when engrossed in good conversation. As we pulled up to the quayside, I could hear a bagpiper playing and the red carpet shone under the bright floodlights. To many, this would be their first experience of this iconic boat, and it showed by the excited faces and eager photography taking place.
As we walked up the gangway, happy memories came flooding back. This was my third visit to Britannia, and as I turned into the main drawing room, I was presented with a glass of champagne by a young lady in a pristine uniform. “Hello, it’s nice to have you back with us again”, she welcomed. I’ll admit, it’s a thrill to be remembered, and the stunned looks on some of my fellow drivers’ faces were priceless.
The dinner was, as I expected, a triumph. It’s a guarantee that the quality of food served on the Britannia will be among the finest you’ll experience anywhere. With silver service, expert timing and beautifully plated dishes, it was nothing less than fine dining at its best.
Representatives from the Drivers Club and Bentley Motors gave warmly received speeches. The champagne flowed and a great time was had by all. But alas, I knew that all good things would eventually come to an end. In the morning, I would be saying goodbye to my fellow drivers and that rather saddened me.
Although Mike and I are classic car collectors, none of them is a Bentley, but that didn’t seem to matter to anyone. The fact that we were fans of the brand was more than enough, and that speaks volumes for the people associated with the Bentley Drivers Club.
The word extraordinary does not do the Centenary Drive justice. Partaking in this celebration was a privilege. Actually, it was an honour, and it will live in my memory for a very long time.
100 years after W. O. Bentley decided to dip his foot into the world of automotive manufacturing, the seeds of his vision have blossomed into the pinnacle of luxury motoring.
Bentley Drivers Club Centenary Extraordinary Drive – Information
The Bentley Drivers Club
If you’re inspired by this article to join the club but don’t have a Bentley car, not a problem. The Bentley Drivers Club membership is available to those with or without a Bentley. You can view the membership details and the full range of benefits here.
To view the current range of Bentley Motor cars click here.
If you’re planning a visit to Scotland, click here to visit the official tourism website of Scotland.
Thank you to Victoria Middleton for allowing us to use her photography, view more of her work here.