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mickster

Brighton to Inverness in a GTI In the dead of winter, madness or viable?

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Brighton must have been the only place without snow over the last few days and when I agreed to drive the above journey between Christmas and New Year, the prospect of having to deal with snowy and icy roads completely slipped my mind... 

Having seen the videos of roads elsewhere in the country on the news I’m not feeling very confident, so I call on you experienced forum drivers (especially the Scots among you!) to offer any words of wisdom or advice for my travels, even if that advice is pay the crazy ticket price for a plane...

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Get a set of wheels with good winter tyres on, preferably on the skinny side, something like 175 and a taller ratio to make the gearing a bit longer.

175 55 15

165 60 15

I run 585 mm diameter tyres at the moment on my tdi anything bigger will be tricky without some mods.

It will cost you plenty in fuel, you sure you are saving any money this way?

Edited by Sausage

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Scots much better at keeping roads open in bad weather than the rest of Britain, keep tuned to local radio as you head into the Highlands or if you chose the East Coast route. Preparation is key though, flask for hot drinks, sleeping bag and blankets just in case, [fail to prepare, prepare to fail]

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stop being a pussy. Jump in and drive.

the only failing part is you.

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Crack on.

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A set of winters transforms a GTI in bad weather - I couldn't believe the difference when I got some for mine this year. Now work out in the sticks so I got some to make sure I didn't get stranded at the office. This week has been quite bad for snow & ice but the car just got on with the job, no fuss :)

5a3278716e7b5_Capturelupo.thumb.JPG.ffa8322e3fda52b656cfc2eae3a92700.JPG

That's one hell of a trip, good luck! And make sure you have a full windscreen washer bottle when you set off, you'll be using it like there's no tomorrow.

Edited by chrisgti95

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Yes, Scotland is different from the rest of the country.

Roads are kept open longer, but this is by using ridiculous amounts of salt, you should see the state suspension nuts and bolt get into - a third the bolts on my Mk4 were seized up due to rust

Scots Drivers are used to poor conditions, I'm from Edinburgh, we always find it amusing to see on the news what carnage just a few flakes of snow creates south of the Watford gap!

Make sure your wipers are in good condition do deal with the salt road spray

What route were you thinking of taking?

A1 may seem the most logical, but it just goes on and on forever -you get to Scots corner and think you are progressing, but your still miles south of Newcastle, changes to single lane road at Alnick, more miles to Berwick single lane til Dunbar and then even further to Edinburgh.

I would consider going via M6, the lakes are also tend to be kept open, only downside is the pi## poor drivers you get near Manchester -but always seems to be a lot quicker than A1

Lastly you cant avoid the A9, you need to be aware that between Perth to Inverness there is 27 sections of average speed cameras http://a9road.info/uploads/publications/A9_Perth_-_Inverness_-_Average_Speed_Camera_Locations.pdf

Oh and Happy Hogmanay

Edited by LR5V

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As others have said, if car is running well with no issues then why not? It may be a bit cramped/uncomfortable being stuck in a Lupo for those kind of miles though!

Whenever I have a longer trip planned I always pack a small toolkit and some consumables (Oil/coolant/bulbs etc). RAC or AA membership adds piece of mint too.

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I've done longer trips than that in a Lupo and it's perfectly doable. I even find it to be quite comfortable :)

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3 hours ago, JoeyEunos said:

As others have said, if car is running well with no issues then why not? It may be a bit cramped/uncomfortable being stuck in a Lupo for those kind of miles though!

Whenever I have a longer trip planned I always pack a small toolkit and some consumables (Oil/coolant/bulbs etc). RAC or AA membership adds piece of mint too.

I love being in a Lupo for 100's of miles. I don't find it cramped or uncomfortable. I like to think it's like your little space. Snug.

And they don't half get warm if you want them to. Driving in the winter in the Passat is a nightmare. Put the heating on warm.... you're still cold.

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On 14/12/2017 at 1:15 PM, chrisgti95 said:

A set of winters transforms a GTI in bad weather - I couldn't believe the difference when I got some for mine this year. Now work out in the sticks so I got some to make sure I didn't get stranded at the office. This week has been quite bad for snow & ice but the car just got on with the job, no fuss :)

5a3278716e7b5_Capturelupo.thumb.JPG.ffa8322e3fda52b656cfc2eae3a92700.JPG

That's one hell of a trip, good luck! And make sure you have a full windscreen washer bottle when you set off, you'll be using it like there's no tomorrow.

What size did you buy? I had trouble finding winter tyres in 205/45 or 195/45.

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6 hours ago, Skezza said:

I love being in a Lupo for 100's of miles. I don't find it cramped or uncomfortable. I like to think it's like your little space. Snug.

And they don't half get warm if you want them to.

They do warm the cabin quickly I suppose, but the rest of your sentiments are pretty subjective. I'm fairly tall etc (Read cuddly) and where-as leg room is ample it's nice to have more room either side of you, sound proofing isn't great, they're small and tend to feel pretty vulnerable on motorways (I'm getting on and now have a strong sense of my own mortality).

Loving the image of you imagining you're in your own little snug space though ^_^

6 hours ago, Skezza said:

Driving in the winter in the Passat is a nightmare. Put the heating on warm.... you're still cold.

 You've got a Passat now? Wow, the Mazda 121 didn't last long then?

I find mine heats up pretty quickly, and whilst I'm waiting for the blowers to do their thing the heated seats keep me nice and toasty!

I'm trying hard to picture circumstances in which a Lupo owner in winter might look over at a Passat and think, "That must be a nightmare, bet he wishes he had one of these" but I'm struggling ;)

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2 hours ago, JoeyEunos said:

I'm trying hard to picture circumstances in which a Lupo owner in winter might look over at a Passat and think, "That must be a nightmare, bet he wishes he had one of these" but I'm struggling ;)

Give me a light car over a heavy one for snowy / icy roads anytime :)

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17 minutes ago, Blue Loop said:

Give me a light car over a heavy one for snowy / icy roads anytime :)

I suppose on that level, yes, l can attest that our little SDI is superb in the snow. Can't argue with that. ^_^

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Wow, what a response! Thanks guys :)

On 12/12/2017 at 3:11 PM, Sausage said:

Get a set of wheels with good winter tyres on, preferably on the skinny side, something like 175 and a taller ratio to make the gearing a bit longer.

175 55 15

165 60 15

I run 585 mm diameter tyres at the moment on my tdi anything bigger will be tricky without some mods.

It will cost you plenty in fuel, you sure you are saving any money this way?

I hadn't really considered buying new tyres, I think with the cost of those I wouldn's be saving any money but I will investigate, perhaps someone local will be selling some in good condition. My tyres are the 205/45/15s and have only done about 1000 miles since being new in the spring so could be worse!

Fuel costs have been considered and I reckon will run to about £150 at most, assuming I'm sensible with where I refuel. The gf wants to bring more its back from home so with the car we will at least be able to do this, even if the Loop isn't the largest vehicle to cram stuff in.

On 12/13/2017 at 10:46 AM, weslangdon said:

Scots much better at keeping roads open in bad weather than the rest of Britain, keep tuned to local radio as you head into the Highlands or if you chose the East Coast route. Preparation is key though, flask for hot drinks, sleeping bag and blankets just in case, [fail to prepare, prepare to fail]

I've managed to bag some of those ambulance style silver blankets that keep the heat in in addition to blankets and sleeping bags so should be set in that respect!

On 12/13/2017 at 10:59 AM, Rich said:

stop being a pussy. Jump in and drive.

the only failing part is you.

And hopefully not the Loop! The alternative is to take the gf's reliable 14 plate Aygo :blink:

On 12/14/2017 at 1:15 PM, chrisgti95 said:

A set of winters transforms a GTI in bad weather - I couldn't believe the difference when I got some for mine this year. Now work out in the sticks so I got some to make sure I didn't get stranded at the office. This week has been quite bad for snow & ice but the car just got on with the job, no fuss :)

That's one hell of a trip, good luck! And make sure you have a full windscreen washer bottle when you set off, you'll be using it like there's no tomorrow.

You are all making the investment in tyres sound a good idea. 

If it is issue free then I'll love it, I bought my first GTI in Leeds and the drive back home was great fun! Good point about the washer fluid, last winter the gf was living in the borders and my god on the route between Galashiels and Edinburgh Airport you could use the best part of a bottle :lol:

On 12/14/2017 at 10:28 PM, LR5V said:

Yes, Scotland is different from the rest of the country.

Roads are kept open longer, but this is by using ridiculous amounts of salt, you should see the state suspension nuts and bolt get into - a third the bolts on my Mk4 were seized up due to rust

Scots Drivers are used to poor conditions, I'm from Edinburgh, we always find it amusing to see on the news what carnage just a few flakes of snow creates south of the Watford gap!

Make sure your wipers are in good condition do deal with the salt road spray

What route were you thinking of taking?

A1 may seem the most logical, but it just goes on and on forever -you get to Scots corner and think you are progressing, but your still miles south of Newcastle, changes to single lane road at Alnick, more miles to Berwick single lane til Dunbar and then even further to Edinburgh.

I would consider going via M6, the lakes are also tend to be kept open, only downside is the pi## poor drivers you get near Manchester -but always seems to be a lot quicker than A1

Lastly you cant avoid the A9, you need to be aware that between Perth to Inverness there is 27 sections of average speed cameras http://a9road.info/uploads/publications/A9_Perth_-_Inverness_-_Average_Speed_Camera_Locations.pdf

Oh and Happy Hogmanay

And to you! The gf's Dad has a flat in Dalgety Bay so we will hopefully stop off for a day in Edinburgh, we were actually there for Hogmanay last year, the Christmas market was great :D

I was going to just do the A1 way but my girlfriend  drove down earlier in the year she took the M6 (toll - oops!) and said it was great. I'll see what Mr Google Maps/TomTom say. My Dad grew up in Scotland and worked there with the MoD in his 20s and couldn't believe they'd "ruined" the A9! I hate average speed cameras but will probably want to be going slow and steady by that point anyway so hey-ho...

On 12/15/2017 at 8:36 AM, JoeyEunos said:

As others have said, if car is running well with no issues then why not? It may be a bit cramped/uncomfortable being stuck in a Lupo for those kind of miles though!

Whenever I have a longer trip planned I always pack a small toolkit and some consumables (Oil/coolant/bulbs etc). RAC or AA membership adds piece of mint too.

Touch wood the car has no issues, I've not been driving to work since September due to parking restrictions but took it to Bath and explored quite a bit of the West Country in the summer without a hitch so fingers crossed. The worst thing I find is the arm ache since you really can feel the road through the steering wheel!

On 12/15/2017 at 12:14 PM, Blue Loop said:

I've done longer trips than that in a Lupo and it's perfectly doable. I even find it to be quite comfortable :)

Ahhh see my Uncle/cousins are from Germany and they just put the snow chains on or whatever and get on with it, I suspect it's the same in Switzerland!

On 12/15/2017 at 12:34 PM, Skezza said:

I love being in a Lupo for 100's of miles. I don't find it cramped or uncomfortable. I like to think it's like your little space. Snug.

And they don't half get warm if you want them to. Driving in the winter in the Passat is a nightmare. Put the heating on warm.... you're still cold.

They do heat up nicely, agreed, I think the only issue is the road noise can be a bit overbearing at times but I always think of the Lupo as a fairly pleasant place to be in!

On 12/15/2017 at 12:59 PM, weslangdon said:

Make sure your battery is good as you'll be using your lights, heater fan and HRW a lot

I *think* the guy I bought the GTI off in January had replaced the battery the year before, in fact I'm confident it is no older than 2015. The alternator gave up the ghost earlier this year and a brand new Bosch was installed instead, so electrics should be fine but a good consideration!

 

 

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41 minutes ago, mickster said:

Ahhh see my Uncle/cousins are from Germany and they just put the snow chains on or whatever and get on with it, I suspect it's the same in Switzerland!

Not at all really.

People here have two sets of tyres / wheels and they use that. Maybe if you go to the mountains you might need chains, but 99% of the time you'll be fine without (on winter tyres tho ;) )

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pics of gf and I will tell you if it worth the trip.

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On 15/12/2017 at 7:23 PM, JoeyEunos said:

They do warm the cabin quickly I suppose, but the rest of your sentiments are pretty subjective. I'm fairly tall etc (Read cuddly) and where-as leg room is ample it's nice to have more room either side of you, sound proofing isn't great, they're small and tend to feel pretty vulnerable on motorways (I'm getting on and now have a strong sense of my own mortality).

Loving the image of you imagining you're in your own little snug space though ^_^

 You've got a Passat now? Wow, the Mazda 121 didn't last long then?

I find mine heats up pretty quickly, and whilst I'm waiting for the blowers to do their thing the heated seats keep me nice and toasty!

I'm trying hard to picture circumstances in which a Lupo owner in winter might look over at a Passat and think, "That must be a nightmare, bet he wishes he had one of these" but I'm struggling ;)

Still got the Mazda as my daily. The Passat is a shared motor really. Few of use it. Very practical and crazy fuel efficient but never gets very warm. The AC is equally rubbish in the summer 

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Yes - the A9 used to be a great drive, I have  very fond memories of battling tourists, the sweeping bends, the signs counting down the distance to the next bit of dual carriageway - really annoying they counted down form 3 miles!! 

Still say M6 at least 30 minutes quicker + you mental health is maintained, either way safe journey fella.

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13 hours ago, LR5V said:

Yes - the A9 used to be a great drive, I have  very fond memories of battling tourists, the sweeping bends, the signs counting down the distance to the next bit of dual carriageway - really annoying they counted down form 3 miles!! 

Still say M6 at least 30 minutes quicker + you mental health is maintained, either way safe journey fella.

Got to agree, I've spent days/weeks travelling from South Wales to Newcastle and the M6 would be my choice every time unless you want to try the splendid A68 and travel through the Borders, depart the A1 just after Darlington, its a great road but best driven in the summer

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So are you hitting it?

A doddle; I done Brighton to Perth earlier this year in the Polo Dune.

As already said, take the M40, M6, M74/3, M80 M9, A9. It's pretty much kept open in all of the worst conditions, but keep a keen eye on the road reports for snow on the high ground after Perth.

Are you low? as whilst they keep the roads open, there is often a build up of slush in the middle of the lane which may foul your splitter if you are.

Enjoy the trip! A9 is awesome at his time of the year if the weather is clear.

R

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On 15/12/2017 at 1:29 PM, jon_273 said:

What size did you buy? I had trouble finding winter tyres in 205/45 or 195/45.

I ended up getting 195/50 as black circles didn't show anything for the other sizes. 205/45 is such an odd size even for normal tyres! They only rub on full lock in reverse so I'm just living with that in exchange for the vast increase in grip on the snow and ice.

Edited to add - my car is on standard springs so it might be more of an issue if yours is lowered.

Edited by chrisgti95

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